Performative Inquiry

My current research centres on developing collaborative frameworks for bringing diverse disciplines across the arts, sciences and humanities together into conversation around the subject of complex systems. Found in diverse physical, cognitive and social domains, they exhibit both predictable and non-reproducible behaviours; as such they are notoriously difficult to study, and require intensive, cross-disciplinary interactions. I am exploring how a performative understanding of disciplinarity – one based on how ‘acts of doing’ drive the construction of knowledge, identity and practice – might open up innovative trajectories in this regard. In addressing the epistemic, cultural and institutional challenges prevalent in creating cross-disciplinary work I suggest that the performative account offers insight not only into suitable deliberative and contestatory frameworks for collaboration, but also into new performance-engaged methodologies for enriching our understanding of complexity where strictly disciplinary approaches have struggled. Critically, in exploring both probable and possible system behaviours, such methodologies open up an engagement between diverse embodied, aesthetic, discursive and explanatory forms of understanding as equally-valued approaches in inquiry.

Organized Conference:

  • “Performativity and scientific practice” Conference and exhibition “TRANSITION: Knowledge through performance in art and science (25.10.12-19.11.12) held at the Hanse Institute for Advanced Study in Germany ( The exhibition documentation can be found at: 

Conference papers:

  • Senior TJ (2014). “Coping with Complexity: A Performative Framework”. Performing Science: Dialogues Across Cultures – The Science and Performance Conference (upcoming) – The Lincoln School of Performing Arts (University of Lincoln).