CCHIP Annual Research Symposium 2016

CCHIP - Centre for Creativity, History and Identity in Performance

Research Symposium

  • Wednesday 14 September 2016
  • The Performance Hub
  • Walsall Campus
  • University of Wolverhampton

The first annual CCHIP Research Symposium was held on 14 September at the Performance Hub on the Walsall campus.

The event featured the centre's strengths in diversity across research into the performing arts, and included installations, performances, demonstrations and workshops alongside paper presentations.

Research Symposium




All Day


Paul Brownbill

‘Deception: A practical exploration of affective scenography’

Second floor atrium

Chris Payne

Screening of ‘MAMIC: a visual programming library for amalgamating Mathematics and Coding through Music’

Ground floor atrium

Karen Wood

Screening of ‘Wired’ installation

9:00 - 9:30

Third floor atrium

Tea and coffee


9:30 - 11:00


Paper session 1

Sarah Browne and Sarah Whitfield

‘From Hair to Hamilton: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story’

Paul Gray

‘Proportionality in Ther is No Rose of Swych Vertu’

Demetris Zavros

‘London Road: the ‘eruption of the real’ and the verbatim musical’

11:00 - 11:15

Third floor atrium

Tea and coffee

11:15 - 12:40


Paper session 2

Clare Hampton

‘Looking Good Feeling Better: Evidence, Witness and Catharsis’

Matt Bellingham

'Existing and emerging notations for the representation of algorithmic music’

John Pymm

‘English is the only language which I speak: Gottwald, Reich and linguistic identity in Mein Name Ist ... (Portrait der Schola Cantorum, 1981)’

12:40 - 13:00


Workshop session

Peter Cann

‘Mask and ritual performance- research into practice’

13:00 - 14:00

Third floor atrium


14:00 - 15:30


Paper session 3

James Williams

‘Towards an ‘Ethnosonicology’: Analytical Research Methods in an Electroacoustic Case Study’

Clare Lidbury

‘S/He who pays the piper calls the tune: the role of Public Subsidy and Private Patronage in the work of Kurt Jooss’

Anne-Marie Beaumont

‘Lichfield’s Musical Heritage: Salvaging Birchensha’s Te Deum and his reputation from literary obscurity’

15:30 - 16:15

Third floor atrium

Tea and coffee

Demonstration session

Mat Dalgleish

‘Verkehr-en (for environmentally extended modular synthesizer)’

16:15 - 17:15


Paper session 4

Paul Johnson

‘Performance, Science and the Human: Artificial sentience and virtual human performance’

Karen Wood

‘Kinesthetic and Wired’



Closing comments



Permanent Presentations

Paul Brownbill, Deception: A practical exploration of affective scenography, WH203

“Affect arises in the midst of in-between-ness: in the capacities to act and be acted upon. Affect is an impingement or extrusion of a momentary or sometimes more sustained state of relations as well as the passages (and the duration of passage) of forces or intensities. That is, affect is found in those intensities that pass” (Seigworth and Gregg, 2010: 1)

Through the vehicle of scenographic practices, this study sets out to interrogate the notion of affect in relation to scenographic modes of research, practice and conceptualisations. It will explore how we negotiate material artefacts and the collectively-produced ephemerality, materiality and semioticity of scenographic affects; that is, how performative interactions produce scenography as a process that enables affective scenographic processes and environments to emerge.

