Theatre, Performance & Philosophy 2018

Full Name: Daniela Perazzo Domm (on behalf of the WG convenors)

Annual Conference Theme (if applicable): Dialectics of Dread and Refuge

What were the main points that emerged from your WG this year?
The working group included a broad range of papers and presentations exploring notions and questions surrounding the fear and anxiety that pervasively characterise the contemporary moment – which the call for papers proposed to interrogate. In particular, our sessions focused on: 1) strategies of refugium and disobedience; planetary politics in states of emergency; conditions of vulnerability and communal practice; 2) radical dramaturgies that engage with dystopia, employ irresponsibility as a form of paradoxical pedagogy and resist dominant discourses by rethinking grammaticality; 3) syncope and suspension as modalities for thinking the in-between; transition and interconnection as choreo-dramaturgical tools for social change; 4) notions of outreach and participation and their performative modalities. Our final session was conceived as a reflection on the working group’s interim event “Reaching | Outreaching”, held at the Olympic Park site of Loughborough University London on 9 June 2018, in which we proposed to question the ethics, politics and aesthetics of intellectual and artistic labour and the notions, gestures and practices of participation, care and ‘out-reaching’ we perform within and without our institutions.   Some of the themes that emerged were:

  • Notions and practices of disorientation and fugitivity
  • Destituent thought as a strategy for performance
  • Capitalism and its phases: misery, boredom, anxiety
  • Practices of dependence and interdependence
  • Subscendence, solidarity and environmental critique
  • Resistance to the hegemonic order through quotidian acts of production
  • Multi-locality, multi-temporality and multi-disciplinarity as modes of rethinking grammaticality
  • Minor literatures, minor practices
  • Disobedience and resilience as modalities of re-positioning
  • The recess of the image as a condition for thinking politics
  • Autopoietic systems, creative change and new materialism
  The presentations engaged with a stimulating range of theoretical premises and philosophical traditions and addressed a variety of performative practices, including experimental theatre, choreography, playwriting, dramaturgy, community projects, performance hangouts. All presentations were followed by sustained and engaging debate, leading to productive cross-pollination between different panels.

What was discussed at your business meeting?

All members of the working group commented positively on the sustained level of engagement of the group’s debate. The discussions that followed the panels addressed urgent and timely questions and produced a group that felt particularly cohesive. The group considered how the call for papers may have contributed to this cohesiveness, which however also coincided with smaller numbers than in the past. Discussion focused on how future calls for papers may try to maintain an urgent focus, whilst also allowing for a broader representation of themes and perspectives. The group also reflected on the role the interim event played in making connections with other working groups: participants to this year’s interim event are regular contributors to the Documenting Performance WG (Johanna Linsley and Diana Damian Martin) and to the Bodies and Performance WG (Arabella Stanger). Other topics of discussion included how the call for papers had attracted a number of independent artists and researchers, who nevertheless were ultimately unable to attend the conference, regrettably resulting in a number of drop-outs.


Kélina Gotman announced that she will be stepping down from her role as working group convenor. Nik Wakefield will join Fred Dalmasso and Daniela Perazzo Domm in convening the WG from October 2018.

Types of contributions:
Papers, provocations, workshop-presentations.

Number of formal contributors (those listed in book of abstracts) 9

Approx. overall number of delegates who attended your WG Sessions 15-20
Composition of WG (PG, ECR, etc.)
The group continues to attract a strong PG and ECR contribution, alongside independent scholars and senior academics.

Did you have any non-UK participants? Yes

If your WG hosted an Open Panel, do you have any feedback?


Any additional points or feedback not covered above?

We wish to thank Aberystwyth University for an exceptional conference in an amazing setting. We would also like to thank all our presenters for their inspiring contributions to the conference theme and their conviviality. Daniela, Fred and Nik wish to thank Kélina for her passion and commitment in convening the working group over the last four years.

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