Russian Trauma and Scenography Explored in International Postdoc

Olga Nikolaeva to the right. Secnography session at the Nordik conference in 2018.
Olga Nikolaeva to the right. Secnography session at the Nordik conference in 2018.

We congratulate Dr Olga Nikolaeva on her international postdoc project granted the Swedish Research Council spring 2020.

The aim of her project is to attract attention to women practitioners in contemporary Russian theatre and thus, to challenge hidden discrimination of their creative practices. To do so, the project focuses on the analysis of works created in collaboration between women theatre directors and women stage artists and explores how they engage with the representation of trauma. The selection of performances that engage with the representation of trauma is endorsed by problems in the sociocultural sphere in contemporary Russia, where the subjects of trauma and traumatic experiences can be perceived as threatening to the populist agenda of the state. However, while trauma, alongside memory and history, is continuously fractured and molded to sustain the political narrative, women practitioners continue to challenge the limits of articulation and apprehension of trauma in their work. To analyze the representation of trauma, the study relies on a recent theoretical development in the field of scenography and combines first-hand observation of performances with interviews with women practitioners. The project will fill a gap in the existing international scholarship on women practitioners in the context of Russian theatre and will significantly contribute to the understanding of the representation of trauma in creative practices. The 3-year project will be based at the Department for Music and Art, Linnaeus University and at the Aleksanteri Institute, the University of Helsinki. The Swedish title of the project is: "Kvinnliga utövare och scenografi av trauma inom samtida ryska teater."

Olga Nikolaeva is a PhD in Art History and Visual Studies, graduated from the Department of Cultural Sciences, University of Gothenburg. She holds a MA in Visual Culture from Lund University and a Specialist Degree in Art History from Russian State University for the Humanities. Her main interests are audiovisual presentation and scenography of live music performances.

Astrid von Rosen