Staff Profile

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Career Summary

Biography

 

Michael Ewans (MA Oxford, PhD Cambridge) was originally appointed to a Lectureship in Classics at the University of Newcastle, Australia in 1973. On the foundation of the Department of Drama in 1974 he was invited to lecture in that discipline both on the Greek theatre and on modern drama and opera since Ibsen and Wagner. He transferred full-time to become Associate Professor and Head of Drama in 1981, and began his series of three three-year cycles of productions of Greek tragedy and comedy, in his own new translations and in a half-size replica of the original performance space, in 1983 with Aeschylus’ Libation Bearers. The series concluded in 2009 with Aristophanes' Peace. All nine productions are now available to view on YouTube, and can be accessed via an illustrated lecture about the series at http://uoncc.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/ewansarchive/</p>

Michael was a Visiting Professor in the interdisciplinary University Professors’ Program at Boston University in 1986-7, Warden – the first administrator and academic program developer – of the Central Coast (now Ourimbah) Campus 1989-1993, and Assistant Dean (Research) in charge of developing postgraduate research programs in Music 1995-2009. Between 1998 and 2004 he directed a series of chamber operas for the then Faculty of Music, before returning to the Greek Theatre and directing three comedies by Aristophanes in 2005-9. His farewell production was of his own translation of Georg Büchner's Woyzeck in 2011.

Michael Ewans is now a Conjoint Professor in the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Before retiring from the Chair of Drama in 2011 he specialized in directing plays and chamber operas, translating Greek tragedy and comedy, and writing books and articles which explore how operas and dramas work in the theatre. He is the author of Janácek’s Tragic Operas (1977), Wagner and Aeschylus: the ‘Ring’ and the ‘Oresteia’ (1982), Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck (1989), and Opera from the Greek: Studies in the Poetics of Appropriation (2007). He has also published a complete set of accurate and actable translations of Aeschylus and Sophocles in four volumes with theatrical commentaries (1995-2001), followed by two volumes of comedies by Aristophanes, also in his own new translations with theatrical commentaries (2011-12). He has recently completed a new book whose working title is Words, Music and Stage Action in Opera; he has also written chapters on the reception of classical drama into opera for the forthcoming Wiley-Blackwell Handbook to the Reception of Greek Drama and Brill Companion to the Reception of Aeschylus. He is currently guest editor for two issues of the International Journal of the Classical Tradition, which are devoted to receptions of the ancient world into opera.

Michael Ewans is currently principal supervisor for two Classics higher degree students working on Greek tragedy and co-supervisor for one Music student working on Mozart's opere serie. He was elected in 2005 to a Fellowship of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

 

Qualifications

  • PhD, University of Cambridge - UK, 31/12/1971
  • Master of Arts, University of Oxford - UK, 31/12/1971

Research

Research keywords

  • Expressionist theatre
  • Greek Drama
  • Opera

Research expertise

I am an expert on the ancient Greek theatre (both tragedy and comedy, with a special interest in translation and staging); opera; and the expressionist drama, especially the plays of Georg Büchner, Ernst Toller and Georg Kaiser.

Languages

  • French
  • Greek
  • Latin

Fields of Research

CodeDescriptionPercentage
190404Drama, Theatre And Performance Studies70
190409Musicology And Ethnomusicology30

Memberships

Learned Academy.

  • Fellow - Australian Academy of the Humanities (Australian Academy of the Humanities)
  • Fellow

Appointments

Visiting full Professor, University Professors Program
Boston University (United States)
01/09/1986 - 01/06/1987

Invitations

Biennial Conference on Greek Drama
International Theatre Institute, Cyprus Branch, Cyprus (Conference Presentation - non published.)
2004
Biennial conference on Greek Drama
International Theatre Institute, Cyprus Branch, Cyprus (Conference Presentation - non published.)
2006
Prof Geoff Borny
ANU , Australia (keynote lecture)
1996

Collaboration

I research in three areas; the translation and staging of Greek tragedy and comedy; the expressionist theatre of the period 1905-25 in Europe; and opera, with particular reference to operas based on Greek epic and tragedy, and to the staging of operas from Gluck and Mozart to Britten and Tippett. I am currently preparing a study of Thomas Adès opera The Tempest.

Administrative

Administrative expertise

I have served as head of my main discipline of drama, as Assistant Dean (research) in the former Faculty of Music, and as Drama Performance Co-ordinator. My principal committee work has been in the area of research and research training.

