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Staff Profile

Professor Matthew Reason

Professor of Theatre and Director of Institute for Social Justice

Staff profile

I am founding director of the Institute for Social Justice, which works across the University to facilitate social justice research, projects and partnerships that help us to promote a fairer society. My particular passion is developing a participatory and co-productive research culture within the University. At its core the Institute seeks to workwith people, with partners and with communities in a manner that sees participation, implementation and change as vital parts of its mission.

My own research focuses on participatory research in the arts, including in the context of learning disabilities and autism, theatre for children, liveness, performance documentation and political performance. I have a particular interest in the question of what it is possible to know about the audience experience of performance and on several project have used creative methodologies (such as drawing or creative writing) to explore spectators’ affective, embodied and reflective responses to theatre and dance.

I am currently leading “I’m Me”, an AHRC funded research project working with a network of learning disability arts organisations to explore themes relating to identity, representation and voice. Other recent publications have explored prison and military audiences, arts activism, drawing as research methodology and a whole lot more.


Reason, M The Young Audience: Exploring and Enhancing Children’s Experiences of Theatre. Stoke: Trentham Books/IOE Press. 2010

Reason, M Documentation, Disappearance and the Representation of Live Performance. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 2006

Edited Collections

Eds. Reason & Rowe Applied Practice: Evidence and Impact Across Theatre, Music and Art. Bloomsbury Methuen. 2017

Eds. Reason & Lindelof Experiencing Liveness in Contemporary Performance Routledge. 2017

Eds. Reason & Sedgman Theatre Audiences. Special issue of Participations 12.1. 2015

Eds. Reason & Reynolds Kinesthetic Empathy: Creative and Cultural Contexts, Intellect 2012

Eds. Reason    & Reynolds Screen Dance Audiences. Special Issue of Participations 7.2. 2010

Peer-review journal articles

Reason, M Representing Soldiers to Soldiers through Dance: Authenticity, Theatricality and Witnessing the Pain of Others, Dance Research Journal. 49:2. pp 79-95. 2017

Reason M & Heinemeyer C ‘Storytelling, Story-retelling, Storyknowing: Towards a Participatory Practice of Storytelling’, RiDE: the Journal of Applied theatre and Performance. 21.4.pp 558-73 2016

Reason, M ‘Archive, Empathy, Memory: The Resurrection of Joyce Reason’, Memory Connection. 2.1. 2016

Reason, Jola, Kay, Reynolds, Kauppi, Grobras, Tohka & Pollick ‘Spectators’ Aesthetic Experience of Sound and Movement in Dance Performance: A Transdisciplinary Investigation’, Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts 10.1. pp. 42-55. 2016

Reason, M, ‘Writing the Embodied Experience: Ekphrastic and Creative Writing as Audience Research’, Critical Stages 7. n.p. 2012

Reason  & Reynolds ‘Kinesthetic and related Pleasures: Exploring audience responses to watching live dance’, Dance Research Journal 42(2) (pp 49-75) 2010

Reason, M ‘Watching Dance, Drawing the Experience and Visual Knowledge’ Forum for Modern Language Studies 46 (4) (pp 391-414) 2010

Reason, M ‘Asking the Audience: Audience research and the experience of theatre’, About Performance No 10 (pp 15-34) 2010

Reason, M ‘Interpreting Children’s Responses to Puppets in Live Theatre: Did you watch the man or did you watch the goose?’, New Theatre Quarterly 24 (pp 337-354). 2008

Reason, M ‘Thinking Theatre: Enhancing Children’s Theatrical Experiences Through Philosophical Enquiry’, Childhood and Philosophy 4: 7 2008

Reason, M & García, B. ‘Approaches to the Newspaper Archive: Content Analysis and Press Coverage of Glasgow’s Year of Culture’, Media, Culture & Society 29:2 (pp 304-331). 2007

Reason, M ‘Audience’, Performance Research Lexicon 11:3 (pp 7-10). (Lexicon issue also published in German in conjunction with documenta 12 magazines, in April 2007) 2006

Reason, M ‘Young Audience and Live Theatre, Part 1: Methods, Participation and Memory in Audience Research’ Studies in Theatre and Performance 26:2 (pp 129-145) 2006

Reason, M ‘Young Audience and Live Theatre, Part 2: Perceptions of Liveness in Performance’, Studies in Theatre and Performance 26:3  (pp 221-241). 2006

