Dynamic Tensions: New Masculinities in the Performance of Fitness

Lead Research Organisation: Brunel University
Department Name: Arts and Humanities

Abstract

Images of fit male bodies are pervasive today across numerous media, at a time when there is significant cultural and sociopolitical pressure for all people to engage in practices of physical fitness. At the same time, 'fit' male bodies are often surrounded by myths and stereotypes, viewed as vain and unintelligent and communicating hegemonic masculinity. Male embodiment is a confusing territory. How are men today, especially young men whose identities are still in formation, meant to inhabit, work on, and identify with their bodies? Academic efforts to theorize men's fitness have been overly reductive and limited by their focus on verbal and visual accounts of fitness, rather than how a sporting body thinks, acts, and feels. The ambitious goal of this fellowship is to reconceive our understanding of the relationship between physical fitness and masculine gender construction. It aims to reframe the fit and sporting male body as a site for the production of 'new', alternative, and inclusive masculinities; where old identities and new social formations are contested and 'worked out.' Accordingly it supports a programme of research that investigates fitness as performance, thereby developing a new theoretical paradigm and making a significant contribution to performance studies, gender studies, and sociology of sport.

Through an innovative and interdisciplinary Performance Studies methodology grounded in ethnographic fieldwork and artistic practice-as-research, the project will offer a new understanding of physical fitness as embodied knowledge. Understanding fitness as performance reveals connections between the cultural performance of the fit male body in theatre, film, and other media, and the everyday performative acts of fitness in the gym and in the everyday world. Performance also provides a medium for practitioners, artists, and the public to explore the embodied knowledge of fitness through participation in its techniques.

A new understanding of men's fitness is crucial today when both masculinity and public health are important social issues, in order to offer an urgently needed corrective to over-simplified portrayals of 'masculinity in crisis.' The research will demonstrate in what way fitness is crucial to the performance and construction of the whole spectrum of modern masculinities, including non-normative, queer, and trans masculinities. It will provide new insights into the complex lived experience of men's fitness to reassess how it can promote healthy masculinities, alongside the public goods of wellbeing, friendship, and community.

The fellowship comprises a 6-month period of archival and secondary research, a 12-month period of fieldwork and creative practice-as-research, and a 6-month period of writing and dissemination leading to outputs including a monograph, three journal articles, and a series of performances. A programme of impact and leadership activities such as networking events, international symposium, applied drama workshop for teenage boys, and publicly focused articles for popular websites will champion performance and theatre studies as a key interdisciplinary methodology for masculinities research, and will set-up a research community engaged with the intersections of art and sport, with the aim of devising future collaborative projects with innovative new research methodologies.

Planned Impact

Dynamic Tensions will have significant impact among non-academic beneficiaries. As its primary aim is to create new understandings of the relation between gender identities and bodily practices, it will benefit young men, fitness professionals, and the general public by engaging these groups in discussions on contemporary masculinities and transforming ideas of 'what a man is' by showing the plurality of masculine identities today. Through a series of focused leadership activities it will also provide opportunities for networking among academics, artists, and fitness industry professionals, leading to innovative future projects that bridge the gap between academic research, artistic practice, and the fitness industry.

The project will engage young men of secondary school and university age with the research directly, through a series of workshops leading to a performance exploring masculinities, sport/exercise, and body image. Using an applied drama methodology, I will work with a group of young men to provide a space for storytelling and dialogue on identity and the body. Working with heads of drama and physical education in a London boys' school, the project will model a method for 'teaching gender' in schools and facilitate interdisciplinary working through its combination of dramaturgical techniques and physical exercise. While this impact activity is intended to have significant impact upon a small group of young men, a PDF resource pack will be produced enabling the performance to be delivered by other teachers and facilitators.

