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South Asian Performance and Diasporic Practices

A rich theme of research in the department examines British South Asian theatre, dance and music, performing the South Indian City, intangible cultural heritage, and post-colonial ecologies. Building on the foundation of the British Asian Theatre Project in 2004-2009 (Ley, Daboo, Hodge), and the intercultural practice of Phillip Zarrilli, the department has a long track record in this area. Daboo’s AHRC-funded project, The Cultural History of Southall (2012-2013) has involved longer term work with the artist-led Southall Story organisation, as well as showing the project's exhibition at the British Library and Southbank Centre, and touring it to India and Thailand as part of a festival curated by Daboo on British South Asian culture.

A UKIERI grant in 2009-11 (Ley) facilitated a split-site PhD programme and also stimulated research collaborations with faculty at the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bangalore. Other research partners include the Lady Sri Ram College in Delhi, the Madras Institute of Development Studies in Chennai, and cultural organisations including the Dakshina Chitra Museum in Chennai, and the UNESCO Parzor Foundation. The projects have been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Global Challenges Research Fund, and the Newton Fund.

Research is also under way on culture and performance in the Indian diasporas in South East Asia, in collaboration with Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. We are interested in research collaborations concerning the urban performance and cultural heritage, and the non-human in performance.

heritage, cities, South Asia, India, diaspora, post-colonial, politics, Indian elephants, street theatre, walking