Chris Payne and Mat Dalgleish, MAMIC: a visual programming library for amalgamating Mathematics and Coding through Music, Second Floor Atrium

The role of computing within the National Curriculum framework has changed dramatically in recent times. Traditionally, the computing curriculum in schools focused on software competency and proficiency in common but basic tasks such as word processing, delivered through the subject of Information Communication Technology (ICT). In other words, students became perfunctory but perhaps uninspired end users, closely tied to ubiquitous commercial packages such as Microsoft Office. However, in September 2014, then Education Secretary Michael Gove made significant changes to the National Curriculum that affected both primary and secondary education in the UK. This has consisted in essence of an enforced shift from the prior ICT model to one that, at least in theory, embraces coding as a fundamental tenet of computing (i.e. active creation rather than end use, closely related to Rushkoff’s notion of “programmed or be programmed”) and promotes computational thinking more broadly. For instance, Key Stage 1 now asks that students actively consider program structure and sequential design as well as demonstrate core competency. The inclusion of computational thinking seems particularly prescient and important: if the ability to cheaply outsource the drudgery of basic software development (particularly to the far east) may mean that the ability to code is, in and of itself, becoming less important from a UK labour perspective, it could be argued that students able to adopt a computational mindset, may be better prepared to apply computing principles to a range of scenarios.

While this curriculum shift has been received positively by leading technology institutions such as the British Computer Society Chartered Institute for IT and Stone Group, some educators and unions have raised their concerns. This primarily relates is a lack of specialist programming skills within the current ICT teaching population. Training and support for current teachers (specialist and nonspecialist) is also seen as inadequate. For instance, in July 2014, a YouGov survey commissioned by Nesta and the TES found that over 60% of ICT teachers did not feel confident about teaching the new computing curriculum from September 2014, and over half the surveyed teachers admitted to not being adequately prepared for theforthcoming coding curriculum bias. Furthermore, 67% of teachers surveyed stated that despite recent Government initiatives, teachers still did not feel that they had adequate support and guidance that would aid their subject knowledge and/or skills gaps.

The Music And Mathematics In Collaboration (MAMIC) library, introduced in this paper, tries to help bridge this gap between educational ideal and delivery. Specifically, MAMIC is an ongoing multi-disciplinary library for the Pure Data visual programming environment. Aimed at primary schools, it can be seen to support emerging interdisciplinary pedagogical approaches regarding the delivery of the new Computing curriculum in primary schools. In particular, the MAMIC library a) amalgamates the previously distinct subjects of mathematics and coding, and b) teaches this synthesis through music analysis and creation. It therefore tries to address the current lack of interdisciplinarity in Music Technology in primary school settings, and in turn proposes an original interdisciplinary teaching methodology that may be useful going forward. More broadly, this use of music as the host for this mathematics-coding parasite can be related to numerous studies highlighting the use of music as a potent vehicle for the transfer of extra-disciplinary skills within an educational setting. Examples include; perceptual processing of sound to activities such as the development of algorithmic relationships; concepts between written materials and sound and the memorisation of advanced information adopting music and written text as the mechanisms to instigate these desirable cognitive qualities.

Kate Hale, Pilgrimage to Intimacy, WH122

This 10 minute performed sharing is a refraction of a One-to-One performance I co-created with the Live artist Emma Lloyd who was programmed as part of the Tempting Failure Festival in London July 2016.

Written within an auto-ethnographic frame the piece is concerned with trying to capture the moment by moment intellectual, somatic and affective experience of the encounter.

This is presented as part of a Practice as Research PhD which seeks to understand the desire for and nature of performer/spectator intimacy within current contemporary 'one-onone' immersive performance, and to interrogate the ethical implications of such interfaces.

Delegates are invited to sign up for individual ten minute slots available throughout, the morning between 9.30 and 12.30.

9:30 – 11:00

WH123, Paper Session 1

Sarah Browne and Sarah Whitfield, From Hair to Hamilton: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story

Hair (1967) and Hamilton (2015) radically disrupt and challenge American cultural memory by fracturing established expectations between story, teller and recipient. The cultural dissemination of both musicals into broader popular culture amplifies their significance, and in particular, their disruption of the dominant narration of U.S. history. Through musicological and materialist analysis, this paper will examine how both works re-appropriate these historiographies, and present a radically reimagined inclusive narrative which is led by previously marginalised cultural voices. The paper will consider ‘Abie Baby’ from Hair, and ‘My Shot’ and ‘You’ll be Back’ from Hamilton as disruptive acts.

Paul Gray, Proportionality in Ther is No Rose of Swych Vertu

The presentation will be a discussion of compositional decisions in relation to structural proportions in my recent choral work Ther is No Rose of Swych Vertu, supported by performed excerpts.

Demetris Zavros, London Road: the ‘eruption of the real’ and the verbatim musical

Verbatim musical theatre is a subgenre of documentary theatre with its own very particular aesthetics as well as a new subgenre of music(al) theatre that questions and problematizes several ‘fixed’ ontological points of reference and traditional ways of thinking inherent (or strongly embedded) in the form itself. London Road will be used as a case study for a comparative critical analysis in relation to these points of reference. The paper will look at the journey of London Road from the first two stage versions to the film (May 2015) and will seek to investigate the different ways the musicalized source material is presented in effectuating an ‘eruption of the real’ (Lehmann, 2006). The discussion will include a re-imagination of McMillin’s (2006) binary between ‘lyric time’ vs. ‘book time’ and resulting implications to the related notion of diegesis in stage and film.

Demetris Zavros presenting on London Road

Demetris Zavros presenting on London Road

11:00 – 11:15

Third Floor Atrium, Poster Session

Janine Bryant

  • The Aging Dancer Activites and Pain: An International Survey

Frances Clarke

  • Correlation between balance ability and dance performance

11:15 – 12:40

WH123, Paper Session 2

Claire Hampton, Looking Good Feeling Better: Evidence, Witness and Catharsis

Emerging from the interstice between trauma theory and performance and framed by Duggan’s assertion that ‘performance offers an opportunity for testimony which may function as some form of catharsis’ (2012, 9-10), this paper explores my recent collaboration as a dramaturg with OutsidEye, a graduate physical theatre company from the University of Wolverhampton. The project, Looking Good Feeling Better, explored the sexualisation and infantilisation of breast cancer awareness inherent in contemporary pink ribbon culture. Based on my personal experience as a breast cancer survivor, the process offered an opportunity to explore ‘the impossibility of articulating trauma and the necessity to do so’ (Duggan 2012, 99).

Trauma theorist Dori Laub suggests that ‘testimony […] is the process by which the narrator (the survivor) reclaims his position as a witness’ (1995, 69). This paper explores this proposition through a phenomenological reflection that analyses this performance project, as a dramaturgical, auto-ethnographic testimony to the persistent traumatic experience of illness. The body is the locus of a cancer diagnosis; it is both site and source of corporeal failure and ensuing trauma. The bodies of the physical performers simultaneously revealed and contradicted the truth of disease as evidence of my personal trauma was written on to and into their healthy performative bodies. Promoting the articulability of the performing body, physical theatre mobilized a receptivity and perceptivity of both performing and spectating bodies. The project was a unique opportunity to collapse the ‘traumatic gap’ enabling me to bear witness to my own experience.

The paper invokes dramaturgy in two distinct ways. Firstly, as a theatrical practice of dramatic composition, reflecting on the dialogue and process through which my story became theirs. Secondly, as a social psychology concerned with the ‘ways in which human beings […] create meaning in their lives ‘(Edgley 2013, 2). It constitutes a dramaturgical analysis of the embodied, performative and cathartic experience of witnessing my body evidenced in theirs.

Matt Bellingham, Existing and emerging notations for the representation of algorithmic music

Algorithmic composition systems allow for the partial or total automation of music composition by formal, computational means. Typical algorithmic composition systems generate nondeterministic music, meaning that multiple musical outcomes can result from the same algorithm. This means that there is a likelihood that the output is different each time the algorithm runs. Such systems typically offer only limited levels of control to musically skilled users who lack detailed technical knowledge of programming. This tends to mean that, for this user group, such systems are either insufficiently usable or insufficiently musically expressive.

