Skip to main content

IRO BRIEFING DOCUMENT 2014/5

UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK

DEPARTMENT OF THEATRE AND PERFORMANCE STUDIES

Third Year Independent Research Option2014/15


Module Convenor: Nicolas Whybrow

Supervisors: all members of staff in the TPS department

Technical Support: Ian O’D onoghue

Module Description

The Independent Research Optionis a compulsory module for third year single honours Theatre and Performance Studies (TPS) students. Joint honours TPS students are not required to take this module but can choose to do so as long as they are not doing a similar research-based module in their other subject and as long as their chosen research topic is clearly relevant to TPS. Anyone taking the module must be supervised by a member of TPS academic staff.

The module offers students two routes towards undertaking a substantial piece of supervised research during the course of the third year. These routes are convened separately so as to take into account methodological differences in each instance, but there are also some shared aspects in the programming and running of the module as a whole.

The two basic routes are:

  1. Written dissertation (100% of assessment), convened by Margaret Shewring. This route enables students to complete an individually written dissertation of 10,000 words on a research topic of their choice and based on their investigation of primary and secondary sources. Each student taking this route is allocated a single supervisor and the topic must be one that can be appropriately supervised by a member of staff in the Department. The written dissertation must be based on clear historiographical, dramaturgical, and/or theoretical/conceptual principles. It should make apparent the context of the research, the research methodology involved and the research questions it is posing. Under certain circumstances and subject to negotiation the dissertation can include curatorial work (including recording what has happened in the past or organizing an exhibition), historical performance reconstruction or applied practical work undertaken as research (for instance, a series of workshops in the community or in educational contexts).

  1. Practice-based project (practice 60%, critical review 40%), convened by Susan Haedicke. This route enables students to use forms of practice as the primary research methodology. The practical work can take several forms, including (but not limited to) live performance, performance installations, site-specific performance, video work, multi-media work, the writing of plays, curatorial work (including recording what has happened in the past or organizing an exhibition), historical performance reconstruction, space and/or costume design, organizing and running participatory workshops, and video documentaries. For the practice-based project, students will usually work in groups of between two and five members, though it is feasible under some circumstances to undertake a solo project. Each group following this route is allocated a single supervisor and the nature of the work must be such that it can be appropriately supervised by a member of staff in the department. Practical processes must be informed by clear research imperatives and based on theoretical/conceptual principles. Projects should make apparent the context of the research, the research methodologies involved and the research questions being posed.

Assessment

  1. Written dissertation: 10,000 words (100%)

  2. Practice-based project: practical component (60%, group mark) + 4,000-word or equivalent critical review (40%, individual mark)

Written components in either case are due on Thursday of Week 4, Summer Term. Students should take note that the word count for the written components should not be more than 10% over or under the total stipulated for each research route. Practice-based components are expected to be presented in Week 1 of the Summer Term and will be assessed at this point, although the content of certain projects may require an alternative assessment timescale (for instance, a series of workshops in the community or in educational contexts).

Spring and Summer Term 2014 Procedure

All 2ndyear students should begin giving serious consideration to the 3rdyear Research Option as of the meeting convened in Week 8 of the Spring Term. Students who wish to work practically are advised to think carefully about forming working groups and agreeing on a practice-based project that will sustain the interest of its members. If possible, students should make preliminary decisions and commitments in this regard beforethe Easter vacation commences.

All 2ndyear students are required to submit a fairly detailed research proposal form by Monday of Week 2 of the Summer Term. The link to this form can also be found on the home page of the Department’s website under 3rdYear Independent Research Option 2014-15. Practice-based groups need submit only ONE such form per collaborative project. On the basis of this form the Department will decide whether the proposed research is viable and whether appropriate supervision can be offered. Individual students and groups are asked to consult members of staff who they think may have expertise in the area prior to submitting proposals and to name those tutors on their forms. This tutor mayalso turn out to be a viable supervisor, but there is no guarantee of this since supervisions need to be distributed equally amongst staff.


Supervisors will be assigned to dissertation students and performance project groups in the Summer Term of the 2ndyear and an initial meeting will take place to discuss the proposal in more detail and to plan strategies for preparatory research to occur over the summer vacation.