Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


New Creative Fellowship Programme 2019/20: The City Dionysia - Narrating Wasteland in Urban Life

Fellow Nicola Baldwin and Dr Pushpa Arabindoo are researching this theme.

Invoking the ancient Greek practice of CITY DIONYSIA where plays fuelled public debate, dramatist and UCL alumna Nicola Baldwin will work with Dr Pushpa Arabindoo, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and co-director of UCL Urban Laboratory, to explore how twenty-first century theatre can create new audiences for academic research, promoting creative inquiry into urban problems.

Using as a testbed Pushpa’s priority area of ‘Wasteland’ at UCL Urban Laboratory and the collaborative annual theme of ‘Waste’ at the IAS and Urban Lab, Nicola will explore how these concerns of contemporary urban life might be apprehended, and how its socio-material aspects performed.

During the Creative Fellowship, Nicola will develop a new play, tentatively titled Wasteland, challenging her own creative technique through collaboration with students on the MSc Urban Studies programme, and wider UCL community, and by drawing on Pushpa’s unique pedagogical insights, combining theory and practice to rethink her approach to theatre as a curatorial exercise. Exploring political practices of urban activism as forms of theatricality that can display, dramatise, and more than symbolically address a theme, Nicola will focus on creating an urban performativity that, through an interactive dramaturgical approach, offers new ideas about the role of theatre in society, and representation of WASTELAND as a liminal space.

Images of previous works by Nicola Baldwin: