There is to be an election for the roles of Vice-Chair and Secretary of SCUDD. There are two candidates for each role. Their personal statements are given below.
Each SCUDD member department or institution has one vote. Colleagues at each member department may wish to arrange amongst themselves how they reach a consensus on how to use their single SCUDD membership vote. If more than one vote is received from one SCUDD unit, these will not be counted until clarification has been sought and received. The vote is open until 28 February, 2013.
For the role of Vice-Chair:
Statement by Ian Brown:
I am currently Professor of Drama at Kingston University, London. I have worked in two universities, Queen Margaret and now Kingston, and before 1992, in institutions that later became universities (Crewe and Alsager, now part of MMU). I have always worked in drama departments, though at Alsager I was also Head of Performing Arts. I am a practicing playwright, currently Chair of the Scottish Society of Playwrights (my term of office runs out in June) and my career has always mingled university teaching and research with other aspects of professional theatre practice. I was Drama Director at the Arts Council of Great Britain from 1986-94 during which time my colleagues, and I were able to increase the number of funded touring companied by fifty percent and to maintain the building portfolio at steady state. Between 2002 and 2010, having been Head of Drama, then Dean of Arts at QM, I took advantage of a faculty restructuring to work outside the university sector, among other things serving as Chair of Highlands and Islands Theatre Network and producing the Drama na h-Alba Theatre Festival in 2007 in Inverness. Consequently, I bring to my work at Kingston, and would bring to the post of Vice-Chairman of SCUDD, a range of experience in public matters, theatre and academic delivery. My aim would be to employ these skills in the service of SCUDD and the provision of Drama in universities.
My research interests are in theatre and cultural policy throughout the UK, in the history and contemporary practice of Scottish theatre, in dramaturgy and new playwriting development and in literature and cultural identities (I am co- series editor of the Edinburgh Companions to Scottish Literature.) At Kingston, besides my own teaching and research, I have responsibility for development of research in Dance and Drama and for the management of supervision of research students in those areas. In that role I serve on several research committees.
To quote Stephen Lacey’s statement of last year: ‘it is probably true to say that we – the discipline and the HE sector as a whole – face the most difficult situation in our history […]. Although each University will doubtless respond in its own way to the specific threats posed by the rise in student fees and the brazenly ideological attempt to privatise the system, there will be a pattern: cut-backs, closures, mergers, restrictions on student numbers, attempts to re-define drama in all its forms in ‘cost-effective’ ways.’ I believe I am well placed to recognise the challenges our subject faces across the university sector and hope to be part of SCUDD’s work in meeting them.
My intention, if elected, would be to campaign with the rest of the committee to ensure that as far as possible the best interests of Drama students and staff thorough the country are served. I would be more than pleased if my past experience of public campaigning can be put at the service of SCUDD members.
Statement by Osita Okagbue:
I am Osita Okagbue, a Professor of Theatre and Performance in the Department of Theatre and Performance at Goldsmiths, University of London. I am also the President of the African Theatre Association (AfTA), an international association of scholars and practitioners of African theatre and performance. I am running to be re-elected as Vice-Chair of SCUDD, a position I have held over the last three years.
I have been involved with SCUDD since 1994 when I became the University of Plymouth representative and remained so until I left to join Goldsmiths in January 2002. On joining Goldsmiths, I again was appointed the Department of Drama representative in 2003 and have remained the departmental rep since. While at Plymouth I was a member of the SCUDD IT group and remained a member for the committee’s life span. Thus, I have been involved in one capacity or another within SCUDD since I began teaching in Higher Education in the United Kingdom. I passionately believe in the contribution that SCUDD has made and will continue to make to support our discipline and I will like to continue to be a part of this and I believe that being re-elected in the role of Vice-Chair will enable me to continue to contribute more centrally in moving the work of the association forward. One of my key roles as Vice-Chair has been helping hosting institutions to organize SCUDD’s annual conference – I have done two and currently liaising with colleagues at Wolverhampton for the 2013 conference. I have found being part of SCUDD management an immensely rewarding experience and I would like your support to continue.
For the role of Secretary:
Statement by Vicky Angelaki:
I have the greatest respect for SCUDD’s work, to which I have contributed by representing both Universities I have been affiliated to as an academic. I am running for Secretary aiming to continue the excellent progress achieved so far and looking forward to collaborating with you towards shaping our ways forward in the next years. If elected, I’ll work with the SCUDD executive to broaden participation, promote the importance of Drama as a subject and foster a creative exchange amongst HEIs, looking to involve more Departments and Early Career Researchers in the discussion as we deal with the collective challenges facing the Arts. SCUDD by definition draws strength from its members and from the post of Secretary I’ll work to promote the core of our discipline: dialogue and creativity, which always bring us together.
Statement by Royona Mitra:
I would like to nominate myself for the role of Secretary in the imminent elections for the SCUDD Executive. I have subscribed to the SCUDD mailing list for nearly twelve years, first as a postgraduate student at Royal Holloway, and then as a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Drama at the University of Wolverhampton. In this time I have found SCUDD, both as a community of thinkers and as an invaluable resource of information, indispensable to my early career as an academic. In March this year I am due to start a new job as Lecturer in Theatre at Brunel University. This fresh start has encouraged me to re-examine how I see myself positioned in the world of higher education vis-à-vis the performing arts, and how I can directly and indirectly participate in the debates and decision-making that contribute to shaping the future of higher education within our subject areas, for both students and academics. I have realised that an obvious way to achieve this is by becoming more active on SCUDD, not just as a department representative, but by joining the Executive Committee.
I am also keen to serve on the committee to represent the strong but relatively small number of performing arts academics from the Asian/British-Asian community in the UK. As someone from a community that continues to view both the performing arts and to some extent academia itself as ‘softer’ careers (particularly at a time when education is getting increasingly more expensive, which in turn makes investing in these subjects seem non-pragmatic), I see it vital to dismantle such perceptions. I hope to do so by raising awareness about academia and the performing arts as valuable and rewarding professions for young British-Asians, through a more ‘visible’ capacity.
My own specialism in physical theatre and dance-theatre enables me to engage with and understand the value of creative dialogue across two of the performing arts subjects that SCUDD represents. Moreover the scholarly and creative dialogues I have built up over the years with professional companies within these interdisciplinary fields, such as with Akram Khan Company, Jasmin Vardimon Company, Sonia Sabri Company to name a few, helps me to bridge the academic-practitioner divide in dynamic and productive way. I am a highly motivated individual and am able to work effectively as part of a group but also possess leadership qualities if required. I am very organised, excellent at meeting deadlines and have strong administrative skills – all of which I know are important qualities for this role. I thrive in environments of intellectual exchange and feel that these qualities lend me a suitable profile to serve as the Secretary of SCUDD, if I were to be given this opportunity.