Current Research Projects 

1. Performance of Absence in Theatre, Performance and Visual Art (Routledge 2022)

This research project investigates the concepts of absence across the disciplines of theatre, visual art, and performance. Absence in the centre of an ideology frees the reader from the dominant meaning. The book encourages active engagement with theatre theory and performances. Reconsideration of theories and experiences changes the way we engage with performances, as well as social relations and traditions outside of theatre. I examine and theorise absence and presence through theatre, performance, and visual arts practices. This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of theatre, visual art, and philosophy.

2. Sea and Theatre

A research project that focuses on the underwater environment and performance. During the last decade more and more artists and performers explore underwater environment in making art. With the challenging environment comes a new perspective on the environment and on the human condition.

Research supported by Between.Pomiędzy Research Group and a grant from the University of Gdańsk.

Project Sea and Japan – August-September 2022, Visiting Researcher at the University of the Ryukyus

sea and art

3. Creative English

Alongside the above-mentioned projects, I collaborate with Dr Meghan Kuckelman Beverage from Meio University in Japan to address the gap in creative language learning. We make a course book that joins poetry and performance, a book for creative English language learners at a university level. The project developed from the idea that a foreign language needs to be felt and experienced through the senses in order to be loved and appreciated.

Previous Research Projects

Okinawa Research Group: Research project about Kumiodori theatre – with Dr Szymon Gredżuk.

I continuously develop my understanding of Butō, Kabuki, Nō, and Kumiodori theatre. Together with Dr Szymon Gredżuk and the Okinawa Research Group: we research Okinawan Theatre, a subject which is completely absent in the Polish academia. We recently published the first article in Polish about Kumiodori:

Performing Poetry, Research Project 2017 – 2019Performing Poetry is my current research project at Meio University, Japan. During this project I look for practical methods to physically engage students in active representation of poetry.

Dobkowska, Sylwia and Meghan Kuckelman Beverage. ‘Physical Poetry: Using Japanese Butō in an EFL Poetry Performance Project.’ English in Education, Issue 1, Volume 54, 2020.

Justitia, Publication. Research Project 2013 – 2016. I look into the connections between creative book design and performance documentation, the practical aspect of this research can be seen in a co-edited book Justitia: Multidisciplinary Readings of the Work of Jasmin Vardimon Company, published in August 2016 in Bristol and Chicago by Intellect Books Ltd.

In this independent research project I worked together with Dr Paul Johnson as a co-editor. The book was initiated following a conference on Jasmin Vardimon Company. As a designer and co-editor, I look into innovative ways of displaying non-chronological order of events in performance through the use of materials with varied opacity, such as tracing paper. This material allows reading through multiple layers of paper, as well as dividing one line into multiple physical pages. I look at the process of turning page as an element of book performance. Details in design present ideas, such as merging text and performance is presented on the front page through stage directions written in the beams of light (detail more visible on a printed copy).


Degree Research Projects

PhD Research in Theatre Studies at Royal Holloway University of London, the United Kingdom (2015).Ontology of Absence is a research project that finds concepts of absence in theory and practice across the disciplines of Theatre Studies.

My doctoral dissertation examines what absence is and how it works in a performance. I study the paradox of representation, whereby absence is never absent and presence is not present. I have named this using the oxymoron present absence. In my research I question the dualistic philosophy which defines a sign as a relationship between a signifier (a thing) and a certain signified (its meaning), and I look for another interpretation of absence in performance. I use Jacques Derrida’s philosophy and survey various theories in theatre studies, which define limits of presence and absence. I do not agree with all of them, but they provide important and different perspectives on the question of absence. These theoretical perspectives on presence and absence are applied to a number of examples of visual culture drawn from theatre, performance and art. A structure of visual representation is studied as writing. I refer to Derrida’s theory of arche-writing, which is a non-linear form of writing that does not rely on defining being as presence. Present absence is studied through linguistic theory and tested in the three-dimensional space of performance. My research provides an alternative account of the mode of reading the notion of absence in performance.

Master by Research in Design at Goldsmiths University of London, the United Kingdom (2010). Graduated with distinction; dissertation title: Performativity of Absence.

Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Theatre Studies at University of Wolverhampton, the United Kingdom (2009). Graduated with First Class Honours, dissertation title: PerFormArt: hybridity in contemporary visual arts.