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We often know performance when we see it – but how should we investigate it? And how should we interpret what we find out? This book demonstrates why and how mixed methods research is necessary for investigating and explaining performance and advancing new critical agendas in cultural study. The wide range of aesthetic forms, cultural meanings, and social functions found in theatre and performance globally invites a corresponding variety of research approaches. The essays in this volume model reflective consideration of the means, processes, and choices for conducting performance research that is historical, ethnographic, aesthetic, or computational. An international set of contributors address what is meant by planning or designing a research project, doing research (locating and collecting primary sources or resources), and the ensuing work of interpreting and communicating insights. Providing illuminating and necessary guidance, this volume is an essential resource for scholars and students of theatre, performance, and dance.
The Thompson-Chesson family represent how, across three generations, nineteenth-century reformers cultivated habits of performance critique to improve the efficacy of their political work. Across various domains, and utilising many organising techniques and expressions, liberal activism was forged in this milieu. By investigating how men and women built networks and forged more effective practices, liberal convictions take form as activist practices.
Across Frederick Chessons career, the emergence of cheap newspapers, the prevalence of postal networks, and development of a global telegraphic system revolutionised how information was distributed. As Secretary for the Aborigines Protection Society for over three decades, Chesson was a nodal point for communication about human trafficking, effects of imperial conflicts on Indigenous peoples, the brutal retaliation for the Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica, and other outrages. Long before Lemkin coined the term genocide, Chessons journalism and activism described and decried such atrocities on several continents. Liberal activists work represents multiscalar thinking about abuses, to which Chesson contributed a repertoire demonstrating his innovative tactical and organisational forms championing racial justice.
Womens participation in the public sphere was constrained in various ways, even in liberal circles. Anne Thompson (wife of George Thompson), in conjunction with her teenage daughters and African American freedom seekers, engineered an intervention at the Great Exhibition that creatively silenced anti-abolitionists within a social space. After Louisa and Amelia Thompson married and pursued activist and writing careers, they built on such experiences in ways that represent their astute perception of performative dramatugy and ways to strategically intervene in social politics. In Amelia Chessons work life and marriage, this led to a career as the first female performance critic for a British daily newspaper. She honed her ability to describe not only theatre and music performances but also the entire mise-en-scène of complex events. Extensively networked through her own and her familys activist connections, her work as a journalist, political organiser, friend of fellow abolitionists, and matrixed liberal subject reveals a complex reformulation of how the public and private realms have been previously understood.
During the Victorian era, current events were copiously represented in newspapers and in popular entertainments of all genres: they recirculated through both media in mutually reinforcing ways. As Frederick Chesson polished his capacity to articulate performance critique and launched his journalistic career, George Cruikshanks comet-shaped illustration of the events of 1853 represents exactly how these conjoint realms were experienced by the Victorian public. As a political organiser, Chesson was initially allied with the Manchester School, opposing the Crimean War and promoting free trade. First on the Empire then the Star and Daily News, his journalism represents a broad engagement with liberal causes, Garrisonian abolitionism, opposition to imperialism, and advocacy for Indigenous peoples self-determination. His work epitomises activism nearly a century before the concept was coined. The ability to envision complex dramaturgies at work around him and at great distances from London enabled Chesson to advocate and remonstrate on behalf of the dispossessed and disadvantaged in forms of observational citizenship that align historical forces, human actions, and the imperative to care.
George Thompson rose to pre-eminence as a lecturer through his work to bring about the 1833 Abolition of Slavery Act, and in its aftermath forged the first international anti-slavery movement with colleagues in the United States. As a Garrisonian abolitionist, he was committed to complete and immediate manumission. As a free trader, a member of the Manchester School, he became increasingly interested in how encouraging the development of suitable cotton from the Indian agricultural sector could undermine the power of American cotton planters and thereby nullify the Souths power in the market. His commitments to India included advocating for the deposed Raja of Satara, and attempts to bring down the British East India Company. On his first visit to India, he helped foster institutions that gave young men experience in debate and other forms of advocacy; on his second visit, under the cloud of financial distress following the failure of the Empire newspaper, he served as agent for a British textile firm. In the meantime, he served a term as MP for Tower Hamlets. Witnessing survivors of the Siege of Lucknow embarking in Calcutta, decades of Thompsons political experience came to the fore in a testament of performative empathy, insight, and anti-imperial advocacy.
Just as spectacle was integral to Victorian culture, the understanding and active critique of performance in its myriad forms and situations was integral to Victorian political life. Liberals and Radicals applied this to a variety of organisational formats and gatherings – pre-eminently, meetings linked to other events through performance chaining – to enhance their impact. A dramaturgical approach reveals how performance and performance critique were integrated into political work. Starting with Thomas Thompson, this is evident across three generations of the Thompson-Chesson family. George Thompsons lecturing acumen built from this, establishing the basis for the Trans-Atlantic Anti-Slavery Movement during the 1830s. Frederick Chessons acumen as a political organiser helps show how the realm of the sensible (arts) was integral with reform in a dramaturgy of the intelligible starting in the 1850s. While this recenters liberalism within aesthetics, Amelia Chessons additionally provides ways to revise the historiography of the public/private divide.
This ambitious study traces the strategies of human rights activists to show how world-changing reform movements were shaped by women and men from modest backgrounds who were deeply attuned to the power of performance. Tracy C. Davis explores nineteenth-century reform campaigns through the pioneering work of a family of activists – prominent anti-slavery lecturer George Thompson, his daughter Amelia (the first female theatre and music critic for a British daily newspaper) and her husband, the political organizer Frederick Chesson. Engaging in some of the most important social struggles of the late Georgian and Victorian periods – including abolition, enfranchisement, and anti-genocide - this book reveals how two generations' insights into performance consolidated into activist tactics that persist today. Characterised by a skilful deployment of performance theory alongside deep and wide-ranging historical knowledge, this ground-breaking work demonstrates what 'dramaturgy' can teach us about 'history'.
Clinical trials continue to disproportionately underrepresent people of color. Increasing representation of diverse backgrounds among clinical research personnel has the potential to yield greater representation in clinical trials and more efficacious medical interventions by addressing medical mistrust. In 2019, North Carolina Central University (NCCU), a Historically Black College and University with a more than 80% underrepresented student population, established the Clinical Research Sciences Program with support from the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program at neighboring Duke University. This program was designed to increase exposure of students from diverse educational, racial, and ethnic backgrounds to the field of clinical research, with a special focus on health equity education. In the first year, the program graduated 11 students from the two-semester certificate program, eight of whom now hold positions as clinical research professionals. This article describes how leveraging the CTSA program helped NCCU build a framework for producing a highly trained, competent, and diverse workforce in clinical research responsive to the call for increased diversity in clinical trial participation.