Photo of Professor Gabriella Giannachi

Professor Gabriella Giannachi

Professor in Performance and New Media


01392 722423

Room 209

Gabriella Giannachi, FRSA, MAE, is Professor in Performance and New Media, and Director of the Centre for Intermedia at the University of Exeter, which promotes advanced interdisciplinary research in performance and the arts through collaborations between artists, academics and scientists from a range of disciplines.

Her publications include: On Directing, ed. with Mary Luckhirst (Methuen 1999); Staging the Post-avantgarde, co-authored with Nick Kaye (Peter Lang 2002); Virtual Theatres: an Introduction (Routledge 2004); Performing Nature: Explorations in Ecology and the Arts, ed. with Nigel Stewart (Peter Lang 2005); The Politics of New Media Theatre (Routledge 2007); Performing Presence: Between the Live and the Simulated, co-authored with Nick Kaye (MUP 2011), nominated in Theatre Library Association 44th Annual Book Awards (2012); Performing Mixed Reality, co-authored with Steve Benford (MIT Press 2011); Archaeologies of Presence, co-edited with Nick Kaye and Michael Shanks (Routledge 2012); Archive Everything: Mapping the Everyday (MIT Press 2016) and Histories of Performance Documentation: Museum, Artistic and Scholarly Practices, co-edited with Jonah Westerman (Routledge 2017). She has published articles in Contemporary Theatre Review; Leonardo; Performance Research; Digital Creativity and PAJ, and co-co-authored conference papers for ISEA 2010; IVA 2009, 9th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents; CHI 2008; CHI 2009 (best paper award), CHI 2012 (best paper award); CHI 2013 (best paper award); CHI 2015; Museums and the Web She is currently researching a monograph about self-portraiture. 

Over the last five years, she has been researching projects in partnerships with: Tate, Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, Exeter City FC Supporters Trust, Imperial War Museum, British Library, Stanford Libraries, LIMA, San Francisco Art Institute, Ludwig Boltzman Institute Media.Art.Research and Met Office Hadley Centre.

Gabriella Giannachi has a BA in Modern Languages and Literatures, in the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy from Turin University, and a PhD in English from Cambridge University, where she was awarded a scholarship by her College, Trinity Hall, to research the role of silence in modern European Drama.

In recognition of her research, she became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2012 and an elected member of the Academia Europaea in 2014.


Research interests

Gabriella Giannachi is Director of the Centre for Intermedia and her current research interests are: art and technology; mobile interpretation and user-generated documentation of art and sport events; the creation, exhibition, and sharing of archival resources within an exhibition context; mixed and virtual reality; presence research; museum studies and digital curation; new media and digital curation; oral history and digital heritage. She welcomes research students in all these areas.

Research supervision

I supervise students in a number of areas in digital humanities, ecological and environmental performance, contemporary performance and new media.

Research students

Current Students

Lucy McFadzean, 'Video, community, and political support in the cultural policy of the Greater London Council, 1981-83, SWWDTP award

William Barrett, 'Digital Interaction with Heritage at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery', REACT collaborative doctoral studentship with RAMM

Cristina Locatelli, 'Mobile interpretation in art museums', REACT collaborative doctoral studentship with Tate

Acacia Finbough, 'The value of performance documentation', AHRC funded collaborative doctoral studentship with Tate

Sofia Romualdo, 'Gameful design in museums', colelaborative doctoral studentship with RAMM

Past Students

Sandra Reeve, ‘The Ecological Body’, AHRC, in co-supervision with Professor Phillip Zarrilli (2008)

Stephanie Kuhn, 'Presence in Hyperoperas', AHRC (2010)

Dan Frodsham, 'Utopic Spatial Practice', AHRC (2015)

Yi-Chen Wu, ‘Chi in Multimedia Taiwanese Theatre’, Taiwanese Government scholarship (2016)

Ilaria Pinna, ‘The politics of contemporary Italian theatre' (2016)

Hannah Wood, Creative writing PhD, co-supervision with Sam North (2017)


External impact and engagement

I research performance and new media documentation, a burgeoning field that concerns itself with the capture of rich quality data about an event (whether artistic or other) so it may be preserved for future generations. More precisely, I am an expert at documenting mixed reality events that span physical and digital environments. This has led me to research how documentations and, more generally, the archives that host them, can be used outside the museums as mobile centres for interpretation and knowledge production to facilitate creative engagement with art, heritage, popular and material culture. In particular, I research how mobile interpretation and creative engagement with such archives can generate new knowledge that is of value to users and museums; how encountering archival materials outside museums can bring return visitors as well as new visitors to museums; how the self-documentation of one’s encounter with art can constitute a rewarding free-style mobile learning experience; how it can stimulate memory production and augment individual and communities’ sense of presence and identity; and what copyright and accessibility implications these uses of documentations may entail.  

I have collaborated with Tate on The Cartography project (2016-17), Collecting, Archiving and Sharing Performance and the Performative (2014-16) and Art Maps (2012-15); Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery and 1010 Media on Moor Stories (2012-13) and Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, 1010 Media and Exeter City Football Club Supporters Trust on Exeter Time Trails (2013); Exeter City Football Club and Exeter City Football Club Supporters Trust on The Grecian Srchive (2015-), The History of St James Park (2016-17) and Grecian Voices (2013-14) and 1010 Media on Placeify (2014) anf The City Museum (2017-19).

These projects have involved workshops with primary school children at St Leonard's Primary School, St Sidwells's Primary School and St David's Primary School in Exeter and the Pimlico Academy in London. They have involved the public in London and Liverpool (through a number of public engagement events organised by Tate and the use of ArtMaps for exhibitions Looking at the View Exhibition; Ruin Lust; and Late Turner at Tate Britain). Project dissemination has targeted the public through blogs and museums through a keynotes offered at in Lisbon (2013), Maastricht (2016) attended by the EU's principal contemporary art museums and workshops such as those run for Placeify at over 10 museums in the South West of England.


I draw from my research in all my teaching and the principal areas in which I teach are performance and new media; documentation and archiving; museum studies and curation. I teach through a problem-solving, hands on approach and, when possible, try to collaborate with external institutions, such as Tate and Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery. A good example of this was the Digital Futures Grand Challenge I led in 2014 and 2015, involving partnerships with RAMM, Tate, Bill Douglas Cinema Museum and Exeter City Football Club Supporters Trust and the Creative Industries module I led in 2016 which involves visits at the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, the Penguin Archive, RAMM and the Northcott Theatre.  

You can sign up for my office hours online and come to see me in room 209


Modules taught