1. European Social Survey
  2. City Q-Step Centre
  3. Culture & the Creative Industries
  4. Food Policy
  5. Jeremy Tunstall Global Media Research Centre
  6. The Centre for City Criminology
  7. Research on Work and Society
  1. Research in Culture & the Creative Industries
  2. Research students

Richard Wigley

PhD student

Centre for Cultural Policy & Management


Thesis title: Playing games with reality - a systems-theoretical analysis of emerging modes of participatory performance

Overview and research interests 

Richard's thesis aims to provide a critical analysis of emerging modes of multi and cross-disciplinary participatory performance. As evidenced by the inclusion on the 2011 Arts Council England National Portfolio of organisations and groups such as Coney, Punchdrunk, dreamthinkspeak and Blast Theory, multi-disciplinary, interactive, performance-based arts are moving from the margins of the cultural landscape.

In discussing the theoretical basis of such work, a range of tools and positions can be applied, ranging from social aesthetics and the politics of spectatorship to the theory of performance gaming and play.

Empirical analysis of specific performances will focus on the convening of an autonomous, temporary society where unique codes of communication are proposed. Through the analysis of these codes and their function, Richard's research will comparatively assess the relationship between the form and established theatrical forms and conventions.

To achieve this, his research identifies the work of German sociologist Niklas Luhmann, specifically his social-systems theory of art, as a theoretical concept that allows for analysis from both a theoretical and empirical perspective.