Dr Aylwyn Walsh

Dr Aylwyn Walsh


I work on performance and social change as researcher and applied theatre practitioner. I am predominantly interested in a feminist approach using critical ethnographic methods and her research spans social, political and activist performance; radical pedagogies and intercultural performance as well as arts and mental health. I direct Converge - a unique short course for people using mental health services. I am programme leader of the MA in Applied Theatre & Intervention.

Prior to this I was senior lecturer at the University of Lincoln's School of Fine and Performing Arts where I headed up the Practice as Research cross-disciplinary group. I have recently worked on projects including the Arts of Logistics about the politics and poetics of infrastructures, counter-logistics and mobility. My most recent book Prison Cultures, maps performance, resistance and desire in womens prisons.  I am a performance maker & scholar working on the arts and social change whose work is concerned with exploring interdisciplinary methodologies. Most recently, I've developed practice-led research in womens prisons in the UK; and in psychiatric hospitals. 

I am co-convenor of the Sadler seminar series 'Activist Tactics: Performing Geographies of Social Change' with Prof. Paul Routledge, and co-investigator on 'ilizwe lenyaniso lomhlaba': a South African participatory youth-led project that is part of an AHRC/ GCRF project Changing the Story.


  • Programme Leader MA Applied Theatre and Intervention
  • Faculty of Arts Humanities and Cultures Research Ethics Committee

Research interests

I am artistic director of Ministry of Untold Stories. My artistic work has been hosted across Europe, including Germany, Greece, Finland, and in the USA, Brazil, as well as Zambia and South Africa. I have worked on a wide range of freelance projects as evaluator, lead artist, and have lectured in both South African and UK universities. Recent publications have included work on women in prison for Crime, Media, Culture and Contemporary Theatre Review, on arts in healthcare for the Journal for Applied Arts and Health; on street art in Journal of Arts and Communities and about violence in Cultural Studies -Critical Methodologies. I co-edited Remapping Crisis: A Guide to Athens, published by Zero Books (2014). My monograph Prison Cultures: Performance, Resistance, Desire is published in 2019 with Intellect.  

My performances have been staged internationally, including at the Royal National Theatre Studio, South Africa's National Arts Festival and at the Berlin Biennale.

Current research projects include decolonisation, land rights and activist performance; arts and mental health and the Converge project in particular; and participatory arts and social change.

<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
  • MA (Goldsmiths)
  • BA (Hons) (Rhodes)
  • BA

Professional memberships

  • FHEA

Student education

Prior to the role as programme leader for the MA in Applied Theatre & Interventions, I led undergraduate modules on Reading Performance, Improvisation & Devising, Teaching Drama, Performance in Social and Community Contexts, World Theatre and MA modules in Prisons, Punishment and Performance. I have taught at Universities of Lincoln, Northampton, UEL and Goldsmiths in the UK and Rhodes University (UCKAR) and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa. 

Research groups and institutes

  • Participation

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>