Teaching

Teaching keywords

  • Expressionist Theatre
  • Greek Drama
  • opera

Teaching expertise

I teach part-time in Classics. Recent courses are Greek Tragedy and Myth and Fairy Tale.

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Highlighted Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2007Ewans MC, Opera from the Greek: Studies in the Poetics of Appropriation, Ashgate Publishing, Surrey, 213 (2007) [A1]

This substantial book contains eight case studies in the adaptation of Greek tragedy and Homeric epic into opera. The chapters analyze the original source text, the use made of the source text in the opera's libretto, and the music to build up a picture of how each Greek original was particularly suited for adaptation in the socio-political context of each opera, and how the Greek material could be made to speak compellingly to a modern audience. The operas chosen range from the seventeenth to the twentieth century.

2005Ewans MC, 'Agamemnon's influence in Germany: Goethe, Schiller and Wagner', Agamemnon in Performance 458 BC-AD 2004, Oxford University Press, Oxford 107-118 (2005) [B1]

A survey of the influence of Aeschylus' 'Agamemnon' in nineteenth-century Germany, focusing in particular on its reception by the three outstanding figures in German drama and music drama. Goethe, Schiller and Wagner all developed their own concept of what drama should be in their own times by absorbing and meditating on Aeschylus' achievement.

2007Ewans MC, 'Iphigenie's power in Goethe's Iphigenie auf Tauris', Text and Presentation, 2006 35-42 (2007) [C1]

A pioneering article presenting a new interpretation of the character of the title figure in Goethe's important and influential play, and through this a new interpretation of the play as a whole.

2006Ewans MC, The Women's Festival by Aristophanes, Drama Studio, Callaghan, University of Newcastle (2006) [J1]

A significant production of one of Aristophanes' best comedies in a replica of the original performance space, which enabled research to be conducted into many issues of staging which the comedy presents.

2005Ewans MC, Aristrophanes, Lysistrata, Drama Studio (2005) [J1]

A significant production of one of Aristophanes' best comedies in a replica of the original performance space, which enabled research to be conducted into many issues of staging which the comedy presents.

2006Ewans MC, 'Aristophanes and History: the Politics of Lysistrata, Thesmophoriazousai (The Women's Festival) and Frogs', Proceedings of the Ninth International Symposium on Ancient Greek Drama, Droushia-Paphos, Cyprus (2006) [E1]

An article which establishes the relationship to the political events around the time of first performance of Aristophanes' three comedies from the last years of the Peloponnesian War, 411-404 b.c.e.

Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Click on a category title below to expand the list of citations for that specific category.

Book (6 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2012Ewans MC, Aristophanes: Acharnians, Knights, and Peace, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman (2012) [A1]
2010Ewans MC, Aristophanes: Lysistrata, The women's festival, and Frogs. Translated and with theatrical commentaries by Michael Ewans, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, USA, 324 (2010) [A2]
2007Ewans MC, Opera from the Greek: Studies in the Poetics of Appropriation, Ashgate Publishing, Surrey, 213 (2007) [A1]

This substantial book contains eight case studies in the adaptation of Greek tragedy and Homeric epic into opera. The chapters analyze the original source text, the use made of the source text in the opera's libretto, and the music to build up a picture of how each Greek original was particularly suited for adaptation in the socio-political context of each opera, and how the Greek material could be made to speak compellingly to a modern audience. The operas chosen range from the seventeenth to the twentieth century.

2004Ewans MC, Halton R, Phillips JA, Music Research: New Directions for a New Century, Cambridge Scholars Press, Amersham, 451 (2004) [A3]

Co-authors: R Halton

2000Ewans MC, Ley G, McCart G, Sophocles; Three Dramas of old Age, J M Dent, London and Vermont, 381 (2000) [A3]

A new translation of 'Elektra', 'Philoctetes' and 'Oedipus at Colonus', the three plays which survive from Sophocles' output in his eighties and nineties, and which reflect the upheaval in values and social norms at Athens during the late fifth century. The edition comes with a full introduction covering historical and politico-social matters as well as with Notes on the staging of the plays, which are based on productions by the three contributors in a replica of the Greek theatre shape.

