Nicola Abram recently gained her PhD, with a thesis entitled ‘Intersectional aesthetics: black British women’s theatre (1981-2011)’, supervised by Professor Alison Donnell. She gives more details here:
In my thesis I excavate the archival collections relevant to black British women’s theatre, piecing together the fragments of this scattered body of work. I then offer close analysis of plays and performances by five theatre companies and playwrights: Theatre of Black Women, Black Mime Theatre Women’s Troop, Zindika, SuAndi and debbie tucker green.
I enjoyed meeting many of these playwrights, who warmly welcomed me into their homes and workplaces and generously shared material from their personal collections and memories from their lives. It was also rewarding to burrow through boxes of typescripts, posters, programmes and other ephemera. Studying at Reading offered the perfect intellectual environment for this work: many researchers in the Department of English Literature busy themselves with exploring the University’s own Special Collections, as well as other repositories further afield, and so have informed my archival methodology and challenged me to think through its application.
My viva took place on Wednesday 19th June. My examiners – Professor Susheila Nasta (The Open University) and Dr Graham Saunders (University of Reading) – made it a constructive and enjoyable experience. I’m heartened by their detailed and diligent readings of my thesis, and appreciate their suggestions for pursuing my research interests further. I’m already eager to develop my ideas for publications and post-doctoral research. Watch this space!
I first came to the University of Reading in 2004, for my undergraduate degree. I didn’t expect to still be here nine years on, but I’m so pleased that I am. The Department has been both personally supportive and intellectually stimulating, so I’m delighted I can stay and teach for a little longer. I’m grateful to all the staff and students here who have cheered me on, as well as to my friends and family. Your administrative support, scholarly provocation, patient encouragement and happy distractions have been invaluable: thank you!