Reason, M ‘Glasgow’s Year of Culture and discourses of cultural policy on the cusp of globalisation’, Contemporary Theatre Review 16:1 (pp 73-85). 2006

Reason, M ‘Still Moving: The Revelation or Representation of Dance in Still Photography’, Dance Research Journal 35:2 & 36:2 (pp 43-67). 2004

Reason, M ‘Theatre Audiences and Perceptions of “Liveness” in Performance’, Participations 1:2. 2004

Reason, M ‘Archive or Memory?: The Detritus of Live Performance’, New Theatre Quarterly 19:1 (pp 82-9). 2003

Reason, M ‘Writing the Olfactory in the Live‑Performance Review’ Performance Research 8:3 (pp 73-84). 2003

Book Chapters

Reason, M ‘Ways of Watching: Aesthetics / Audiences / Learning Disabilities / Theatres’. In Routledge Handbook of Disability Arts, Culture and Media. Ed. Bree Hadley and Donna McDonald. Routledge. Forthcoming 2019

Reason, M ‘Participatory Audiencing and the Committed Return’. In Commit Yourself! Strategies of Staging Spectators in Immersive Performances. Ed. Doris Kolesch, Theresa Schütz and Sophie Nikoleit. Routledge. Forthcoming 2019

Reason, M ‘What Makes a Theatre Goer? Habitus, Identity and Interest Development in Adolescent Audiences to Shakespeare’. In Shakespeare: Actors and Audience. Ed F. Banks. Arden Shakespeare. Forthcoming 2018

Reason, M ‘Drawing’, in Routledge Handbook of Interdisciplinary Research Methods. Ed Lury et al. Routledge. Forthcoming 2018

Reason, M ‘Conversation and Criticism: Audiences and Unfinished Critical Thinking’, in Theatre Criticism: Changing Landscapes. Ed. D. Radosavljević. Bloomsbury Methuen. pp 236-54. 2016

Grosbras, Reason, Tan, Kay & Pollick ‘Subjective and Neurophysiological Perspective on Emotion Perception in Dance’, in The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Wellbeing. Eds. Karkou, Oliver & Lycouris. pp 57-75. 2016

Jola & Reason ‘Audiences’ Experience of Proximity and Co-Presence in Live Dance Performance’, in Theatre and Cognitive Neuroscience. Ed. Falletti, Sofia & Jacono. Bloomsbury Methuen. pp 75-92. 2016

Reason, M ‘The Longer Experience: Theatre for Young Audiences and Enhancing Engagement’, in The Audience Experience: A Critical Response to the Intrinsic Needs of Audiences in the Performing Arts. Eds. Radbourne, Glow and  Johanson. Intellect. pp 97-111. 2013

Reason,  Reynolds,  Grosbras & Pollick ‘Researching Dance Across Disciplinary Paradigms: A Reflective Discussion of the Watching Dance Project’, in Affective Performance and Cognitive Science: Body, Brain and Being. Ed. N. Shaughnessy. Methuen. pp 39-56. 2013

Reason, M ‘The Possibility of Theatre for Children’ in Theatre for Young Audiences: A Critical Handbook, Ed. Karian Schuitema and Tom Maguire. Trentham. pp 23-34. 2013

Reason, M & Nash, C ‘A Moment in Time: Kinesthetic empathy and photography’ in Kinesthetic Empathy: Creative and Cultural Contexts, Ed Dee Reynolds and Matthew Reason. Intellect. pp 239-256. 2012

Reason, M ‘Still Moving: The Revelation or Representation of Dance in Still Photography’, in Imaging dance.  Visual Representations of Dancers and Dancing, Ed.Barbara Sparti and Judy Van Zile. Georg Olms Verlag: Hildesheim, Germany. pp 275-201 2011

Reason, Dorey-Richmond, Gray & Walker ‘Making Performance within the Institution: Documentation, Reflection and Production’,  in Hidden Archives ed. Glen McGillivray. Amsterdam: Peter Lang. pp 149-171. 2011

Reason, M ‘Cartoons and the Comic Exposure of the City of Culture’, Chapter in Urban Mindscapes of Europe, European Studies Series 23. Ed. G. Weiss‑Sussex and F. Bianchini. Rodopi. pp 176-196. 2006