Music notation systems typically allow for the representation of iteration, concurrency, ordering, hierarchy, causality, timing, and/or synchrony. Petri Nets are a notation which allows for the modelling of distributed systems and, given that they can represent nondeterminism as well as the above list of music characteristics, they are an interesting tool in the description and analysis of music. Music Petri Nets have previously been defined and used for musical analysis (Baggi and Haus, 2013), and this presentation will demonstrate two rudimentary software tools (written in Smalltalk and SuperCollider) which build on this work by evaluating Petri Nets and playing the resulting musical output.

The Petri Net work has informed an emerging notation system for algorithmic composition which allows for progressive disclosure and flexible construction while remaining simple for the end user. This new notation system will be introduced in the presentation.

Matt Bellingham discussing approaches to notation and design of algorithmic music

Matt Bellingham discussing approaches to notation and design of algorithmic music

John Pymm, English is the only language which I speak: Gottwald, Reich and linguistic identity in Mein Name Ist ... (Portrait der Schola Cantorum, 1981)

Clytus Gottwald’s polemical views of Reich’s music generated public correspondence with the composer in 1975. Although Gottwald’s observations of Reich’s music relate specifically to Drumming (1970–1)—which he compared to the effect of working on an industrial production line—his criticisms immediately triggered a wide-ranging debate with the composer. The correspondence was published entirely in German in the pages of Melos/Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, with Reich’s contribution being translated.

Despite this unpromising start, Reich later produced a work for the ensemble founded by Gottwald in 1960, the Stuttgart Schola Cantorum. The resulting piece, Mein Name Ist ... (Portrait der Schola Cantorum, 1981), derives from a 1967 composition, My Name Is. Yet the Bayer Records recording of Mein Name Ist, released in 1993, was subsequently deleted, and Reich’s later correspondence with Georg Sachse—‘Forget this piece, I have’—appears to forbid further scholarly investigation. Reich’s stated reasons centre on matters of linguistic identity: ‘Since English is the only language which I speak, and understand fluently, I have decided that in all my compositions in which I use recordings of speech, I will use American English’.

The matter of language and identity cannot be quite so easily dismissed, however. As well as establishing the principle that speech material can generate the harmonic structure of a composition as well as its melodic lines, this German trope of My Name Is fashions a new linguistic identity for Reich’s music, which has not been considered thus far by musicologists writing in English. Such consideration is the aim of the present paper.

John Pymm analysing Steve Reich's Mein Name Ist...

John Pymm analysing Steve Reich's Mein Name Ist...

12:40 – 13:00

WH226, Workshop Session

Peter Cann, Mask and ritual performance- research into practice.

The presentation will be a brief discussion of my work on popular theatre in UK and Portugal with specific reference to the use of mask and my work with Azorean mask maker Ana Brum. It will incorporate a practical demonstration of how I use mask work in actor training.

Peter Cann's mask and ritual performance research demonstration

Peter Cann's mask and ritual performance research demonstration

14:00 – 15:30

WH123, Paper Session 3

James Williams, Towards an ‘Ethnosonicology’: Analytical Research Methods in an Electroacoustic Case Study

This paper investigates the concept of ‘ethnosonicology’ as a terminologically different research method to ‘ethnomusicology’. Rice (2014: 5) recently wrote ‘some ethnomusicologists have begun to suggest that our object of study should be that of sound and not just music […] perhaps someday ethnomusicologists will have created an ‘ethnosonicology’. In this paper, Rice’s claim is examined in a collaborative electroacoustic case-study which fuses contemporary, notated music (exploring minimalistic structures, repetition and timbre) with undulating sonic soundscapes (exploring timbre and space/spatialization).

