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The group brings together scholars from a range of disciplines including drama and performance, design, games, computer programming, anthropology, social work, psychology, digital arts, film, creative writing and architecture.

Full members

 Johannes Birringer Johannes Birringer
Professor - Drama & Performance
Johannes Birringer joined Brunel University London's School of Arts (now College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences) in early 2006. He is director of the DAP-Lab and headed the Centre for Contemporary and Digital Performance from 2008 to 2015, curating the annual Research Seminar Series and the Artaud Forum. He is a choreographer and media artist, and artistic director of AlienNation Co., a Houston-based multimedia ensemble that has collaborated on numerous site-specific and cross-cultural performance and installation projects since 1993. After directing international workshops on dance and technology in England, Germany, and the U.S., he was appointed head of the new dance and technology program at The Ohio State University (1999-2003) where he developed the new MFA curriculum in dance technologies and conducted research programs in his "Environments Lab." In 2003 he was appointed Principal Research Fellow in Live Art and Performance at Nottingham Trent University. In late 2005 he convened the Digital Cultures Lab, a cross-cultural dance and technology workshop-festival, and in 2003 he founded the Interaktionslabor Goettelborn in a former Coal Mine in the Saarland, Germany. The Interaktionslabor is an annual international workshop dedicated to research, performance and software application development in interactive and networked media technologies. A "Manifesto of Interactional Art" was published by Birringer in 2014 to reflect on ten years of laboratory experiments. His exhibition-performances and digital films have been staged in Europe, the U.S., Latin America, China and Japan. He has received numerous arts grants, awards, and fellowships for his work including a NEA/Rockefeller artists project grant in 1993; in 2013-17 he participates in the European Metabody research project funded by a grant from the EU. More recently, his directing projects included the multi-media play Sueno, the interactive dance work Suna no Onna (London 2007-08), the digital oratorio Corpo, Carne e Espirito (Brasil 2008), and UKIYO [Moveable Worlds] (2009-2010), a choreographic installation created with artists from DAP-Lab and Tokyo/Japan. His most recent production, the dance opera for the time being (Victory over the Sun) premiered at Sadlers Wells in 2014. Designs from the opera were featured in BBC World Service's edition of the program. Metakimosphere no. 2 </a>, an immersive installation, premiered at METATOPE, MediaLab Prado, Madrid, Spain in 2015. Birringer received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Trier University (Germany) after graduate research fellowships at Cambridge and Yale Universities. He has taught performance studies at Yale University, UT-Dallas, Rice University, Northwestern University, and at the Giessen Institute of Applied Theatre Science. Johannes’s research activities include choreography and digital media, design and interactive technologies, theatre scenography, video, music and installation art, performance theory and its relations to current research in life sciences and cognitive sciences, cross-cultural collaboration. The DAP-Lab, which he has directed since 2005, explores convergences between physical movement choreography, visual expression in dance/film/fashion, wearable design, and real-time interactive data flow environments. Participants explore the relations between design in motion, and design fabrics and performance wearables within a performance context with digital projections allowing the clothes with built-in sensors to be used for performance interaction with camera tracking and real-time data transformation (video, sound, motion graphics,). DAP-Lab involves researchers at Brunel University London conjoined with telematic partner sites in the USA, Japan, Brazil and Italy, and develops prototypes of wearable garments which respond in distinct ways to body movement, camera capture, and sensory processing. Most recently, research has focused on audiophonic wearables and sonic visualization in performance. Birringer is a co-founder of ADAPT and has been working in online collaboration with live performer from multiple sites since 2001. The performance ensemble of the Lab has created online performances and large-scale dance installations. He has published widely on the visual and performing arts and is a contributing editor with Performing Arts Journal (USA), Performance Research (UK), South African Theatre Journal (SA), PADM (UK) and BST (UK). His books include Theatre, Theory, Postmodernism (1989), Media and Performance: along the border (1998); Performance on the Edge: Transformations of Culture (2000 and 2005), and " Performance, Technology, and Science (2008). In 2005 he co-edited Tanz im Kopf/Dance and Cognition, an anthology of new research in dance and neuroscience; and in 2011 he also co-edited Tanz und WahnSinn/Dance and ChoreoMania, an anthology on dance and madness. Birringer’s teaching interests include performance and media arts practices, theatre and dance, scenography and digital design, and a range of theoretical and historical studies in the humanities and the performance arts. He currently directs the digital performance stream in the Theatre BA, and teaches an annual laboratory in digital technologies in the MA Performance Making along with a seminar on the history and theory of mise en scène. Activities: In August 2010, Birringer directed the Live.Media + Performance-Lab at EMPAC Center (Rensselaer Institute) in New York, one of the many international workshops he has offered over the past years which were dedicated to research and community development for artistic applications of new performance technologies. He is a co-producer for streaming media and DanceTV on www.dance-tech.net, and coordinates the Brunel University London Performance Reseach Seminar. In 2011 he coordinated the first ARTAUD Forum: The World from Within and Without, an annual workshop-conference held at Brunel’s Artaud Performance Centre; he was recently invited to give keynote presentations at MIT Media Lab (Boston) during the conference Dance Technology and Circulations of the Social 2.0 (April 2011) and the Baltic Movement Festival at Gdansk Poland (June 2011). His U.S.-based ensemble website is: his German laboratory site is: and his DAP label is at: Research Projects Design and Performance Lab (DAP-Lab) Telematic Performance (ADaPT) Interaktionslabor Goettelborn Digital Cultures Lab & Symposium 2005 Beijing/ Sydney/Istanbul/Oslo: emergent dance technologies International Partnership Projects TRANSNET: SCIENCE i-Map European Multisite Project Research and Performance Websites Links to Dance and Technology Research Archive 1999-2003 (The Ohio State University) Recent and new Productions: 2010 UKIYO II, KIBLA Media Arts Centre, Maribor (Slovenia) & London 2009 Ming Yi, Subtle Technologies Toronto 2009 Auf der anderen Seite des Spiegels, Interaktionslabor Goettelborn 2009 UKIYO I, Artaud Performance Center, Brunel University London 2008 Corpo, Carne e Espirito, FIT_BH Theatre Festival, Belo Horizonte, Brazil 2007-08 Suna no Onna, Laban Centre, London, Watermans Art Center, Brentford 2006-07 See you in Walhalla, IME Industrial Performign Arts Center, AthensTheatre Festival Exhibitions and Performances (selected) Director,tedr2005 Wearable Futures, Newport, Wales (September 05) and Digital Cultures Lab, Nottingham (December 05) The emergent dress project, developed at the DAP Lab, involves transdisciplinary intersections between fashion and live performance, interactive system architecture, electronic textiles, wearable technologies, and composition. Centered around a series of live telematic performances created with remote partners, the research project explores new ideas for sensory movement technologies and garment design in an arts and digital research context. The concept on an evolving garment design that is materialized (moved) in live performance originates from DAP Lab\'s experimentation with telematics and distributed media addressing connective tissues through a study of perception/proprioception in the wearer (tactile sensory processing) and the dancer/designer/viewer relationship. Since 2005 this exploration is conducted as cross-cultural communication with online performance partners in Europe, the US, Brazil and Japan. . Collaborating artist and lab co-facilitator: Michèle Danjoux, Fashion (NTU / de Montfort) Director,Sueño2003 Mount Hall, Columbus, Ohio, USA Sueño is an interactive multimedia play that focuses on the life of 17th Century Mexican nun, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, widely known in Latin America and in Spain. Her fame stems from her voracious drive for knowledge and her exceptional genius as a writer. From her silent solitary cell, this free-thinking nun conducted scientific experiments, wrote hundreds of poems, plays, as well as theological essays. She was frequently attacked and chose to defend not only her own interest in wordly learning, but also the broad rights of women to education and a life of the mind. Written and performed by Angeles Romero and directed by Johannes Birringer, this play with interactive video and sound sculptures evokes realities in the intellectual mindspace of Sor Juana, a world that borders on a continuous sliding between concrete experiences, intellectual exercises and psychological hallucinations. Sueño mediates the actress\'s ability to exceed physical, spatial and temporal limitations. The crossing of filmic, theatrical and sonic spaces in the mixed reality of the performance reflects on the integration of virtual techniques. Co-Designer,East by West2003 Telepresent interactive