Professor John Hall

Job title
Emeritus Professor of Performance Writing

I had a long career at Dartington College of Arts before its merger with Falmouth. In 2011 I became the first professor of Performance Writing and now work mostly with research: running the Research Student Development Programme for first year PhD students, supervising a number of PhD candidates, participating more generally in the research life of the institution, more specifically in the cross-disciplinary research relating to performance and more specifically still in the Performance Writing Research Group. 

I have been publishing as a poet since 1966, consistently producing essays on contemporary poetics and poems since the early 1990s, contributing to the growing body of work on performance writing since 1994, and making visual texts for frames and cards since about the same date. A second selection of poems for pages called Keepsache and designed as a companion to 1999's Else Hereappeared in November 2013. October 2013 saw the publication of Essays on Performance Writing, Poetics and Poetry, a two-volume collection of essays. I have also had a number of gallery showings in solo and group exhibitions. 

In addition to my Falmouth role I am a visiting professor at York St John University, an associate editor of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, a member of the editorial boards of Performance Research and the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry and a trustee for Actiontrack, a participatory arts company based in Somerset.

Photograph of John Hall:  ©DominicSteinmann/CartelPhotos/Falmouth University


YearQualificationAwarding body
BA Hons, English Literature
Cambridge University
Certificate of Education
Southampton University
PhD (on the basis of published works): 'Writings, Readings and Not Writing: poems, prose fiction and essays'
Dartington / University of Plymouth

Membership of external committees

Board of Trustees, Actiontrack Performance Company

Research interests

Research interests and expertise

My research interests all go back to my work as a poet, subsequently shaped by the demands and responsibilities of teaching arts practitioners in interdisciplinary contexts. Put at its simplest, I am interested in contemporary poetry (or rather some tendencies within it), in poetics, and in the newly named field of performance writing that I helped develop at Dartington. This has involved me in continuing enquiries into writing as performance; the performativity of writing; differences and commonalities writing has both with other art forms and with everyday practices not normally considered as 'art'; reading (and its equivalents) as itself necessarily practice and performance; the implications of interdisciplinarity for study, practice and teaching; the notion of context or situation as inseparable from texts; writing as visual and writing as sounded.

Research topics

Contemporary Poetry
Innovative Poetry
Performance Writing
poetry and sound
Visual Poetry

Research outputs

Publications and research outputs



Hall, John (2007) An Essay on Ignorance. Litter, N/A. ISSN XXXX-XXXX



Hall, John (2004) Reading (il)legible Pages. Performance Research, 9 (2). pp. 15-23. ISSN 1352-8165



Hall, John (2004) Time-play-space: playing up the visual in writing. Pores 3: An Avant-gardist Journal of Poetics Research, 3. ISSN 1740-4304




Hall, John (2013) Essays on Performance Writing, Poetics and Poetry Vol 1: On Performance Writing, with Pedagogical Sketches. Shearsman Books, UK. ISBN 9781848613171 Item not available from this repository. 



Hall, John (2013) Essays on Performance Writing, Poetics and Poetry Vol 2: Writings towards Writing and Reading, with Implicated Readings. Shearsman Books, UK. ISBN 9781848613188 Item not available from this repository. 



Hall, John (2011) Interscriptions. Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, UK. ISBN 9781907812576 Item not available from this repository. 



Hall, John (2007) Couldn't You? Shearsman Books, UK. ISBN 9781905700516 




'Reading (in, between and beyond) Cities', a talk given in Bristol Central Library as part of the Reading in the City project curated by The Showrooms Project is association with other Bristol arts organisations. 17 November.


Participation in the Black Huts Festival, Hastings, on 2 November. Contributed to celebration of the poet, Andrew Crozier (1943–2008) and also read from my own recently published selection of poems, Keepsache.


Visual Poem included in Visual Poetics exhibition in the Poetry Library, Royal Festival Hall, London, 12 February – 1 May. Curated by David Miller and Chris McCabe.


‘Roles for practice in doctoral research in the arts’, Department of English & Humanities, Birkbeck University of London, 23 January. Talk and discussion with practice-based researchers.


