“Cultures of Spectacle” Research Seminar

Undertaking cultural history projects with Partners and Publics: Methods and approaches

Prof. Helen Brooks (University of Kent)

On Friday December 2, 2016, the Scientific Research Community “Cultures of Spectacle” invites Prof. Helen Brooks (University of Kent) for a research seminar. “Cultures of Spectacle” is an interdisciplinary platform for historical research on film, theatre, dance and musical performance funded by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) and coordinated by the Institute for Media Studies (KU Leuven).


This seminar will discuss the benefits and challenges of undertaking ‘public engagement’ cultural history projects with volunteers and partner organisations. As an exemplar, Brooks will detail how she has worked with volunteers on an archival research project exploring theatre and culture during the First World War. She will discuss the design of the ‘Recovering First World Theatre’ project, its adaptation in response to the input of participants, and how the project is now being developed further. She will also discuss her experiences of working with partner organisations drawing on her work with The National Archives, the Theatre Royal, Brighton, and the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury. As a theatre historian Brooks’ focus is on theatre as a cultural form and institution, and the models, methodologies and approaches she will share in this seminar will therefore be applicable as models to a range of other historical projects.


Dr Helen Brooks is Senior Lecturer in Drama at the University of Kent and Co-Investigator on the ‘Gateways to the First World War’ AHRC project for engaging the public with the centenary of the Great War. She is currently undertaken an extensive recovery project into new British theatre written during the war and is using ‘citizen history’ as a model. She has worked with key regional theatres and archives including The National Archives and has been interviewed about wartime theatre by BBC Radio 3 and 4. As a historian she has worked on theatre from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Within the School of Arts (University of Kent) she is Deputy Director of Research with responsibility for Public Engagement.


The seminar will be held on Friday December 2, from 14.00 to 17.00 at the KU Leuven, Faculty of Social Sciences, Parkstraat 45, 3000 Leuven (Belgium). Entrance is free, but you registration is mandatory.


Registration: website of link  https://goo.gl/forms/SYqVvKil5IoNcfhi2

Additional information: please contact prof. Roel Vande Winkel en dr. Leen Engelen.


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