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Dr Mary Richards
Divisional Lead / Reader


I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce and the former Vice Dean (Education) for the College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences of Brunel University London (August 2014 – July 2017)

It was during my time as Vice Dean (Education) that I led on the development of the Bachelor of Arts and Sciences (BASc) degree programme in Global Challenges, working with colleagues from across the institution. Indeed, I stepped down from my role as Vice Dean in order to take up the role of Programme Director of this new, but complex, provision. The degree includes strand pathways on planetary health, social cohesion, security, and global innovation: providing an opportunity for students to study in a more holistic manner through engagement with a range of natural and social sciences, as well as humanities disciplines. This is done in recognition that the complexities of the contemporary world do not necessarily respect disciplinary boundaries and graduates need the skills to met the demands of a rapidly changing global context as well as the climate emergency. Moreover, elements of the programme have been developed in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and we are members of United Nations Academic Impact and the Planetary Health Alliance. You can find out more about the programme here.

In summer 2019 we gained funding to take students on a field trip to the sites of their study: refugee and resettlement sites in Zambia (Mayukwayukwa and Meheba). This was to develop further and practical understanding of the multi-factorial challenges to the development of sustainable livelihoods faced by people there, as well as to gain preliminary data for future research projects. You can find out more about this here

In terms of other research, I have been funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (2015-2017) to work with the particle physicist Dr Jo Cole from the College of Engineering Design and Physical Sciences. Together we developed a project entitled The Elusive Ms Higgs: a detective fiction of elementary truths which sought to investigate the use of immersive theatre practice as a tool to engage school pupils with the particle physics associated with the discovery of the Higgs boson. I have published papers and articles on live art and performance. Most recently, a article which considers, Tino Sehgal's approach to producing without producing objects:

A fully revised and updated second edition of my monograph on Marina Abramović (Routledge) was published in 2019 and is available here

Newest selected publications

Richards, M., Schmidt, X., Paterson, S., Martin, O., Sam, S., Syampungani, S., et al. (2020) 'The ESKE Project : a South-North educational and knowledge exchange framework to enhance food security and livelihoods'. [Poster] Exhibited at. 8th World Sustainability Forum 15 9 2020


Richards, ME. (2017) 'The orchestrated crowd: choreography, chorus, conceit in Tino Sehgal’s These Associations.'. Choreographic Practices, 8 (2). pp. 181 - 198. ISSN: 2040-5669 Open Access Link

Journal article

Richards, ME. (2015) 'Marina Abramovic: The Kitchen - Homage to Saint Therese'.Conference Santa Teresa: Her Writings and Writings about Her. Freie Universitat, Berlin, Germany. [unpublished]

Conference paper

Richards, ME. (2015) 'Evaluating The Elusive Ms Higgs'.Theatre and Performance Research Association 8-10 September 2015. University of Worcester. [unpublished]

Conference paper

Richards, ME. (2014) '“Bring and Do Nothing”: Abramović’s 512 Hours (2014) in the context of Rhythm 0 (1974)"'.Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA). Royal Holloway University, London. 3 - 5 September.Open Access Link

Conference paper
More publications(12)