Aoife McGrath
    Phone: +44 (0)28 9097 3249

    For media contact email
    or call +44(0)2890 973091.

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    Research Interests

    Dr Aoife McGrath, BA(Hons)Trinity College Dublin, PhD Trinity College Dublin, FHEA, Staatlich Geprüfte Tänzerin (Bühnentanz) Heinz Bosl Stiftung, Munich.

    Drama Subject Lead

    Aoife's research interests include dance and politics, practice as research, performance and philosophy, collaborative creative processes, and cultural and affect studies. After a professional dance career in Germany and Ireland, Aoife worked as a choreographer, director, critic, and as Dance Advisor for the Irish Arts Council. Before joining Queen's in 2012, Aoife was an adjunct lecturer at the School of Drama, Film and Music, Trinity College Dublin. and was assistant to the academic director of Ireland's National Academy of Dramatic Art, the Lir Academy. Aoife continues to work as a choreographer and has been invited to deliver guest lectures, workshops and master classes in Ireland and internationally.

    Recent publications include a co-edited book, Dance Matters in Ireland: contemporary dance performance and practice (Palgrave, 2018), chapters on dance and affect ('Dancing the Downward Slide', in DeFrantz and Rothfield, Choreography and Corporeality: Relay in Motion, Palgrave, 2016), dance and politics ('Choreographies of Irish Modernity’in Paige Reynolds (ed.), Modernist Afterlives in Irish Literature and Culture (Anthem Press, 2016), and the politics of creativity in traditional dance ('Do you want to see my hornpipe' in Sellers-Young and Shay The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Ethnicity, Oxford University Press, 2016). Aoife's monograph, Dance Theatre in Ireland: Revolutionary Moves (Houndmills: Palgrave, 2013) provides the first critical and contextual study of contemporary and historical dance theatre practice in Ireland.

    Recent choreographic work:

    Let Down, a dance theatre piece about women's experiences of breastfeeding incorporating sociological research on breastfeeding in Northern Ireland. Choreographed and performed by Aoife McGrath and Paula O'Reilly, original sound score by Sorca McGrath, dramaturgy by Emily DeDakis, commissioned by Dr Jennifer Hanratty (QUB) for Breastival 2018, and breastfeeding research by Dr Maria Herron (UU). Performances co-produced and funded by Being Human Festival (AHRC/British Academy), Breastival Belfast, and Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts and Film Festival (performances August to December 2018).

    Within: Body + Time, a dance solo exploring the experience of time in pregnancy (co-choreographed and performed by Aisling McCormick, videography by Richard Lavery, produced by Emily Dedakis), produced as part of the Rapid Response platform by Accidental Theatre Belfast, 2018.

    Please, a dance theatre work about the experiences of women struggling with eating disorders (performed by Leonie McDonagh, original composition by Marty Byrne, text by Emily DeDakis, research by Dr Carolyn Blair (QUB)), Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, Brian Friel Theatre, Belfast, 2017.

    Aoife is currently working on a monograph on Dance, Affect and the Maternal. 

    Aoife is the Co-Convenor (with Prarthana Purkayastha, Royal Holloway University, London, and Philipa Rothfield, La Trobe University, Australia) of the Choreography and Corporeality Working Group of the International Federation for Theatre Research. She is also a member of the executive committee of the Irish Society for Theatre Research, a member of the board of directors of Dance Limerick and a performer/choreographer member of Dance Ireland.

    Aoife is interested in supervising research students working in the areas of dance studies, practice as research, movement practices and performance, and collaborative creative processes.. 

    Current PhD Students

    Elien Hanselaer, 'A study of actor-actor performance connection' (1st supervisor)

    Argyro Tsampazi, 'The use of Terzopoulos' Method and Greek Rituals in Choreography' (1st supervisor)

    Paula Guzzanti, 'Embodied Consciousness and Affect in Movement-based Improvisation Practices' (1st supervisor)

    Maggie Cronin, 'What are the lived experiences and unique challenges faced by women working within the theatre industry in Northern Ireland? A practice-as-research enquiry', (co-supervisor)

    Graduated PhD students:

    Caitriona Reilly, ‘Postfeminism and British and Irish Theatre’ (2nd supervisor)


    Selected Awards

    Irish Society for Theatre Research New Scholar's Prize (2011)

    TaPRA Essay Competition Prizewinner (2010)

    Society of Dance History Scholars Travel Award (2009)

    IRCHSS (Government of Ireland) Research Scholarship (2008, 2009)

    Trinity College Dublin Gold Medal (2007)

    Trinity College Dublin Scholar (2005-2010)

    DAAD Research Scholarship (Freie Universtaet Berlin) 2004-2005)


    DRA3060 Dance Theatre

    DRA3025 Dissertation

    DRA2005 Introduction to Devising

    DRA1003 Introduction to Performing

    DRA1004 Introduction to Contemporary Performing Practices

    DRA3006 Advanced Theatre Practice (mentor for directors)


    Willingness to take PhD students


    PhD projects

    I am open to PhD applications in the fields of:
    - Dance Studies
    - Choreographic Practices and Processes
    - Practice as Research
    - Affect Studies in performance
    - The Maternal in performance
    - Movement practices and performance
    - Interdisciplinary performance practices
    - Collaborative performance practices

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    Frequent Journals

    • Dance Research Journal

      ISSNs: 0149-7677

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1940-509X

      Cambridge University Press

      Scopus rating (2018): SJR 0.224 SNIP 1.621


    • Contemporary Theatre Review

      ISSNs: 1048-6801

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1477-2264

      Taylor and Francis Ltd.

      Scopus rating (2018): SJR 0.1 SNIP 0.215


    • Theatre Research International

      ISSNs: 0307-8833

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1474-0672

      Cambridge University Press

      Scopus rating (2018): SJR 0.175 SNIP 0.691


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    Contribution to conference papers, events and activities

    ID: 60617