: A Collection of Fragments considered as a Whole

  • Mary Kate Connolly

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Ghost: An apparition…which is believed to appear or become manifest to the living, typically as a nebulous image.

When the show is over, what becomes the fate of its costumes? Potentially, they are venerated in controlled archival conditions – sacred relics never to be worn again. Or perhaps repurposed, sold off, dumped with the profane physical detritus of performances now vanished. Smithereens: a collection of fragments considered as a whole, is at its heart, a ‘being with materials’. An up close encounter with a set of material fragments; costumes from choreographer Lea Anderson’s iconic British contemporary dance companies The Cholmondeleys and The Featherstonehaughs. The research utilises an experimental approach – positioning the costumes as ghosts which can be activated as interlocutors of performances now vanished. Remaining up close in the moment of encounter with these eloquent fragments thus allows a cascade of concerns to unfold, surrounding their predicament. In response to these concerns, a series of actions are carried out - creating alternative after-lives for these ghosts – ways for them to live on inside and outside of traditional archival and museological contexts. The research crafts an adaptive framework; foregrounded in a dance specific perspective, it draws on a range of perspectives from sociology, fashion and dress scholarship, conservation, creative writing, performance histories, museological practice, and exhibition making.

Spectre, phantom, wraith, presence, spook, phantasm, shade, revenant, visitant.
A slight trace or vestige of something.

Date of Award28 Sept 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SupervisorAnn R. David (Director of Studies) & Tamara Tomic-Vajagic (Co-Supervisor)


  • Dance
  • The Featherstonehaughs
  • Costume
  • Lea Anderson
  • The Cholmondeleys

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