by Julie Philpott
(photos: Maurice Korbel)

Placing science, in this case represented by a medical dissertation, in the realm of theatre represents the essence of what “Störung/ Hafraah” meant to me in the role of dancer-scientist, which is why I chose the title “A dissertation – behind the scenes”.

In science, we usually focus on the outcomes of our research whereas the process often remains elusive. I therefore wanted to invite the spectator to take a look behind the scenes of my medical dissertation “A quantitative fMRI-imaging study of cerebral pathways during movement to music in patients with Parkinson’s Disease”. This clinical study intends to measure cerebral pathways activated during movement to music compared to movement without music in patients with Parkinson’s Disease and investigate whether this activation correlates with improved motor skills.

Coming into the project with a clear concept of the kind of research I was about to embark on, I never fathomed that by the end of the ten months of “Störung/ Hafraah” I would have only an application to the Ethics Committee to show – a few sheets of paper, which in no way represented all the interactions, encounters, meetings, emails and literature that had been necessary to get to this point. Monica Gillette consequently had the excellent idea of visualizing what had gone on behind the scenes by replaying ever single meeting with every single person that had occurred during this time.

Revisiting the little Playmobil figures of my childhood and designating a character to each one, I tried to chronologically re-enact each encounter in its respective setting. In the end I still had to cut certain aspects, however I do believe this short video can give an adequate insight into my experience, including the often manic rushing around if watching the video at double speed.

I apologize for the very politically-incorrect depiction of the geography of Israel; also no offense was intended in the choice of Playmobil figures for each character.

So, how far are we now? The Ethics Committee has requested a number of modifications to the application, until it has been approved, we cannot begin with the measurements that the Parkinson’s dancers so generously have volunteered to participate in. On the positive side- the technical details (IT programmes, MRI settings) are all in place and ready to be implemented. It can only be a matter of weeks (months, years, centuries…) now!

Thank you for being part of this journey.


RESEARCH CORNER at the final conference in Freiburg:




3 thoughts on “A Dissertation – Behind the scenes

  1. Wonderful – I hope the other dancer-scientists will present their projects (or aspects thereof) here as well!

  2. Pingback: Playmobil-Ethikantrag und Aussagen zu Störung – Reaching Out

  3. Congratulations to this wonderful presentation! 👍
    I really enjoyed watching! Very creative and very orIginal!
    That was really a great Idea!

    P.s. I have a big box with Barbiedolls….🤔

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