Berthe headshot

Berthe Fortin

Research Summary: Research on costume is increasingly challenging the primacy of the body in the relationship with materiality. My research investigates the creative agency of costume from the phenomenological approach of costume as movement practice. Questioning why costume might be understood as creative agent emerges from my practice as costume designer and expanded approaches to performance making through an engagement via the Merleau-Pontian notion of flesh as the intertwining of body and world. While scholarship on costume materiality and creative practice is gaining ground, problematizing notions of costume by approaching it as a movement practice establishes the focus of this enquiry on the body. The research method of costume workshop devised for this enquiry enables the centring of my body in the research to describe the first-person experience of the costume creation as relational to self and others. 

Biography: I am a designer and maker for site-specific, immersive and community inclusive theatre and performances. I graduated from Concordia University, Montreal, Canada with a 1st Class Degree in Fine Arts and hold a MA in Costume Design for Performance from London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. My designs for costume-based performances have involved collaborations with movement practitioners, visual artists and filmmakers. Past commissions include costumes for the renowned site-responsive company dreamthinkspeak. I am currently carrying out a PhD on costume making as practice of phenomenology at London College of Fashion. I work as part-time costume lecturer in the Theatre and Performance Department at Goldsmiths, University of London, where I have engaged students in my research. 

 

Two students in black costume

PhD research in costume, 2019, laboratoire participant, Elinor Lewis (Photo: Rachael Champion)

Supervisors: Donatella Barbieri, Sara Chong Kwan