1999Ewans MC, Ley GH, McCart G, Sophocles: four dramas of maturity, Everyman Classics (J M Dent London/Charles E Tuttle Vermont), London and Vermont (1999) [A1]
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Chapter (5 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2013Ewans MC, 'Wagnerism in Moravia: Janácek's first opera, 'Sárka'', Wagner in Russia, Poland and the Czech Lands, Ashgate, Farnham 119-135 (2013) [B1]
2010Belina A, Ewans MC, 'Taneyev's Oresteia', Ancient Drama in Music for the Modern Stage, Oxford University Press, Oxford 258-284 (2010) [B1]
2008Ewans MC, 'Iphigenie en Tauride and Elektra: 'Apolline' and 'Dionysiac' Receptions of Greek Tragedy into Opera', A Companion to Classical Receptions, Blackwell Publishing, Malden 231-246 (2008) [B1]
2005Ewans MC, 'Agamemnon's influence in Germany: Goethe, Schiller and Wagner', Agamemnon in Performance 458 BC-AD 2004, Oxford University Press, Oxford 107-118 (2005) [B1]

A survey of the influence of Aeschylus' 'Agamemnon' in nineteenth-century Germany, focusing in particular on its reception by the three outstanding figures in German drama and music drama. Goethe, Schiller and Wagner all developed their own concept of what drama should be in their own times by absorbing and meditating on Aeschylus' achievement.

2002Ewans MC, 'Performance-based Research into Greek Drama', Greek and Roman Drama; Translation and Performance (Beitrage zum antiken Drama und seiner Rezeption Band 12), J B Metzler, Stuttgart, Weimar 58-78 (2002) [B1]

A fundamental article which justifies the methodology of the author's practice-based research into Greek drama, and shows why insights gained by performing ancient plays in a replica of the original performance shape yield insights which are not available to scholars who work solely from the perspective of what they can glean by reading the plays.

Show 2 more

Journal article (11 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2013Ewans M, 'J. Leonhardt, S. Leopold, M. Meier Wege, Umwege und Abwege. Antike und Oper in der 1. Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts. Pp. 127. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2011. Paper, ¿32. ISBN: 978-3-515-09928-8', The Classical Review (New Series), 63 284-286 (2013) [C3]
2012Ewans MC, Phiddian R, 'Risk-taking and transgression: Aristophanes' Lysistrata today', Didaskalia, 9 1 (2012) [C1]
2011Ewans MC, 'Theorising Performance. Greek Drama, Cultural History and Critical Practice', Classical Review, 61 377-379 (2011) [C3]
2009Ewans MC, 'Brecht at the opera', Comparative Drama, 43 116-118 (2009) [C3]
2009Ewans MC, 'Ancient Rome in early opera', Comparative Drama, 43 282-284 (2009) [C3]
2008Ewans MC, 'Comic business: Theatricality, dramatic technique, and performance contexts of Aristophanic comedy', Classical Review, 58 363-364 (2008) [C3]
2008Ewans MC, 'Mask and performance in Greek tragedy: From ancient festival to modern experimentation', Journal of Hellenic Studies, 128 191 (2008) [C3]
2007Ewans MC, 'Iphigenie's power in Goethe's Iphigenie auf Tauris', Text and Presentation, 2006 35-42 (2007) [C1]

A pioneering article presenting a new interpretation of the character of the title figure in Goethe's important and influential play, and through this a new interpretation of the play as a whole.

2007Ewans MC, 'Found in translation: Greek drama in English (Book review)', New Theatre Quarterly, 23 427 (2007) [C3]
2003Ewans MC, 'Michael Tippett: Music and Literature', A Journal of Music Research, 81 (2003) [C3]
2000Ewans MC, 'Dominance and Submission, Rhetoric and Sincerity; Insights from a Production of Sophocles' 'Electra'', Helios, 27 123-136 (2000) [C1]

A study of the scenes between Elektra and Chrysothemis in Sophocles' 'Elektra'. This performance-based research re-evaluates the nature of the dialogue between the two sisters, and demonstrates in detail that Elektra's scorn for her sister's pragmatic position would not have been received by the fifth-century audience as heroic (as it has often been read in modern interpretations) but as foolish.

Show 8 more

Review (1 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2005Ewans MC, ''Janacek and his World' ed. Michael Beckermann', Context : a journal of music research (2005) [D2]

Conference (5 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2012Ewans MC, Gibb D, 'Aristophanic elements in 'South Park'', The 18th AHSN Annual Colloquium on "Varieties of Humour and Laughter", Canberra, ACT (2012) [E3]
2011Ewans MC, 'Aristophanic elements in Monty Python's Life of Brian', 17th Australiasian Humour Studies Network (AHSN) Colloquium on 'Time, Place and Humour' Abstracts, Hobart, Tas (2011) [E3]
2009Ewans MC, 'Opera: The bridge between music and drama', Proceedings of the 32nd National Conference of the Musicological Society of Australia: BRIDGES, Newcastle, NSW (2009) [E3]
2006Ewans MC, 'Aristophanes and History: the Politics of Lysistrata, Thesmophoriazousai (The Women's Festival) and Frogs', Proceedings of the Ninth International Symposium on Ancient Greek Drama, Droushia-Paphos, Cyprus (2006) [E1]

An article which establishes the relationship to the political events around the time of first performance of Aristophanes' three comedies from the last years of the Peloponnesian War, 411-404 b.c.e.

2005Ewans MC, 'Conquering Destiny in Enescu's Oedipe', 8th International Symposium on Ancient Greek Drama, Cyprus (2005) [E2]
Show 2 more

Creative Work (3 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2006Ewans MC, The Women's Festival by Aristophanes, Drama Studio, Callaghan, University of Newcastle (2006) [J1]

A significant production of one of Aristophanes' best comedies in a replica of the original performance space, which enabled research to be conducted into many issues of staging which the comedy presents.

2005Ewans MC, Aristrophanes, Lysistrata, Drama Studio (2005) [J1]

A significant production of one of Aristophanes' best comedies in a replica of the original performance space, which enabled research to be conducted into many issues of staging which the comedy presents.

1998Ewans MC, "Elektra" by Sophokles, Performing Art Newcastle (PAN), Newcastle (1998) [J2]
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants17
Total funding$48,869

- Indicates that the researcher may be seeking students for this project.

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.

2011 (1 grants)

Music in Greek Drama; History, Theory and Practice, University of California Santa Cruz, 27 - 29 May 2011$1,494
Funding Body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts

Project Team
Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans
SchemeRole
Travel GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish
$1,49420112011
GNo:G1100552

2007 (1 grants)

The acting style for principal roles in modern professional productions of aristophanes$4,079
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Project Team
Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans
SchemeRole
Pilot GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish
$4,07920072007
GNo:G0187778

2006 (1 grants)

Comparative Drama 30 March 10 1 April 2006$2,074
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Project Team
Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans
SchemeRole
Travel GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish
$2,07420062006
GNo:G0186145

2004 (2 grants)

Creating experimental operas$9,000
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Project Team
Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans
SchemeRole
Project GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish
$9,00020042004
GNo:G0183369

SIMS (Symposium of the International Musicological Society) 2004, 11-16 July 2004, Melbourne$330
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Project Team
Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans
SchemeRole
Travel GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish
$33020042004
GNo:G0184115

2003 (1 grants)

Defining the Doctorate 2 to 4 October 2003$430
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Project Team
Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans
SchemeRole
Travel GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish
$43020032003
GNo:G0183606

2001 (1 grants)

Musicological Society of Australia Annual Conference from 2 October 2002 to 6 October 2002$3,000
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Project Team
Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans
SchemeRole
Conference Establishment GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish
$3,00020012001
GNo:G0181677

2000 (1 grants)

Greek and Roman Drama Conference, University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ.$890
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Project Team
Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans
SchemeRole
Travel GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish
$89020002000
GNo:G0180419

1999 (1 grants)

Annual Meeting of the American Philological Association Dallas Texas, USA$2,400
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Project Team
Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans
SchemeRole
Travel GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish
$2,40019991999
GNo:G0179082

1998 (2 grants)

Greek Tragedy Staging Project.$6,000
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Project Team
Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans
SchemeRole
Project GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish
$6,00019981998
GNo:G0177330

International Society for the Classical Tradition 4th Meeting, Germany 29 July - 2 August 1998$2,225
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Project Team
Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans
SchemeRole
Travel GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish
$2,22519981998
GNo:G0179789

1997 (3 grants)

Janacek piano music project.$4,500
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Project Team
Catherine Davis, Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans
SchemeRole
Project GrantInvestigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish
$4,50019971997
GNo:G0176667

Greek tragedy staging project$2,700
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Project Team
Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans
SchemeRole
Project GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish
$2,70019971997
GNo:G0176621

Crossing the Stages: the Production, Performance and Reception of Ancient Theatre, Saskatoon, Canada, 23-26 October 1997$2,312
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Project Team
Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans
SchemeRole
Travel GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish
$2,31219971997
GNo:G0179458

1996 (3 grants)