installation,DEAF Rotterdam East by West consists of two interactive, distributed environments constructed at opposite ends of a building and connected via live video-audio streaming. Both explore the emergence and temporal synthesis of musical, visual and kinaesthetic perceptions in two similar yet different geographic architectures. The synthesis underscores the experience of the visitors and their strategic play or intuitive interaction with potential games or performance environments. Both landscapes invite the visitor to explore and play with the objects in the environments. The installation was collaboratively created and designed by Johannes Birringer, Sher Doruff, and Orm Finnendahl. It was first exhibited at the Festspielhaus Hellerau, Dresden, in July 2002; a new version was featured at the 2003 Dutch Electronic Arts Festival in Rotterdam. The work explores the transformation of spatial imagination (real space as virtual space) and the experience of time and synchronicity. East by West addresses the visitors\' playful fantasy and tactile exploration of the environment; the interface becomes useful if such play recognizes how parallel reality-systems can converge or affect each other, how we integrate other realities into our social experience. Director,,Flying Birdman2002 Telematic multisite performance, World Wide Web See Telepresence integrates video, communication and network technologies into performance environments and the international co-production and project management of remote and multiple site events with streaming media, web technologies, video production and editing, transdisciplinary research, and collaborative compositional practice. Interaction between remote performance partners, as well as between programmers, engineers, and designers, has become the standard model of co-production in telepresence performance. Flying Birdman was created collaboratively online over a period of months and performed as a multisite webcast in November 2002, produced by seven teams that are part of the research group ADaPT (studios in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Detroit, Columbus, Salt Lake City, Madison, Brasilia and São Paulo). It is based on short narratives and structured spirally as a Renga composed of live dance, real-time audio and sound processing, precorded filmic images, still images, spoken voice, and graphic textcommunication exchanged by participants and audience during the live performance. Books and other Publications (selected) (see separate list) Current Performance projects (2005-2007) (see separate list)
Dr Mariza Dima Dr Mariza Dima
Senior Lecturer in Games Design
Mariza is a Senior Lecturer in Games Design. She specialises in User Experience and User Interface design for developing meaningful and engaging interactions particularly using mobile, AR and haptic technologies. She has worked between academia and the creative industries as an interaction designer and creative technologist in R&D projects combining engineering and design approaches grounded on theoretical contexts of narrative, affective dramaturgy, and audience/player engagement. A keen knowledge hunter, she is often inspired by and experiments playfully with perspectives from different fields that could offer a useful alternative lens on user experience design and then turns them into a tool for designing engaging experiences. Her design approach is holistic and experiential where the designer embeds and immerses herself in a collaborative design process and views it as an educational and transformative experience rather than participating in it as a design expert. She also consults on strategies for devising and developing digital projects and user interactions in the creative industries and has expertise in design methods for collaboration and co-creation. UI/UX Design for Games, Games Programming (Python), Concept Communication, Studio Practice
Dr Yohai Hakak Dr Yohai Hakak
Senior Lecturer in Social Work
Dr. Yohai Hakak joined Brunel in September 2014 as a lecturer in social work. His practice experience as a social worker is in mental health where he worked with long term service users. Yohai’s research interests are in the sociology of risk-perception, youth, religion, parenting, gender and mental health and the connection of these areas with social work. Yohai's last manuscript titled Haredi Masculinities between the Yeshiva, the Army, Work and Politics: The Sage, the Warrior and the Entrepreneur, was an ethnographic study Jewish Haredi (Ultra Orthodox) young men in Israel. It was published by Brill in 2016. The outcomes of Yohai’s academic worked included also several award winning documentary films. Yohai is interested in supervising students in the following areas and in relation to social work: - Religious minorities - Masculine identities - Mental health - Risk and its perception - Mixed couples
Dr Maria Kastrinou Dr Maria Kastrinou
Lecturer in Anthropology
