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Dr Jamie Harper

Job: Senior Research Fellow

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Nursing and Midwifery

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: N/A



Personal profile

Jamie Harper is a theatre director, play designer and performance researcher. He trained on the Directors’ Course at LAMDA and went on to win the JMK Directors’ Award and National Theatre Cohen Bursary which led to a year as Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio. In 2013, he received a Churchill Trust Travelling Fellowship to research the intersection of game design and drama at University of Miami and, following this project, he has made several participatory performance works that incorporate play including: Archipelago, The Lowland Clearances and The City Limits for Camden People's Theatre, People Vs Democracy at the Free Word Centre, Here is the Place (with artist Adam James) for Serpentine Galleries, Nudge, which was the runner up for Headlong Theatre’s 2016 Digital Artist Award, Washing Machine for the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and Migrations of Cool at the Arebyte Gallery in Hackney Wick. He is an active member of the Nordic Larp (live action role-play) community and has presented larp works at international festivals including Grenselandet in Oslo, Blackbox CPH in Copenhagen and Minsk Larp Festival in Belarus. He recently completed a practice-led PhD in participatory performance at Newcastle University.

Publications and outputs

Harper, Jamie, [Forthcoming] Learning to Play with Memory: Participatory performance and the pedagogical potential of self-documentation. Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance.

Harper, Jamie, [Forthcoming] Interrupting Immersive Immediacy: Pursuing reflexive hypermediacy in the play of participatory performance. The Drama Review.

Harper, Jamie, [Forthcoming] From Excavation to Reconfiguration: Emergent co-creation in playful performance. Well Played: A Journal on Video Games, Value and Meaning.

Harper, Jamie. 2020. In Search of Lost Weather: Temporal reflexivity and ecological awareness in participatory performance. Ambiances: International Journal of Sensory Environment, Architecture and Urban Space, Issue 6.

Harper, Jamie. 2019. Meaningful Play: Applying game and play design practices to promote agency in participatory performance. International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, Vol. 15(3) pp. 360-374.

Research interests/expertise

Jamie’s research is concerned with the aesthetics and politics of participatory performance, with a specific focus on games and playful forms of creativity. His doctoral research investigated how participatory performance might be designed in collaboration with specific groups in order to address issues of concern for the people involved. He also explored the role of participatory self-documentation and memory in pedagogical practices. His recent work has addressed the aesthetics of space and time in play, taking a critical perspective towards valorisations of immersive immediacy in contemporary performance and digital media. He is currently investigating overlaps between play and ecology as a research theme, both in terms of environmental concerns and the social settings in which play takes place.


  • PhD in Performance, Newcastle University
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Theatre Directing, London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
  • BA (Hons) in English Literature, University of Sheffield

Honours and awards

  • Winston Churchill Trust Travelling Fellowship (2013)
  • A travel award to research the overlap of games and drama at University of Miami
  • National Theatre Cohen Bursary (2006)
  • An award to support a year-long residency at the National Theatre Studio
  • JMK Directors' Award (2006)
  • An award for young directors to support a new theatre production.


Jamie is Senior Research Fellow for Talent 25, a 25-year action research programme in Leicester which focuses on creative arts activities with early years’ children and their families. The project investigates the interventions needed to increase opportunities for artistic engagement at the earliest possible point.

Conference attendance

Critical Theatre Ecologies
University of Augsburg (June 2021)
Conference Paper: ‘Performing Resilience: Spatio-Temporal Reflexivity in Live Action Role-Play Drama’

Immersive Experiences Symposium
University of Tampere, Centre of Excellence in Games Research (March 2020, Cancelled)
Conference Paper: ‘Interrupting Immersive Immediacy: Pursuing Reflexive Hypermediacy in Play’

Sharing Space Symposium
Queen’s University, Belfast (June 2018)
Conference Paper: ‘Praxical Dissonance: An argument for the value of discord in practice-based arts research’ 

Critical Care Symposium
London South Bank University (March 2018)
Conference Presentation: ‘An argument for self-care in the play of participatory performance’

Research in Real-Time: Practice in Progress Conference
National University of Ireland, Galway (May, 2017)
Conference Workshop Presentation: Common or Garden (live action role-play work)

Spectating Play Conference
University of Tampere, Finland (April 2017)
Conference Paper: ‘The Witness Player Continuum: An Anti-Transcendent Approach to Play Spectatorship’

Consultancy work

Jamie offers research consultancy to organisations who wish to use playful creative strategies to enhance the participatory engagement of the communities that they work with. He is currently working with The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre in Hampshire on a project which explores how play activities led by resident artists may encourage local people to develop a deeper connection with the venue.