Andy Smith

I am undertaking a practice-as-research PhD, which in simple terms means that a lot of my study is based around the making of work as well as writing about it.

You might say that Lancaster sort of chose me. I was looking to undertake further study. I had been living abroad with my partner for some years and we were looking to move back to the UK. I was aware of the department and what it did through my professional work as a theatre maker and director. Theatre work that I was involved with making had been programmed at The Nuffield Theatre (part of the wider department of LICA) so I had visited the campus. I had also met and got to know members of staff at a conference where I was presenting a piece of work in 2005. I therefore had an idea of what the department was about, as well as the potential supervisors for my project. I knew that there weren't many places that I could undertake this sort of study. This was the one that I knew most about, and perhaps most importantly it was one for which I knew I had a chance to get funding. I am lucky enough to be the recipient of a bursary from the AHRC and I really would not have been able to consider doing the research without it.

My research is a practical and theoretical enquiry into a form of theatre that I have been making for several years. Theatre that is simple in form but complex in content. I am right in the middle of it at the moment, so it's hard to say exactly where it might be going, but I feel strongly supported by both my supervisors and colleagues in the department as well as the wider research community on the campus.

Lancaster is not a big city, but for us it is a great place to live. We have a small daughter who goes to the excellent preschool on campus, and there is lots of stuff to do in the city and nearby. The size of the place, while it might be off-putting for some, has meant that it feels as if it has not taken long to establish a life here. We really love it.