The project will benefit fitness professionals by enabling them to take part directly in a creative practice that reimagines and recontextualises their daily activities, embodied practices, and life histories, thereby prompting critical reflection. Staged as part of an existing high-profile venue/festival (discussions have taken place with the coordinator of the Arts and Humanities Festival at King's College London), the performance exhibition will also enable the general public to explore questions of the embodiment of masculinity in a highly accessible way. Audience feedback in the form of post-show discussion and survey will capture the responses of the public to the research. Post-performance roundtables will enable participants to discuss their creative choices with the public. This creative representation of fitness and the ensuing dialogue will be transformative because it will reframe perceptions of fitness from an exclusive practice to an inclusive one. In addition, the project will make substantial use of social networking media to reach non-academic research users. Online social networking, especially the photo/video sharing application Instagram, is a key site of performance for fitness professionals (including trainers, weightlifters, bodybuilders, and fitness models). Dynamic Tensions will make use of Instagram and Twitter to document and disseminate the research process. The website for the project will post news, blogs, and short articles, and media activities with relevant websites such as The Good Men Project and Breaking Muscle are planned.

Finally, the project will develop a research network in art, sport, and performance. This initiative will engage non-academic audiences such as artists and performers, and fitness professionals, with researchers in performance and theatre studies, sports studies, and gender studies. More importantly, through a series of network meetings culminating in an interdisciplinary symposium open to all, this initiative will also provide valuable networking opportunities for academic and non-academic end-users and consolidate an emerging field in art/performance and sport.

Publications

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Chow, BDV (2019) The Dynamic Tensions Physical Culture Show in Contemporary Theatre Review (Interventions)

 
Title The Dynamic Tensions Physical Culture Show 
Description The Dynamic Tensions Physical Culture Show was performed on 13 October 2017, at the Anatomy Museum, Kings College London. This one-off performance event brought together athletes and artists to explore the history of physical culture on the theatrical stage. Based on my archival research on the Dynamic Tensions project, The Dynamic Tensions Physical Culture Show brought the buried, intertwined histories of theatre and physical culture back into public discourse, not by re-enacting the past, but by "flexing" memory, as it were. Working with a group of performers, each with a very different background in physical culture and sport (including bodybuilding, strongman, wrestling, rugby, and weightlifting), the company has created a practice-as-research methodology combining autobiographical performance, verbatim theatre, physical performance, dance, and live art.The film, documenting the entirety of the performance, was made by Alexandros Papathanasiou. Credits: Director/Writer/Performer: Broderick Chow; Assistant Director/Performer: Jonathan Hinton; Performers: Philip Bedwell, Daniel Crute, Adam Johnson, Peter Moore, Phoebe Ransome, Jack Robinson; Coach: Kristian McPhee; Musical Director: Sally Goodworth; Technical Manager: Jelmer Tuinstra; Technical Assistant: Jamie Russell-Curtis; Technical Manager (KCL): James Hare; AHRI Producers: Laura Douglas, Vicky Bowman, Madeleine Ryan; Weightlifting Equipment: Courtesy of Kristian McPhee; Wrestling Mats: Get Set Hire (GSH); Videographer: Alexandros Papathanasiou; Post-Show Response and Discussion Chair: Kélina Gotman 
Type Of Art Performance (Music, Dance, Drama, etc) 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact The performance, by design, was an "unrepeatable" event, owing to the use of sport structures in its devising. It was performed for 85 audience members on 13 October 2017, followed by a post-show discussion. Feedback forms were filled out by audience members, in order to assess the impact of the performance (see Narrative Impact section). The performance resulted in a public-facing article for The Conversation, which has had 8515 individual readers, and was picked up by the national newspaper The Independent (848 readers). The film documentation of the performance has been viewed 414 times since its release on Vimeo on 9 November 2017. 
URL https://figshare.com/s/a15cf879a1643212c409
 
Title The Making of The Dynamic Tensions Physical Culture Show 
Description A short documentary that illustrates the process of The Dynamic Tensions Physical Culture show until its final presentation at Anatomy Museum, Kings College on the 13th of October 2017. The videographer is Alexandros Papathanasiou. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact 74 individual plays since its release on 22 November 2017. 
URL https://vimeo.com/244057101
 
