© 2018

Mesearch and the Performing Body

  • Mobilises the new concept of 'mesearch'? to describe the process of creative enquiry

  • Explores the intersection between embodiment and performance work

  • Offers three striking examples of creative research projects


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Mark Edward
    Pages 1-5
  3. Mark Edward
    Pages 7-20
  4. Mark Edward
    Pages 21-32
  5. Mark Edward
    Pages 33-44
  6. Mark Edward
    Pages 45-57
  7. Mark Edward
    Pages 59-74
  8. Mark Edward
    Pages 75-93
  9. Mark Edward
    Pages 95-100
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 101-112

About this book


This book is an anthology of Mark Edward’s creative practice-led projects. It transmits and communicates his research through varied artistic means, primarily contemporary dance, immersive art installation, drag performance, and photography. Through the innovative practice of 'mesearch', in which the author is both theoriser and theorised, this study delivers a personal, creative narration, combining reflections and emotions in relation to self and performance. Instead of being an attempt to undervalue or challenge the accepted notions of style within academic research, it promotes a freedom of expression which allows greater fluidity between the researcher, the performer, and the writer.


embodiment and performance creative research dance ageing autobiographical enquiry self-criticism self-analysis

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Performing ArtsEdge Hill UniversityOrmskirkUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Mark Edward is a pracademic and Reader in Dance and Performance at Edge Hill University, UK. He is a pioneer of drag king and drag queen studies in higher education in the UK, authoring a drag module in 2015. He specialises in live art, choreography, dance theatre, contemporary dance and scholarly writings on queer theory, autoethnography, ageing (in)visibility in western dance, fluidity of identity and mental illness.

Bibliographic information


“This well-written book traces and theorizes how through reflective artistic practice mature dance artists can develop the agency to distance themselves critically from modernist aesthetic ideals. … Mesearch is accessible and of interest for scholars, students and practitioners of contemporary stage dance, especially those with particular interest in questions of ageing, queer subjectivities, and drag performance.” (Susanne Martin, Dance Research, Vol. 37 (1), 2019)“Mesearch and the Performing Body is a timely and articulate call for visibility and attention to be given to experiences of ageing by those who age. In Mesearch we see a call for increased debate of the relationality within artistic practice, where self-inquiry informs creative outputs.” (Dr Fiona Bannon, University of Leeds, UK)

“This work is of genuine originality. There is little existing research on the relationship of self-age(ing) of either dance or (even less) drag. The author offers a counterbalance of a considered framework of autoethnography (he posits the neologism ‘mesearch’). Edward deliberately courts the personal alongside a poetic style of writing that rests amongst the academic.” (Professor Simon Piasecki, Liverpool Hope University, UK)

“The interdisciplinary, autoethnographic scope of Edward’s book is refreshingly original, and makes a significant contribution to the fields of performance and embodiment studies. In focusing on three performance pieces to consider how embodiment and subjectivity are interrelated, Edward supplies specific and tangible ‘hooks’ on which the theory is hung.” (Professor Emma Rees, University of Chester, UK)

“Contemplating research and worried by how to manage objectivity? Don’t be. Here’s a refreshing book of less than 100 pages that, with due rigour, contributes to a more creative research agenda – and one that involves critical analysis of sociological and practice-based literatures and that foregrounds the value of (inevitable) subjectivity in research.” (Dr Paul Simpson)