In May – June 2012, composer Jeremy Peyton Jones collaborated with live electronics artist and improviser Kaffe Matthews to produce Endings: a series of concert performances across the UK featuring 12 of Peyton Jones’s original works. Their run-up to performances including compositional meetings, discussions, listenings and experimental rehearsals with Peyton Jones’s ensemble Regular Music II. Matthews’s electronics not only added timbral layers to Peyton Jones’s work, but also continued between his compositions to create conjoining transitional interludes. An ethnomusicological approach to analyzing Endings featured as part of the author’s doctoral research. Such research methods rest on anthropological disciplines exploring music as both product and process. However, the collaborative cross-disciplinary fusion between Matthews and Peyton Jones required on one hand an analysis of ‘sound’ and on the other an analysis of ‘music’. Their combination informed slight alterations to an ethnomusicological approach resulting in trends towards an ethnosonicology. Although themes of ethnography and anthropology remained within the research model, this paper reveals the differentiations, and not only how new approaches were taken, but also what new alternative findings were discovered.

Clare Lidbury, S/He who pays the piper calls the tune: the role of Public Subsidy and Private Patronage in the work of Kurt Jooss

I discuss how subsidy and patronage from the German municipalities of Munster, Essen and Dusseldorf, from private individuals, such as Dorothy Elmhirst and Alice Roughton, and from British organisations such as the Dartington Trust, CSMA and ENSA supported Kurt Jooss’s artistic output. This sponsorship enabled Jooss to create new work, to have high production values, and to present and disseminate his work in Britain, across Europe, the USA and South America. In so doing I consider also how the demands of each sponsor and benefactor impacted on Jooss’s work. Working chronologically I focus on his work as an actor, theatre and opera director, and as a choreographer for Baroque operas and oratorios rather than on his choreographic works, such as his masterpiece The Green Table, which have been well documented elsewhere. I argue that without such deliberate sponsorship the creation, production, presentation and dissemination of Jooss’s work would have been severely restricted.

Clare Lidbury explores patronage in the life of Kurt Jooss

Clare Lidbury explores patronage in the life of Kurt Jooss

Anne-Marie Beaumont, Lichfield’s Musical Heritage: Salvaging Birchensha’s Te Deum and his reputation from literary obscurity

Lichfield Cathedral library contains the most complete surviving set of John Barnard’s Part- Books. Originally published in 1641, the collection was gifted to the library at Lichfield Cathedral by Elias Ashmole in 1662. The Lichfield Library collection is unique amongst surviving Barnard Part-Book sets in that it also contains a number of additional compositions added in a late seventeenth-century hand, including a Te Deum by Jon Birchensha, composition tutor to Samuel Pepys, the Duke of Buckingham and others in the London set during the Restoration period.

Birchensha made a mark on wider London society and established a reputation as a tutor of composition. From 1663-64 he taught composition to the Duke of Buckingham, philanderer, satirist, member of the Privy Council and Fellow of the Bed Chamber of Charles II and his compositional rules were referred to in Buckingham’s satire The Rehearsal (1663-65). Thomas Shadwell (1642-92) another Restoration playwright also satirised Birchensha’s teaching method in his 1670 comedy The Humorists where we are told that he “can teach men to compose that are deaf, dumb and blind”.

Birchensha’s Te Deum in the Lichfield part-books is incomplete although a partial restoration of this piece can be salvaged through reference to Birchensha’s written treatises of music, some of which were presented before the Royal Academy in 1662 by Viscount Brouncker. Birchensha has largely disappeared from history as a composer and his reputation instead, has been preserved in fragments of text from plays, royal society reports and private diaries. The Te Deum in the Lichfield part-books provides us with the opportunity to salvage and reassess his musical reputation through an examination of the surviving music.

Anne-Marie discussing Birchensha's music from Lichfield Cathedral

Anne-Marie discussing Birchensha's music from Lichfield Cathedral

15:30 – 16:15

Third Floor Atrium, Demonstration Session

Mat Dalgleish, Verkehr-en (for environmentally extended modular synthesizer)

