UoA 33b - Drama, Dance and Performing Arts


Through strong national and international connections, our objective is to create research with impact that benefits society, improves lives and informs professional practice.

The two impact case studies selected for the REF2021 submission demonstrate the global reach and wide-ranging impact of the Drama, Theatre and Performance (DTP) Department’s Practice as Research, which has a unique focus on embodied practice that directly serves the needs of professional practitioners in performing arts as well as healthcare, ecological awareness, and other areas.

The following impact case studies have been entered for the REF2021 submission. Find out more below.


Case study: Bringing Mindfulness Centre Stage: Establishing Mindfulness in International Performer Training and Artistic Process

Mindfulness practices have been scientifically shown to develop qualities of attention and awareness that are crucial for artists, but performance practitioners have struggled to apply mindfulness in their work due to limited guidance and analysis in the field. To address this gap, researchers at the University of Huddersfield’s Research Centre for Performance Practices have created bridges between artistic and meditation traditions, and between performance practice and the science of mindfulness.

As a result of this research, performance practitioners in the UK, Europe, New Zealand, and Latin America have been empowered to incorporate mindfulness into their performance work. They have adopted and developed new ways of training performers, and of engaging in artistic processes. The impact of the research also extends beyond performance disciplines: research into mindful arts experience has informed strategic plans for woodland engagement at the National Trust, and has enabled d/Deaf communities in New Zealand to access mindfulness techniques for the first time.


Case study: Transforming Practices in Arts, Heritage and Mental Health Fields Across the Globe through a New Theory of Embodied Knowledge

Embodied knowledge and expertise are of growing importance in many contemporary artistic, cultural, and therapeutic practices. While academic fields like performance studies address such knowledge from a theoretical perspective, they have not historically offered practical tools with which practitioners can articulate and analyse their practices. Research at the University of Huddersfield has developed a comprehensive theoretical approach to embodied knowledge, along with a set of practical tools based on this. These concepts and tools are now used by teachers, artists, and other specialist practitioners in over 25 countries across five continents, in contexts and sectors ranging from arts and culture to martial arts and sports, health and well-being.

The demonstrable impacts of this research include: enhancing music, dance, and theatre pedagogy and performance in the UK, USA, Canada, Europe and Singapore; enabling the creation and expansion of registered charity organizations in the UK and USA, which together engage over 1,400 people each year; improving heritage practice and museum pedagogy in Switzerland; and expanding the use of video in mental health staff support at an NHS Mental Health Trust in Northwest England