Dr Jenny Lawson

Dr Jenny Lawson


I returned to PCI in 2013 as Lecturer in Contemporary Performance. I completed my practice-led PhD in this School in 2011 before taking up my first academic post as Lecturer in Performing Arts at Northumbria University.

 I have published on food, women and performance in academic journals including Performance Research, Studies in Theatre and Performance, Women and Performance and the Journal of M/C Culture. I am currently completing a monograph titled Performance, Women and Food:  The Tyranny of The Domestic Goddess, contracted by Palgrave Macmillan.



  • Library Representative

Research interests

Live Art and Contemporary Performance 

Food and Performance

Culinary femininity in popular food culture and performance practice

Eating and dining as participatory tools in performance

Feminist theory and performance  

Feminist performance strategies of irony and spectacle

The eating undead body (vampires and zombies in popular culture)

Auto/biographical Performance

Women's Performance

Solo performance

Journeys through memory and place as performance encounter


My primary research area is in contemporary performance practice and live art.  I have expertise in durational performance, installation, site-specific performance and participatory and sensory performance. My research is interdisciplinary and mediates across performance studies, food studies, cultural theory, gender theories, ethnography and practice-led research.

I specialise in food and performance with a particular focus on the relationship between women and food in popular culture and the cultural image of the domestic goddess. I have published on the construction and representation of culinary and domestic identities in performance practice and media culture looking at female practitioners, such as UK performance artist, Bobby Baker and UK celebrity chef, Nigella Lawson. I am currently completing a monograph titled Performance, Women and Food:  The Tyranny of The Domestic Goddess (Palgrave Macmillan).

My research seeks to develop new theories and performance strategies that address the growing phenomenon of food in contemporary culture, and to implement critical and disruptive performance techniques and cultural intervention tactics that can tackle contemporary postmodern femininities. I have conducted research that contributes to a new academic field of zombie studies, looking at representations of monstrous femininities and the eating body in popular culture and performance. The project culminated in Dining with Undeath (2014), an intimate performance over dinner made in collaboration with culinary specialists, Blanch and Shock Food Design, supported by ARC, Stockton Arts centre.

During my time in the North East, I developed research investigating the journey performance encounter. My project, Lay Down Your Ghosts, Journeys through the North East, a PLACE commission for the Festival of the North East 2013, gathered local memories of regional places, landscapes and buildings and used a series of journeys as durational acts of ritual and remembrance.

My research continues to examine the uses of autobiography, memory, irony and the grotesque in contemporary performances and the gaps that emerge between feminism and femininity.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Performance Interventions into Contemporary Food Culture, Leeds Awarded with Research Excellence
  • MA Theatre Studies, The University of Manchester
  • BA (Hons) Theatre Studies, Lancaster University

Professional memberships

  • Member of the AHRC Peer Review College
  • TaPRA (Bodies and Performance Working Group)

Student education

I teach on a range of practical and lecture based modules on the BA Theatre and Performance degree programme and supervise MA Research Projects.

Research groups and institutes

  • Bodies & Performance

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>