Description The most significant finding from Dynamic Tensions: New Masculinities in the Performance of Fitness is a radically new reading of the history of physical fitness. This, in turn, has produced an important contribution to the conversation around masculinities in the 21st century and how they are performed in fitness culture. The award enabled extensive archival research at three primary sites: the British Library, the Billy Rose Theatre Division at the New York Public Library, and the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports, University of Texas at Austin. My research has found that it was in the popular theatre of the 19th and early 20th century that contemporary forms of training were invented, popularised, and disseminated. Physical culturists used theatrical performance as a way to spread their message and advertise their programmes, and what I now call the "physical culture show" was a ubiquitous form of popular theatre in the late 19th and early 20th century. However, despite the importance of physical culture to theatre and vice versa, there is a corresponding lack in both the disciplines of sport studies and theatre studies.

This "counter-genealogy" of physical fitness as theatre history prompts us to rethink much of what we know about health and fitness today. Theatre, which historically is often associated with fakery, challenges fitness's claims to scientific truth; its disciplinary procedures; and its ideology of authentic self-improvement. The historical finding therefore contributes to the second significant achievement: articulating a new and innovative theory of masculinities that I have called "theatrical masculinities." By locating the origin of the muscular male body ideal not in the transhistorical space of an imagined Ancient Greek past, but in the conscious aesthetic gesture of presenting the classical ideal on stage, I show how fit masculinities in everyday life are, to an extent, theatrical acts. In this context, acts with an everyday negative inflection such as "posing" and "showing off" become powerful tools for subverting and deconstructing cultural scripts. Presenting manly ideals on a stage as entertainment exposes them as cultural scripts rather than as an expression of an authentic (and ancient) "toxic masculinity."

My historical research was followed by a period of intensive fieldwork in gyms and training centres from April 2017-July 2017. Based on the historical-theoretical findings, my aim was less about explaining fitness sociologically than understanding it as a performative and theatrical practice, so I treated this fieldwork as a way of learning from other "practitioners"-what is their process, the way they "rehearse"? This led to the third significant finding/achievement from the award: the creation of an innovative practice-as-research methodology combining physical culture practices, autobiographical performance, verbatim theatre, and live art. Spanning ethnography and artistic practice, this might be seen as a useful method for qualitative research in sports and exercise (see below).

The project has achieved its original objectives:

Objective 1: To produce and communicate new knowledge across the fields of performance studies, critical men's studies, and sociology of sport.

As outlined above, my interdisciplinary methodology, crossing historical research, theatre studies, performance studies, ethnography, and artistic practice-as-research, has produced significant new knowledge for performance studies, men's studies, and sport studies. My findings are historical, theoretical, and methodological, and contribute to a radically new mode of thinking about fitness and gender construction. It is important to note the contribution of theatre studies-a somewhat overlooked and underestimated part of the humanities-to these findings.

I have articulated these findings across a number of completed and forthcoming outputs, including:

" The practice-as-research performance The Dynamic Tensions Physical Culture Show, performed on 13 October 2017 at the Anatomy Museum, Kings College London.
" An article for TDR: The Drama Review (in press)
" An article for Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise (in preparation)
" A monograph with University of Texas Press (under review)
" Five conference presentations across performance studies, men's studies/anthropology, and sociology of sport (Performance Studies International, June 2017, Hamburg, Germany; Extreme Masculinities/Extreme Anthropology Network, October 2017, Vienna, Austria; North American Society for Sociology of Sport, Windsor, Ontario, November 2017; Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise, Vancouver, Canada, June 2018; ASTR Forum 2018, San Diego, CA, November 2018).

