New book delves into performance and identity

Alice Blezard November 7, 2017

Reader in dance at Edge Hill University authors new book and two high-profile book chapters, exploring various aspects of performance and identity including drag, contemporary dance and queer art-making.

The book, Mesearch and the Performing Body, is written by Dr Mark Edward and is an anthology of Mark’s work that will be published by Palgrave MacMillan on December 29 2017.

It details his creative practice-led projects, transmitting and communicating his research through varied artistic means including contemporary dance, immersive art installation, drag performance and photography. It delves into performance making, ageing and performance, fat and body visibility, queer art making, ‘mesearching’ and shifts in identity.

Mark said: “My research, which I like to call ‘mesearch’, is quite unusual because as the author I am of course the theoriser but in my case I am also the theorised. This study delivers a personal, creative narration, combining reflections and emotions in relation to self and performance. Instead of being an attempt to undervalue or challenge the accepted notions of style within academic research, it promotes freedom of expression which allows greater fluidity between the researcher, the performer, and the writer.”

Mark also has a chapter in The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research Ethics, which will be published in March 2018. As a part of this in-depth review of the ethical considerations which accompany qualitative research, he will explore ethical dilemmas in improvisational site performance making, drawing on his own ‘mesearching’.

He continued: “Collaborative improvisational performance is, by nature. constantly evolving, so the ethics around it don’t always fit into a neat box. I explore such risky ethics within this chapter. People taking part in this sort of performance have a duty of care both to themselves and others.”

Mark also has a recently published chapter in The Oxford Handbook of Dance & Wellbeing (co-edited by Edge Hill’s Professor Vicky Karkou). In the chapter that Mark co-authors with Dr Fiona Bannon (University of Leeds), they discuss the fluidity of identity, performance making and mental health through performance.

Mark’s book Mesearch and the Performing Body can be accessed via the Palgrave Macmillan or Springer websites.