Charlie Ingram

Dr | AFHEA

    20202023

    Research activity per year

    Personal profile

    Research Interests

    Verbatim Theatre Practice

    Directing Practice

    Theatre Practices and training methods of Tadashi Suzuki and Anne Bogart

    Well versed in the plays of Samuel Beckett, Martin Crimp and Mark Ravenhill.

    Biography

    Charlie Ingram is a researcher, theatre director, film maker and producer. He is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Coventry University Centre for Dance Research. His current research practice involved transdisciplinary approaches to evaluating cultural intervention projects. His doctoral research concerns theatre practice in relation to evaluating Coventry UK City of Culture 2021. Charlie has a leading voice in the AHRC funded joint City of Culture PGR research network and has worked on several projects promoting equality and fair treatment of those working in the arts sectors. He is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has taught at Coventry University, MMU-Cheshire, and Rugby College as a director-teacher as part of the institution’s theatre performance degree programmes. He has previously worked at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry where he helped to facilitate the Community Engagement group during the Coventry City of Culture Bid process. He manages his own theatre company; New Project Theatre and his practice specialism is predominantly verbatim theatre and the acting approaches of, Jerzy Grotowski, Tadashi Suzuki and Anne Bogart. 

    Vision Statement

    Current Research project:

    Innovative Approaches to Evaluating Impact: Testing The ‘Evaluative Performance’ Method and Approach in Transdisciplinary Environments.

    Recent developments such as the global pandemic, gender violence, Black Lives Matter, and not least the climate crisis, have accelerated the search for participatory methods of engagement, participation, and impact across a number of research disciplines. Within these disciplines, citizen voice and lived experience are sought to deepen understanding behind behavioural change as a result of policy or project intervention strategies. Within this there are limitations, for example, the UK Civil Service in 2021 recognises that ‘most policymakers do not consistently have the skills, incentives, or infrastructure to find new evidence about citizens’ (Knight, 2021). It is also argued that policy solutions are too often based on stakeholder opinion, and rarely are the voices and experiences of citizens used to evidence policymaking (UK Civil Service, 2020, 63). Therefore, policy engagement methodologies as the basis of evidence gathering are themselves generating ‘marginalised groups’, ‘the seldom heard’, and creating barriers to access for citizens. 

    This process began with my development of a new practice research methodology – ‘Evaluative Performance’ – and its use within Coventry City of Culture 2021. It’s successful reception suggests potential, and this will be my project’s intellectual and practical focus. In particular, this research project will test ‘Evaluative Performance’ and its ability to evaluate impacts associated with intervention projects of various scales and disciplines. Specifically, how arts-based methods of data collection, analysis and dissemination can contribute to the need for valuing the voices of citizens in policymaking, and a variety of impact strategies.

    ‘Evaluative Performance’ is the use of headphone verbatim practice as a participatory way to capture the needs and experiences of those ‘on the ground’ that are hard to reach by policymakers and impact evaluators. A key unique identifier in this method, is the inclusion of the research participant in their own representation in performance. For reference, headphone verbatim is a sub-genre of verbatim theatre practice whereby ‘in both rehearsal and performance, the actors wear headphones, through which they hear the audio script. They then repeat that script as immediately and exactly as possible, including… every stammer, pause, and repetition’ (Wake, 2013).

    Building on my own networks, I will run ‘Evaluative Performance’ investigations in three contrasting research settings: community theatre, engineering and computer science and equality and diversity initiatives. 

     

    PhD Project

    PhD Titile: Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 through a Headphone Verbatim lens: A Study into Civic Pride

    Through a headphone verbatim ‘lens’ this study investigates the impact that a UK City of Culture (UKCC) programme of work may have on the perceived level of ‘civic pride’ amongst residents of Coventry before, and during its titular year in 2021, conducted through a practice research methodology.

    In particular, the thesis explores civic pride and how it manifests as a measurement of ‘success’ when considering indicators of social change (Collins 2017). As a result, I have identified key behavioural dimensions that indicate how levels of civic pride amongst citizens might shift and change during a UKCC year. I discuss how evaluation reports and studies into past UKCC programmes have discourses rooted in research fields such as sociology, human geography, and economic disciplines (Myerscough 1992, Garcia 2005, Derry City & Strabane District Council 2016, Culture, Place & Policy Institute 2019). Of these, the majority have used quantitative methods with few examples of qualitative studies.  Further, of the few qualitative studies, key stakeholders appear to be the focus, whereas community-based participants and citizens are rarely given a voice. This, I argue places limits on evidence that can better inform cultural policymakers and programme evaluators alike.

    Crucially, to date there are virtually no arts-based practice research studies that explore the impact of a UKCC programme on host city residents. This thesis responds directly to that gap by arguing for, and giving an account of the development of a practice research design and output model. I introduce this model as ‘Evaluative Performance’, a term that encapsulates this project’s utilization of theatre practice, and specifically headphone verbatim as a useful, and innovative way to collect, analyse and communicate personal stories of citizens that are currently lacking in research evaluations, and wider policymaking agendas (UK Civil Service 2021). I provide an account of my testing of this model through the development of a piece of practice research by way of headphone verbatim performance. Throughout this testing, I question contemporary considerations of ‘authenticity’ by drawing on scholarly accounts of philosophical thought (Lyotard 1984), ‘performance efficacy’ (Kershaw 1992) and headphone verbatim practice (Fisher 2011, Kinghorn 2017, Schulze 2017).

    The project makes a novel contribution to knowledge surrounding evaluation practices, specifically on the importance of the affectual experience of citizens when investigating civic pride through arts-based methodologies. Reciprocally, by taking headphone verbatim out of a traditional storytelling mode, I offer new insights to the application of practice research and headphone verbatim scholarship. These contributions, briefly, are:

    i) understandings of what civic pride means, within the context of UKCC programmes;

    ii) understanding the wider affordances and potential applications for headphone verbatim within an evaluative context; and

    iii) the value and importance of participatory engagement in the production of performance for public engagement in evaluation processes.

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
    • SDG 13 - Climate Action
    • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

    Education/Academic qualification

    Theatre & Performance Studies, MA, Directing & Dramaturgy, University of Birmingham

    Sept 2015Jul 2017

    Award Date: 13 Jul 2017

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