vicki thoms – traumatic events and experiences

I’m planning to submit an application to the AHRC responsive mode grant to undertake a practice-informed project that looks at extra-verbal movement related art production as a response to traumatic events and experiences. The project is intended to challenge the field of trauma studies in three ways: 1) It will examine the under-researched way that communities of people respond to trauma through witnessing movement-based performance; 2) It will expand the scope of analysis of traumatic effect to performance as a primary text; 3) And, in focusing on dance as a communicative force, it will articulate new theoretical and practical understandings of the embodied effects of trauma. To do this, I want to will bring together an interdisciplinary team of researchers including: literary theorists, sociologists, historians, performance theorists, and movement practitioners. The historical remit for the project will span from the late 19th to the present day, a period that has witnessed some of the most well-documented examples of violence and suffering. The project will work specifically with what I have called “gendered constellation of trauma” and is intended to open up the exploration of traumatic effect to complex historical, cultural, societal, and kinaesthetic interrelationships. In terms of research design, this will be an eighteen month project divided into three specific phases. The first phase will be data collection. This will be followed by data testing in the form of three site specific performances (The Imperial War Museum, Coventry Cathedral and the Royal Opera House). The project will close with a period of consolidation and further research dissemination.

– Vicki Thoms

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