Modular synthesizers are traditionally insular instruments; Voltage Control enabled interconnections between modules within the same system, but not necessarily between systems. Thus, each collection of modules was essentially an all-in-one solution; a selfcontained studio in a box. Developed in the early 1960s, the heyday of the modular synthesizer was brief, as lower cost, more portable and easier to use keyboard synthesizers dominated after 1970. If the demise of the modular synthesizer once seemed permanent, the last decade has seen an unexpected revival. If certain elements may be dismissed as simple nostalgia, it is also closely linked to emergence of the smaller “Eurorack” format and its vibrant community of makers and users. Significantly, the revived modular does not necessarily separate itself from the digital. Most notably, the 1980s MIDI model has permeated its workflow, and it is easily sequenced from a DAW or other software, whether by MIDI or audio/CV interfaces such as Silent Way. Verkehr-en exploits this newfound interoperability to extend the tendrils of a small modular synthesizer into its environment. More specifically, the piece reimagines (parts of) the Performance Hub as an ecological musical system; a large-scale “instrument” influenced not only by the presence or movement of people, but also environmental parameters measured in real-time by DIY sensor nodes. Values from these sensors are in turn mapped to a generative synthesizer patch of indeterminate duration, thereby steering its evolution.

16:15 – 17:15

WH123, Paper Session 4

Paul Johnson, Performance, Science and the Human: Artificial sentience and virtual human performance

This paper, part of a proposed multi-national, multi-organisation collaboration, will explore some of the theoretical frameworks through which Human-Machine Symbiotic (HMS) performance can be analysed and understood. Post-human conceptions of performance will illuminate a series of case studies exploring robot performance; visceral and virtual performance; hybrid human/artificial performance; the psychological impact of digital embodiment; and the creation of co-dependent performance worlds. The altered social aspect of (post-human) performance will be used to investigate how the ‘essentially’ human nature of performance changes when the performing subject is no longer ‘merely’ human. A proposed collaborative performance project will be discussed which will indicate firstly, the potential interdisciplinary arts/science methodologies that can be used, and secondly, some practiceled ways of exploring the significance for performance of artificial sentience and the ability of humans to create and co-exist with it.

Karen Wood, Kinesthetic and Wired

The aim of the research for the screen and live performance series, Wired, originates from exploration into audiences’ experiences of kinesthetic empathy. Dance has been called a ‘kinesthetic art’ (Daly, 1992) and audiences’ experiences of watching dance are articulated by kinesthetic, emotional, empathetic, and pleasurable responses. Cognitive neuroscience explains some of these responses through the mirror neuron system, which involves observing and recognising familiar movement patterns within the viewed movement (Calvo-Merino et al, 2005).

Part of the Wired series is a live performance piece (work-in-progress) that explores the internal working of the body to make it explicit and in a visible form for the viewer. The Stream Project’s founding members, two dancers and a neuroscientist, explored the possibilities of using brain wave states, heart rate variability and respiratory rate to create an artistic piece of dance work. The project has developed, having had the opportunity to work with a creative coder on a residency programme with Code Creatives, Manchester School of Art, and adds an installation to the repertoire, which will be shown at FACT, Liverpool mid-2014.

One of the main focal points of the research was to consider Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s notion of reversibility (1962); we refer to the use of the body’s physiology to make an improvised work and how the narrative becomes a feedback loop for the performer. The relation of reversibility distinguishes between the real and imaginary and how both intertwine. This notion posed the question: do we have greater kinesthetic engagement with the dancer because of the portrayal of her inner workings? Merleau-Ponty suggests that ‘all senses communicate through their significant core’, which is the lived body (Merleau-Ponty 1962) and we are continuing to experiment with how a portrayal of one body through a visual form is received and experienced by another.


Calvo-Merino, B., Glaser, D. E., Grezes, J., Passingham, R.E., Haggard. P. (2005). "Action observation and acquired motor skills: An fMRI study with expert dancers." Cerebral Cortex 15(7): 1243-1249.

Daly, A. (1992). “Dance history and feminist theory: Reconsidering Isadora Duncan and the male gaze,” in Gender in performance: The presentation of difference in the performing arts, ed. Laurence Senelick. Hanover, NH, Tufts University/ University Press of New England, 239-259.

Merleau-Ponty, M. (1962). Phenomenology of perception. London, Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd