Photo of Rahel Leupin
  • Universitetsvej 1, 43.2

    DK-4000 Roskilde

    Denmark

20072019
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Personal profile

Research

 

"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?" - Albert Einstein

 

Research statement

I am a performance studies researcher interested in exploring the fluid borders between arts and politics and between social practices and aesthetics. Questions that have accompanied me through my professional career are: Can an aesthetic experience be transformative and generate impacts on our everyday lives? Where does the aesthetic experience end and where do politics begin? What is the role of the contemporary arts in a globalized society? I have been pursuing these questions in my earlier professional career as, respectively, an arts founder with the Swiss cultural foundation Pro Helvetia, as a performing arts curator at the Rote Fabrik in Zurich, and as a freelance journalist.

I like to think and link practical work with theory, the arts with other disciplines, and the global with the local. I am intrigued by the new multilayered ‘worlds’ that evolve from these linkages. And I am fascinated by how these in-between spaces challenge national, aesthetic, cultural and political orders and borders. In so doing contemporary performances allow for the sharing and negotiating of multiple realities.

 

PhD Project

Global-Contemporary Performance Spaces in the Making

The motivation for my PhD thesis dates back a decade ago when my work as an arts manager and curator in the performing arts became increasingly international. Watching over hundred shows a year from around the globe and discussing issues and challenges of international theater exchange with artists, curators and policy makers, I became intrigued by the particular dynamics of this emerging scene of global contemporary performance.

My doctoral research project sets out to explore how globalization effects collaborations and exchange in transnational performing arts worlds. I document and analyze performance sites characterized by social, political, aesthetical and cultural asymmetries that understand difference as a potential for social innovation and aesthetic richness. I am interested in performance spaces that overcome boundaries of disciplines, gender, nationalities and aesthetic traditions and thereby create new performative identities. The aim of these particular spaces is most often not to produce a harmonious performance experiences for the viewer, but to explore multiple realities with all its contradictions. I seek to demonstrate that these multilayered performance sites emphasize processes and politics of exchange rather than the performative artefact per se.

My research project focuses on the making of global-contemporary performances and festivals, using in-depth ethnography in order to understand their aesthetical and socio-political context. My PhD thesis follows leading questions such as:

  • What characterizes interpersonal interactions in transnational performance networks?
  • How is difference negotiated in a global-contemporary performance experience?
  • What are curatorial and artistic strategies the actors use dealing with social, artistic, cultural and political asymmetries?

Theoretically, I draw on Actor-Network Theory (ANT) and the new sociology of art. Instead of analyzing completed artworks or festivals I scrutinize the creative process and social making of a performance piece, for example by collecting data in rehearsal spaces or festival offices. These are the physical and social spaces where performance (festivals) emerge as laboratories for the transcultural social. Focusing on the making of global-contemporary performances allows for deeper insights into the creative adaptions and negotiations that involve shifting power positions and interpersonal relations.

 

Keywords

Performance Studies, rehearsal analysis, global curating, transformative aesthetics, Actor-Network Theory, translation, global-contemporary.

 

Curriculum

Master in Arts Administration, UNIVERSITY OF BASEL (2007)

Master in Theater Studies, UNIVERSITY OF BERN (2002)

Research Output 2007 2019

  • 2 Book chapter
  • 2 Journal article
  • 1 Ph.D. thesis
  • 1 Net publication - Internet publication

Making the extracultural: rehearsing and curating contemporary performances

Leupin, R., 2019, Roskilde: Roskilde Universitet. 185 p.

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch

Postcolonial Curating: Insights from the Connexion Kin Performing Arts Festival

Leupin, R., Mar 2019, In : TDR/The Drama Review. 63, 1, p. 100-124 25 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Making the Intercultural: The Rehearsal Processes of Gintersdorfer/Klassen

Leupin, R., 2018, In : Contemporary Theatre Review. 28, 4, p. 504-521 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Popsterne in Addis Abeba

Hagmann, T. & Leupin, R., 9 Nov 2010

Research output: Other contributionNet publication - Internet publicationCommunication

Diffusionsförderung für freie Theaterproduktionen: Bestandesaufnahme und Vorschläge für die öffentliche Förderung in der Deutschschweiz

Translated title of the contribution: Promoting Theater Groups: State of the Art and Propositions for Public Funding Institutions in the German Speaking Part of Switzerland.Leupin, R., Baldi, S. & Bischof, P., 2008, Spielplan: Schweizer Jahrbuch für Kulturmanagement 2007/2008. Keller, R., Schaffner, B. & Seger, B. (eds.). Bern: Haupt Verlag, p. 115-121

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearch