Researcher

Dr Theron Schmidt

Field of Research (FoR)

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Biography

Dr Schmidt teaches creative activism, performance writing, and collaboration, and has published widely on contemporary performance, participatory art, and political theatre.

Areas of research:

  • radical pedagogy, forms of gathering and organisation derived from activist and social movements, planetary performance pedagogies
  • writing for performance, performance writing, collaborative writing
  • politics and theatricality, ‘theatre of real...view more

Dr Schmidt teaches creative activism, performance writing, and collaboration, and has published widely on contemporary performance, participatory art, and political theatre.

Areas of research:

  • radical pedagogy, forms of gathering and organisation derived from activist and social movements, planetary performance pedagogies
  • writing for performance, performance writing, collaborative writing
  • politics and theatricality, ‘theatre of real people’, ethics of representation and spectatorship
  • live art, experimental dance and performance, art and agency in relation to marginalised voices and experiences

I live and work on unceded Gadigal and Bidjigal lands, where I teach creative activism, performance writing, and collaborative practice at UNSW Sydney. My academic research and my approaches to teaching are rooted in several decades of ongoing practice as a multidisciplinary artist in Europe, the USA, and Australia, as well as prior work supporting activist movements and art for social change. I am committed to modes of research, learning, and making that are collaborative and experiential, alive in the thick of things and responsive to the complex and contested entanglements of diverse bodies, politics, histories, and alliances.

I hope to make bridges between scholarly research and creative and activist practices, in the belief that creative perspectives can shift not only what but also how we know, as well as whose knowledge and experience counts and is heard. To this end, I have organised several international gatherings that bring together artists and scholars; edited and co-authored with a diverse range of collaborators; facilitated creative and critical writing workshops in a range of contexts internationally; supervised numerous Honours, Masters, and PhD projects in creative practice as well as traditional research; and produced a major publication AGENCY: A Partial History of Live Art in which I interviewed 35 artists from around the world on the theme of social and political agency.

I welcome proposals for Honours and postgraduate research in experimental performance, art and activism, contemporary theatre, and socially engaged practices, including both traditional theses and research by creative practice. I’m happy to have a conversation about what this might involve – do get in touch at t.schmidt@unsw.edu.au

Impact and engagement

I have published widely about contemporary performance for a variety of publications, including numerous academic articles as well as magazines and artist books, and also as part of innovative critical writing projects that foster interaction between audiences, artists, and critics. I have been a writer-in-residence and facilitated critical writing programmes in response to festivals such as Performance Saga (Bern), Spill Festival (London), Experimentica (Cardiff), and the National Review of Live Art (Glasgow).

My multi-part workshop for artists and practice-based researchers, “How we talk about the work is the work”, is designed to stimulate creative and multifaceted ways of responding to artistic practice. This workshop has been hosted by Nextwave Festival (Melbourne), RMIT University, Concordia University Montréal, AUT/University of Auckland, and University of Wisconsin-Madison. I have also given public talks and engagement as part of Liveworks Festival of Performance (Sydney), ArtsHouse Melbourne, and the Big Anxiety Festival (Sydney).

I am a core convenor of the interdisciplinary Performance Philosophy research network, and founding Editor of the journal Performance Philosophy, which champions Open Access and open source alternatives to for-profit publishing economies. I am an Associate Editor for field-defining journal Performance Research. As Assistant Editor for Contemporary Theatre Review, I created the public-facing Interventions website, which foregrounds innovative and responsive uses of digital media in relation to issues in contemporary theatre and politics.

Outside of my academic work, I have also presented solo and collaborative creative work as part of MONA FOMA in Tasmania, Arts House in Melbourne, Performance Arcade in Wellington, and Performance Studies International Performing Climates in Melbourne; and previously in the UK at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Nottdance, The Place, Chisenhale Dance Space, Chelsea Theatre, and Camden People’s Theatre, amongst others.


My Qualifications

Fellow, Higher Education Academy
PGCert in Academic Practice in Higher Education, King’s College London (2013)
PhD Queen Mary University of London (2011)
MA Performance, Queen Mary University of London (2007)
BA (Hons) Cambridge University (1998)
BA Swarthmore College (1996)


My Research Supervision


Areas of supervision

I have experience supervising:

  • practice-based research and research via creative practice in theatre, dance, and performance;
  • research into contemporary political theatre and new forms of performance encounter;
  • intersections between activism, creative practice, and social engagement.

I have examined practice-based projects at London Metropolitan University, Massey University, and the University of Wollongong.

PhD supervisions

Hannah Ray, Resisting Closure: Tragic Experience and ‘Participatory Drama’ in Contemporary Theatre and Performance after 9/11 (currently joint supervisor with Dr Meg Mumford)

Alex Tálamo, How the performance practices of Australian second-generation migrant and Indigenous artists can animate the complex dynamics of intergenerational memory (practice-based, currently secondary supervisor with Dr Bryoni Trezise and A/Prof Jonathan Bollen)

Paula Serafini, The Politics of Art Activism: Participation, Performativity and Prefiguration in Embodied Practices for Social Change (completed 2016, secondary supervisor with Dr Tim Jordan at King’s College London)

Honours supervisions

Kelly-Ann Standley, Frizz and Shades: Frizzy and the Performativity of Racial Ambivalence Online, On Stage, and In Life (practice-based, completed 2018; co-supervised with Dr Caroline Wake)

Alex Tálamo, Remembering Argentina: The Imprint of Disappearance and Its Effect on Live Performance (practice-based, completed 2017)

Christie Woodhouse, Radical Aesthetics in Community Engaged Performance (thesis, completed 2016)

MA Supervisions

Katerina Papadakou, Light as a Body: Corporeal Light-Forms Shedding Light on the Human Body (MA Theatre & Performance Studies, King’s College London, 2014)

Philippa Swallow, Empathy Performed: The Space Between Us (MA Theatre & Performance Studies, King’s College London, 2014)

Alejandro Franco, Theatre of Difference: An Ontological Study on Identity (MA Theatre & Performance Studies, King’s College London, 2013)

Amanda Ewing, Art from Contingency: Shifting Our Perspective of Detroit (MA Theatre & Performance Studies, King’s College London, 2013)

Louise Laker, A Cyborg ‘Cycle-Geography’ of the Camino Santiago (MA Theatre & Performance Studies, King’s College London, 2013)


My Teaching

I teach practice-based courses such as ARTS2120 Writing for Performance and ARTS3124 Collaborative Making, and I created the new course ARTS2128 Art and Social Change which combines historical and contemporary case studies of creative activism with hands-on experimentation drawing on individual experience.

I also contribute to courses on Acting and Performing, Reviewing the Arts, and introductory courses in theatre analysis and performance studies. I have previously taught courses on devised theatre; nineteenth and twentieth-century drama; performance and philosophy; Live Art and physical theatre; theatre and the contemporary city; and advanced topics at Masters and Honours levels. 

At postgraduate level, I have experience supervising practice-based research projects; research into contemporary theatre and new forms of performance encounters; intersections between activism, creative practice, and social engagement.

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Location

121, Level 1 Robert Webster

Contact

+61 (2) 9385 3218
+61 (2) 9385 6812