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Vanessa's teaching is research-led, and therefore her research outputs and creative practice often form the basis of her taught material and classes. 


This is a selection of classes Vanessa has previous taught in UK and US Higher Education 

Performing Monstrous Flesh 

This course provides you with an interdisciplinary framework for exploring representations of monstrosity in performance. The transgressions of race, gender, sexuality, age, class, ability, space, place, and/or the body becomes a fertile place for the monstrous to exist. We delve into the concept of "monstrosity" as a lens through which to examine the intricate intersections of identity, representation, and cultural anxieties. This approach is inspired by Hortense Spillers, a Black feminist theorist, invitation to claim monstrosity. We adopt a broad perspective, encompassing various dimensions of deviance as a performance making strategy. Our exploration of "performance" spans an array of expressive forms allowing us to investigate a diverse range of representations within our field of study and expand what is understood as performance.


Throughout the course, we will engage deeply with themes of the ‘self’, exploring the 'I' in the world. Autobiography in performance can encourage self-reflection, creation, and the exploration of one’s identity as it changes; but it also allows us to imagine who we might become in the future. While using personal experience as a starting point, it is essential to forge some distance between yourself and the work when using autobiographical material. Therefore, students will engage with the self-ish, exploring the interplay between fact/fiction, personal/political, and real/imagined to create performances through the workings and mis-workings of memory. Autobiographical performance art validates the intersectionality of multiple identities through experimentation with the meanings of identity labels and the potential discovery of ways they intersect, separate, and coincide with race, gender, class, sexuality, age and ability. 

Cultural Politics of Performance 

The aim of the unit is to provide students with understanding and critical awareness of the relationship between contemporary performance practice and the politics of representation. Students will engage with relevant histories, genealogies and concepts of representation and anti-representation in performance and live art from a diversity of perspectives, considering questions of equality and social justice, politics and aesthetics. Students will develop an understanding of the relationship between theory and practice in their own developing practice, engage with practice-based research, and develop an understanding of different models of practice.  

Creative Practices 

This unit will allow the students to begin to specialise and explore their desired pathway within a professional context, and to engage in practice-led research. Students will undertake a placement or personal project in order to develop professional skills, and devise and apply research methods in creative practice.

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