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Title: Let's talk about the everyday : revealing ordinary life through performance
Author: Dudman, Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 7660 2251
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2018
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Through practice-led research this thesis provides new insight into disregarded aspects of ordinary life. In particular it highlights the potential of improvisatory performance practice as a research methodology, which, whilst maintaining the ordinariness of the subject matter, reveals its nuanced value and extraordinary nature. Interest in the everyday as a concept has had an academic resurgence in recent decades. As a sphere in which culture and politics coalesce it is inherently interdisciplinary and has been a focus for anthropology, political science, philosophy, geography, cultural studies and contemporary art. Arising from revolutionary Marxist ideals of social praxis and Lefebvre's philosophical development of demotic cultural agency, the study of the everyday signals a concern with democratic inclusivity. When aligned with socially engaged art forms of the late 20th Century, through an ethnographic sensibility and an attention to the overlooked aspects of daily life, the everyday emerges as an artistic genre. This thesis provides a longitudinal scholarly and artistic synthesis that examines and refigures habitual domestic experience. The work is underpinned by an understanding of the everyday encapsulated in Highmore's phrase 'the background hiss' (2011:1), and a phenomenological description of first hand experience as both immanent and intentional. Three strands of practice each interrogate the everyday through performance, the spoken word and collaborative strategies. In a reflexive approach working with critical perspectives on philosophical, aesthetic and cultural theories, the thesis opens up a space to interrogate the invisible, inaudible plane of ordinary life, bringing discontinuous, unvoiced knowledge to the fore. The work contributes to the discourse on the everyday in several ways. Practice-led methodologies are expanded through the development of iterative and speculative performance making as research that critically inhabits and disrupts the extraordinary/mundane paradox of everyday life. This is achieved through performance in, and of, the everyday, evidenced in collaborative diaristic audio and film making, which is then examined in live improvised one-woman performances. Secondly, the thesis reveals everyday experience through oblique examination of the spoken word. In studio composition and in performance, improvisatory sampling, iii repetition and replication connect to the distinctiveness of individual voices and lives. Finally the thesis underlines the importance of the interplay between the discursive and the experiential as a vital component in developing an understanding of the everyday. This thesis is significant in that it occupies the analytical interstices of everyday scholarship and complicates the association between the embodied nature of experience and its verbal expression. The research echoes and is drawn from the rhythms and practices of everyday life, bringing to the surface what is already extraordinary. Unique insights are produced through the visceral experience of performing the works, connecting subjectively with the participants' words and images and making the hitherto indiscernible everyday available for scrutiny. In this way the research makes a valuable contribution to practice-led research in the arts and to the broader field of everyday life studies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available