Objective 2: model interdisciplinary methodologies for social research and champion practical research in performance as a method for other disciplines

I have created an interdisciplinary methodology that combines physical culture practices, autobiographical performance, verbatim theatre, and live art. Working with a number of collaborators, I have applied this methodology to the creation of the practice-as-research performance The Dynamic Tensions Physical Culture Show (13 October 2017) as well as a series of workshops with young men (to be delivered in Glasgow on 16 March 2018 and in Kent in May/June 2018). This methodology, importantly, removes the subject-object distinction found in traditional ethnographic research, by viewing the participants as collaborators (similar to Conquergood's idea of "co-performative witnessing"). By collaborating creatively, the process generates new understandings of fitness, body image, and gender. I have modelled this methodology to different audiences by presenting at conferences in anthropology, men's studies, and sociology of sport. I delivered a workshop and seminar during my time as a fellow at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, where I modelled this methodology to postgraduate students and staff. I also delivered two interdisciplinary network meetings/conferences (see Engagement Activities) in April 2017 and September 2018.

Objective 3: to engage academic and non-academic beneficiaries of the research and form a community for further research

I have engaged academic and non-academic beneficiaries of the research through the following activities:

" An international networking meeting in April 2017, and another planned symposium from September 14-15, 2018.
" Conference presentations across anthropology, sociology, men's studies, and performance studies.
" A workshop for young men to be delivered on 16 March 2018 and May/June 2018.
" Three articles for a non-academic audience (see Engagement Activities)
" Two interviews with journalist Oliver Bateman leading to articles in MEL Magazine (online men's magazine)
" The practice-as-research performance The Dynamic Tensions Physical Culture Show. Both participants and audience members reported changes in their perspectives on the subject of masculinity and fitness.
Exploitation Route The findings of Dynamic Tensions might be taken forward by educators, practitioners of sport and fitness, creative artists and performers, and potentially policy makers.

Currently, I am working with partners in Glasgow, Scotland to test a workshop methodology that we propose will enable the findings to be translated and used by a target audience of teenage boys, as well as teachers who work with young men. Initial creative responses will be gathered from the boys at the workshop. After this initial iteration (scheduled for 16 March 2018), we will follow-up and evaluate the workshop with the teachers involved and Head of PE to note what impact or benefits can be observed by the participants. Further iterations in a school in Kent, England will continue to refine the methodology. Follow-on funding will be applied for with an aim to roll out this programme on a larger scale. The aim is to make the methods and findings available for educators to use and adapt, through an online PDF resource pack and open access article.

The published findings, especially the monograph (in progress) will provide a historical and theoretical basis to bridge the gap between sport, fitness and the creative arts. Educators at all levels will be able to use these findings, encouraging communication between the traditionally divergent fields of the creative arts and sport. The findings will also potentially be of use to policy makers and those involved in societal conversations on masculinity.

Findings and methodologies have already been taken forward by artists and sport practitioners as a result of their participation in the Dynamic Tensions Physical Culture Show. Three of the artists involved have already reported changes in their practice as a result of the process. The findings will therefore have fluid and repeatable impact on future art practices. These productive conversations were continued in the symposium on 14-15 September 2018.

Finally, the findings will have specific impact on researchers and scholars in the humanities, who will make use of the interdisciplinary methodology modelled by the project. I have begun to communicate my findings and methodology to postgraduate researchers through training days with doctoral training consortia including CHASE and TECHNE, and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL https://ahrc-blog.com/2018/02/26/reenacting-masculinities-making-the-dynamic-tensions-physical-culture-show/
 
Description Dynamic Tensions: New Masculinities in the Performance of Fitness was motivated by contemporary tensions around the embodiment of masculinity, a confusing terrain in which men must navigate fitness, body image, and "toxic" masculine ideals. Through historical, field, and artistic research, the project has produced a radically new way of thinking about both physical culture and masculinities, that treats the embodiment of masculinity through fitness as a creative and expressive act. The findings have so far been disseminated through: a public performance; short, public-facing articles; and workshops and engagement events. Peer-reviewed published outputs including journal articles and a monograph will appear over the next year as they are submitted and go into press. So far, the impact of the research can be seen in requests for further information by other scholars, artists, and non-academic researchers (such as the Somers Town Historical Society). The public-facing articles have generated significant discussion and further dissemination through social media. The findings have also been translated and reported to a wider audience through interviews with journalist Oliver Bateman for two articles for MEL Magazine. In April 2017 the first network meeting/engagement event brought together academics from theatre, performance, and sport studies, artists, athletes, and fitness professionals, to engage in a day of talks, performances, and an experiential session led by Olympic Weightlifting coach Kristian McPhee. Discussions (documented on the Dynamic Tensions YouTube channel) (see Engagement Activities) revealed changes in the views and perspectives of participants as they engaged with the research in an embodied way. From July 2017 to the end of September 2017, I conducted a series of performance workshops with four performers/practitioners of physical culture and fitness, which led to The Dynamic Tensions Physical Culture Show, performed on 13 October 2017. Using an innovative methodology combining physical culture practices, verbatim theatre, autobiographical performance, and body art, I worked with the performers to create a series of acts that touch on life history, vulnerability, failure, strength, aging, and body image. While this is a small target group, the performers have reported changes in their practice(s). I will follow-up with the artists involved after six months (in April 2018), and then after one year, to evaluate the impact the process has had on their creative practice, and how this has been taken forward into the wider cultural landscape. The performance itself, while purposefully designed as a one-off, has caused measurable impact in the views of the audience, as captured through feedback forms after the performance, and the filmed post-show discussion. With a 54% response rate, 67% of respondents agreed that "some aspect of the performance has impacted on your views about fitness and physical culture" (15% reported that they disagreed with the statement, and 17% had no response). The question "has any aspect of the performance impacted upon your views about the concept of masculinity" was somewhat more mixed, perhaps reflecting the contentious nature of the topic itself: 39% reported "yes", 34% "no", and 26% had no response. While such feedback is a somewhat blunt instrument, it does demonstrate the potential of this artistic methodology to have create significant changes in the understanding of the audiences, which will produce further ripples of impact as the artists involved in the process begin to create and disseminate new work in different venues. I have used the findings to create a new workshop methodology with partners including the Glasgow-based artist David Banks, Kibble Education and Care Centre, and Everyday Athlete Gym. The workshop is targeted at young men between 13-16 and uses physical culture practices and the creative arts to explore questions of what it means to be masculine, strong, and fit. The first iteration of this workshop will take place on 16 March 2018. This will sow seeds for future iterations, as well as building a link between organizations and instituting another way of teaching physical education and the creative arts. It will have specific benefits from the small group of young men participating. It will also model ways of improving access to and participation in physical fitness. I will follow-up with teachers after three months in order to evaluate any changes in the participants. Future iterations of the workshop (in May/June, and after the close of the award) will continue to refine the method and create a model for teachers to deliver autonomously. Since the previous submission, I delivered a conference on 14-15 September, involving a targeted audience of academics (from the arts and humanities, sport studies, and gender studies), athletes, fitness practitioners, and artists. Sport/Spectacle build on the model of the first networking event/workshop and included a durational workshop on boxing with P. Solomon Lennox. Sport/Spectacle also manifested impact from the previous year's workshops as Philip Bedwell, one of the fitness professionals/artists involved in the Dynamic Tensions Physical Culture show and preceding workshops, premiered a new performance, directly influenced by the methodology developed in the research. From summer 2018 onwards, I was invited to be consultant on Fight Night, a new immersive theatre show by Exit Productions, who had engaged with my research in sport/theatre. Fight Night centres on a boxing match, and I provided my guidance on the presentation of sport in theatrical spectacle. My research had significant impact on new cultural production as Exit Productions was awarded Arts Council funding, presented the show at the highly regarded Vault Festival, and received numerous 4* and 5* reviews. I have continued to be involved with the company's development as they work on their next run for the Battersea Arts Centre.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Creative Economy,Education,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description Consultation on Fight Night, by Exit Productions, influence on new artistic product and practice
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
URL https://vaultfestival.com/whats-on/fight-night/
 
