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Associate Member
Dr Michael McMillan

As a British born writer, playwright, fine artist and curator with Caribbean migrant parents, migrant narratives and aesthetics, identities and memory and material culture in the everyday, as themes, have found their way into much of my work. As an interdisciplinary practitioner I am also interested in performance and performativity within these contexts as well as what happens when boundaries are contested and crossed.

As a playwright my work includes: a new translation of Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Person of Sezuan set in Trenchtown, Jamaica 1980 (2010), Babel Junction (2006), Master Juba (2006) Blood for Britain (BBC Radio 4 Drama 2001), Brother to Brother (1996 & 1998), Invisible (1993 & 1998). Site specific (responsive) performance installations include: I hope it’s not a black man (Digital Anarchy/Raw Material at Bagley’s Warehouse, Kings X 1995), The Last Blind Date Show (Earl Grey Square, Newcastle 1992) and Portrait of a Shopping Centre as a Cathedral (a collaboration with mixed media artist Keith Piper, Dalston Cross Shopping Centre 1990).

My installation/exhibition The West Indian Front Room (Geffrye Museum 2005-06) was the basis of the BBC4 documentary Tales from the Front Room (dir./prod. Zimena Percival 2007), an interactive website and a publication The Front Room: Migrant Aesthetics in the Home (Black Dog Publishing 2009). The Front Room project also led to international commissions: Van Huis Uit: The Living Room of Migrants in the Netherlands (Imagine IC, Amsterdam 2007, Central Library, Tilburg 2007 & Stephanus Church/Kosmopolis Utrecht 2008) and A Living Room Surrounded by Salt (Instituto Buena Bista, Curacao 2008). I have explored how private and public urban embodiments intersect with race, gender, identity, consumer culture and the adorned and transformed body in The Beauty Shop (198 Contemporary Arts & Learning 2008) and I was lead designer/co-curator on The Southall Story (South Bank Centre 2010 & Dominion Centre, Southall 2011).

I am currently completing an arts in health artist residency in North Wales where I have been exploring the oral histories of patients with cancer and rheumatoid arthritic related conditions. The process of developing this work has involved a peripatetic approach towards ethnographic research, collaboration with local people, groups and organisations towards the making of an inter-disciplinary site-specific (site-responsive) installation /exhibition and publication as in my other work.

Finally, I am Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at the London College of Communication (University of the Arts, London) and was awarded a practice based Arts Doctorate Middlesex University in 2010 for Expert-Intuitive Operations in the Creative Decision-Making of “The Front Room” installations/exhibitions: a Portfolio.

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Dr Michael McMillan
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