Scousebrow or powerbrow? Pluck, pencil, thread or wax? Researchers at the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) want to hear about your relationship with your eyebrows at a special Brews & Brows event hosted over four days at FACT.
Inspired by the performances of mid-20th Century Mexican screen icon, María Félix, the University of Liverpool’s Dr Niamh Thornton began investigating the evolution of the eyebrow in contemporary culture, from Desperate Scousewives to Cara Delevingne.
Dr Thornton said: “It’s clear that whatever way you craft your brows it is an important part of your identity; showing how you groom and present yourself to the world can be read in many different ways.
“Because of the buzz around certain styles, we are confident everyone has a story to tell about their brow.”
And now, the team of researchers wants eyebrow sculptors and shapers from across Merseyside to come along to FACT and share your eyebrow stories.
Not only will your views feed into live academic research but a special Brow Bar will be in place, offering free treatments.
Participants will be invited to step into the Brow Booth – a purpose built video diary booth – to tell their story and contribute to an upcoming documentary about the place of the eyebrow in Liverpool.
Dr Liz Greene, from LJMU’s Liverpool Screen School, said: “We want people to be able to tell their own stories in their own ways.
“We will be making a conventional documentary, but the brow booth will also give individuals a more private opportunity to reflect on their grooming practices.”
LJMU’s Jacqui McAssey will offer participants professional photograph sessions, while the LJMU Face Lab team will scan your eyebrows to collect a permanent record of Liverpool’s eyebrow culture.
Sarah Shrimpton, PhD Researcher at LJMU’s Face Lab, said: “Over the years different types of eyebrows have gone in and out of fashion, with the more recent Scousebrow and Powerbrow taking centre stage
“Face Lab will be 3D scanning participant’s eyebrows so they can reflect upon their own eyebrows in three dimensions and open up discussion about eyebrow aesthetic.”
And on the Thursday evening, Edge Hill University’s Dr Catherine Wilkinson and Manchester Metropolitan University’s Dr Samantha Wilkinson will run a focus group, with stories documented in novel ways.
There will also be space to chat and discuss brows over tea and cake throughout the four days.
Dr Thornton, from the University’s Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, said: “We want to get away from eyebrow shaming and give you an opportunity to have your eyebrows scanned, talk about what your brow means to you, and shake off the negativity around the brow.
“We are interested in the choices you make when you pluck, sculpt and position your eyebrows.
“The Scousebrow has picked up negative press and we want to know whether such attitudes are shared on Merseyside.”
Brews & Brows is led by the University of Liverpool and LJMU, in collaboration with Edge Hill University and Manchester Metropolitan University. The project is part-funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).