TaPRA 2018, Aberystwyth, Applied and Social Theatre WG: Theorising Openness, Risk and Vulnerability in Applied Theatre Practice

Deadline: Friday 20 April 2018

TaPRA Applied and Social Theatre Working Group

Call for Papers

Aberystwyth University, 5th – 7th September 2018

 

Theorising Openness, Risk and Vulnerability in Applied Theatre Practice

  Our working group conference theme this year focuses on ideas of ‘openness’, ‘risk’ and ‘vulnerability’, and the interconnections between them.  Building on last year’s events in which we explored Age(s) and Age(ing) in Applied and Social Theatre and ideas of Generation and Regeneration, and this year’s interim event which focused on applied puppetry – ‘objects with objectives’, our focus is now shifting towards a theorising of ideas which seem so prevalent, and indeed urgent, in the context of contemporary social, political and global precarity.   We invite proposals for papers, provocations and live posters that explore facets of this broad theme, and that offer a way of theorising or conceptualising openness, risk and/or vulnerability in applied theatre practice.   We are delighted that the guest address for our working group will be delivered by Alice O’Grady, Professor of Applied Performance at the University of Leeds, whose most recent publication is the edited volume, Risk, Participation and Performance Practice: critical vulnerabilities in a precarious world (2017).   Writing in the Preface to the book, O’Grady highlights the key concept of ‘critical vulnerability’ examining how “the core characteristics of openness, uncertainty and varying degrees of exposure contribute to an aesthetic paradigm where risk is deployed as an intentional tactic, a strategy of engagement, or a critical tool for the shared making of meaning” (O’Grady, 2017: xi). Other writers, such as Martha Nussbaum (2016), write of the need for openness to life in coming to terms with vulnerability, fragility, anger and social justice. She highlights the balance between the capacity for vulnerability and ability to trust others in exploring the ethical dimensions of resentment, generosity, anger and forgiveness. In a different way, Brene Brown argues for the power of vulnerability in questioning its association with weakness and fear. In her book Daring Greatly, Brown discusses the concept of vulnerability, which she connects with feelings of uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. She argues that, “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change” (2012: 33). This echoes Helen Nicholson who has maintained that applied theatre helps develop creative spaces “in which people feel safe enough to take risks and to allow themselves and others to experience vulnerability” (Nicholson, 2005: 129).   For the TaPRA Conference at the Aberystwyth University in 2018, we would like to explore theoretical underpinnings of the above themes. Indicative questions to consider for proposals may include: * How do we understand notions of openness, risk and vulnerability in applied theatre and performance practices? * What is the relationship between applied theatre and concepts of openness? * What is the role of vulnerability in applied theatre? * To what extent do risk, vulnerability and openness call for a reconsideration of ethics in applied theatre? * How might we understand openness in other terms in our work: opening moments of a project; openness to other disciplines; openness to other countries; a group’s openness; openness and connection; invitation rather an intervention; opening the field; opening doors? * How can we redefine risk in relation to areas such as creative practice, aesthetics, ethics, artistic autonomy, and performance? * What can we learn about vulnerability in relation to identity, biography, participation, and spectatorship? * What is the relationship between notions of care and risk, vulnerability and openness? * How do we analyse and monitor impact and efficacy in relation to risk, vulnerability, openness?   Please email all abstracts (no more than 300 words in length), an additional few sentences of biographical information and details of the audio-visual technology you will need to make your presentation to Michael Carklin at michael.carklin@southwales.ac.uk. The deadline for the submission of proposals is Friday 20th April 2018.   The link to the new TaPRA ECR Bursaries scheme is http://tapra.org/bursaries/,  please double check whether you fit the criteria and wish to be considered.   Only one proposal may be submitted for the TaPRA 2018 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.   References: Brown, Brene (2012), Daring greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way  we live, love, parent, and lead. New York, NY: Gotham Books. Nicholson, Helen (2014), Applied drama: The gift of theatre. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.   Nussbaum, Martha (2016), Anger and Forgiveness: resentment, generosity and justice. New York: Oxford University Press USA.   O’Grady, Alice (2017), Risk, Participation and Performance Practice: critical vulnerabilities in a precarious world. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Please note: only one proposal may be submitted for a TaPRA event. It is not permitted to submit multiple proposals or submit the same proposal to several Calls for Participation. All presenters must be TaPRA members, i.e. registered for the event; this includes presentations given by Skype or other media broadcast even where the presenter may not physically attend the event venue.

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