PROF Rachel Fensham

PROF Rachel Fensham


  • Digital Humanities (archives, visualisation technologies, collections, user interaction)
  • Gender Studies (gender, bodies, identity)
  • Performing Arts (dance, theatre, circus, bodies, audience research)



  • Rachel Fensham is Director of the Digital Studio, Faculty of Arts and a Professor of Dance and Theatre. She is lead CI on a ARC Linkage project investigating the impact of theatre for young people in regional Victoria, that has created CIRCUIT, a mapping tool for touring of theatre in Australia; and CI for the Humanities and Social Sciences Data-Enhanced Virtual Laboratory (HASS-DEVL) for the ARDC. in all her research, the role and integration of methodologies from the digital humanities plays a critical role alongside other methods such as fieldwork, close analysis of embodied performance and community engagement. Recent publications include "Making and Assembling" in the Routledge Handbook of Interdisciplinary Research Methods (2018) and' Issues in Dance Research' for the Bloomsbury Handbook of Dance Studies (2019). Refereed journal articles include Performance Research (2018) and Dance Research (2019). She is currently preparing a monograph on "Movement: Theory for Theatre" for Methuen. Publication history includes "To Watch Theatre: Essays on Genre and Corporeality" (Peter Lang, 2009); "Dancing Naturally: nature, neo-classicism and modernity in early twentieth century dance" (co-edited with Alexandra Carter, Palgrave, 2011) and "The Dolls' Revolution: Australian theatre and cultural imagination" (co-authored with Denise Varney, Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2005). With Professor Peter M. Boenisch, she is co-editor of the Palgrave book series, "New World Choreographies" which has just launched its seventh title:   


Member of

  • Dance Studies Association. Member, Congress of Research on Dance 2007 - 2018
  • Australasian Drama Studies Association. Member 1999 - 2018
  • Performance Studies international (PSi). Member, Performance and Pedagogy Group 1999 - 2018


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information

  • 1. Creative Convergence: Evaluating Theatre for Young People in Regional Victoria, DP, ARC, 2017-2020. 2. Social and Cultural Informatics Platform (SCIP) - funded by University of Melbourne Collaborative Research Infrastructure Program, 2014-2020. 3. Humanities and Social Sciences Data-Enhanced Virtual Laboratory, ARDC 2019. 4. The Living Archive, McCoy Project, UoM 2019.   


Education and training

  • PhD, Monash University 1998
  • MA, University of Melbourne 1992
  • GDMD, University of Melbourne 1988
  • BA Hons, University of Melbourne 1980

Awards and honors

  • Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, 2012
  • Kathleen Barker Award, Society for Theatre Research, 2010
  • Marlis Thiersch Award, Australasian Drama Studies Association, 2004
  • Brian Fitzpatrick History Prize, University of Melbourne, 1980



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • Across my career in the UK, US and Australia, over 30 graduate students have completed doctoral projects under my supervision and gone on to have significant careers and publication profiles. I very much enjoy nurturing the research capacities of graduate students and welcome enquiries for supervision in relation to dance history and theory, performance studies, digital humanities, archival practices and cultural history. Current Graduate Research: Abbie Trott - "Remixing Stories: Engaging Young People in Theatre through Participatory Media", PhD 2017-2019. Andrew Furhmann: "Lucy Guerin: Contemporary Poetics in Contemporary Dance", PhD 2018-2020. Mihai Bacaran: "Unmaking the Human Body: Specta(c)torship in Internet Art", PhD 2018-2020.