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Associate Professor in Performance Studies, University of Sydney

Ian Maxwell is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts School of Drama, where he majored in Directing. Subsequent to that training, he embarked upon academic work at the University of Sydney, where he completed his PhD–an ethnography of Hip Hop culture in the suburbs of Sydney in the 1990s–in 1997.

Ian teaches a range of units of study: two second year units: the core introductory unit PRFM 2601: Being There and PRFM 2604: Sociology of Theatre, a third year option, PRFM 3606: Theories of Acting and an Honours seminar on Critical Theory and Performance.

He has published extensively on a range of topics, including his 2003 book, "Phat Beats, Dope Rhymes": Hip Hop Down Under Comin' Upper (Wesleyan), chapters in several collections and a number of journals.

Ian is Chair of the University’s Human Research Ethics Committee and Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. He is also President of the Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies and a Vice-President of Performance Studies international.

In 2008 he was awarded the Marlis Thiersch Prize for research excellence in an English-language article published anywhere in the world in the broad field of theatre and performance studies for his essay on Victor Turner (see below).

Outside the University Ian divides his time between his family (which includes two beautiful daughters, Mia and Zoe), racing yachts and regularly screaming himself hoarse at the Sydney Swans.


  • –present
    Associate Professor in Performance Studies, University of Sydney