Description Difficult Feelings Presentation for CHASE DTP Consortium
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
URL http://www.chase.ac.uk/researching-difficult-feelings/
 
Description Dynamic Tensions Workshops (Scotland) 
Organisation Everyday Athlete
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution As PI, I made initial contact to David Banks, a performance artist and community arts practitioner in Glasgow, with similar research and artistic interests. Since Dec 2017, we have worked together to create an Applied Theatre x Physical Culture workshop methodology, aimed at young men between 13-16. The workshop is a sport-inspired performing arts workshop that will introduce students to techniques integrating the creative arts with fitness and sport practices. Participants will be introduced to basic moves from weight training/weightlifting and parkour, facilitated by qualified instructors, before creating theatre improvisations inspired by these practices. Participants will gain new awareness of their bodies, their environment, and their relations to others, alongside an understanding of physical training and the confidence this can bring. I have contributed intellectual expertise, archival materials, theoretical models, field data, and new methodologies gained through the Dynamic Tensions project. My expertise as a Olympic Weightlifting practitioner and coach is central to the workshop, as is my expertise as a theatre-maker and teacher. I have also contributed my contacts and ongoing relationship with Everyday Athlete gym in Glasgow.
Collaborator Contribution David Banks is a performance artist and community arts practitioner, who is interested in masculinities, space, and transforming everyday environments through movement and performance practice. He has contributed a specific expertise as a parkour coach as well as having worked with various community groups and young people. He was key to setting up a relationship with another partner, Kibble Education and Care Centre. Kibble's head of PE, Joe McGoldrick, has engaged a group of his young male students between 13-16 for the initial iteration of this workshop on 16 March 2018, with a view to making this an ongoing partnership. Everyday Athlete is an independent gym and training facility in the Port Dundas area of Glasgow. They have contributed their facility and equipment for the initial iteration of the workshop.
Impact Dynamic Tensions: Applied Theatre x Physical Culture Workshop #1. Workshop will take place with a small client group of 5-8 young people on 16 March 2018. Banks and I will evaluate the workshop findings shortly after, and follow-up with McGoldrick at Kibble in order to determine the workshop's impact and efficacy, and the next stages for the partnership.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Dynamic Tensions Workshops (Scotland) 
Organisation Kibble Education and Care Centre
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution As PI, I made initial contact to David Banks, a performance artist and community arts practitioner in Glasgow, with similar research and artistic interests. Since Dec 2017, we have worked together to create an Applied Theatre x Physical Culture workshop methodology, aimed at young men between 13-16. The workshop is a sport-inspired performing arts workshop that will introduce students to techniques integrating the creative arts with fitness and sport practices. Participants will be introduced to basic moves from weight training/weightlifting and parkour, facilitated by qualified instructors, before creating theatre improvisations inspired by these practices. Participants will gain new awareness of their bodies, their environment, and their relations to others, alongside an understanding of physical training and the confidence this can bring. I have contributed intellectual expertise, archival materials, theoretical models, field data, and new methodologies gained through the Dynamic Tensions project. My expertise as a Olympic Weightlifting practitioner and coach is central to the workshop, as is my expertise as a theatre-maker and teacher. I have also contributed my contacts and ongoing relationship with Everyday Athlete gym in Glasgow.
Collaborator Contribution David Banks is a performance artist and community arts practitioner, who is interested in masculinities, space, and transforming everyday environments through movement and performance practice. He has contributed a specific expertise as a parkour coach as well as having worked with various community groups and young people. He was key to setting up a relationship with another partner, Kibble Education and Care Centre. Kibble's head of PE, Joe McGoldrick, has engaged a group of his young male students between 13-16 for the initial iteration of this workshop on 16 March 2018, with a view to making this an ongoing partnership. Everyday Athlete is an independent gym and training facility in the Port Dundas area of Glasgow. They have contributed their facility and equipment for the initial iteration of the workshop.
Impact Dynamic Tensions: Applied Theatre x Physical Culture Workshop #1. Workshop will take place with a small client group of 5-8 young people on 16 March 2018. Banks and I will evaluate the workshop findings shortly after, and follow-up with McGoldrick at Kibble in order to determine the workshop's impact and efficacy, and the next stages for the partnership.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Stark Center 
Organisation University of Texas at Austin
Department H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution During the active research grant, the PI (Chow) made several trips to the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports, the only archive for physical culture history in the world. The archive is based at the University of Texas, but is mainly privately funded. My contribution to the partnership has taken two forms: (1) public engagement and raising the profile of the Center; and (2) intellectual work. I have raised the profile of the Center academically and in the public eye through my numerous public engagement activities, conference papers, and forthcoming publications, where I have highlighted the mission and history of the Center. In terms of intellectual work, I have contributed to the intellectual mission of the Center as the first scholar to investigate the Stanley Rothwell Papers, and by doing initial sorting work on the as yet unprocessed Tommy Kono papers. More recently, I have been awarded funding by the Brunel University London Global Lives Research Centre, to write an AHRC Standard Grant for an interdisciplinary digital humanities project on the papers of the Japanese American athlete Tommy Kono with CI and Center director Professor Jan Todd.
Collaborator Contribution The Stark Center has contributed 500 USD in kind through the waiving of image reproduction fees for a forthcoming article, and has agreed to continue this in kind contribution in the eventual monograph. They also agreed to the use of images in a live performance and the subsequent documentation. The Center has also provided office space during my research visits, and is contributing space and academic time for the forthcoming grant writing workshop (July 2019).
Impact Broderick D.V. Chow, The Dynamic Tensions Physical Culture Show, Anatomy Museum, Kings College London. 2017. Documentation: https://vimeo.com/242013620 and https://vimeo.com/244057101. Broderick D.V. Chow, "The Dynamic Tensions Physical Culture Show", Contemporary Theatre Review (Interventions), 28: 4 (2019), available at: https://www.contemporarytheatrereview.org/2019/the-dynamic-tensions-physical-culture-show/ Broderick D.V. Chow, 'Sculpting Masculinities in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Physical Culture: The Practiced Life of Stanley Rothwell', TDR: The Drama Review (accepted; in press June 2019).
Start Year 2017
 
