Alice Hoy is Not a Building: an ethnographic performance about women in academia

Jane Bird, Kate Donelan, Chris Sinclair and Prue Wales

In this monograph the authors analyse a performance ethnography where theatrical form was used to represent data and communicate research findings. Alice Hoy is Not a Building was performed in Australia and internationally over a nine-year period (2006-2014). The research focused on women’s experiences of tertiary education and its power structures at the University of Melbourne. The four researchers analysed the ethnographic data using drama processes, transforming it into embodied, aesthetic, performative text. Through sustained reflexivity and ongoing dialogues with audiences, the researchers interrogated the form of ethnographic research as a mode of research inquiry that is both rigorous and artistic.

This monograph consists of the playscript: Alice Hoy is Not a Building accompanied by a critical and theorised commentary on collaborative, embodied research, performance-based analysis, and the ways in which women navigate power as academics in tertiary institutions.  The monograph argues for ethnographic performance makers to apply a rich theatre aesthetic in representing and performing research findings.