Ruth Hellier, Professor, UCSB
Professor, Performance Studies
Office Location

Music Building 1105

On-site Hours

By appointment


Current projects:

  • Sound Collections and Ecoacoustic Arts in Museums of Natural History

    Combines analysis and creative practice to investigate and propose uses of sound collections in Museums of Natural History in multiple global locations.
  • Sonic arts and environmental sensitivities: birds, plants and ecologies
    Engages soundscape ecologies (specifically birds but extending to all acoustic elements) and sonic arts to examine issues of environmental and more-than-human activities.

      Linked courses: Sonic arts and environmental creativity (MUS 168); Environmental Arts + Sciences: Performing Balance (INT           94UR); Aqua Rising: exploring sonic, visual and movement arts for ecological sensitivity (INT 94VY). 

  • Performance Studies
  • Experimental performance, postdramatic theater, heritage, and postmemory
  • Politics and cultural histories of performance (musics, theater, and dance) in Mexico
  • Nationalism, tourism, heritage, and twentieth-century Mexican history
  • Voice, singing, gender, and biography
  • Community arts, social justice activism, and education


Curriculum Vitae

Ruth Hellier, PhD, is a scholar, creative artist and performer, whose work engages in interdisciplinary ways with the areas of performance studies, critical and interdisciplinary music, dance and theatre studies; community arts; cultural history; critical memory/heritage studies; and Mexican and Latin American studies. Her research and creative projects explore issues of identity, memory and history; power relations; tourism; embodiment; experimentalisms; vocality; ecologies and environmental issues; and the ethics in/of performance and research.

Publications include Embodying Mexico: Tourism, Nationalism, and Performance (OUP); chapters in Performance, Embodiment and Cultural Memory, and Music, Power and Politics; articles in Performance Research and Research in Drama Education; an edited collection, Women Singers in Global Contexts  (University of Illinois Press) and Performing Palimpsest Bodies: Postmemory Theatre Experiments in Mexico (Intellect & University of Chicago Press).

She holds BA Hons in Music, Drama and Dance, PGCE in Drama in Education; and PhD in Performance Studies and Critical Dance Studies. Ruth had a successful career as a professional stage and TV actor, and also worked as a community arts facilitator, and Head of Music in secondary education. In the field of arts and disability, she directed the InterAct Theatre Workshop.

Current Faculty Positions

Professor: University of California, Santa Barbara. Department of Music

Affiliated Faculty: Theater and Dance; Feminist Studies: Latin American and Iberian Studies

Current Leadership Roles

Former Editor-in-Chief: Journal of Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos (UC Press), 2014–2019, Volumes 31– 35. (

Specialist Training

  • 1997-1998: P'urhépecha language: Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Morelia, Michoacán, México.

  • 1994: Teaching English as a Foreign Language: International House, London. Certificate Royal Society of Arts/UCLES TEFLA.

  • 1993: Tanzanian arts: Bagamoyo College of Arts, Bagamoyo, Tanzania, Africa.

  • 1985-1987: Puppetry: Cannon Hill Puppet Theatre, Birmingham, Puppetry, teacher: John Blundell.

  • 1985-1992: Acting & Directing: The Actors Centre, London, Manchester and Birmingham.

  • 1980-1983: Opera: Birmingham School of Music. Teacher: Janet Edmunds.

  • 1973-1983: Alexander Technique: Chelmsford (Essex Schools String Orchestra) and Birmingham University.

  • 1973-1979: Piano and Violin: Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London, Junior Music School scholarship, Piano and Violin. Grade VIII, Piano and Grade VIII, Violin, Royal Schools of Music, 1979.

  • 1969-1978: Dance (ballet, tap, modern) Brenda Goddard School of Dancing, Essex.


Three strands: 1. Performer, creative artist; 2. Head of Music; 3. Professor

  • July 2019: Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • July 2013: Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • July 2011: Assistant Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • 2002-2011: Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor, USA equivalent). University of Winchester, UK [full-time, tenured.]
    • Performing Arts, Contemporary Experimental Performance & Theatre; Applied Theatre; Music Theatre.
    • Visiting Associate Professor: University of California, Santa Barbara (Sep-Dec: on leave from the University of Winchester), 2010.
    • Visiting Lecturer, Departments of Music and Theater & Dance: University of California, Santa Barbara (Sep-June on leave from the University of Winchester), 2008-09.
    • Research Fellow, Arts and Humanities Research Centre for Cross-Cultural Music and Dance, SOAS, University of London, 2005.

[2000–2001: writing doctoral dissertation]

  • 2000-01: Lecturer in Performing Arts, Dance and Performance Studies: South Birmingham College, Birmingham [part-time].
  • 2000-01: Lecturer in Latin American and Caribbean History: Department of Comparative American Studies, University of Warwick [part-time].
  • 2000-01: Studio Teacher, voice and singing: Birmingham Theatre School, Birmingham [part-time].
  • 2000-01: Teacher, classroom music, drama/dance, and Choir Director: Camp Hill School (ages 11–18), Birmingham [part-time].

[1994-1999: undertaking fieldwork for doctoral research in Mexico. Extended periods.]

  • 1995-1996: Head of Music, classroom teaching, Choir director, Orchestra conductor, Dance director, Piano accompanist for Mass: Bishop Challoner School (11–18), Birmingham.
  • 1994-1995: Head of Music, classroom teaching, Choir director, Orchestra conductor, Wind band director, Dance director, piano accompanist for Mass: St Thomas Aquinas School (11-18), Birmingham.
  • 1994: Teacher, drama and performing arts: Countersthorpe Community College (14–16), Leicestershire.

[1990-1991: Postgraduate Certificate in Education: Drama in Education – full-time student.]

  • 1983-1993: Actor, musician, puppeteer, musical director, composer, dancer:
    • UK (Repertory, touring, community, children’s, educational, TV)
    • [see section Creative Works Prior to 2003 for details].
  • 1983-1993: Workshop leader: theatre arts, dance and music (including, Community arts facilitator and workshop leader, Artlink, West Midlands Arts, 1985-1991).
  • 1979-1980: Choir director and piano accompanist: The College Singers, Writtle College, University of Essex.


  • Ph.D. 
    • Birmingham City University, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, 2002.
    • Performance Studies and Critical Dance Studies
    • Title: “Removing the Mask: The Viejitos Dance as Ideological and Political Tool in Post-Revolution Mexico 1920-1940.”
  • P.G.C.E.             
    • University of Central England.  Drama in Education, 1991. Postgraduate Certificate of Education.
  • B.A. Hons         
    • University of Birmingham.  Music, Drama & Dance, 1983.


Performing Palimpsest Bodies: Postmemory Theatre Experiments in Mexico book cover

Performing Palimpsest Bodies: Postmemory Theatre Experiments in Mexico

Intellect and University of Chicago Press, 2019

Ruth Hellier-Tinoco

Women Singers in Global Contexts: Music, Biography, Identity book cover

Women Singers in Global Contexts: Music, Biography, Identity

University of Illinois Press, 2013

Ruth Hellier-Tinoco

Embodying Mexico: Tourism, Nationalism & Performance book cover

Embodying Mexico: Tourism, Nationalism & Performance

Oxford University Press, 2011

Ruth Hellier-Tinoco