Description Article for Londonist: The Bouncer Who Modelled For London's Statues 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact The article summarized new archival research in The Stanley Rothwell Papers, held by the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports, University of Texas at Austin. As a direct result of the article I was contacted for further information by two members of the Somers Town Historical Society, who are researching the Chalton Ring where Rothwell once performed. A more important outcome was that Rothwell's son, Bill, contacted me. We have since met and he has contributed further information to the project, as well as previously unseen materials from his father's archive.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://londonist.com/london/history/the-london-bouncer-who-became-a-model-for-the-city-s-statues
 
Description Article for The Conversation: The unlikely origins of fitness culture could give us a different view on what it is to be a man 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The article summarizes the major theoretical findings from the Dynamic Tensions project, especially the major performance outcome (see "Artistic and Creative Products"). The article has had 8516 readers to date, and was republished by The Independent (849 readers to date). There were over 30 comments made on the Conversation website. The article was tweeted 13 times and shared 251 times on Facebook. Discussion on the article was lively and at times contentious, but some readers reported changes in their views, especially after my direct engagement.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://theconversation.com/the-unlikely-origins-of-fitness-culture-could-give-us-a-different-view-o...
 
Description Article for The Conversation: Unlike the real strongmen, Trump's politics is all spectacle and no technique 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The article drew on initial archival research from physical culture publications in the British Library, and applied theoretical and historical analysis to the November 2016 U.S. election race. It has had 8718 readers to date and was republished by Business Insider and Raw Story. Fifteen comments across different platforms engaged with the article, and it was shared 36 times on Facebook.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://theconversation.com/unlike-the-real-strongmen-trumps-politics-is-all-spectacle-and-no-techni...
 