Anchored in political anthropology, my research focuses on sectarian politics and national belonging, religion, state, conflict and energy in the Middle East and South-Eastern Mediterranean. For my PhD, I conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork research in Syria (2008–2011) looking at contested identities and politics between the Druze sect and the Syrian state. In response to the ongoing war in Syria, my research has incorporated political economy and historical approaches in ongoing projects on the politics of energy and resource conflict in Syria and Lebanon (Durham Energy Institute 2013-2014; AHRC/ESRC Conflict grant 2016-2017), as well as new fieldwork with Syrian refugees in Greece and stateless Syrians in the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights (BRIEF Award 2015-ongoing).QualificationsBA (Hons) Anthropology (Durham)PhD Anthropology (Durham) Module convenor• Introduction to Social Anthropology (UG)• Anthropology, Objects and Images (UG)• Political and Economic Issues in Anthropology (UG + PG)• Anthropological Perspectives on War and Humanitarian Assistance (UG + PG) Module contributor• Ethnographic Encounters (PG)
Dr Sharanya Murali Dr Sharanya Murali
Lecturer (Education Academic) in Theatre
My first degree was in English Literature, having minored in French Literature and Philosophy. I received my MA the following year in Early Modern performance, with a focus on Shakespeare. I subsequently worked in New Delhi in the long-form journalism and publishing industries. I returned to the UK on a fully-funded scholarship to do a split-site, interdisciplinary PhD between the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS, Bangalore) and the University of Exeter. My PhD interrogated walking in contemporary Delhi as a form of everyday performance. It argued that some of the productive ways to engage with walking practices are by re/considering walking as a practice of performance-ethnography of the city, through the selective lenses of Situationist everyday life, heritage and urban memory. Following the PhD, I guest-lectured at Sophia College, Mumbai, and worked as a lecturer and studio demonstrator at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance (London). Prior to joining Brunel University in 2020, I was a lecturer in Drama at the University of Exeter. ​For a significant portion of my research life, I have worked on South Asian urban cultures of performance, specifically walking as performance-ethnography, and New Delhi. My evolving interest in this area surrounds decolonial possibilities of walking art, and in the relationship between Situationist practices and race. My current longterm project examines the genealogy of South Asian feminist performance art against imperial and communal legacies. I am currently writing a monograph on the gendered technologies of risk and labour in contemporary Indian photo-performance. I am interested in variants of intermedial performance practices undertaken and created by women and women-identifying performers. As part of this, I am examining the politics of ingestion in Indian performance art. In addition to my primary interest in performance and live art, I have written on Modern Indian poetry. I continue to publish on women in Indian cinema. My teaching interests emerge from and influence my research practices: I enjoy teaching playwriting, critical theory, devising, live art, feminist performance, theatre history and intermedial/visual performance.
Dr Meriel Norris Dr Meriel Norris
I qualified as a Physiotherapist in 1993 (Leeds) and worked in the NHS for several years specialising in neurology and specifically stroke rehabilitation. My last clinical post held was as a stroke clinical specialist at St Mary’s hospital, London. I have also worked for a number of years in India and Indonesia in both disaster and development projects related to disability and rehabilitation. My MSc in Medical Anthropology was completed in 2002 (London) and PhD in 2009. My PhD topic brought together the fields of stroke, rehabilitation and anthropology by exploring the experience and health seeking behaviour following stroke in Aceh, Indonesia.Qualifications:PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons), PGCert (LTHE) Teaching Responsibilities:BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy Module Leader - Research Proposal, Rehabilitation II Teach – Anatomy, Rehabilitation II, Neurology, Research Methods, Research Proposal, Clinical preparation Supervisor Research Proposals Clinical link tutor Personal tutor MSc Neurorehabilitation Lecturer- Research Methods, Project proposal, Clinical Applications Supervisor MSc Dissertations Personal tutor Superivsor for MPhil and PhD studentsOther Teaching Responsibilities: Academic skills liaison Co-ordinator Centre for Research in Rehabilitation (CRR) Erasmus link tutor
Mr Colin Riley Mr Colin Riley
Reader in Music
