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Radegast Station Independence Traditions M_Jane Arnfield

Credit: Jane Arnfield

Jane Arnfield
Associate Professor Theatre & Performance and Director of Transnational Education Department of Arts, Northumbria University

Arnfield has developed a distinct practice called (LMTM) Living Memorial Theatre Methodology (2018), forensically examining the similarities, differences between creating (auto) biographical theatre and Biographical Narrative Interviewing Methods (BNIM) Sociology. The use of the word ‘surrogate’ is key in LMTM rerouting ownership, facilitating a ‘deputising’ to act, or bear witness for another:

Arnfield’s research projects are practice-led exploring how historical biographical information and narratives can be transferred into performative action engaging the spectator by blending memories; their own and others reframing the past in the present. Arnfield has worked extensively in the field of (Auto) Biographical Theatre. Arnfield’s research seeks to investigate memory discourses and the rendering of memory, which refuses complete immersion into a supposedly past moment. Supporting the action of public commemoration by enabling the participant to remember the past filtered through the present is at the core of the work: Ten to Ten

Arnfield transfers, transforms (auto) biographical narrative text into choral, ensemble, solo performance. Arnfield’s expertise produces performances sourced from oral history linked to or situated on sites of cultural significance, performed on or around days of civic remembrance. LMTM places performance methods (theatre) and biographical methods (sociology) in parallel, delivering purposeful knowledge through performed biographical research, serving both the arts and social justice in the process:

Projects include commissions by international, cultural organisations, Marek Edelman Dialogue Centre, Lodz, Poland, Defiant Requiem Foundation, Washington DC, USA. Arnfield tests methods of participatory engagement adapting material from memoir, fiction, non-fiction, diaries, letters, objects into performances. As a Leverhulme Trust International Academic Fellow at the University of Lodz Centre for Biographical Research and Oral History in Poland, Arnfield developed her LMTM on hidden sites of cultural significance. Reconstructing sourced material into contemporary transcripts, play scripts, librettos, musical compositions, choreographed sequences. LMTM cultivates a process of de-centring, of viewing events from the perspective of others, not in a purely cognitive sense but at amore holistic, emotional level enabling audiences to ‘inhabit’ the original testimony.
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