Description Cambridge Interdisciplinary Performance Network: Heracles's Surrogates 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I gave a short provocation at an interdisciplinary seminar on Classics and gender studies, on the theme of "Heracles's Body: An Unlikely Site of Gender Contestation." The talk mainly targeted graduate students at the University of Cambridge, across different disciplines. The seminar was shared with classicist Chiara Bianco. Our different perspectives produced a lively discussion and I received requests for further information about my research after the seminar.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Conference/Research Networking Event: Sport/Spectacle 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Sport/Spectacle: Performing, Labouring, Circulating Bodies across Theatre, Dance, Sport, and Live Art was the second research networking event and final conference of the grant, and took place on 14-15 September 2018. The audience included academics from theatre, dance, performance, sport studies, and fine arts, fitness professionals, and members of the general public with an investment in the topic (e.g. members of a London running club). Participants included keynote Jennifer Doyle, Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside, academics from theatre and dance, fitness professionals, and fine artists. Live artist Philip Bedwell presented his new performance Accepting Gravity, and P. Solomon Lennox presented a durational performance/workshop on boxing, The Distance. Plans were made for future networking events at the University of Chichester and University of Aberystwyth, and a new seminar series on performance and sport will be running at Aberystwyth in 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sportspectacle-art-performance-and-sport-tickets-48273587600#
 
Description Graduate workshop on arts-based research at University of Texas at Austin 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I delivered a workshop on arts-based research methodologies and Practice-as-Research in the arts to graduate students of the Performance as a Public Practice programme at the University of Texas at Austin. This workshop drew on the research and outcomes funded by this award, in particular, The Dynamic Tensions Physical Culture Show. I was approached by several students for further information and guidance after the seminar and by email.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description MEL Magazine Interview ("The Fake Strongmen of Instagram") 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact I was interviewed by journalist Oliver Bateman for a story on the history of fake strongmen for MEL, an online men's magazine. The article has been "clapped" over 200 times and sparked discussion below the line.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://melmagazine.com/the-fake-strongmen-of-instagram-7a6e77a82981
 
Description MEL Magazine Interview, "Veganism and CrossFit Have Redefined Pro Wrestling's Perfect Body Type" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact I was interviewed by journalist Oliver Bateman for a story on male body image, pro-wrestling, and changing fitness practices for MEL, an online men's magazine. The story has been "clapped" over 50 times and generated discussion on social media including Twitter and Facebook.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://melmagazine.com/veganism-and-crossfit-have-redefined-pro-wrestlings-perfect-body-type-b03978...
 
Description Networking Meeting/Workshop: Defiant Embodiments 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Defiant Embodiments was the first interdisciplinary networking event of the Dynamic Tensions project. It brought together academics, artists, postgraduate students and fitness and sports professionals to engage with research and practice at the intersection of theatre and performance studies, and sports studies. The participants were comprised of academics and postgraduate students from theatre, dance, performance, and sports studies, as well as fitness and sports professionals. In keeping with the Dynamic Tension's focus on embodied research, participants took part in a weightlifting workshop with Olympic Weightlifting coach Kristian McPhee. There were two performances presented by artists from Ireland and New Zealand (remotely). The day was concluded with a keynote presentation from live artist Kira O'Reilly. Participants were drawn from the UK, US, Ireland, New Zealand and Finland. Participants reported increased interest in embodied research methods and plans were made for future collaborative research and publication.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9xsLdpAFRzGpRXp5JsQtq8wzJwBBm35N
 
Description University of Buffalo, Humanities Institute Visiting Fellowship 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I was visiting fellow at the Humanities Institute, University at Buffalo, State University of New York in November 2017. I delivered a research seminar for postgraduate students and staff as well as a PhD and MFA training session with students in the UB Theatre Department. In addition to disseminating research findings, the training session focused on embodied research methods. Students and staff requested further information on my research and methods, and have reported changes in their approaches to current research projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017