Colin Riley's music draws on a range of elements including new technologies, improvisation, song-writing and large-scale classical form. His work is difficult to categorize embodying a genuine integration of stylistic approaches. His recent compositions include ‘Warp and Weft’ a concerto for 2 cellos (for Gabriella Swallow and Guy Johnston), ‘In Place’ (collaborating with 7 contemporary writers and singer Melanie Pappenheim), ‘Made 2 Resonate’ (a set of multi-sensory pieces), and ‘Rock Paper Scissors’ for Ensemble Bash. He is currently writing a violin concerto for Phillippa Mo, an orchestral work for the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Sweden as part of their ‘Sustainable Music’, and creating a sonic installation with the research group ‘Catching A Wave’. As well as releases on labels such as NMC, Metier, and Naxos, Colin also runs his own label Squeaky Kate with regular new albums each year. His latest release was ‘In Place’, with a new album of choral music due out in 2020. Colin also creates work for his own two groups, the Homemade Orchestra and MooV, where he is composer and performer/director. Moov’s latest album ‘Here’ was recently described as ‘utterly unclassifiable’ (London Jazz Blog), and ‘criminally underexposed’ (Jazz UK). Colin’s work has been performed by many of the UK’s leading music performers and groups including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Manchester Camerata, Smith Quartet, Gareth Davies, and Piano Circus. He has collaborated with diverse artists in the last few years including an album with drummer Bill Bruford, ‘Skin and Wire’ and two theatre projects ‘Nonsense’ and ‘Centrally Heated Knickers’ with the poet Michael Rosen. He is a Senior Lecturer at Brunel University London, and has been a mentor for the Making Music’s Adopt A Composer Scheme since 2001. He writes a regular blog about composing called Riley Notes and his music is published by Composers Edition. MU1613 Professional Development 1 MU2612 Professional Development II MU2617 Composition II MU2620 Interdisciplinary Project MU3000 Professional Independent Project PhD supervisions and internal and external Viva examining
Ms Gemma Cook Ms Gemma Cook
PhD Student
Gemma has a portfolio career that combines research, neurological physiotherapy, global disability policy expertise and art-practice. She is currently working towards an interdisciplinary PhD at Brunel University London which uses art as method to explore and raise awareness around social-histories of adults with Cerebral Palsy. She has an interdisciplinary supervisory team of Dr Meriel Norris, Dr Cherry Kilbride and Professor Johannes Birringer Gemma is lead researcher for an ongoing study "Understanding physiotherapy and physiotherapy services: exploring the perspective of adults living with cerebral palsy" alongside Dr Elizabeth Cassidy and Dr Cherry Kilbride which has involved interviewing 22 adults with Cerebral Palsy and uses a lifeworld methodological framework for analysis. She has worked as a specialist neurological physiotherapist for over 20 years across a range of settings including several teaching hospitals and a specialist Cerebral Palsy centre in London, as well as for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Afghanistan. She maintains an active advisory role in global disability policy with the Leonard Cheshire charity international policy team. Her art practice is based around life-drawing and use of charcoal. She is developing her skills in oil-painting as part of a creative self-reflective parallel project to her PhD. Some of her work is shared on Instagram gemmaconniecook Gemma completed an MSc in Global Health Policy at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2015, a BSc in Physiotherapy at Kings' College London in 1999, and a BA in Combined Arts at the University of Liverpool in 1992.
Dr Dominik Havsteen-Franklin Dr Dominik Havsteen-Franklin
Professor - Practice Arts Therapy
Dominik Havsteen-Franklin is a Professor of Practice (Arts Therapies) at Brunel University, with a Ph.D. in Art Psychotherapy and Metaphor. He is also head of the International Centre for Arts Psychotherapies Training (ICAPT) for Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, Vice President for the European Federation of Art Therapy and a member of the Council for the British Association of Art Therapists. His research focuses on applying empirical methods to investigating and evaluating the use of arts to facilitate changes in health conditions. His recent research has centred on co-designing and investigating Arts-based Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy (ADIT) for depression, Creative and Resilience Engagement (CaRE) for frontline healthcare workers, developing arts-based psychosocial practice in South Africa, and is a co-applicant for an NIHR funded large scale RCT (ERA) investigating the effectiveness of arts therapies for heterogenous groups in mental health services. Dominik supervises PhD students from a range of arts disciplines. He also continues to work as a consultant, an art psychotherapist and a clinical supervisor for the National Health Service.