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Josh Cannon

Research student

Lancaster University

The LICA Building



Tel: +44 1524 595108

Research overview

Currently undertaking a Practice-as-Research PhD that explores how the practices of YouTube vlogging elicit new ways of making and thinking about performance from theoretical and practice-based perspectives. YouTube is filled with examples of performance, but vlogs are of specific interest as they are a direct product of the internet and only exist in the digital world. Speculative pragmatism is of key importance to my understanding of current, emergent and potential YouTube vlogging practices. 

Research Grants

Arts and Humanities Research Council NWCDTP - Scholarship

Current Teaching

LICA180 - Introduction to Theatre Studies

LICA102E - Fundamentals of Drama I: Histories and Cultures,

LICA102F - Fundamentals of Drama II: Social and Political Engagements,

LICA382 - New Writing in Contemporary British Theatre

Thesis Title

YouTube Vlogging and Speculative Pragmatism

Current Research


 My research is partly constructed as a response to a gap in critical and contextual thinking on vlogging from within postdigital theory and performance studies. Postdigital theory proposes that the binaries of digital vs. physical are no longer useful in analysing or conceptualising performance (Cramer 2015; Causey 2016), but little has been written on the potential impact of purely digital forms on performance practice or on the ways in which a theoretical interrogation of these forms bring new understandings to how we theorise live performance, particularly those genres of performance that use digital technology. For instance, YouTube was launched in 2005 and has over one billion users today and is the second most visited web-site in the world, yet little has been written about the platform from the perspective of performance. Andy Lavender (2016) and Bennet Kleinberg (2018) have made an important start by analysing different types of video on YouTube, different personas adopted by YouTubers, and other elements that contribute to a wider understanding of what constitutes performance on the platform. However, there is an absence in written scholarship and research-based performance practice that directly explores this culturally significant landscape, particularly when addressing how vlogging techniques mark changing conceptions of language, space, time, subjectivity and the body within contemporary culture. Furthermore, YouTube scholarship (e.g., Snickars and Vonderau 2009) never explores in detail the modes of performance that are clearly key to what might be considered an ‘ontology’ of vlogging. 

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