Public Engagement & Performance Conference 29/30 March 2019 

The following  outline provides a guide to the running order for the conference and below you will find a selection of the some of the presentations.

Additional information will be available later in the week.


10:00 Registration
10:30 Welcome & Introduction Kitrina Douglas
10:40 Workshop:Creative Writing Gayle Letherby
11:50 Workshop "The Visual Novel" Matthew Staples 13:00 Lunch & time to explore the Hepworth galleries 14:00 Films & Live performances/multi media presentations [open to the public] 16:40 Day one finish 18:00 Evening social tbc (not included in conference costs)


10:00 Round table discussion with directors and producers
11:00 Presentations sessions one - paper & multi media 
13:00 Lunch & time to explore Hepworth galleries 
14:00 Presentations sessions two - paper & multi media  
15:00 Dilemmas Cafe - solving issues with public engagement

Below are a selection of submission 

 FILM Dancing Days by Helle Winther

The co-produced research film Dancing Days with Young People is inspired by art-based and performative social science, where artists and researchers examine important issues together.

The film follows one teacher, 21 university students and 200 high school pupils from various cultural backgrounds. It focuses especially on the young university students in a challenging course of teaching emphasizing creativity, embodied leadership and dance.


‘Everyone Knows Me as the Weird Kid’: Being Bisexual, Genderfluid and Fifteen, 

David Carless, Kitrina Douglas, Kate Milnes and Tamara Turner-Moore, 
Leeds Beckett University


In their 2006 book ‘Contesting empire/globalizing dissent’ Denzin and Giardina quote Chomsky on the responsibility of intellectuals (“i.e. you, dear reader”), who have “a moral and professional obligation to speak the truth, to expose lies, and see events in their historical perspective.” We must tell politics like a story, they assert. The film ‘Academic Activism in a Time of Chaos’ attempts to do this. Using examples from their own work, a selection of social science academics at different stages in their careers share their own perspectives on what might constitute activism.

Interest Free Love: performance/moving image work (total running time: 20 mins) by Christopher Sunders
Interest Free Love: combines auto-ethnography and moving image works to contemplate growing up in the self-destructive/defensive depressive state of ambivalence.

‘Interest Free Love’ takes its title from a series of ‘conditional love’ ransom notes written by parents to their children. 
Factory Settings’re-mediates several video versions of the seminal clinical experiment ‘The Strange situation’ conceived by the Developmental Psychologist Mary Ainsworth in 1969 who devised a procedure to observe Attachment relationships between caregiver and child. By re-working the repetitious clinical material Factory Settings evokes the eerie psychological thriller. 
Gold Chain’ explores the psychic predestination of new life by imagining the competing needs of mother and unborn child as the two exchange their love vows. Gold Chain is a moving image work from a series of ‘anti-climb’ videos using vertical rising lines of text to disclose what often inhibits our psychological capacity to ‘rise.


Now You See Me”

by Myntha Anthym, University of Denver
A Choreopoem on ‘Making the Invisible Unavoidable as an Ethical Imperative in Critical Arts-Based Inquiry’


With Gayle Lertherby
“That there are truths to be found in stories is inarguable. Similarly, there is always an element of interpretation in research, and every written text is a product or particular social, political, technical, economic and personal events.”

The focus of this workshop will be the exploration of ‘fictional’ representations of research data, pedagogic reflections, theoretical and P/political concerns. In addition to writing some short pieces of poetry and/or prose we will also engage in some creative editing. All you need fothis workshop is a paper and pen/tablet/computer and your imagination.

In progress workshop “exploring the visual novel” with Matthew Staples, Leeds Beckett University

Workshop “Make Your Own Research Board Game” with Alke Groppel Wegener Staffordshire University

Chris Blackmore, University of Sheffield,

 The Labyrinths of Sheffield Improving well-being through urban nature”. In this presentation, we report on the process of collaborating and the resulting public engagement activity.

Sarvenaz Sohrabi, University of Southampton

Paint Your Pain
Our in progress project provides representations of pain and creates a network of communication between members of the public. We ask the public to paint their pictorial representation of pain related to any illness directly or indirectly connected to the person. We are interested in analysing artworks collected by detecting differences in shapes, use of different colours, types of brush strokes, size of the drawing, etc. Each painting tells the story of different pains. Following our analysis, the artist uses the paintings to produce artworks summarising different visions of pain in the form of performances, visual and audio art as part of exhibitions and festivals. This allows us to communicate to the public how pain linked to illness affects everyday life.

For more information about the project, workshops and seminars please go to: Webpage:

Twitter page: @PYPUOS

‘What a Difference a Letter Makes’: Co-Creating Intergenerational and Cross-Cultural Theatre, 

Georgina Binnie

From a Beat and a Melody Come a Lyric and a Truth: Kitrina Douglas

“At its most basic we are only discussing a learned skill, but do we not agree that sometimes the most basic skills can create things far beyond our expectations? We are talking about tools and carpentry, about words and style … but as we move along, you’d do well to remember that we are also talking about magic. (Stephen King, 2000, p. 155)”

The Genie’s Tale

In this performance I explore the process of songwriting as social research through an autoethnography about using the body and a musical instrument as a basis for uncovering truths we didn’t know we knew


Growing up Colonial in the Gold Coast (Ghana) a film by

Afua Twum-Danso Imoh, University of Sheffield 

‘Uses and abuses of performance in a collaborative doctoral project. Intention and motivation.’

Tim Beucher, University of Hull

Positioning ‘Artactivistbarbie’ To Problematise Representations Of Gender In Art Galleries And Museums work in progress

Sarah Williamson, University of Huddersfield


Below extracts from some of last years contributions
"in-progress" workshop

 This in-progress workshop session delved into some of the most thorny ethical challenges and dilemmas associated with sharing/communicating/performing research and inviting feedback through engaging the public with our research.The workshop will be facilitated by Andrew Gillott. Brief Biography: Andrew works in high-performance sport in the UK and elsewhere, helping coaches and sport science practitioners to problematise their practice, and supporting them in their developmental journey. His job title is probably Coach Developer but he prefers disruptor, meddler, or cage-rattler.

FILM: A Well Trodden Path (the distance between two places) by Janice Howard (Oxford Brookes University). 

This experimental video originates from a walk with the artist’s mother who lives with Parkinson’s disease along with associated research into the ways in which running could be used as a speculative tool within art practice to investigate personal memory, time and the ineffable.

“We are more alike than we are different\”: Co-Creating Intergenerational Theatre, Georgina Binnie, University of Leeds. Writing Back is an intergenerational letter-writing project that tackles loneliness and improves wellbeing by matching University of Leeds students as pen pals with older Yorkshire residents. Since 2014, the pen pals’ correspondence has provided a powerful testimony as to the impact of loneliness on both age demographics. In 2016-17, a collaboration between Writing Back and Fall into Place, a local, community-theatre group, led to the pen pals’ letters being transformed into two innovative and cross-generational performances. This presentation with multi-media footage and the reflections of the cast and the audience, advocates for the power of intergenerational theatre to create health-related and community change across the generations.

FILM & PRESENTATION: Cultural Rivers presented by Melanie Hani, (Loughborough University) and Elaine Drainville, (University of Sunderland) explores the effectiveness  ‘Static Animation’ (Hani 2014) and ‘Axiom Documentary’ (Drainville 2014) to identify particular problems in regard to children who are first generational immigrants in the UK.

FILM & PERFORMANCE: Loneliness Connects Us: Co-research and interactive performance in youth loneliness research: Jana Wendler, Freelance Game Designer: In this paper we share our experience with the Loneliness Connects Us project, a one-year co-research project that involved young people, researchers, mental health practitioners and artists in exploring issues of youth loneliness.  Framed by a film made of the performance, we will reflect on the unique peer research approach, the making and reception of the interactive piece and the lessons we learnt for engaged, empowering research.


