The Performance Research Group at DMU has a long-standing commitment to research and an international reputation for research excellence. Our practice-based research spans all areas of performance – dance, drama, performance art, digital technology, media, music and cultural studies – and also crosses boundaries through multidisciplinary approaches to performance.
In dance, our research themes include dance historiography, ethnography and the practice and theory of radical dance practice, while in drama we focus on contemporary performance, Renaissance theatre, gender and performance and popular theatre traditions. Our intermedial research seeks to fuse old and new media and transform practice to create new and exciting modes of performance which engage with and articulate emerging theory.
We host national and international conferences and symposia, including the annual series Playing for Laughs, and regular research seminars/workshops.
Bringing together the full spectrum of fine art practices, the Fine Art and Photography Research Group has built an international standing through a constant stream of exhibitions, residencies, curatorial projects and publications. Spanning painting, installation, sculpture, fine art, photography, video and digital media, drawing, sonics, performance, printmaking and curation, our research also embraces new technologies, creating cutting-edge sonic installations, spatial environments for sound and vision, and contemporary sculpture using rapid prototyping.
We work collaboratively on a number of themes, including the nature of both pleasure and perceptual experience, and our research in applied art embraces traditional and advanced new technologies in the creation of domestic, industrial and gallery works.
Researchers are internationally active, participating in exhibitions in Rotterdam, London and Tokyo, as well as taking up international residencies/fellowships in Australia, Japan, the USA, UK and Rome in recent years.
Structure and assessment
Researcher Development, Review and Assessment
Training Needs Analysis
During the probationary period, you will carry out a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) in order to personalise the range of skills development in research required for your project . You will complete this within three months of enrolment for full-time students and six months for part-time students. A range of compulsory and optional courses from the Researcher Development Programme form the basis of the TNA, which can be supplemented according to your specific needs (eg in languages, technical skills, etc). The TNA is submitted online with the support of your supervisor.
All research students registered on the Doctoral Researcher Programme carry out a Formal Review to confirm PhD as their award aim (This does not apply if you are studying for the MA/MSc by Research or if you are aiming for an MPhil). The Formal Review submission includes a detailed review of literature relevant to your topic along with discussion of your proposed research methods and work you have undertaken to that point—such as data collection and/or analysis, as well as your plans for the work required to complete your project. Students completing practice-based PhDs (for example where artistic creation is part of the research methodology) will also submit examples of practical work completed to that point.
A formal Annual Review Panel is held to discuss in detail your proposed research objectives for the following year and the research project achievements of the previous year.
Online progress reports are required at least once a month. As a research student you are required to discuss your work regularly with your supervisors as an essential part of the teaching and learning contract between you and the University. These Progress Reports are an important record of the interactions you have with your supervisors and really help keep your work on track to successful completion.
The submission of your thesis for examination is be accompanied by a thesis submission form which confirms the originality of the work. You will complete this form when your thesis is submitted to the Graduate School Office (GSO).
The Viva Voce Examination
All research degree students undergo an oral examination, the ‘viva voce’, which takes place after you have submitted your thesis to the GSO. The examination team consists of at least two academics with significant expertise in your field. Normally there will be one internal examiner (a member of staff of the University) and an external examiner who is chosen for their particular experience and academic status.. Your first supervisor will take responsibility for arranging the viva voce examination once the nominated examiners have been approved by your Faculty and the Director of Graduate School.
Full-time research degree students are expected to undertake at least 35 hours a week of study throughout the year. Part-time students are expected to undertake 12 hours per week. This will include meeting regularly with your supervisor, as set out in the Code of Practice for Research Degree Students.
Facilities and features
Over the next few years we are continuing our investment in the DMU campus to provide the modern, inspiring environment our students deserve. A £136 million transformation of our city centre site will see improved teaching rooms, eating areas and the Students’ Union, and create a beautiful area of parkland at the very heart of the campus.
The centrepiece is an impressive new base for the Faculty of Arts, Design and Humanities – with sector-leading teaching facilities that will help DMU to be one of the foremost providers of creative higher education in the UK.
Health and wellbeing
At DMU we understand the importance of a healthy mind in a healthy body which is why we have invested heavily in our recreational and leisure facilities and have a full counselling team to provide confidential support if necessary.
A chaplaincy also provides non-denominational religious support and a doctor’s surgery on campus delivers a full NHS service to students and the local community.
DORA (De Montfort Open Research Archive) is De Montfort University’s research repository. It forms the primary public and institutional record of DMU research outputs.
DORA currently lists over 10,000 items, and the breadth of research at DMU means that these include articles, conference papers, books, book chapters, and other material available in a digital form. The record for each item contains descriptive information as well as, where possible, a version of the final research output.
Opportunities and careers
Early Career Researchers
DMU is committed to supporting the development of its Early Career Researchers. More information of the training and development available can be found throughout this section and details of those courses particularly aimed at Early Career Research staff can be found here. The development of research students rests with the Doctoral College.
Training and Development
Research is central to our mission at De Montfort University and is at the heart of our vibrant academic environment. Support for the training and development of our staff is a key objective within our Research Strategy and we aim to provide continuing professional development for researchers at all points in their careers.
The Research, Business and Innovation Directorate supports the needs of our research staff and included within this is support of training and development. The RBI coordinates with other Directorates and Faculties across the University with the aim of providing as broad a programme of courses and sessions as possible.
The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, developed and supported by Research Councils UK and Universities UK and supported by Vitae, is an agreement between the funders and employers of researchers in the UK.
DMU is fully committed to implementing The Concordat and holds Vitae’s associated HR Excellence in Research Award. In line with DMU’s Research Strategy for 2013 – 2017, the Directorate of Research, Business and Innovation and the Graduate School work with Faculties to support our researchers in their research and career development. We seek to align our activities to the seven key principles of The Concordat which cover all areas of research activity.