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Arts & Humanities Research (MPhil) (PhD)

Marina Hadjilouca

PhD Thesis: The Social Turn: The Performance Designer as Trigger for Active Co-existence

Supervisor(s): Professor Mel Jordan, Dr Socrates Stratis

Marina Hadjilouca is a Performance Designer and an Academic, currently based at Rose Bruford College

As a researcher Marina focuses on the use of performance design as a methodology for politicised practices. Marina's research interests lie in the synergies between social art practice and performance design. She has presented her research in conferences and symposiums in Europe and the UK and has published papers in conference proceedings. Marina is one of the organisers of the Socially Engaged Design (SED) Conference in Cyprus.

As a practitioner, Marina creates Scenographic Interventions in contested public spaces and designs sets and costumes for theatrical performances and the opera. She has collaborated with major theatre organisations in the UK, Cyprus and Greece, including Arcola's Grimeborn Festival, the National Theatre of Cyprus, and the International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama.

Marina has recently been awarded a PhD from the Royal College of Art.

Marina's practice-based research asks how performance design can be used towards triggering active co-existence in contested public spaces. The site of research is the south walled city of Nicosia, in Cyprus. With this project Marina choses to focus on contested public spaces that while are affected by the Cypriot ethnonational matter, are threatened by privatisation and homogenisation caused by neoliberal tactics. To do so, she deploys the synergy between performance design and social art practice. In this research, performance design is used as a methodology outside the theatrical confines and it is deployed to produce triggering acts through scenographic interventions. 

The works presented below are outcomes of her practice research.

Research interests include: 

Agonistic politics and scenographic manifestations; performance design as radical intervention. 

The Manifesto for the role of the Performance Designer — page 1/2
The Manifesto for the role of the Performance Designer — page 2/2

This a short Manifesto for the Role of the Performance Designer as a political actor, written by Marina Hadjilouca in July 2020.

The manifesto claims that the performance designer can become an instrument, by taking a methodology that is embedded within a dramaturgical tradition, and shifting it and sharing it. When performance design is taken outside the theatrical realm and applied as a methodology within social art practices focusing in the urban environment, it can contribute towards the political role of the field. In this way, the performance designer as instrument is able to diffuse skills and raise questions, through the production of small temporary interventional acts. 

Intervention No.1: re-design Phaneromeni
Intervention No.2:
Intervention No.3: round table discussion

The Scenographic Interventions were developed through Marina's PhD research and as part of her practice. The three interventions presented here were site-specific and were designed and executed in Phaneromeni Square. Phaneromeni is a contested site in Nicosia, Cyprus.

The interventions act as a research tool and are employed to negotiate our relationship (bodily, spatially and politically) to the square in the present, whilst taking in consideration the creation of this place through history. At the same time, the scenographic interventions seek to examine the relations between the square’s actors, the square as space, and the objects; that is, the existing objects within the square and the objects introduced by the interventions. By doing so, the interventions create a multiplicity of phenomena and act as manifestations of active co-existence. 

This toolkit has been designed as part of Marina Hadjilouca’s PhD practice-based research. The toolkit aims to introduce the notion of a temporary and site-specific Scenographic Intervention, through practice. 

By using this toolkit practitioners and researchers are able to use a range of interdisciplinary methods to examine contested public spaces as spatio-temporal events. 

The Toolkit for Scenographic Interventions may be used as a starting point for research on site-specificity and social practice through performance design. It may be used as a pedagogical tool within the fields of urbanism, scenography, performance design, social art practice, cultural geography, and architecture to introduce concepts of social change, self-reflexivity, and the practitioner's role within a site-specific project for social change. 

AG Leventis Foundation

The A. G. Leventis Foundation – in addition to its extensive public benefit programme and its pioneering activity in the areas of environmental protection and medical research – demonstrates significant involvement in the study of the culture and history of Cyprus, Greece and the Hellenism of the Diaspora.