PERFORMANCE: Sarah’s story: one woman’s experience of the Street Football Team England programme for people experiencing homelessness by Emily Whyte. In this performance, I will share a story from my ongoing masters research, which is exploring how Street Football Team England can empower people to seek a pathway out of homelessness.


INSTALLATION: The Famous Fifty, Coalville and the Iceberg Effect. Presented by
Deana Wildgoose
 MULTIMEDIA: I Think About It Every day: Re-Performing the embodiments of war through the use of multi modal methods and documentary theatre, Presented by David Jackson (University of Exeter). including two multi modal films,   Three Days Down South which explores the embodiments of loss for a best friend who was killed during the Falkland’s War and the documentary theatre play Minefield,  performed by three Argentine veterans and three British veterans who fought against each other in the Falkland’s/Malvinas war and co produced the play.

PERFORMANCE: ‘Child-Shifting’ and ‘Reunification’ : The psychological Implications for British African Caribbean Women by Christa Welsh, Metanoia Institute. This autoethnographic study focuses retrospectively on selective childhood epiphanies of home and social life in Grenada and the subsequent trauma of reunification (aged nine) with my parents and siblings in London.
FILM & PRESENTATION: “Reborn” presented by Matthew Staples, Leeds Beckett University.A short film portraying the experiences of a qualified PE teacher with a disability based on life-story interviews.

PERFORMANCE: The Mystical Scientist: In Search of the Fountain of Youth by Dawn Woolley, Leeds Arts University.
Adverts for The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth range contain stem cells extracted from marine plants, placing the product at the cutting edge of scientific technology. At the same time the adverts claim the products contain a few drops of the fountain of youth.
Embodying the voices of anti-ageing adverts, Woolley performs as The Mystical Scientist drawing on a diverse range of ideas from cultural theorists, psychoanalysts, photographers, philosophers and theoretical physicists.

PERFORMANCE: Unconscious into Concsious: A personal story of emergent creativity in response to trauma. Jan Filer (BACP, PTUK, Sherborne International Association, University of Bristol).  This auto-ethnography is set in the genre of dance/movement. It shows how, as therapist and client, I integrate creative arts into therapy. This experiential insight ‘Shows’ as much as it ‘tells’ about my story and what it is like to be me as I inquire into the meaning of living my life as a piece of research.

Whirlpool & Reverberations are two short films that stem from research exploring bullying. In “Whirlpool” we attempt  to amplify experiences of participants that are difficult or impossible to voice about being bullied while in “Reverberations” the researchers attempt to reflect on their own experiences.


PAPER: Critical Arts-Based Research: A Performance of Provocation
presented by Carl Bagley, (Queen’s University Belfast). The paper from a Critical Race Theory standpoint draws on data from life history interviews with undocumented Mexican-Americans, and live performance work with Mexican-American artists, to reflect on the ways in which critical arts-based research impacts upon research participants as artists, subjects, and audience. ..Our intent in this paper is to draw on post-performance interviews and correspondence with artists, subjects and audience members to critically reflect on participant impact; an impact which in this article we are calling a performance of provocation.

‘Emotional Fit’: an autoethnographic story of ‘being engaged’ by academic researchers by Jackie Goode, (Visiting Fellow in Qualitative Research). The ‘baby boomers’ in this study are women who are the product of the cultural revolution of the 1960s, and who consequently have a strong sense of their own ‘agency’, as conveyed through their clothing and style. These women now find themselves stepping into the unknown territory of a limited market. ‘Emotional Fit’ tells the story from the perspective of one of the participants – a less familiar kind of account from a member of the ‘ageing female 
demographic’ public with whom the academics engaged.


If you have any questions or queries please contact the administration team on by e mail