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Call for participation: TaPRA Performance, Identity, Community Working Group

TaPRA 2014 Call for Papers – Performance, Identity, Community: Stuart Hall and Performance

In a return to first principles the Performance, Identity, and Community Working Group wish to re-evaluate what these terms may mean in the contemporary moment. Moved and inspired by the loss of Stuart Hall, we hope to use the TaPRA 2014 conference to critically examine the notions and interrelations between the core concepts performance, identity, and community. In particular we are concerned to examine questions of class, theatrical form, and identity politics. How does performance engage in the tension between identity and community, reproducing and resisting ideology, inhabiting its cultural milieux, and intervening from minority and majority positions? Furthermore, we wish to interrogate the politics of representation itself. What does it mean to represent, be represented, be representable? Hall’s concerns and terminologies – hegemony, coding and decoding, cultural themes – offer launch points for these discussions, as well as points of intersection with other ideas and theoreticians.

In this way the Working Group is alive to precisely what is at stake in performance. And to how these stakes being performed, both in the moment of performance, in its ephemera, its criticism, and in its academic afterlife.

Questions that form the departure points for our thinking include:

  • What are the cultural themes being addressed in 21st century theatre and performance practices?
  • In what ways has contemporary theatre and performance recalibrated popular notions of community, self, other?
  • Is theatre class conscious?
  • What is theatre conscious of, conscious for, (self?) conscious about?
  • Is identity now a redundant political concept?
  • Where and how does theatre sit in its plural communities?
  • Given the supposed crisis of multiculturalism, does performance offer ways to reconfigure the competing claims of difference and equality?
  • If theatre and performance are marginal arts, what is their political relationship to the broader politics of culture and in particular mass visual forms such as television and cinema?
  • Is theatre irrelevant?

We welcome contributions that respond to, challenge, or develop any of the above in a new direction. The working group would like to invite a broad range of submissions from 5 minute provocations to 15 minute papers to pair presentations (approx. 30mins) to creative presentations. The spirit of this is to foster dynamic, diverse, and collaborative thinking via a curated series of panels. We are hoping to reenergise the manner in which academic thinking in conference settings is delivered and experienced. As such we are inviting you to propose a contribution that fits the shape of your thinking as opposed to a standardised format. Please note that the feasibility of what you propose is somewhat constrained by the conference setting and facilities. More ‘traditional’ conference papers are, of course, very welcome and important so don’t hesitate to propose these too.

Please submit a 250 word abstract and short biography to a.r.harpin@exeter.ac.uk, Rachel.clements@manchester.ac.uk, and G.White@cssd.ac.uk indicating any technical requirements by 30 April 2014.

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