Postgraduate Research Groups

The department is home to three Research Groups, each of which is managed entirely by postgraduates: Practice as Research, Theory Group, Film Analysis (Sewing Circle). Meetings for each group take place twice a term. They are attended by postgraduates and academic staff from within and outside the department. Discussion is linked to a performance and/or critical/theoretical text, which is chosen by group members prior to the discussion. These meetings provide an informal setting in which issues connected directly with departmental research can be openly expressed, discussed and debated.

The Sewing Circle

The Sewing Circle is the Department's informal film and television analysis seminar for postgraduate students and staff. Sometimes grouped in short series to investigate a significant issue in film analysis but more often focused on a single film or television programme, Sewing Circle meetings provide invaluable opportunities for colleagues to share research interests and problems and to benefit from lively exploratory discussion. With a brief introduction to outline the questions or issues of specific concern to the researcher, seminars are devoted largely to detailed sequence analysis. An ever-growing list of books, articles and theses carry acknowledgements to the formative role of Sewing Circle discussions, including Movies and Tone by Douglas Pye and The Police Series by Jonathan Bignell (both republished as open access ebooks) and

Brown, T. (2012, 2013) Breaking the Fourth Wall. Edinburgh: EUP.

Donaldson, L. (2014) Texture in Film. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Gibbs, J. (2002) Mise-en-scène: Film Style and Interpretation. London: Wallflower.

Hillier, J. & D. Pye (2011) 100 Film Musicals. London: BFI.

Luppa, I. 'Weimar Cinema' in Gibbs J. & D. Pye eds. (2009) Close-Up 03: Weimar Cinema,

The Police Series, Men's Cinema. London: Wallflower.

Orr, J. & E. Ostrowska (eds) (2006) The Cinema of Roman Polanski. London: Wallflower.

Purse, L. (2011) Contemporary Action Cinema. Edinburgh: EUP.

Purse, L. (2013) Digital Imaging in Popular Cinema. Edinburgh: EUP.

The Theory Group

The Theory Group is the second-longest running postgraduate group, established almost a decade ago. This forum provides an opportunity for postgraduates and staff to engage in discussion about an extract of theoretical writing connected with their current research. The writing can be medium and discipline specific or it can be more broadly philosophical in nature. The material is often discussed in the context of particular films, plays, television programmes and/or performance practices. The group welcome suggestions for theoretical writing to be discussed. Recent examples of associated material chosen by group members are Anthony Neilson's production Narrative at the Royal Court and Lisa Dwan's performance of Beckett's Not I, considered from a phenomenological perspective. The group also attended Ian Rickson's production of Jez Butterworth's Mojo at the Harold Pinter Theatre. 

Practice as Research

The Practice as Research (PaR) group meets several times per term, with the aim of discussing with the presenting scholar/practitioner any questions or challenges s/he may be encountering that are related to practice-led research. The group welcomes contributions and attendance from all postgraduates and staff in the department, including those who do not engage in practice as part of their research. This group recognises the specific qualities of research outcomes which are (in part) non-written and belong to a particular epistemological and experiential order. Consequently, the PaR group discusses different forms of presentation, ranging from film, video and still image to live performance, or a combination of these. The meetings take place both within and outside of the department.

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