School of Arts

Research projects

Below is a selection of staff research projects, to give a flavour of the type of research undertaken in the School.


Dr Mattias Frey

Reader in Film, has been awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize. Philip Leverhulme Prizes recognise the achievement of outstanding researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising.

Dr Mattias Frey is awarded prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize


Prof Paul Allain

Professor in Theatre and Drama, has been awarded funding from Institute of Adam Mickiewicz, Warsaw, as part of their programme and the Polish Cultural Institute, London to organise a two day symposium., ‘Kantorbury, Kantorbyry’ for academics and the public on the life and work of Polish theatre director and visual artist Tadeusz Kantor to celebrate 100 years since his birth. 

Kantorbury Symposium: 18th and 19th September



Dr Lavinia Brydon

The People's Pier: The popular culture of pleasure piers and cultural regeneration through community heritage, funded by AHRC.

The People’s Pier project will investigate how piers are changing from simple pleasure palaces with gambling machines and rides to hubs for hosting community events including pop-up cinemas and music and food festivals.The research will concentrate on two piers – Hastings Pier in East Sussex and Clevedon Pier in North Somerset. Lavinia Brydon will act as a co-investigator on this project.


Dr Margherita Laera

Lecturer in Drama, ‘Playing Identities, Performing Heritage: Theatre, Creolisation, Creation and the Commons’, funded by EU Creative Europe Programme.

This is a two-year interdisciplinary collaboration involving researchers from five countries which aims to investigate how theatre and performance might contribute to the production of new ‘creolised’ European forms of identity and heritage by promoting artistic residencies in which acting and directing students in the participating academies collaborate cross-culturally.

Playing Identities, Performing Heritage

Dr Shaun May

Lecturer in Drama, ‘Comedy on the Spectrum: Exploring Humour Production in Adolescents with Autism‘, funded by the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust.

Working with individuals on the high-functioning end of the spectrum, we will run comedy workshops in which participants develop their own material. Informed by the literature that suggests a fondness for slapstick and wordplay amongst individuals with ASD, the workshops will have two strands – clowning and stand- up.. In doing so, we will challenge the myth of autistic humourlessness and seek to understand.
autistic humour on a model of difference rather than deficit.

Comedy on the Spectrum


Clio Barnard

Reader in Film, awarded Wellcome Trust and BFI Screenwriting Fellowship in association with Film4.

The fellowship provides Clio with the opportunity to delve into and draw inspiration from the exciting worlds of neuroscience, genetics and human development, supported by one of the world’s leading supporters of the arts, humanities and sciences.In addition to receiving £30 000, Barnard - through her contact with the Wellcome Trust - will have unparalleled access to experts at the forefront of medical research, ethics and the history of medicine.

Clio Barnard awarded Wellcome Trust

Dr Helen Brooks

Senior Lecturer in Drama, ‘Gateways to the First World War’, and AHRC funded Research Centre.

Led by the School of History's Professor Mark Connelly, Gateways to the First World War is a collaborative project involving leading First World War researchers Dr Brad Beaven (Portsmouth), Dr Helen Brooks (Kent), Professor Alison Fell (Leeds), Dr Emma Hanna (Greenwich), Dr Lucy Noakes (Brighton) and Dr Dan Todman (Queen Mary, London). The centre was launched in May 2014 and the team is working on a wide range of community activities commemorating the centenary across the UK.

Gateways to the First World War




Dr Melissa Trimingham and Prof Nicola Shaughnessy

‘Imagining Autism’, funded by AHRC.

Imagine a child who does not communicate verbally, does not engage in eye contact with their environment and family, and who apparently displays no imagination – these are some of the characteristics associated with autism. Imagining Autism is a collaboration between drama and psychology that seeks to remediate the difficulties autistic children have with communication, social interaction and imagination. Using multidisciplinary drama interventions and play, we create an opening into the autistic child’s world through performance.

Imagining Autism




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Last Updated: 31/01/2019