July 3–13, 2018
This interdisciplinary seminar will provide an opportunity to learn, explore and refine research methods in the performing arts with a focus on contemporary circus and physical theatre. While there will be a theoretical component, including the introduction of diverse qualitative methodological approaches to research in the performing arts, most of the seminar will be constructed on the principle of experiential learning and systematic observation of the creative process. The seminar will run all day, every weekday. Evenings, students will be encouraged to attend performances of Montréal Complètement cirque in order to discuss the work with the group the next day.
Local, national and international graduate students with a particular interest in research-creation, action-research and participant observation methods. Some experience in theatre, dance or contemporary circus or their academic study is encouraged.
Dr. Louis Patrick Leroux Professor, English Professeur titulaire, Études françaises
Guests will include top teachers from the National Circus School, professional directors and artists as well as other researchers from the field
A detailed syllabus will follow and the course will have its own dedicated website with schedule, readings, course and daily objectives and course blog.
The objective of this course is to offer students an opportunity to learn and enact different qualitative research methodologies in the performing arts. Students will leave this course with a more comprehensive understanding of how different methodologies interact with research questions and research dissemination.
After an initial contextualization (Montreal as a site for performative research; disciplinary and mixed research methods; strategies and ethics of research-creation), students will then engage for two weeks with researchers, professional artists and students from the National Circus School. They will have practical assignments based on their research interests and previous experience while working closely on the performative research dissemination and live performances of the professor’s ongoing circus dramaturgy project with the National Circus School of Montreal. There will be opportunities to share with participants of Montréal Complètement Cirque’s international marketplace (artists, directors, producers and other international students and observers) as students will all have PRO passes to the festival giving them access to invitation-only events, talks and having a preferential discount on tickets.
For a few hours a day, students will be matched up with creative teams from the research project. Students with experience or an interest in oral history, ethnographic observation could be involved in on-site observation and reporting. Students with creative backgrounds in theatre, dance or circus training could be participants in action-research workshops with the research team and participate in daily retroaction with the artistic and research teams. Students with high performance sports training could shadow or assist with the professional coaches. All will have a pedagogical debriefing every day with an opportunity to discuss and reflect upon questions pertaining to disciplinary and mixed research methods, embodied research and the analysis of the creative process.
Finally, as an opportunity for dissemination of their own perspectives on action and experiential-research, students will also organize and host a public panel discussion.
Please not that this will be a very intense and intensive seminar that will require your full attention and presence every weekday from 10 am to 5 pm, followed by recommended evening shows. Weekends are free to rest and to work on assignments. Readings will be sent four to six weeks ahead of time for students to arrive prepared.
Sample weekday: morning lecture or seminar discussion or creative exploration and embodied research; afternoon embedded work observing, analyzing and engaging with acrobats and instructors; late afternoon group retroaction, discussion, and deciding on the next day’s objectives; then attending evening shows at the circus festival for analysis and discussion.
Accommodations at Concordia’s historic Grey Nun’s Residence a few steps from the seminar will be offered to out-of-town registered students for the duration of the seminar.
The students will contribute 2 short texts to the class blog (either critiques of shows or essayistic explorations of themes that are coming up in the seminar). These blogs will be only accessible to the professor and other students. In the past, a few blogs were selected to be published and shared (with the students permission and some additional editing): https://storify.com/TiffLafleur/quebec-performing-arts
The students will submit 3 short observation reports of the ongoing artistic work following various research protocols.
The students will organize a series of panel discussions on the last day of the seminar in order to present their own research, explorations, observations and to articulate a course of action for their work. Some students will moderate talks, others will engage in the discussion, some who might prefer not to speak publicly will find other ways to contribute.
A final paper will be submitted two weeks after the last class.