Autobiographical Dialogue in Performance

I am honoured to present at the British Sociological Association Auto/Biography day conference on Auto/Biographical Methodologies on the 16th December in London.


This is the abstract of my presentation:

This paper will present preliminary findings of a doctoral research currently undertaken at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. This research investigates the way in which the production of meaning in autobiographical performance in dramatherapy can be described as emerging from a relational and embodied encounter between performer and viewer within the shared space of performance.  It applies aspects of intersubjective theory, literary theory and audience research to the way meaning is constructed in the autobiographical space and the way in which the self is (re)presented.

The research explores the dialogic relationship between performer and audience whereby the outsideness of the other provides, according to the Russian philosopher and linguist Mikhail Bakhtin, an ‘excess of seeing’ and becomes as a result a condition for knowledge, understanding, and the creation of personal identity and meaning. The research explores the ways in which the encounter between self and other in the liminal space of performance creates, in the words of the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur, a ‘surplus of meaning’ that reflects a relational understanding of performance, self and identity.

The research adopts a methodological framework that combines arts-based inquiry (performance as research) and phenomenological relational research. The paper will provide illustrations of a particular method of cross-performance thematic analysis (split-screens) that was developed for the research. This method was designed to help investigate the dialogical interactions between different autobiographies and the way in which these interactions contribute to the production of meaning for the research participants.