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Research Statement for Emilie Collyer's "Creative Folio: 2020 Experimental Essays"

posted on 30.09.2021, 22:48 authored by Emilie Collyer

Note: The remaining essays in this folio are linked below

Emilie Collyer, 'Re-remembering performance' published at Witness Performance 31 March 2020

Emilie Collyer, Melbourne Fringe: Zooming to Liveness, Witness Performance (online) published 2 December 2020

Emilie Collyer, Keep your Nemeses close, Witness Performance (online) published 27 August 2020

Emilie Collyer, Kate Hood and Olivia Muscat, An Opening for Change, Witness Performance (online) published 9 July 2020

Background: Throughout 2020 I engaged in rigorous research to examine the relationship between creative and critical writing. I wanted to explore how I could bring the creative strand of my practice into conversation with critical arts writing. Drawing on the work of theorist Rita Felski, who challenges the ‘‘hermeneutics of suspicion’ as a primary mode for critical writing, I wanted to see what new modes of writing might be possible if ‘rather than looking behind the text’ I placed myself ‘in front of the text, reflecting on what it unfurls, calls forth, makes possible.’

Contribution: In writing long-form and experimental pieces that engaged with performance works I created new possibilities for both critical and creative writing and for how the two might intersect. As a well-regarded theatre practitioner commented about one of my pieces: ‘So rare to read someone’s memory of performance as an embodied response rather than critique, was so great to read’. By engaging with the work of my peers and writing creative texts that aimed to make something new, I contributed to how theatre-makers might view their own works. I also contributed to creative practice theory by developing new methodologies for generating pieces of creative/critical writing.

Significance: These pieces were commissioned by Witness Performance and shared widely, playing a significant role in the public cultural conversation about performance works. Witness Performance has published articles by leading Australian arts writers including Alison Croggon, Robert Reid, Carissa Lee and many more. The journal Imagined Theatres ‘is an international peer-reviewed, open access journal and archive that 'supports creative criticism, meaning creative work that acts critically and criticism that acts creatively.' To have my work published with this journal enables it to be seen and engaged with by an international readership.