DIGITAL SOCIAL CIRCUS
Carolyn Watt is a professional circus/cabaret performer and PONToon project PhD student (Oct 2016 – Sept 2019) in the Faculty of Creative & Cultural Industries (CCI) at the University of Portsmouth. Carolyn’s practice-based PhD is part funded by the Interreg 5A France (Channel) England Research project PONToon, June 2017 – November 2020, led by the University of Portsmouth UK.
Her research as part of the PONToon project investigates social circus enhanced by digital technologies to foster female empowerment. The digital social circus concept is being used as one way in which to invite participants to experience and engage with the digital world.
Lavers, a performance and circus arts scholar and creative producer, describes social circus as taking ‘the notion of circus for everybody, the tenet of new circus, and applies it to a radical agenda – using circus as a tool to promote social transformation.’ (2016, p. 509). In this case circus is being used as a tool to promote female empowerment and digital upskilling.
Carolyn ran a short digital social circus pilot study with a group of 6 women summer 2017 with a focus on digital upskilling in the areas of photo and video editing, the group began to explore the use of 360 degree technology and point of view cameras within performance to communicate their experiences. In this study participants felt empowered by learning a new and difficult skill, social circus provided a novel way for participants to engage with the digital world and develop their photography and videography skills.
Carolyn is running numerous PONToon project digital social circus programmes and workshops throughout 2018 – 2019 in the fields of photography, videography, 360 video and more! She will be working with participants to create a group performance piece enhanced by digital technologies to be performed at the PONToon interim event 6th December 2018.
Participants will work with the UoP team to consult on digital toolkit development and testing via their engagement with the digital social circus initiatives. Digital outputs such as immersive 360 experiences, digital videos and photographs will be incorporated into the resulting PONToon project digital toolkit.
Lavers, K. (2016) The resilient body in social circus: Father Jesus Silva, Boris Cyrulnik and Peter A. Levine. In: Lavers, K. & Tait, P. eds. The Routledge Circus Studies Reader. Oxon; New York: Routledge, pp. 508 – 527.
Cirque du PONT pilot study summer 2017
Be my (body) guest, Carolyn’s live aerial performance exploring digital projection, 360 video, point of view camera and live streaming
Carolyn is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI) at the University of Portsmouth (UoP). Her research focuses on social circus enhanced by digital technologies to foster social inclusion of young women and is part funded by UoP and part funded by an EU Interreg 5a project awaiting application outcome. She also works as a research assistant to the CCI Enterprise and Innovation team; this role includes development and support of external bid submissions and faculty initiatives aimed at developing research culture.
Previously at The University of Brighton (UoB), Carolyn worked closely with colleagues on the INTERREG funded project Building Research and Innovation Deals for the Green Economy (BRIDGE) and undertook a multifaceted project management role. Whilst working on INTERREG funded projects FLAX: Increasing its Value for Society and Biocare Marine, she took a leading role in embedding live research into the curriculum, developing a community of learners and facilitated transdisciplinary engagement across the institution. With experience in the digital research arena working on a British Academy funded project Discovering Digital Me, she assisted in qualitative/quantitative research and data analysis in digital identity and literacy studies.
Carolyn achieved a Masters of Design in Textiles at UoB and has a passion for digital technologies, materials and performance arts, particularly circus and cabaret. Other experience includes founding a successful events company, costume design work, and professional performance in various circus/cabaret events with skills including contortion, acrobatics, pole dance and aerial dance. With a diverse blend of academic and performance expertise she has developed a wide-ranging skill set that has enabled the creation of exciting opportunities within my career portfolio.