Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Panel Two: Challenging the Arts

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The second panel for the Roehampton Research Student conference will focus on how our research 'Challenges the Arts'.

The panel chair for this research is to be confirmed. Please refer back to this page for updates. 

1) Alice Hasmik Kolandjian (Department of English and Creative Writing)


My research analyzes women writers from the Romantic period that utilize the Classics, particularly the works of Ovid and Apuleius, and tailor their own versions of the myths to address the perception of women and gender roles of the period. More specifically, my work focuses on Mary Robinson’s Sappho and Phaon (1796), Mary Tighe’s Psyche; or, The Legend of Love (1805), and Mary Shelley’s Proserpine (completed 1820). Aside from being written by women, all three pieces deal with views that strongly suggested women’s primary place was within the domestic realm. These works oppose characterizations of women that upheld restrictive roles such as weakness, naivety, and passivity. Contrasting to these characteristics, the female characters embody strong traits such as endurance, independence, and activeness.

I am interested in how and why these women writers use the Classics to question gender roles. Furthermore, I am interested in what sources they use and how they use them. My research analyzes the subtle changes made to the original texts, what these changes suggest, and how these changes affect the understanding of women and gender roles. The goal of my research is to better understand how Robinson, Tighe and Shelley address the perception of women, recreate women’s place in myths, and challenge restrictive gender models. I will also investigate these women’s education and their access to the Classics. Although focused on these three pieces, my research will incorporate other significant works that connect to these works.

Brief Bio

Alice Hasmik Kolandjian is currently a PhD English Literature Student at the University of Roehampton. Originally from Los Angeles, California, she received her B.A. in English from UCLA in 2010 and her M.A. in English Literature from CSUN in 2012. Her current research focuses on Mary Robinson, Mary Tighe, and Mary Shelley and their use of the Classics to address perceptions of gender.

2) James Davies (Department of English and Creative Writing)

Minimalism and Slowness.

My practice based research is an investigation into minimalist poetry. Part of my project seeks to define what constitutes a poetics which uses minimalism as its primary stylistic method and philosophy. The inquiry outlines a number of key techniques and/or outcomes which might be inherent in such poetries. One such characteristic of minimalist poetry I call ‘slowness’. In this method poets attempt to slow down the reading process in structural terms, making aspects of the work spatial rather than time based. Slowness should not be confused with writing that holds us due to its complexity or non-comprehensibility. On the contrary, slowness directs and permits readers to have long and intense engagements with often very simple works, works which entertain the idea of the hyper-beautiful, the possible and which interfere with the speed of capitalist consumption. I will outline a number of ways in which poets have done this in the twentieth and twenty first centuries and then offer a few examples of how I am adapting this particular method in my creative practice both in page based and digital poetry.


James Davies is the author of PlantsAbsolute Elsewhere and Acronyms. In 2008 he co-founded The Other Room poetry series in Manchester and set up his poetry press if p then q. He is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at The University of Roehampton with a particular focus on minimalist poetry and writers such as Robert Grenier, P. Inman and Stephen Ratcliffe.

3) Cristina de Lucas (Department of Dance)

Four Early Narrative Ballets by Kenneth MacMillan

My proposal is intended to open up a debate in the role of research in the arts. My project focuses on dance as a theatrical art and the work of a specific choreographer but the impact my research can make both in and outside the academia shares common traits with the research carried out in other areas such as Film, Performance or Literary Studies. Is research in arts and culture a matter of interest for the academic world only? Can it be of any use to society? I will offer some tentative answers based on examples from my own project.

My project investigates four narrative ballets by the British choreographer Kenneth MacMillan (1929-1992). My aim is to examine the context and internal elements of these pieces (choice of subject matter, movement style, structure, characters, music, design, etc.), extracting conclusions about his choreographic devices and influences. I am particularly interested in the way MacMillan deals with narrative. How does he develop a story? Which elements does he use to delineate the characters? How are emotions and ideas expressed? What is the relevance of movement? How is it combined with other ingredients such as music or set and costume designs? These are some of my research questions.


Cristina de Lucas possesses an interdisciplinary background in Law, English Philology and Ballet Studies. In her professional career she has combined roles as diverse as legal advisor, cultural promoter or arts critic. In addition to her research at Roehampton, she keeps on writing about dance and cinema, contributing regularly to several publications in Spain and UK.

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