In our first conference as convenors, we would like to focus on the theme of generation(s) and (re)generation in applied and social theatre. Previous conferences and events have addressed: health and wellbeing; heroism; craft; aesthetics; histories and geographies; impact; value; slowness; practice (as) research; age(s) and ageing. We would like to move the debate a step forward in order to interrogate, question and regenerate the philosophy and purpose of applied and social theatre practice and research in general.
In the current political and social context, how can the field renew itself? How do we respond to austerity, precarity, resurgent nationalism and a new range of challenges emerging from public policy, arts practice and academic structures – from international politics to ‘relational aesthetics’ to the Teaching Excellence Framework? What do we do? What can we do? How can we adapt our thinking and creativity to these new/old concepts, processes and dynamics?
Recent debates in scholarship have interrogated concepts such as: ‘participation’, ‘empathy’, ‘ethics’, ‘affect’, ’flow’, ‘impact’ and ‘care’. We are interested in what these terms might mean now and how they might connect with notions of:
In their introduction to the edited volume Critical Perspectives on Applied Theatre (2016), Jenny Hughes and Helen Nicholson, suggest:
Applied theatre emerges as a creative force that responds imaginatively to the ways in which the loci of power have become diffuse and fragmented in the twenty-first century, and to new questions about how increasingly nuanced ideas of authority can be harnessed for social change. (Ibid: 2)
Hughes and Nicholson propose a model of applied theatre as an ‘ecology of practices’, constantly shifting and developing. As a result, “it has not one identity but many practical identities, differently and appropriately nuanced according to context” (Ibid: 4). Since the 1990s there have been numerous ‘turns’: the ‘social turn’; the turn to ‘affect’; the ‘cognitive’ turn; and recently, a turn towards an ‘aesthetics of care’ (Thompson 2015). Where do we turn now? What new movements and directions are emerging within the current ‘ecology’? How can we develop our agency and analysis as individuals, communities and as a field, in relation to new models of ‘authority’? How might we review and renew our ideas and values? Is there scope for developing a coherent shared direction? Or will we become more ‘diffuse and fragmented’?
For the TaPRA Conference at the University of Salford in 2017, the Applied and Social Theatre Group would like to put out an open Call for Papers, inviting the membership to propose papers and provocations on any aspect of research in the field today. Indicative (but not exhaustive) areas may include:
- How can we regenerate the field of applied and social theatre in terms of funding policy, scholarship and practice as research?
- What does the current social and political climate mean for practice and research in the field?
- How can we regenerate academic thinking and practice?
- How is applied theatre (re)shaped across and within different generations?
- Can (re)generation represent political resistance?
- How are creative processes generated? Are there new ways of generating art and artistry in applied and social theatre?
- What is the connection between (re)generation, aesthetics, relationality,and ethics?
- Can applied theatre support the (re)generation of personal and political agency?
- Can we (re)generate the role of the practitioner as a cultural and political worker? How do we support and train the new generation of applied theatre practitioners?
Other themes/questions might be framed around:
- Social regeneration
- Political regeneration
- Urban regeneration
- Aesthetic regeneration
- Art as Activism regeneration
- Arts and health regeneration
- Academic regeneration
In addition to responses to any of the above areas, we would also welcome papers that continue discussions from the AST interim event on questions about age(s) and ageing in contemporary culture.
Please email all abstracts (no more than 300 words in length), an additional few sentences of biographical information and precise details of the audio-visual technology you will need to make your presentation to Matthew Jennings at email@example.com. The deadline for the submission of proposals is Thursday 13 April 2017.
Please note: only one proposal may be submitted for the TaPRA 2017 Conference. It is not permitted to submit multiple proposals or submit the same proposal to several Calls for Papers. All presenters must be TaPRA members, i.e. registered for the conference; this includes presentations given by Skype or other media broadcast even where the presenter may not physically attend the conference venue.
Hughes, J. and Nicholson, H. (eds) (2016) Critical Perspectives on Applied Theatre, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Thompson, J. (2015) ‘Towards an aesthetics of care’, Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 20:4, 430-441