Laura Bissell

Lecturer, Contemporary Performance Practice


Dr Laura Bissell (she/her) is Interim Head of Contemporary Performance Practice BA (Hons.) and Lecturer in Research at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Laura was a visiting lecturer on the MRes in Creative Practices programme at Glasgow School of Art from 2012-2018 and has taught on the Transart Institute MFA in Berlin. She has a PhD (The Female Body, Technology and Performance: Performing a Feminist Praxis, University of Glasgow), an MPhil by Research (The Posthuman Body in Performance, University of Glasgow), and a first-class MA (Hons) degree in English Literature and Theatre Studies (University of Glasgow). Laura has a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Arts Education and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She worked as at the University of Glasgow in the Theatre Studies department as a Lecturer prior to her appointment at RCS. Laura is currently External Examiner for the MA in Contemporary Performance Practice at the University of Salford and has previously been External Examiner for European Theatre Arts at Rose Bruford College. Laura has had her poetry, creative writing and academic writing published in journals and anthologies. 

Teaching commitments

Laura is responsible for delivering Critical and Contextual Understanding, including Performance Studies, Performance Research and Performance Writing modules. She co-ordinates the Collaborations and Placement modules.

Research interests

Laura’s research interests include contemporary performance practices; technology and performance; feminist performance; ecology and performance; and performance and journeys. Laura has presented her research on contemporary practices at conferences nationally and internationally and she has had her work published in the International Journal of Performance Art and Digital Media, The Body, Space Technology Journal, Studies in Theatre and Performance, The Scottish Journal of Performance and Contemporary Theatre Review. 

Recent Publications 

  • Performance in a Pandemic, co-edited with Dr Lucy Weir, Routledge, November 2021.  
  • Making Routes: Journeys in Performance 2010-20, co-authored with Dr David Overend, Triarchy, September 2021. 
  • “Training Artists in Times of Crisis” co-authored with Gary Gardiner, Sarah Hopfinger and Rachel O’Neill, Performance Research 25:8 Training Utopias, (August 2021)  
  • “Landscaping with Beavers” Ecologies of Practice RUUKKU 14, (June 2020) 
  • “Tidal spaces: choreographies of remembrance and forgetting” Cultural Geographies in Practice (May 2020) 
  • “Liquidscapes: The Sea and Self”, Liquidscapes ed. Richard Povall. Artearth, 2019.

  • “There Is Such a Thing: Feminist Mimesis in Contemporary Performance in the UK” Contemporary Theatre Review Volume 28 Number 4, 522-536, January 2019.

  • Book Review: Swim Pretty: Aquatic Spectacles and the Performance of Race, Gender and Nature by Jennifer A. Kokai.Theatre Journal, Johns Hopkins University Press Volume 71, Number 1, 124-125 March 2019.

  • “Tide Times: Responding to Cramond” Body, Space, Technology Volume 18 Issue 1, March 2019).

  • Bissell, Bozdog, Gonzalez, Watson eds. Art of Care: Scottish Journal of Performance Special Edition, Volume 5 Issue 1. April 2018.

  • "Screen-casting as a Technology-enhanced Feedback Mode" Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, Vol 5, No 1, January 2017.

  • “Pillow Talk: The Legacy of Adrian Howells in Glasgow” Bissell, L. (ed.) & Thorpe, J. (ed.) Jun 2016 It's All Allowed: The Performance of Adrian Howells. Heddon, D. & Johnson, D. (eds.). Bristol, p. 288 299.

  • “Water Matters: Tug onboard and Tug footpath” Studies in Theatre and Performance, Volume 36, 2016 - Issue 2 April 2016.

  • “Regular Routes: Deep Mapping a Performative Counterpractice for the Daily Commute” co-authored with David Overend. Humanities, Volume 4, Issue 3, 476–499, September 2015. “Early Days: Reflections on the Performance of a Referendum” co-authored with David Overend, Contemporary Theatre Review Volume 25, Issue 2, May 2015.

  • “Reflections on a mobile train conference from Helsinki to Rovaniemi” Cultural Geographies 2015 10.1177. February 2015.


Research Student Supervision

  • Doctoral supervisor for Isla Cowan: Ecological Consciousness in Contemporary Scottish Theatre (AHRC studentship with University of Glasgow).

  • Doctoral supervisor for Maria Braender: How to make the world felt: devising and performing with a more-than-human-perspective, RCS.

  • Doctoral supervisor for Aby Watson: Disordering Dance: Dyspraxia and Dance, RCS.

  • Doctoral supervisor for Mona Bozdog: Connecting Performance and Play: Establishing Interdisciplinary Design Methods for the Development of Video Games and Performance (Applied Research Collaborative Studentship) with RCS, NTS and University of Abertay (completed June 2018). 


Professional highlights


  • RCS COP26 Task Force 
  • Co-chair of RCS Sustainability Committee 
  • 2014-present: Member of RCS Research Degrees Committee 
  • 2014-2017: Associate Editor for the Theatre, Dance and Performance Training journal 
  • 2015- 2018: Elected staff governor on Board of Governors at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland 
  • 2013-14: Arches Creative Learning Board Member 
  • 2011-2016 Board member and Secretary for A Moment’s Peace theatre company 
  • 2011-present: Making Routes (a network for artists working in the field of performance and journeys)

Membership of Professional Bodies/External Posts

  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
  • External Examiner for European Theatre Arts BA (Hons.) at Rose Bruford College.
  • Qualified Hatha Yoga Instructor (Balance, accredited by Yoga Alliance Professionals). 
  • Mental Health First Aid Qualification (MHFA England) 

Supervisor for

Beyond the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland...