The Centre for Performance Philosophy is a new research centre at the University of Surrey, having officially launched in September 2016. The aim of the Centre is to foster innovative and creative research concerned with the intersection of ‘performance’ and ‘philosophy’.

Performance philosophy is an emerging interdisciplinary field of thought, creative practice and scholarship. Research in the field not only addresses the value of philosophy for analysing the performing arts, but also explores the idea of performance as its own kind of philosophical thought.

What is performance philosophy?

  • The application of philosophy to the analysis of performance
  • The philosophy of performance and/or the performance of philosophy
  • The study of how philosophers and philosophical ideas have been staged in performance or how ideas and images of performance have figured in philosophy
  • The theoretical or practical exploration of philosophy as performance and/or as performative
  • Experiments emerging from the idea that performance is a kind of philosophy or thinking or theorising in itself

But it could also be much more besides. One aim of the Centre of Performance Philosophy is to support the interrogation of this ‘more’, to facilitate researchers to create and question the nature of this open field.

Staff research covers a wide range of topics from the relationship between Shakespeare and phenomenology to the idea of musical improvisation as a way of knowing. The new Centre for Performance Philosophy will provide a platform for this innovative research, support a community of interdisciplinary PhD students and host a programme of exciting events going beyond the conventional format of academic ‘talks’ to other forms such as lecture-performances and installations, which try to actually do performance philosophy, rather than just talking about it.
Particular areas of research interest include:

  • Phenomenological approaches to performance
  • Time / duration in performance & philosophy
  • Performance as an alternative way of knowing: intuition, embodiment, improvisation, meditation
  • The theory/practice relationship: what can philosophy do for performance and performance-makers, and vice versa?
  • The nonhuman: animals, ecology, objects

The Centre welcomes applications from PhD students.


Dr Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca Reader in Theatre and Performance

The Centre for Performance Philosophy at GSA is delighted to announce that Dr. Karoline Gritzner (University of Graz, Austria) will be a ‘Researcher in Residence’ for 2019-20.

 The CPP Researcher in Residence scheme was launched in 2017 and has so far welcomed Dr Luciana Da Costa Dias in 2017-18 (Ouro Preto, Brazil) and Prof. Cosimo Zene in 2018-19 (SOAS, UK).

Karoline will be contributing to University research culture throughout the year – presenting on her project Theatre as Philosophical Enquiry: Aesthetics of the Sublime, which has just been awarded funding from the Austrian Science Fund with CPP Director, Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca as International Co-Operation Partner.

Dr Karoline Gritzner is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Cultural Studies at the University of Graz (Austria) and the principal investigator of the research project Theatre as Philosophical Enquiry: Aesthetics of the Sublime(funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF: M2632-G32). The project explores the sublime as an aesthetic ‘thinking’ which emerges through the medium of theatre’s performative poetics. Prior to her current role, she worked as a Lecturer in Theatre Studies at the University of Aberystwyth (Wales) where she taught in the areas of British and European Theatre, gender studies, performance philosophy and performance studies. 

 Karoline is one of the core-convenors of Performance Philosophy and her research activities are focused on British and European Theatre, aesthetic theories and continental philosophy. With Will Daddario she has co-edited Adorno and Performance (2014) and with Laura Cull On Philosophy and Participation (Performance Research journal, 2011). She is the author of Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck (2019) and of Adorno and Modern Theatre: The Drama of the Damaged Self in Bond, Rudkin, Barker, and Kane (2015).