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Research interests

Artist Jane Whitaker works principally in performance art.

Her interests lie in the problematising of the research method for practice, the historical in performance and the integral ground of performance art within contemporary paradigms of practice.

Scholarly biography and interests

Jane Whitaker lectures in fine art and works principally in performance art. As an experienced practitioner of the form since the mid 1970s, she sustains an approach to the production of live art works within the inauguration and development of professional environments of the form.

Her individual and collaboratively generated practice has thus encompassed visiting lectureships, commissioned research for film and television in the UK independent sector in the mid nineties, and contributions to the contextual and critical programmes in performance arts at other national institutions. 

Performance as a multidisciplinary construct has allegiances specific to the cognitive experience of the artist, familiar also to the multidisciplinary arts practitioner articulate in challenging the complexity and endurance of those theoretic disciplines commensurate and consistent in the academicisation of the form. Performance as a medium is ideally positioned at this point in its own history to question and reveal its roots, aligned to a contextual, critical development (of an ethics of practice) of the written form and a new glance at practice based historicisation which is identified and articulated in her most recent investigative research form, the Pedagogical Theatre.

Jane Whitaker studied at Sheffield and lectures in Performance and Visual Art with a focus on articulating the trajectory and historical development of current forms of practice. Her research interests lie in the problematising of the research method for practice, the historical in performance and the integral ground of performance art within contemporary paradigms of practice.

How I like to teach 

I expect students to be the initiators of their own practice. My approach is to say "You can make your own future" in terms of the context in which you are going to work and in line with their course programme as they see it. There is a subtly about how students will understand the academic programme and how they will bring their own practice to its academic constraints, in a very positive way.

My teaching resources are very specifically from my own practice-based research over a ten year period in which I have looked at the construct of documentation through a philosophical lens: how one thinks about time; about an experience; about the phenomenology of our experience – as an audience member, a practitioner or as a performer. I’ve looked at how one can use performance as a technique for exploring philosophical texts. 

I have established a specialism in working with students who are visual thinkers, or makers who don’t necessarily think in terms of the written form and don’t necessarily enjoy writing. My task is to get students to commit ideas to paper and see how the written, reflexive form can be a performative experience. I’ve identified effective ways of bringing students, who may have thought writing was their weakness, into a position of strength so that they are producing research projects and achieving robust academic grades as a result. 

The one-to-one tutorial is a crucial point in the development of students' critical thought and the learning processes. It is a trusted space in which ideas are developed, in an equality of exchange that gives each student an opportunity to try out ideas and gain empowerment - to receive feedback, question and be guided in equal measure. This podcast illustrates my teaching methodology.

Seminars involve studying key texts to develop and deepen understanding of the need to challenge prejudice, interrogate, and to persist where the reading and understanding of a key text is a difficult and complex process.

Research interests

Most recently I have contributed to the establishing of the Coyote Archive. The archive developed from an exhibition at the Brynmor Jones Library and Art gallery in 2019-2020. The work is ongoing into 2023 and aligned to a Study Morning held at the Hugh Lane, City Art Gallery, Dublin, January 2022 where the Coyote Archive was introduced and discussed. 


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