Identity, knowledge and ownership: contemporary theatre dance artists in the UK’s creative economy

Sommerlade, Kristine (2018) Identity, knowledge and ownership: contemporary theatre dance artists in the UK’s creative economy. PhD thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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This thesis examines contemporary theatre dance artists’ economic conduct to fill a gap in knowledge in current dance scholarship. It seeks to identify economic competencies and behaviours which dance artists employ in their work lives. Furthermore, it explores to what extent the theatre dance field’s senior representatives are influential in shaping these competencies and behaviours. It also investigates the relationship between dance artists’ economic conduct and their artistic and financial status, in and outside of theatre dance.
The thesis’s central hypothesis is that dance artists approach their artistic practice(s) and related economic circumstances and behaviours as interrelated value spheres, despite publicly upholding their separateness. An empirical ethnographic investigation, which has involved twenty-two research participants, underpins the thesis’s argument. By utilising interviews, community reviews and the embodied presence of the researcher in the field, the study’s methodology has aimed to create a more level playing field between the researcher and participants. In addition, it draws on commissioned governmental and independent reports which document and debate New Labour’s cultural policies between 1997 and 2010.
This study’s economic perspective on its research field has been absent in previous key studies. It calls into question idealised perceptions held by many about dance artists as labourers and theatre dance as a work field. To achieve its goals, the study, firstly, provides insights about dance artists’ livelihood systems which emphasise that they employ distinct economic strategies and engage expertly with multiple value economies. Secondly, it reveals that New Labour’s cultural policies inadvertently disrupted the theatre dance sector’s central value-generating mechanisms. In doing so, they destabilised the secondary dance-related labour market and affected dance artists’ ability to self-fund their practice. Thirdly, the thesis underlines that cultural policymakers by disregarding dance artists’ livelihood systems delivered unexpected outcomes which contradicted their expressed goals.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts
B. > Theses
Item ID: 25866
Depositing User: Vimal Shah
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2018 11:34
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 19:48

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