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Personal profile


Dr Collins' research sits at the interface between performance, law and representations of postcolonial identity. He is particularly interested in performed heritage, intangible cultural heritage, and the influence and presence of folklore in contemporary performance.

Dr Collins has a keen interest in West African theatre, particularly Ghanaian, which he has been a student of since first visiting the country in 2000.  

His PhD, awarded by the University of Glasgow in 2015, examined the protection of folklore through copyright in Ghana and his research continues to examine the interaction between folklore, copyright and cultural production, both in Ghana and the UK.

Area of academic expertise - outline

Dr Stephen Collins is a lecturer in Performance. Prior to joing the University in September 2016, he lectured in Performance at the University of the Highlands and Islands. He also taught on the Theatre Studies and Law undergarduate degrees at the Universty of Glasgow from where he gained a PhD from the School of Law in 2015.

Dr Collins' research is cross-disciplinary and is focussed on the relationship between copyright law, cultural heritage and performance. He has a particular expertise in Ghanaian theatre and copyright law.

Steve is an member of Careed, the University's centre of African studies.

Current research activities

Dr Collins' research is currently following two strands:

  • the copyrighting of folklore and its implications on the performance industry in Ghana,
  • the cultural and legal status of folklore in Scotland.

These two areas are interlinked and branch out into several conceptual areas, including:

The status of folklore within empire building,

  • The status of folklore within independence movements,
  • The conceptualising of folklore as a legal and cultural catagory,
  • The interplay between creativity and copyright law,
  • The influence of folklore on contemporary performance movements.

Desired research direction

Since completing his PhD, Dr Collins has continued to research into the impact and implications of the copyrighting of folklore in Ghana. He has also begun to move his research focus to Scotland to see what lessons can be learned from the experience of legislators and theatre practitioners in Ghana that might enable a clearer understanding of the legal and cultural status of folklore here.

He is particularly interested in continuing to pursue a multi-disciplinary approach to my future research and would welcome collaboration in this area.

External positions

Board Member, Ignite Theatre Company, Glasgow

15 Jun 2009 → …

Board Member, Act for Change, Ghana

1 Sep 2007 → …


  • NX Arts in general
  • Theatre
  • Performance
  • Playwriting
  • Anansegoro
  • Abibigoro
  • K Law (General)
  • Copyright
  • International
  • WIPO
  • GR Folklore
  • Postcolonialism
  • Cultural policy
  • Ghana
  • Colonialism
  • Intangible Cultural Heritage

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Research Output

Compassionate communities and collective memory: a conceptual framework to address the epidemic of loneliness

Sime, C. & Collins, S., 2 Dec 2019, In : British Journal of Community Nursing. 24, 12, p. 580-584 5 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 32 Downloads (Pure)

    Ghana's copyright law for folklore hampers cultural growth

    Collins, S., 22 Sep 2019, In : The Conversation. 123550.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • Leadership skills in the higher education sector: a study of Scotland

    Harrison, C., Collins, S., Gilardi, M., Reilly, C. A., Valentin, S., Balaraman, P. & Papadopoulou, C., 5 Sep 2019, British Academy of Management (BAM) 2019 Conference. British Academy of Management, 9 p. 437

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    Open Access
  • 36 Downloads (Pure)

    Ode to the James Town Child

    Collins, S. & Quartey, N. K., 7 Jun 2019

    Research output: Non-textual formPerformance

  • Activities

    • 6 Invited talk
    • 2 Oral presentation
    • 1 Participation in conference

    'They would also eat stones': exploring modern slavery in James Town'

    Stephen Collins (Speaker)

    8 Jul 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

    Leadership in Higher Education: A Study of the University of the West of Scotland

    Christian Harrison (Speaker), Stephen Collins (Speaker), Marco Gilardi (Speaker), Christine Reilly (Speaker), Stephanie Valentin (Speaker), Pravin Balaraman (Speaker) & Constantina Papadopoulou (Speaker)

    27 Jun 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

    Creativity, Pugnacity and Nationhood

    Stephen Collins (Speaker) & Nii Kwartelai Quartey (Speaker)

    18 May 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    (In)visible Stories: An Investigation into the Status of ICH in Scotland

    Stephen Collins (Organiser), Ewan Gibbs (Speaker), Susan Henderson (Speaker) & Julie Clark (Speaker)

    14 May 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

    Can ICH help to address the epidemic of loneliness?

    Stephen Collins (Speaker) & Caroline Sime (Speaker)

    14 May 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    Press / Media

    Hidden Histories

    Stephen Collins


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Other