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Performing Dress Lab

3 male street dancers doing a performance on the subway
Image by Harrison Boyce, House of Marley

This International Research Study Laboratory has evolved in partnership with University of the Arts London (UAL), Aalto University, Finland and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), founded by UAL Research Alumni across these institutions, who collectively inform a specialist platform for Research and Knowledge Exchange between Academia and Industry.

About this group

The Lab provides a platform to convene, debate and develop existing and future research studies and activities on the ‘dressed’ body in performance in its varied forms of expression.

The core objectives are to interrogate and challenge traditional perceptions and practices by the promotion of innovative and experimental work within this increasingly popular and diverse discipline. The Lab will provide a platform to share, develop, and promote questions about the role of dress in performance, its relationship with body and space - the Scenographic Body.

This includes exploration of inherent social, political and psychological meanings of the costumed body, aspects of materiality, technical innovations and the potential to advance the costumed body in the digital world.

The Research Study Laboratory will facilitate events through symposia, workshops, publications, exhibitions, live, recorded and virtual performances. The 'dressed' body, through its cultural and creative agency in performance, will form the foundations of the Lab focusing on the critical analysis of contemporary performance practice through costume, intersecting the wider industry and related professions.

The Lab aims to support practice and theoretical innovations in the field through collaboration with local and global theatres, dance companies, film, media and digital production industries, museums, galleries, archives and wider creative industries.

Partnerships and activities

  • Research training
  • International exchange
  • Community and industry engagement
  • Mobility and employability
  • Internships
  • Contract and Funded Research

Specialist research study in

  • Contemporary design practices of the scenographic body
  • The 'dressed' body in live, recorded and virtual performance
  • Material innovation in the creation and interaction with costume
  • Methodologies of the 'dressed' body, and somatic practices
  • Archival research pertaining to performance dress and making
  • Agency of the 'dressed' body in performance

Research students

  • Kamaira Anderson - Theorising Hip-Hop Dance in London, New York & Los Angeles through Costume & Community
  • Katherine Rees - Performance wearables and landscapes at DALab: examining the use of wearable technology and interactive environments within the choreographic practice and performance of Wayne McGregor’s work
  • Lisa Colpaert - ‘Screen-to-measure: A Practice-Informed, Archival and Textual Investigation of Film Costume Design in 1940s ‘Film Noir’’
  • Berthe Fortin - Costume making as practice of phenomenology: an embodied approach to materiality and movement in the creation of mask
  • Liza Betts - The intricacy of the ordinary and the complexity of the everyday; their translation into screen costume.
  • Ilaria Martello - Space, Body, Costume: the Agency Of Costume as a Topological Space in Contemporary Ballet

Related links