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Our research – University of Reading

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  • Creative approaches to research

    With a long history of collaborative and interdisciplinary projects

Our research

The Department of Film, Theatre & Television is home to an exciting range of work on contemporary practices and their contexts and histories. 

Our research focuses on close analysis of the languages and conventions of film, theatre and performance, television and new media. We explore their cultural impact and how they engage with pressing issues in identity and representation, inclusion and social justice, conflict and migration, geopolitics and the environment.

Our interdisciplinary research includes published, web-based and practice-based outputs. The 2014 Research Excellence Framework or REF assessment recognised 80% of our research as World Leading or Internationally Excellent. (The REF assesses the quality of UK Higher Education research approximately twice a decade.)

A centre of excellence for practice as research

The Department has been at the forefront of practice as research in theatre, film and performance since the early 1990s. Emerging out of our shared commitment to critical practice as an alternative means of exploring research questions, staff and students develop a diverse and exciting range of projects.

These include re-stagings of rarely seen Eastern European plays, devised work on subjectivity, gender and identity, performance and theatre history, mixed media and digital media performances, site specific work on ecological performance practice, and durational performance art. Staff and research students often work across disciplinary and medium boundaries, collaborating with creative professionals, museums and arts institutions, and engaging with a wide range of local and regional communities in the UK, internationally, and online. To find out more about individual staff members' practice as research, see our Meet the team pages.

Externally funded research projects

The excellence and impact of our research is evident in our exceptional record of major, externally funded research projects across all our disciplines. These projects have built on strong links with national and international cultural institutions. Our current and recent projects include:

The ideal environment for ideas and activities

We are housed in the Minghella Studios, which include performance spaces, a digital cinema, multi-camera television studio, sound stage and editing suites which support staff and postgraduate research practice in multimedia performance and digital media. We frequently host talks, workshops, residencies and public performances and screenings by eminent scholars and creative practitioners.

The University has a number of special collections, including the world's largest collection of resources relating to Samuel Beckett. Within the Department, we have over 9,000 audiovisual assets for film, theatre and television research. We've built up our holdings of audiovisual and print material over 40 years.

Research leadership and collaborations

Film, Theatre & Television is part of the School of Arts and Communication Design and plays a leading role in the Centre for Film Aesthetics and Cultures, and the Beckett International Foundation. Our research has forged creative collaborations with other departments at Reading in the area of conflict studies for example, and with other universities in the UK and internationally.

Our Film, Theatre & Television Research Division carries out cutting-edge interdisciplinary research under the University's Heritage & Creativity Research Theme. Facilitation is available from the Heritage & Creativity Institute.

Research specialisms

Our research focuses on close analysis of the languages and conventions of film, theatre and performance, television and new media, their cultural and historical contexts (mainly 20th and 21st century), and includes expertise on intermediality, gender, conflict, ecology and the politics of representation.

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