Reflections on the applicability of case study methodology to performance as research
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Over the last two decades, practice-led research (PLR) has rapidly expanded in the Australian university system. This paper lays out the potential exegetical benefits of one methodology, the case study, for one disciplinary area, Performance as Research (PAR). The epistemological issues currently besetting PAR are identified and a brief account of the debate in the 1990s given. The values and concepts of case study methodology as these relate to the Chicago School of sociology are then described. The point is made that identifying an artwork as a ‘case’ means viewing it not (only) as a unique experience, but as representative of a certain kind of problem. This allows it to be placed in a comparative vista, either diachronic or synchronic. Case study methodology’s ‘emic’ sensitivities are mentioned in relation to evidentiary procedures ie. how subjective experiences can validate general claims. The paper concludes with a brief example of how the approach can be applied to one potential project, As We Forgive by Tom Holloway, a play I directed for the 10 Days on the Island Festival in 2013.