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Helen Thomas

Professor of Dance Studies


Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Faculty of Dance
Laban Building
London SE8 3DZ


Area of Work



Helen Thomas is Professor Emerita, University of the Arts London. From 2010-15, she was Professor in Cultural and Historical Studies and Director of Doctoral Programmes, University of the Arts London, leading on postgraduate research training and support for early career researchers. She was Research Director at London College of Fashion (2004-10) and before that Professor in Sociology of Dance and Culture at Goldsmiths University of London. Since 2010, she has been an External Advisor (Dance) to Trinity Laban, appointed by City University. Trained in both dance and sociology, her research interests centre on sociology of the dance and the body in culture and performance; cultural theories and methodologies. She works with PhD students whose research centres on dance and the body, costume and performance.

Teaching Experience

PhD Supervision

Chitra Buckley, An investigation into the range, sources and implications of in-season fashion trend information on decision making for own-brand retailers operating in the UK.

Sara Chong Kwan, Making sense of Everyday Dress: Integrating multi-sensory experience within our understanding of contemporary dress in the West.

Shaun Cole, Sexuality, Identity and the Clothed Male Body.

Caroline Collinge, Costuming Space: The Relationship between Body, Costume and Performance through the Medium of Baroque.

Michele Danjoux, Design in motion: Wearables in Performance.

Serkan Delice, Reading Politics and the Military in a Gendered Way: Masculinities in Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Society.

Katie Elliott, The Signification of Costumed Bodies in the Tanztheater Wuppertal.

Joyce Fenton Douglas, From 19th Century Sweated Industries to 21st Century Collaborative Practice: a critical examination and creative exploration of the ancillary trades of the London élite fashion industry.

Jeffrey Horsley, Embedding the Personal: the construction of a ‘fashion autobiography’ as a museum exhibition, informed by innovative practice and ModeMuseum, Antwerp.

Johan Stjernholm, A synthesis of aesthetic embodied practices, dress, and cybernetics through western theatrical dance.

Anna Camilla Gregersdotter Rodin, New Ways of Seeing Fashion; Moving-Stills.

Creative Outputs

Recent Publications

Research Projects

  • Pain and Injury (2005-07 AHRC)
  • Evaluations of South East Dance’s ‘Dance Apprenticeship Scheme’ which targeted ‘hard to reach’ young people in the South East (2002-04)
  • Dancing into the Third Age, which mapped and recorded older people dancing in London and Essex (2000-02 AHRB)
  • Un-equal Opportunities for Performers in the Electronic Media (British Actors Equity Association 1990, Leverhulme 1994-5), which showed the imbalance between male and female performers in relation to pay, job and career opportunities and age

External Appointments

  • Editor Elect of Dance Research Journal
  • Professor Emerita at University of the Arts London
  • Visiting Professor at the Dance Research Centre, Coventry University