Researcher

Dr Jonathan Bollen

Field of Research (FoR)

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Biography

My research in theatre studies is about performance, mobility and desire. Recently I have been studying the regional development of international touring, entrepreneurial diplomacy and commercial entertainment by mapping the touring circuits that stretched across Asia and the Pacific in the 1950s and 1960s. 

I am the author of Touring Variety in the Asia Pacific Region, 1946–1975 (Palgrave 2020) and co-author of A Global Doll's House: Ibsen...view more

My research in theatre studies is about performance, mobility and desire. Recently I have been studying the regional development of international touring, entrepreneurial diplomacy and commercial entertainment by mapping the touring circuits that stretched across Asia and the Pacific in the 1950s and 1960s. 

I am the author of Touring Variety in the Asia Pacific Region, 1946–1975 (Palgrave 2020) and co-author of A Global Doll's House: Ibsen and Distant Visions (Palgrave 2016) and Men at Play: Masculinities in Australian Theatre since the 1950s (Rodopi 2008). I have also published on data models for theatre research and the network-cartography of theatre production.

My research has contributed to the AusStage database for Australian performance, the IbsenStage database at the University of Oslo, and the Philippine Performance Archive at the University of the Philippines. I am currently a research advisor on the international Dunham's Data project on 'digital methods for dance historical inquiry' and I lead the Performance Memories partnership between UNSW Library and the Dennis Wolanski Foundation.


My Grants

I have been Chief Investigator on two Discovery Projects: ‘Ibsen Between Cultures: The Australian Experience’ ($124,000 DP0988350) and ‘Marking Masculinity in Australian Theatre’ ($279,925 DP0210510), for which I was awarded an ARC post-doctoral fellowship. The major outcomes of these grants are my books: A Global Doll’s House: Ibsen and Distant Visions (Palgrave 2016) and Men at Play: Masculinities in Australian Theatre since the 1950s (Rodopi 2008).

I was Chief Investigator on three ARC LIEF projects for the AusStage database ($300,000 LE0775527; $650,000 LE100100028; $325,000 LE140100024). I also attracted funding for AusStage from other sources, including the substantial Aus-e-Stage project funded by the National eResearch Architecture Taskforce through the NCRIS Platforms for Collaboration program ($500,000), the Australian National Data Service ($65,000) and the Australian Access Federation ($40,000).


My Qualifications

PhD (UWS) 2000

BA Hons (Sydney) 1994


My Awards

I was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship from the Australian Research Council (2002-2004) and a research fellowship by the National Film and Sound Archive (2008). 

The International Association for Australian Studies awarded the 2010 John Barrett Award for Australian Studies for my article ‘Don’t Give Up the Strip!: Erotic performance as live entertainment in mid-twentieth century Australia’ in the Journal of Australian Studies, 34/2 (2010): 125-140.

The Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies awarded the 2006 Marlis Thiersch Award for Research in Theatre Studies for my article ‘Remembering masculinities in the theatre of war' in Australasian Drama Studies, 46 (2005): 3-19.

My doctoral research won the The Drama Review Student Essay Contest and was published as ‘Sexing the dance at Sleaze Ball 1994’, TDR, 40/3 (Fall 1996): 166-191. 


My Research Activities

In current research, I follow the careers of artists working in theatre, television and nightclubs and I search in archives, newspapers, photographs and films to find traces of their acts. I explore how versatile artists adapted the variety of their acts for international touring and how their entrepreneurial endeavours became harnessed to government agendas promoting national distinction.

In other research I focus on Australian theatre and the repertoire of plays in production since the 1950s. I read play scripts, theatre reviews and production archives to understand how productions of new plays transform Australian culture. I also have experience in the digital humanities, developing new methodologies for theatre research at scales ranging from local theatrical activity to global touring networks.

I have run research seminars on analysing cultural data and digital methods in theatre research. I offer tailored advice on data visualisation and analysis for research projects referred by AusStage.


My Research Supervision


Areas of supervision

I welcome enquiries to supervise postgraduate research in the following areas:

  • Australian theatre
  • Popular entertainment
  • International touring
  • Digital methods
  • Performance studies

Currently supervising

PhD

  • Mara Davis – Australian musical theatre in the 21st century (primary supervisor)
  • Linan Xian – Making Actor's Presence Felt: Producing Presence Effects in the Dialogue between Traditional Chinese Theatre and Postdramatic Theatre (primary supervisor)
  • Mary-Anne Gifford – Vaudeville: The Last Theatre of the Working Class (joint supervisor)
  • Mitchell Whitehead – The Politics and Aesthetics of Performative Interrogations into Australian Colonial and National Discourses as a Non-Indigenous Australian Artist (joint supervisor)
  • Alexandra Talamo – The aesthetic frameworks, embodied knowledges and political contexts of second-generation Latin American migrant performance art (joint supervisor)
  • Nathan Jackson – A performative analysis of video game livestreaming (joint supervisor)
  • Lisa Synnott – Interrogating the meaning of 'authorship' and 'ownership' in choreographic practice (joint supervisor)

My Engagement

At UNSW I am leading the Performance Memories partnership between UNSW Library and the Dennis Wolanski Foundation. The partnership aims to improve access for research to the extensive Dennis Wolanski Library collection (1,600 archive boxes) through collection management and progressive digitisation.

I am co-editor of Popular Entertainment Studies, an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the investigation of all aspects of popular entertainments.

I am a member of the International Federation for Theatre Research and a participant in the Popular Entertainments working group.

I am a member of the Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies and held a series of leadership roles as Conference Co-convenor, 2020 and 2013, President, 2006-2008, Vice-president, 2005-2006, and Executive member, 2004-2005. 

I have been a member of the Artistic Advisory Committee for Milk Crate Theatre in Sydney since 2017. 

I reviewed contemporary theatre and dance in Adelaide for RealTime from 2006 to 2013.


My Teaching

I regularly teach ARTS1120 Experiencing Theatre, ARTS2123 Musicals, Dance and Popular Culture, and ARTS3131 Australia Drama at UNSW. I was the convenor for Theatre and Performance Studies in the School of the Arts and Media, 2016–2019. In recent years, I have also taught ARTS1121 The Life of Performance, ARTS2121 Theatre in Our Times, and ARTS3125 Performance and Media.

In 2020 I received funding from the Australian Government New Colombo Plan to take UNSW students to the Philippines for ARTS2129 Creative Production in Manila. As stream convenor I led the introduction of HUMS1006 Presentation and Communication Skills as a course available to all UNSW students.

Previously I have taught courses in theatre history, performance analysis, dramaturgy, live performance and dance. I have run studio workshops on physical theatre and ensemble improvisation. And I have led postgraduate seminars on performance research, theatre historiography and visualising cultural data.

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Location

246D, Level 2 Robert Webster

Contact

+ 61 2 9385 0719
+ 61 2 9385 6812