Dr Adele Senior, Reader

Dr Adele Senior


Dr Adele Senior is a Reader in Theatre and Performance and also Research Coordinator for Performing Arts. Her work has been published in International peer reviewed journals such as Performance Research, Theatre Research International, Contemporary Theatre Review, and Theatre Journal.

Adele's research interests include the ethics and politics of children in contemporary performance; the relationship between continental philosophy and live art practice; the biological arts in the UK, US, Europe and Australia; and issues relating to archiving and documentation.

Adele is currently working on a research project that focuses on questions of children’s potential for political agency in theatre and performance, which is informed by Hannah Arendt’s idea of natality as birth in the political sphere. The project has several strands, including collaborations with Dr Gary Anderson (Liverpool Hope University), Dr Lena Simic Anderson (Edge Hill University) and The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home. As part of the project Adele is co-editing an issue of the journal Performance Research entitled ‘On Children’ (forthcoming Jan/Feb 2018) and she recently convened an international symposium in Leeds entitled ‘With Children: The Child as Collaborator and Performer’ involving children as delegates, chairs, and keynote speakers (January 2016).

Adele’s interdisciplinary collaborations have included a research project on charisma and presence in Performance Art (Senior and Kelly 2016), which draws together literature on charisma in theatre studies and scholarship on charismatic leadership in organisation studies. This research continues Adele's interest in interdisciplinary practices, which began with her AHRC-funded PhD research at Lancaster University, completed in 2010. The thesis examined bioart as a marginalised practice within performance studies and involved a practice-based research residency at SymbioticA, the Art and Science Research Laboratory at the University of Western Australia.

Current Teaching

Adele has a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice and is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She has previously taught as a permanent Lecturer on the BA Drama and Ph.D. programmes at the University of Exeter (2010-15) and BA Theatre Studies programme at Lancaster University (2006-09).

As well as supervising at PhD level, Adele teaches on:

  • MA Performance:
    • Performance Matters 1
  • BA (Hons) Performance:
    • Critical Contexts: Historical Lineages
    • Critical Contexts 2: Practices and Perspectives
    • Critical Contexts 3: Reading Performance
    • Critical contexts 4: The Body in Performance
    • Lift Off 1: Process
    • Publishing Project 1: Conference
    • Publishing Project 2: Document

Research Interests

Adele’s scholarly work is grounded in a wider intellectual commitment to exploring the potential of Derridean deconstruction for both analysing and writing (about) the spectatorial encounter with performance, live art and bioart practices. This has included a critical interrogation of notions of archiving, messianism, and an ethics of responsibility in relation to both live and documentary traces of various bioart practices. Adele has recently returned to her roots in contemporary theatre to consider the political and ethical questions thrown up by the increasing visibility of children in contemporary practice in the UK and Europe over the past two decades.

Adele is currently PhD Director of Studies and she is supervising a Practice as Research PhD around issues of embodied archiving. Adele welcomes enquiries from MPhil and PhD students interested in areas relating to, but not restricted to:

  • Contemporary performance and philosophy
  • Children, animals and biological life in performance
  • Notions of archiving and documentation
  • Ethics in contemporary theatre, performance and live art
Dr Adele Senior, Reader

Selected Outputs

  • Senior AM (2017) 'Age Transvestism' in Contemporary Performance and Live Art with Children. In: Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA), University of Salford.

  • Senior AM (2017) What if we saw children's bodies as...?. In: TaPRA Applied and Social Theatre Working Group, 25 March 2017, University of South Wales, Cardiff.

  • Senior AM (2015) ‘Natality: An Ontology of Performance?’. In: What Can Performance Philosophy Do? The Second Biennial Performance Philosophy Conference, 10 April 2015 - 12 April 2015, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

  • Senior AM (2011) ‘Henrietta Haunts: Performance, The Archive and the Biological Arts'. In: Rewire, The fourth International Conference on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, England.

  • Senior AM (2011) 'Reflections on the Live Event: Now and Then’. In: Visceral: The Living Art Experiment, The Science Gallery, Dublin, Ireland.

  • Senior AM (2010) ‘Haunted by Henrietta: The Archive and the Cellular Body in Biological Art’. In: TaPRA: Performance and the Body Working Group, Cardiff School of Creative and Cultural Industries, University of Glamorgan, Cardiff, Wales.

  • Senior AM (2008) ‘Messianic Visions: Bioart and the Aesthetics of the Semi-Living Image’. In: PSi Performance Studies International #14 Interregnum: In Between States, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

  • Senior AM (2007) ‘Bioart in Theatre and Performance Studies’. In: SymbioticA Seminar, School of Anatomy and Human Biology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia.

  • Senior AM (2007) ‘Relics of Bioart: The Messianic Aesthetic of the Semi-Living Image’. In: Still, Living: A SymbioticA Symposium, Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth (BEAP), Perth, Australia.

  • Senior A (2024) Growing Sideways: On collaborating with teenagers. In: Cull L; Pell L ed. Love and Not Knowing. Aberystwyth: Performance Research Books,

  • Senior A (2008) In the Face of the Victim: Confronting the Other in the Tissue Culture and Art Project. In: Hauser J ed. Sk-interfaces: Exploding Borders - Creating Membranes in Art, Technology and Society.

  • Hauser J (2008) Sk-Interfaces Exploding Borders - Creating Membranes in Art, Technology and Society. .