Professor Maria Delgado Appointed as Central's New Director of Research

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Friday, 29 May 2015

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London is delighted to announce that Professor Maria Delgado has been appointed as the School’s new Director of Research. Professor Delgado will take up her post in the autumn at the beginning of the 15/16 academic year.

Maria Delgado joins Central following eighteen years at Queen Mary University of London, which were preceded by teaching roles at the University of Hull and Manchester Metropolitan University. As Professor of Theatre and Screen Arts at Queen Mary, Maria has played a key role in the formation and development of Queen Mary’s Drama department with its excellence now internationally recognised, across both undergraduate and postgraduate provision.

Her award-winning research, published in seven languages, includes two monographs and over a dozen co-edited books in Spanish-language theatre and film, European theatre and the mapping of directorial practice. She has given over sixty guest lectures at a range of universities and cultural institutions within the UK, USA, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia and her visiting positions include the George Watson Fellowship at the University of Queensland and the Gerzsten Family Foundation residency at the University of Virginia. She has extensive experience of research and artistic assessment for a range of UK funding bodies including the AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust and Arts Council England. She served as Chair for the panel for Music, Drama, Dance and the Performing Arts for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.

Beyond academia, Maria has a long track record of collaboration with the creative industries. This includes eighteen years as a programme advisor for the London Film Festival, curatorial work for the London Spanish Film Festival and British Film Institute, advisory work for a range of theatre companies and film organisations, and prolific work as a critic – both for a range of BBC radio programmes and print outlets like Sight & Sound and Plays International. She is currently Chair of the award-winning Actors Touring Company.

Of her appointment, Professor Delgado said:
"I am delighted to be joining Central at an exciting time in its history. I particularly welcome the opportunity to develop a new research strategy and to lead a programme of research investment which builds upon Central’s track record of success. I am very much looking forward to working with a new team of colleagues at a unique conservatoire within the university sector and with a remarkable worldwide reputation for excellence."

Professor Ross Brown, Dean of Central, said:
"Maria is joining Central at a time that is both critical and exciting for the performing arts. The industry is looking to specialist training institutions such as Central not only to be suppliers of skilled practitioners, but also to be collaborators in shaping the theatre and performance arts of the future. Together, we can ensure that these important art forms remain creatively alive, relevant and world-leading. Practical enquiry and a critical understanding will be key to this, and Research will play an important role in the theatre arts conservatoire of the future. I can think of no one better suited to be joining Central to lead this important aspect of our mission than Maria Delgado. I am delighted to welcome her to the School."

Professor Simon Shepherd, Central’s Professor Emeritus of Theatre, said:
"Just over ten years ago Central began on the journey to develop its research strength. In doing so it created a new sort of institution in its field, combining conservatoire with research-based education. This was recognised in the recent REF success, built by previous research leaders. The appointment of Professor Maria Delgado marks the beginning of a major new phase, and new energising, of Central’s as-yet unfinished journey."

Professor Gavin Henderson CBE, Principal of Central said:
"Maria Delgado brings to Central a wealth of achievements in dramatical research, notably in Latin American theatre – something which fits well with Central’s international development. The possibilities for practice-based research at this conservatoire, within the university sector, are enormous. We welcome Maria Delgado as someone who will surely take this work forward."

Michael Grandage CBE, President of Central said:
"The appointment of Maria Delgado as Central’s new Director of Research is an important moment in the School’s development. As Central’s international reputation continues to evolve, it’s wonderful to have a highly regarded figure on the contemporary arts scene at the centre of all our work. I wish her well in this important post."

The appointment of Central’s Director of Research follows the release in December of the results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), in which Central’s overall profile in terms of world-leading (4*) research was the highest of all the assessed drama and music conservatoires in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In March, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) announced that it would nearly double Central’s research grant allocation for the 2015-16 academic year; one of the highest increases in the sector, it will enable the School to continue to invest in its world-leading research programme.

Maria is joining Central at a time that is both critical and exciting for the performing arts. The industry is looking to specialist training institutions such as Central not only to be suppliers of skilled practitioners, but also to be collaborators in shaping the theatre and performance arts of the future.

- Professor Ross Brown