photo: Jon Green

Chief Investigators

Maggi Phillips is the coordinator of Research and Creative Practice at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, a position that enables daily access to the integration of artistic innovation and research. Her life path has crossed many disciplines and worldviews, from dancer to a world literature doctorate, circus ring to university boardroom. The WAAPA appointment fuses these disparate influences, provoking some understanding of knowledge’s variable forms and Maggi’s desire to privilege diversity across its inordinate forms.

A/Prof Cheryl Stock, PhD is Faculty Coordinator of the Creative Industries research methods unit at QUT, where her research and teaching specialisations include dance practice and theory, intercultural, interdisciplinary and site specific performance and practice-led research, in addition to being a Chief Investigator in this project. Cheryl was Head of Dance at QUT (2000-2006) and previous to that spent thirty years in the dance profession as dancer, choreographer, director and educator. Her achievements were recognised by the 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award at the Australian Dance Awards and an Australian Artists Creative Fellowship (1993-1996).

Kim Vincs Director of Deakin University’s motion capture studio (Motion.Lab) is a creative artist specialising in dance and interactive media. ALTC awards for Teaching in the Humanities and an Arts Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning in 2006 attest to the significance of Vincs’ development of innovative curricula in contemporary dance, interactive digital technologies and cross-disciplinary arts-science collaborations. As one of the pioneers of multi-modal higher degrees in dance, she continues to examine choreographic processes through interactivity and motion capture. She participated in the Kate Stevens’ interdisciplinary team working on a three-year ARC Linkage project ‘Intention and Serendipity: Improvisation, Symbolism and Memory in Contemporary Australian Dance’ and has recently been awarded a three-year ARC Discovery grant to research the development of motion capture as a choreographic tool.


Research Assistants

Jonathan Mustard is a composer with twenty years experience making music for dance. His research focus in recent years has explored the relationship of dance to sound in the context of movement tracking technologies and sound synthesis.

Dr. Mariana Verdaasdonk is a performer, director and researcher working between Australia and Japan. Using a practice-led methodology to develop responsive environments, she is currently collaborating with visual and sound artists, dancers, and researchers in cognitive science to create an installation ‘garden-habitat’ as a means for evaluating audience experience.
Dr Katrina Rank is a dancer, educator, researcher and community dance artist. Her research interests have focussed on narrative applications in dance performance for untrained dancers and dancers with disabilities.


Education Consultant

A/Professor Allyson Holbrook is Director of the Centre for the Study of Research training and Impact (SORTI) has a research background in Educational Assessment and Evaluation, the History and Futures of Education, the History of Youth Transition and Workplace Education and Studies in Higher Education. She has a long record of teaching research methods, with a particular emphasis on qualitative methods, and of supervising research students and mentoring research staff. In recent years she co-edited the book Supervision of Postgraduate Research in Education (1999) with Professor Sue Johnston, and with Associate Professor Bob Bessant co-authored Reflections on Educational Research in Australia: A History of the Australian Association for Research in Education (1995). She is currently leading a team of researchers in an ARC Discovery Grant project that focuses on PhD assessment. A/Professor Holbrook has served on the executive of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) as research training coordinator, and as President of the Australian and New Zealand History of Education Society (ANZHES). Until recently she was a member of the Council of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and continues her association with the ACER as a member of the Standing Committee in 1999 for Educational Research.


International Advisor

Professor Susan F Melmrose Mès L, DEA, Doctorat (Sorbonne Nlle) is Professor of Performance Arts and Research Convenor, Performing Arts, in the School of Arts, Middlesex University. After completing doctoral research in performance analysis at the Sorbonne (Nlle) in the early 1980s, she established and ran postgraduate profession/vocation-linked theatre and performance studies courses at Central School of Speech and Drama and Rose Bruford College London. She has taught at universities in Turkey, France, Tunisia and Australia. Her support for the wider acknowledgement of the complex-knowledge-status and aesthetic ownership of professional artists and their work has driven much of her teaching and research practice over the past ten years. In a number of different publications, including R Butcher and S Melrose (eds), Rosemary Butcher: Choreography, Collisions and Collaborations, 2005, she questions the appropriateness of certain discourse-apparatus-driven approaches to the analysis of performance, performance-making practices and expert practitioners. In A Semiotics of the Dramatic Text (1994), she sought to critique literature-based approaches to theatre practices, proposing a practice-centred alternative. Her writing has contested the late-20C spread of what she calls the "new critical orthodoxies" in university-based performance studies programmes, and questions the nature of the university's ethical relationship with performance-creative professionals and arts practices. She is widely published in the fields of performance analysis, performance writing and critical semiotics. A number of presentations and keynote papers are published at Susan Melrose currently supervises or co-supervises higher and research degree candidates in areas including performance analysis, mask in performance training, professional music performance, choreographic signature, visual theatre and questions of discourse, performance documentation and "new technologies". She is particularly interested in questions of the performance disciplines’ "interfaces" and interdisciplinarity; meta-practice and performance meta-languages; writing and performance.