Antigone video Production Loan$3,000
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Project Team
Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans
SchemeRole
Special Project GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish
$3,00019961996
GNo:G0176314

Greek Tragedy staging project$2,500
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Project Team
Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans
SchemeRole
Project GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish
$2,50019961996
GNo:G0175706

Intern. Symposium on Ancient Greek Drama, Cyprus, 7-10 September, 1996$1,935
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Project Team
Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans
SchemeRole
Travel GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish
$1,93519961996
GNo:G0176475
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Research Supervision

Number of current supervisions3
Total current UoN Masters EFTSL0.55
Total current UoN PhD EFTSL0.5

For supervisions undertaken at an institution other that the University of Newcastle, the institution name is listed below the program name.

Current Supervision

CommencedProposed
Completion
ProgramSupervisor TypeResearch Title
20142018M Philosophy (Classics)Principal SupervisorWorkshopped Translations of Euripides' Helen and Iphigenia Amongst the Taurians
20112014M Philosophy (Music)Co-SupervisorA Rhetorical Analysis of Mozart's Opere Serie
20102014PhD (Classics)Principal SupervisorOral Tradition and Aeschylus: Structure and Meaning in the Persians

Past Supervision

YearProgramSupervisor TypeResearch Title
2011PhD (Music)Sole SupervisorA Study of Vocal Technique and its Practical Application to Repertoire that Demonstrates the Development of Music Theatre in the Western World
2010M Creative Arts (Music) [R]Sole SupervisorLove and Death in Art Song and Opera from 1810 to 1947
2008PhD (Music)Sole SupervisorContemporary Guitar Repertoire: A Performer's Examination of Preparation and Performance
2008PhD (Music)Sole SupervisorTempo Indications of Mozart: An Analytical Study of Performance Practice in the Twentieth Century as it Relates to The Magic Flute and The Marriage of Figaro
2007M Creative Arts (Music) [R]Principal SupervisorSpinto Repertoire and the Development of the Spinto Voice Towards the Spinto Voice - A Musical and Personal Journey
2007M Creative Arts (Music) [R]Principal SupervisorRussian Vocal Repertoire and Parallels in the International Literature
2007PhD (Music)Principal SupervisorA Composer's Journey
2007PhD (Music)Principal SupervisorThe role of the Violin in Expressing the Musical Ideas of the Romantic Period and the Development of Violin Techniques in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
2006M Creative Arts (Music) [R]Sole SupervisorDidjeridu Journey
2006M Creative Arts (Drama) [R]Sole SupervisorRipple and its Relation to Current Postcolonial Playwriting
2006M Arts (Music) [R]Sole SupervisorGerald English
2006PhD (Music)Sole SupervisorThe Music of Nigel Butterley 1950-2001
2006PhD (Music)Sole SupervisorThe opera performer as actor: An Australian perspective
2006PhD (Music)Sole SupervisorViola Vives
2005M Arts (Music) [R]Sole Supervisor88 Keys...No Doors. Beginner to intermediate level jazz piano education: the Australian perspective
2005PhD (Music)Sole SupervisorRenewing the Musical Tradition in an Australian Cathedral - Developments in Liturgical Music at Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle
2004M Creative Arts (Music) [R]Principal SupervisorBeyond A Beautiful Voice
2004M Creative Arts (Music) [R]Sole SupervisorDeveloping Stage Craft and Vocal Technique
2004PhD (Music)Sole SupervisorPerformance Practices in Italian Music for Female Voice 1800-1850
2003PhD (Music)Sole SupervisorAn examination of Max Brod's German performing versions of the works of Leos Jan¿cek
2003PhD (Music)Sole SupervisorBeyond Sacred and Maninya - Developments in the Music of Ross Edwards Between 1991-2001
2002M Creative Arts (Music) [R]Principal SupervisorThe Sacred Road to Mozart. A Study of Early Music Techniques from East and West and the Transition to Baroque and Classical Period Repertoire
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Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans

Cell / Mobile Phone0434902350
Email
PositionsConjoint Professor
School of Humanities and Social Science
Faculty of Education and Arts
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Casual Academic
School of Humanities and Social Science
Faculty of Education and Arts
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Focus AreaDrama
Office
MCLG 27,
McMullin,
Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan NSW 2308
Australia
URL:www.newcastle.edu.au/profile/michael-ewans
Link/Resources/Schools/Humanities and Social Science/Staff profiles/Ewans-Michael.pdf