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The Beauty Project: Research Assistant Wanted

Quarantine was established in 1998 by directors Richard Gregory and Renny O’Shea with designer Simon Banham. We make original theatre, performance and public events with and about the people who are in it. Whatever form it takes, our work begins and ends with the people in the room. for nearly 25 years, we've collaborated with a shifting constellation of artists, performers and people who've never done anything like this before. Our work seeks to create the circumstances for a conversation between strangers...

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The Beauty Project: Research Assistant Wanted

Posted: 29 July 2022

This opportunity is now closed.

We are seeking a research assistant to work on theoretical and critical perspectives on the experience of beauty for audiences of the arts. 

Quarantine, along with Dr Rox Middleton, a physicist from the School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, are delighted to have been awarded Collaborate funding from the Centre of Cultural Value, Leeds. 

Over the next 12 months we will deliver a research project that seeks to expand an evidence base for cultural value by looking at ways to understand and articulate the value of beauty.

Discussion of cultural value often prioritises the arts’ value to the economy, health/wellbeing, societal change, community cohesion and education. These inform funding/policy agendas and influence what art gets made. While we appreciate these outcomes, we also believe there are areas current evaluation methods struggle to account for. One of these is beauty. 

In both arts and science, beauty motivates processes of research and creation, and we believe it motivates audiences too. But beauty is subjective, difficult to measure and at risk of being overlooked as a benefit and an aim. Through this research project, we hope to build a case for beauty, with a focus on experiences of beauty within live, ephemeral work. 

Using Quarantine’s 12-hour durational performance-exhibition, 12 Last Songs, as a case study, this project will seek to understand how/why people experience beauty, what it does and if/why it matters. We’ll do this through in person workshops to explore perspectives on encountering beauty and the ways in which these might be articulated. How is an audience affected by beauty? When the event is over, what remains? 

We’re looking to appoint a research assistant to support the delivery of this project. The role will involve contextual research to position this project in relation to wider discussions around beauty in performance, philosophy and cultural studies; supporting workshop design and delivery; qualitative research and analysis; and contributing to research outputs including written reflections, academic papers, and the creation of a digital exhibition. 

The ideal candidate will have: 

  • A PhD (or close to completion) or equivalent demonstrable research experience
  • A background in philosophy and strong knowledge of the arts/cultural studies
  • An interest in interdisciplinary collaboration and experimental approaches to research methodologies and presentation of findings 
  • The ability to work proactively and independently, and to contribute as part of a team 
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate with a wide range of people 
  • Experience in working with the collection and analysis of qualitative data 

The role will involve working from home, as well as attendance at planning meetings (online and possibly in person), at a performance of 12 Last Songs in Manchester in September 2022, and at workshops in Leeds, Brighton, Manchester and possibly other locations. 

The work is offered on a freelance basis and will involve a commitment of 34 working days between August 2022 and June 2023 – to be agreed at the time of appointment. The days per month will vary depending on the level of project activity happening at that time. Please note, we require someone who is able to begin this post asap upon appointment. Due to the timeline for the project we are not able to be flexible in this regard. 

The total fee for this work is £4760, plus travel, accommodation and per diems when working in locations that are away from home. 

To apply please send your CV or equivalent and a 1 page supporting statement explaining your interest in this role and your relevant experience to [email protected]. This can also be submitted by short (3 minutes max) audio or video submission. 

The closing date for applications is 12noon on Friday 12th August 2022. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for a conversation the week commencing 15th August. 


Founded in 1998, Quarantine is a group of people working together as artists and producers who are united by an interest in everyday life. Our work across performance and other forms deals with the politics and aesthetics of contemporary life and how we relate to one another. Rooted in Manchester, UK, we make and tour work around the world. 

Rox Middleton is a physicist working on light and colour in natural materials. She works at the University of Bristol and is currently interested in plant surface waxes, their nanostructure and optical function.