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Dr Dani Abulhawa PhD, MA, BA(Hons), PGCert, FHEA

Senior Lecturer in Performance


My work primarily involves teaching and mentoring modules that focus on: creative development methods, researcher skills, somatic performer training, and site-based performance. These areas of expertise are underpinned by my ongoing practice as a performance maker, a communities-based practitioner, and as a practice-researcher.


I began working at SHU in 2012. Prior to this I was Senior Lecturer in Performance at the University of Chester (2008-2012), and I worked in part-time lecturing roles at several institutions between 2006-2008.

I am passionate about the SHUs applied ethos and the life-changing educational connections that can be made through collaboration, field-work and social justice. I am currently working with colleagues in the department of Humanities on international collaborations between SHU and An-Najah University in the West Bank, Occupied Palestinian Territories.

I have a broad performance training, drawing particularly on a wide range of movement improvisation approaches. Additionally I completed training in the Creative Articulations Process (with Prof. Jane Bacon and Prof. Vida Midgelow), Laban Efforts for Actors (with Kate Sagovsky), ongoing practice in experiential anatomy (with Amy Voris), and human centred design for community work (with Amity CIC). During time on my BA (Hons) degree I was able to take part in workshops with renowned theatre companies Goat Island and Forced Entertainment. My research into and experience of their working practices continues to inform my teaching and professional practice today.

MyPractice-as-Research PhD (completed 2015, Plymouth University) explored the conditions of public urban space that inhibit women's participation in physical cultures of play. I received my MA in Contemporary Arts from Manchester Metropolitan University and my BA (Hons) in Drama from the University of Northampton.

My PhD research began from my experiences as a woman skateboarder and the outcomes of this work include my contribution to the establishment of an international skateboarder-academic network - 'Re-verb'. Together with other skateboarding organisations we co-produced the first skateboarding in academia conference - Pushing Boarders - at the Bartlett School of Architecture in 2018. The event resulted in an invitation for us to produce the second Pushing Boarders in a week-long series of events in the city of Malmo in 2019.

After completing my PhD I began working with the SkatePal charity, an organisation who build skateparks and teach children to skateboard in the West Bank. I have been conducting ongoing research into the personal and social impacts of skateboarding in Palestine, as well as contributing to the running of skateboarding activity since 2015 when we built a skatepark in a town in the North of the West Bank, Asira Al-Shamalyia.

In 2021 and as part of a research team led by Prof. Carrie Paechter (Nottingham Trent University), we were successful in receiving funding from the Leverhulme Trust for a project examining experiences of women and girl skateboarders at two northern English skateparks (and their surrounding urban locales). In 2020 I published Skateboarding and Femininity: Gender, Space Making and Expressive Movement (Routledge), which was my first book.

Recent performance work I have made includes: ‘Bring Yourself to the Table’ (2020) - a durational performance score presented as part of the 2020 Festival of Belonging, Manchester Central Library. ‘The Slide’ (2018) - a short film about the politics of water in the West Bank, commissioned as part of an event celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights by the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice; and ‘Feint Lines’ (2018) - a skateboard choreography made in a Car Park, commissioned for the Not Quite Light Festival in Salford as part of a strand of work examining women’s experiences of being alone in public spaces at night.

Specialist areas of interest

Performance Studies


Department of Humanities

Social Sciences and Arts

Subject Area

Acting & Performance


BA (Hons) Acting & Performance


Acting Ensemble, Body, Space & Performance; Researching Performance.


Current Projects

  • Girl Skateboarders: active girlhood, alternative sports and urban space (2021-2023)
  • Creative training for skateboarding (2020-ongoing)
  • Personal and social impacts of skateboarding in Palestine (2015-ongoing)

Selected research projects

Accumulations (July 2015 – August 2016) Arts Council England funded project in collaboration with three other movement and dance artists

Relevant Projects


Journal articles

Abulhawa, D. (2021). Skill-less Tricks: A score for moving through walls. Choreographic Practices, 11 (2), 199-229.

Abulhawa, D. (2020). (Re)Positioning Site Dance. NEW THEATRE QUARTERLY, 36 (4), 385.

Abulhawa, D. (2019). Feint Lines: Notes on the Creation of a Skateboard Choreography. Urban Pamphleteer, 8, 13-17.

Abulhawa, D. (2017). Smoothing space in Palestine: Building a skatepark and a socio-political forum with the SkatePal charity. Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, 4 (3), 417-426.

Abulhawa, D. (2016). Knowledgeable artefacts: the role of performance documentation in PaR. Networking Knowledge, 9 (3).

Abulhawa, D. (2008). Female skateboarding : re-writing gender. Platform : Postgraduate eJournal of Theatre and Performing Arts, 3 (1), 56-72.

Book chapters

Abulhawa, D. (2020). 'And in the End...'. In Pinchbeck, M., & Duggan, P. (Eds.) Acts of Dramaturgy: The Shakespeare Trilogy. Intellect:

Spies, S., & Abulhawa, D. (2017). (En)gendering "Undisciplined" Space: reflections on Precarious Assembly. In Ashton, J. (Ed.) Feminism & Museums : Intervention, Disruption and Change. (pp. 368-383). Edinburgh: MuseumsEtc:

Abulhawa, D. (2015). Locating rhythms : improvised play in the built environment. In MacLean, M., Russell, W., & Ryall, E. (Eds.) Philosophical Perspectives on Play. (pp. 136-151). Abingdon: Routledge:


Abulhawa, D. (2020). Skateboarding and femininity: Gender, space-making and expressive movement.

Other activities

Reviewer for Gender, Place and Culture Journal (Taylor and Francis, since 2018)

Postgraduate supervision

I have supervisor experience at PhD and MA level and I am particularly keen to support research at the intersection of performance and social life, particularly those exploring skateboarding, gender, site-based movement performance and somatic practice.


I am a performance artist and academic exploring the relationship between gender, play and the public built environment.

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