Thompsons’ Live: Episode 3, 22 October; one in a series of podcasts ‘from Chris Goode & Company, focusing on conversation around theatre and performance, poetry and music, arts and ideas’. With Phelim McDermott and Rajni Shah.


‘Towards Song: Re-shaping spoken lyric’, with David Prior. Paper given at The Shape of Song: A Conference on Lyric Poetry, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge, 7 July.


Closing Words: Drawing together the threads. A place, a space, A Research Focus Conference, University of Worcester, 21 June.


Panel member for discussion on ‘Performance Writing, looking ahead’, Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, 6 May.


‘Lyric & Polis, a symposium of poetry and poetics’, curated by Marianne Morris. Reading and discursive contribution, University College Falmouth, 17-18 February.


‘Practising and essaying near the sign of Performance Writing’, a talk within the Theatre Studies Seminar Series, University of Glasgow, 17 February.


'Repeatedly avoiding repetition'. A reading and showing as part of 'again: on repetition, an informal symposium on repetition in practice'. The Project Space, SPACE Studios, London E8 3RH. Organised by Marianne Holm Hansen. 26 November.


‘Order words / public shapes’, invited talk at ANTI Contemporary Art Festival, Kuopio, Finland, 28 September–1 October.


Consultation meeting with senior researchers, advising on PGR student research training. Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London, 28 May.


Literature and Visual Culture, a talk at Cambridge University English Faculty, 15 February


‘The Beats that Unite: Listening to Douglas Oliver’s prosody and its relation to his remarks on beat and stress’, a workshop in 'Variations on the Theme of Harm', a one-day conference on the work of Douglas Oliver, Department of Literature, Film & Theatre Studies and the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex, 5 December.

Research students

Current research students

I am currently director of studies for the following research student:  
Bram Arnold: Walking Home: The Footpath as Place in an Eight Hundred Mile Long Autoethnographic Enquiry

I am second supervisor for:
David Devanny: A Cultural Analysis of Resistance to Digital Poetries
John Grierson: Localised Community Radio, Commercial Radio and BBC Radio in Cornwall: Challenges of Proximity
Camilla Peters:  Margaret Tait: Film Poet in the Margins of C20th Avant-garde Film 

Previous student supervision

At Dartington College of Arts and subsequently at Falmouth University, I have been Director of Studies for the following completed PhD projects:

Dr Barbara Bridger: Speaking of Gender, Language and Identity: Writing the Personal
Dr Pen Dalton: Family Relations and the Relations of Art
Dr Larry Lynch: The Difficult Impossible: Writing, Performance and the Subject
Dr. Marianne Morris: Problems of the 'Political' in British Avant-Garde Poetry and Poetics, 2003-2012
Dr, Misri Dey: Devising Solo Performance: A Practitioner’s Enquiry
And second supervisor for the following:
Dr Tom Begbie:Musicology and Questions of Mediation: an examination of the cultural materialisms of Raymond Williams and Pierre Bourdieu in relation to the fields of contemporary music and musicology, with a case study of Arvo Pärt and ECM
Dr Johny Lamb: I Cannot Sing You Here, But For Songs of Where: Contemporary Alt-Folksong and Articulations of Place
Dr Tim Sayer: Using interactive software as a conceptual tool: an examination of cognition in improvised musical performance

I was also advisor on the successful submissions of Dr Ric Allsopp and Dr Scott deLahunta for PhDs 'by staff candidature on the basis of published works'. 

Number of research students supervised to completion: 10

Research degrees examined

At Dartington I examined two candidates for PhD and one for MPhil. I have acted as external examiner for a PhD at Birkbeck University of London and an MPhil at Brunel University. In addition I have chaired seven examinations for PhD.

Number of research degree examinations: 5


Areas of teaching

and Performance Writing.
Apart from an occasional lecture for students across the awards in Performance
methodology for MA students
my only 'teaching' these days is with research students
running the Research Student Development Programme and supervising individual students. Previous teaching included - very broadly - cultural theory for arts practitioners

Courses taught

Research Students Development Programme

Professional engagement