Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Performance, learning disability and the priority of the object : a study of dialectics, dynamism and performativity in the work of learning disabled artists
Author: Calvert, Dave
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 4079
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This submission draws together six publications and a covering document to set out an original contribution to knowledge in the field of learning disabled performance. Critical attention has been relatively scarce in this field, and the publications gathered here offer the only extended study of learning disability and performance that covers a range of artists across the artforms of theatre and music. Following an initial provocation which outlines the emergence of theatre and learning disability, the publications focus mostly on detailed studies of specific artists, exploring their aesthetic practice along with discursive and audience responses to their work. The article on Heavy Load considers how the integrated band, in its negotiation of punk’s anti-aesthetic, reappropriates the image of learning disability already inherent in the form. Two publications on Susan Boyle explore how her successful audition for Britain’s Got Talent contradicts medical and discursive attempts to contain learning disabled people, and also reveals the traditional place of learning disability in what Slavoj Žižek (following Jacques Lacan) calls the symbolic order. A chapter on Mind the Gap critically assesses the company’s various projects and explores the notion of the learning disabled actor. The final article on Back to Back theatre opens up post-Brechtian dialectics operating in key productions by the ensemble. The covering document sets out the core arguments that underpin my publications, forming a cohesive approach to reading learning disabled performance with significance for the social and aesthetic understanding of cognitive impairment. I contest a dominant approach that positions learning disabled people as non-performative and singularly non-dialectical. My original readings draw particularly on Theodor Adorno’s negative dialectics and I propose a specific dialectic of stasis and dynamism. In doing so, the combined research generates new possibilities for understanding such performance encounters beyond the historically sedimented constructions of learning disability.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater