Miss Elizabeth Bennett

Supervised by

Research interests

PhD awarded with minor corrections Dec 2017

I am an AHRC funded Postgraduate research student, my thesis  'Singing the South Downs Way: Affect in Performance and Practice'  explores folk singing from the perspective of performance studies. It investigates folk singing as an affective practice, learned from the archive and performed in context on a walk along the South Downs Way in May 2015. The thesis takes the ‘affective turn’ in performance studies and cultural geography as a conceptual starting point, and analyses how preparing for performance takes care of folk song as archival remains (Roms 2013), the dynamic between folk song, autobiography, and walks (Mock 2009), and how the relationship between footpaths and folk songs may be conceived through the notion of ‘embodied acts of landscaping’ (Lorimer 2005). Through reflection on the practices of performing songs from the archive that were collected in Sussex, and meeting other folk singers to learn songs that they associated with the Sussex landscape, this thesis considers how knowledge is produced ‘with others, in movement, and through engagement with a material, sensory and social environment’ (Pink 2009). Authoethnography is used as a methodological approach to explore the affective and emotional aspects of songs that may be passed in the oral tradition from person to person, and the experience of learning songs from a family repertoire. Additionally, autoethnography is used in order to count the body as an instrument of research, and investigate its relationship to other bodies (Longhurst et al 2008). Further, the challenges of investigating affect, embodiment and ‘ways of moving, feeling or performing in the past’, in relation to biography and the archive, are explored through a ‘small story’ of the work of Sussex-based folk song collector Dorothy Marshall (Lorimer 2003). Analysing folk songs in the affective context of the archive and the landscape, this thesis engages with and contributes to scholarship on embodied intangible cultural heritage and ideas of affect, emotion, and feeling in contemporary performance theory; asking not what folk songs mean, but what folk songs do?


Published Papers:

Trace 100: The Day our World Changed E Bennett (2016) Platform Journal 'Place, Performance, and Geography' 


Conference/Symposium Papers:


'Souterrain: A Journey Underground in the Sussex Landscape'

- 2014 TAPRA conference, Royal Holloway University of London

- 2014 Literary and Visual Landscape Seminar Series, University of Bristol.

- 2015 Wonderlands: Reading, Writing, Telling Fantasy, University of Chichester


'The Topography of Song - Singing the South Downs Way'

2015 Topographies: Places to Find Something, University of Bristol

'As I Walked Out One May Morning'  

- 2015 Practice Based PhD Seminar HARC 'Light, landscape, place, weather, climate' 

'Past Collections'

- 2016 Literary and Visual Landscape Seminar Series, University of Bristol


Previous Education:  


AHRC Funded M.A Theatre (Applied), 2012-2013, Royal Holloway University of London, (Distinction).

B.A Writing, Directing, and Performing, 2009-2012, University of York, (Ist class).

B-TECH National Diploma (Acting), 2004-2006, Brit School of Performing Arts, (Distinction).


Research interests (continued)

2018 - Research Assistant - National Theatre, Public Acts

The purpose of this post is to undertake research as part of the National Theatre's flagship new programme, Public Acts. Public Acts is designed to encourage participants from a range of community settings to participate in theatre, with workshop programmes that are designed in collaboration with community partners. The research will contribute to the National Theatre's understanding of the projec


2018 - HPL at University of Winchester 

Performance and Walking

A familiar city become unfamiliar as you hold hands with a stranger who guides
you though the streets, a footpath becomes a portal into a storied landscape of
hunters and wolves, two lovers at the end of their relationship walk towards each
other from each end of the Great Wall of China for a final goodbye …
From proximity and touch, to alienation and distance, many performers and
artists use walking as a central part of their practice. In this module we will
begin to explore how body, place, memory and near futures can be folded into
these performances, and how walking can be used a means to both explore and
expand the parameters and possibilities of performance. Through examining the
work of contemporary walking artists, and the theories they draw upon, the aim
is to give you the platform to imagine again the places you inhabit and to use
performance to inspire such insights for your audience.


2015/16 - Visiting Lecturer at the Drama and Theatre Dept RHUL.

My course DT2400 Theatre and the Idea of Geography is designed to equip students with an understanding of the expanding profile of geographical theories within contemporary performance practice and discourse. Alongside the development of performance studies as a discipline, as scholars and practitioners have endeavoured to analyse and debate what we mean by performance, there has been an increased interest in where performance happens. During this course we explore and discuss terms such as place, space, site, and landscape in relation to performance, using contemporary geographical thought and debate as our guide. Students have the opportunity to research and engage with professional performance practice in found locations, and to work creatively and practically on devised site-specific (group and solo) performance pieces and essays. 


In collaboration with Dr Emma Brodsinzki and Rachel Fahey, I will be facilitating a workshop in Autumn 2016 that explores the importance of wellbeing in the PhD process. Together we have designed a participatory seminar that seeks to engage doctoral students in a holistic and creative space, and to provide information for areas of support across the faculty. Through 'Taking Care of your 'Self' in the PhD Process' we aim to address the issue of mental health and well-being within the PhD process. The focus will be on creating a calm, caring, and supportive environment to reflect on the demand sof undertaking doctoral studies.  The approach will be arts-based and will encourage creative engagement with materials.  Professional input will address possible common periods where challenges can arise, such as post upgrade, as well as exploring coping strategies, and faculty resources available. A key element of the day will be to nurture on-going peer support, utilizing the existing model of peer-support promoted by Student Minds mental health charity. The students should take away:

  • understanding of the possible psychological processes when undertaking a PhD
  • the opportunity to reflect on their own processes
  • insight into coping strategies
  • exercises for creative well-being
  • guidance on making plans for the future
  • the opportunity to learn from the experience of others – both students and case studies in existing literature
  • the potential for a deeper understanding of the mental challenges involved in undertaking higher education (such as isolation), with input from a Mental Health Advisor, and thus a foundation for supporting fellow students as well as pastoral care roles in further employment
  • the opportunity to engage in a peer-support network. 

Research interests (continued)

I was a research participant in a 2015 Public Archaeology project, where I creatively explored the link between folk songs and footpaths: http://publicarchaeology2015.wordpress.com/. I have also been invited to be an author on the follow on project from PA2015, which will be exploring the seasonal rhythms of Archaeology https://thehumanseasons.wordpress.com/, during the course of the project I hope to be able to continue my interest in evolving forms of intangible cultural heritage.

I have experience in creative production and events management, having worked previously on various projects for Zap Art, a creative producer of large-scale outdoor events and site-specific community performance. In 2014 I was project manager for the research and development stage of an international outdoor arts project in collaboration with WildWorks Theatre Company: http://zapartevents.wordpress.com/. I will continue in the role of associate researcher through to 2018.

I am a participant in ARENA (Arts Research Enrichment Activities) an AHRC funded programme of research skills development in the arts and humanities across the University of Brighton and Royal Holloway, University of London. http://arenaresearch.org/

I am a volunteer for Arts Emergency as an Alumni contact for performing arts college students applying for further education http://www.arts-emergency.org/

ID: 17210270