Collaborative Doctoral Award Case studies
‘Deviancy and Potential in the Heterotopias of Black Women Playwrights in Britain: the radical position of Black women in the Black Plays Archive’
HEI partner: Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
Non-HEI partner: National Theatre Black Plays Archive
Nadine Deller has been awarded a LAHP AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama to research ‘Deviancy and Potential in the Heterotopias of Black Women Playwrights in Britain: the radical position of Black women in the Black Plays Archive’ in collaboration with the National Theatre Black Plays Archive.
Nadine started her CDA in October 2019. Her research addresses the following questions:
- What is the position of Black women playwrights in the Black Plays Archive, and how does a spatialised reading of positionality extend existing understandings of their presence (or lack thereof) in the archive?
- What are the limits/issues with the BPA’s archival modes, how do these limits exclude Black women?
- How can the concept of ‘heterotopias of deviance’ be used to analyse the position of Black women playwrights in the BPA?
Working with the National Theatre enables Nadine to disseminate her research with the NT Community and build professional connections within the institution. The National Theatre Black Plays Archive not only provides Nadine access to the archive materials as a team member, but also to NT events and talks and training, which has given her invaluable experience, research skills, networking opportunities and educational resources to enrich her research. The most exciting part of her collaboration with the National Theatre is that she can also undertake other cultural projects that benefit both herself and the partner institution. Nadine is currently working on a BPA podcast to disseminate findings and materials in the Black Plays Archive, and she plans to curate an exhibition on plays by Black women.
Nadine hopes that her PhD will provide an alternative archival framework for the Black Plays Archive (BPA), highlight submerged Black women playwrights and problematise the BPA’s current archival modes that marginalise Black women. This will make a significant contribution to Black British theatre scholarship and will benefit academic research, the National Theatre’s Archive, the BPA, and a wider societal understanding of black women’s theatre. This research will contribute to a further understanding of marginalised histories and disseminate these findings in both an academic context and to the general public in accessible ways. Nadine’s CDA will contribute to understanding the history of Black people in Britain, showing how theatre becomes an active agent for social transformation.
Ansar Ahmed Ullah
‘The Bengali Anti-Racist Movement: Mobilisation, institutionalisation and legacies of 1978’
HEI partner: Queen Mary University London
Non-HEI partners: Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives and The Bishopsgate Institute
Ansar Ahmed Ullah has been awarded a LAHP AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) at Queen Mary University of London to research ‘The Bengali Anti-Racist Movement: Mobilisation, institutionalisation and legacies of 1978’ in collaboration with the Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives and The Bishopsgate Institute.
Ansar is a researcher and community activist who has a long association with East London’s Bengali community. He has been living and working among the community he will be researching since the early 1980s.
Ansar started his CDA in October 2019. His research addresses the following questions:
- Why did the Bengali-led anti-racist movement build so rapidly after the events of May 1978? What resources were they mobilising and what political opportunities were they responding to?
- What were the movement(s)’s objectives and what strategies, or repertoires, did they use to reach them? How successful were they?
- What explains the institutional turn in Bengali activism in East London from the 1980s and what were the outcomes of this of the aims and objectives of movement leaders?
Ansar’s research will be based on a combination of archival research and oral history interviews.
The CDA is providing Ansar with the invaluable opportunity to work with diverse partners holding relevant archive collections outside the university environment. In his case these include: the Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives, the Bishopsgate Institute Library, the Swadhinata Trust, the Altab Ali Foundation and private collections. His research will produce new evidence and testimony generated from the events of 1978 which will be deposited at these institutions to be available for the general public. This collaboration will produce an exhibition on the events of 1978 for display, public talks and a ‘reminiscence’ event for the Bengali community members and others involved in anti-racist struggles and local community politics. Furthermore working with archival institutions will encourage donation of materials held in personal or small institutional archives to secure a fuller and more diverse archive of the events of 1978 for the long term benefit of the local community and other researchers.
‘Shakespeare and the Stratford-Upon-Avon Antiquarians’
HEI partner: University College London
Non-HEI Partner: Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Alice Maltby-Kemp has been awarded a LAHP AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) at University College London to research ‘Shakespeare and the Stratford-Upon-Avon Antiquarians’ in collaboration with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT).
Alice started her CDA in October 2018. Her research addresses the following questions:
- What does a systematic archival reappraisal of the records of antiquarians associated with Stratford-Upon-Avon during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries tell us about their approaches to research into the life and works of Shakespeare and local history?
- What characterises the Antiquarians of Stratford-Upon-Avon?
- What networks existed between the Stratford-Upon-Avon antiquarians and how did they influence one another?
Working with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust allows Alice to receive privileged access to their archives, along with the work space of a full-time member of staff. She also benefits from access to UCL’s digital resources and special collections, as well as the capital’s great research libraries and collections (The Warburg Institute, The British Library, The National Archives). UCL and SBT also intend to organise two one-day conferences held at the Shakespeare Centre, Stratford-upon-Avon, and at UCL on the topic of ‘Shakespeare and the Stratford-upon-Avon Antiquarians’ in 2021.
The most beneficial part of her CDA is being able to draw on the expertise of both her home institution and the cultural partner who provide different perspectives and expertise to enrich her project.
Alice hopes that her PhD will give insight into the research of the Shakespeare antiquarians by systematically searching and accounting for the documents associated with them. By taking a holistic approach to the individuals, their records and their interconnections, she hopes to highlight under-researched documents and provide new interpretations. This will allow the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and researchers to find different perspectives on the work of these early scholars, developments in Shakespearean research during those centuries and the local history of Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Manfredi De Bernard
‘Complex Cultural Ecologies: capturing value through connections between public, private and not-for-profit organisations in the creative economy’
HEI partner: King’s College London
Non-HEI Partner: Creative United
Manfredi De Bernard has been awarded a LAHP AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) at King’s College London to research ‘Complex Cultural Ecologies: capturing value through connections between public, private and not-for-profit organisations in the creative economy’ in collaboration with Creative United, an entrepreneurial community interest company committed to supporting the growth and development of the arts and creative industries. Manfredi is co-supervised between King’s College London and UCL, which enables him to interact with academics and access resources at both institutions. Manfredi started his CDA in October 2019. His research addresses the following questions:
- What are the characteristics, dynamics and direction of these networks and exchanges?
- What are the motivations? What benefits do these exchanges and networks deliver from the perspective of the PFCOs and from the perspective of the CCIs companies or individuals?
- What kind of value (economic, social and cultural) is generated by these interactions and the diversity of the partners and stakeholders?
The project aims to map the collaborative networks connecting PFCOs and CCIs and reflect on the motivations and benefits behind these interconnections. It also aims to quantify the impact and value – economic, social and cultural – of these exchanges, looking at how public funding for culture channels through key cultural organisations to create broader benefits for the private and not-for-profit sector in the CCIs. The project will take as initial case studies a selection of major arts and cultural institutions and through snowballing and secondary dataset analysis map their ecologies.
The CDA is enabling Manfredi to gain first-hand experience of work outside the university environment through an insight into trends in business and practice in UK CCIs and access to a wide range of professional training and development opportunities as part of the Creative United team. Creative United will be instrumental in providing Manfredi with a wealth of data, expertise, knowledge and contacts to undertake his fieldwork. The project will be of significant value to Creative United’s role in helping to improve their understanding of the intersections between public and private investment in the arts and creative industries, in order to support the growth, development and productivity of the sector as a whole. The findings from Manfredi’s research will help inform public policy towards culture and recognise their interconnections and synergies in a more consistent and transparent way.