TaPRA 2020, 2 – 4 September, Liverpool Hope University, Applied and Social Theatre Working Group CfP: Applied and Social Theatre Histories: revisiting origins and creating new narratives

Deadline: Friday 17 April 2020

Applied and Social Theatre working group this year looks at the themes of ‘pasts’, ‘genealogies’ and ‘antecedents’. We are building on last year’s events at Exeter 2019 in which we explored ‘Possibilities, Openings, and Futures’. Our focus is now shifting towards a historicizing of practices that act as possible heuristics for the next stage in applied and social theatre, against current precarious contexts and a lack of fixity in the field and beyond. By revisiting pasts, this discussion does not intend to impose new grand narratives or dominant texts for applied theatre, but instead seeks to review/shake the assumed foundations of current positions. Possible futures are not necessarily found in these discovered, recovered and rewritten practices. Instead, by considering possible pasts, we may open up a critical view of our heritage and make space for new frames of reference as we move forward.
A decade has passed since Helen Nicholson’s (2010) analysis of the history of theatre education and applied theatre, specifically the principles and values that have informed the fields’ development. Kershaw’s dissection of ‘the late pasts of applied theatre and community performance’ (2016: 15) suggests that the field is under-historicized. Building on more recent commitments to addressing this gap, such as Freebody et al’s historicization of applied theatre practices in relation to theories of change (2018), we now want to provoke critical questions about how these histories and our understandings of them have evolved, and how this might influence contemporary research and practice.
At TaPRA’s annual conference at Liverpool Hope University 2020, we will explore historical underpinnings and critically consider histories of applied and social theatres, with a focus on how we (re)perform these pasts through our practices and research. Performances, provocations, posters or papers are welcome – please indicate your style of presentation and time needed to help us design the schedule.
Indicative questions and topics to consider for proposals may include:
– The past as a possibility: what histories are relatively unknown in applied and social theatre?
– Remembrance, archiving, documentation, visibility, authority, representation: what gets recorded and why?
– Oral history and living history
– Origin myths and invented memories
– Is there a canon for applied and social theatre?
– What are the useful lessons from antecedents?
– What do decolonized histories of our practice look like?
– Feminist approaches to applied histories
– Queer studies of applied histories
– Naturalised approaches to histories
– Intersectional and ecological approaches to applied theatre history
– Reviewing the old-fashioned or out-moded in forms and languages of socially engaged practices
– How can we use histories to understand our current dispositif?
– History and the future of theatre in a social context
Papers might explore:
– community theatres
– histories of relational practice
– drama and theatre in social works
– participation, people and politics
– de-colonised/ing practices
– theatre for/by children and young people
– education, TIE, DIE and drama in schools
– drama and theatre in business
– performances not usually considered applied theatre
– performance remains as part of the materiality of performance histories.
Freebody, K., Balfour, M., Finneran, M. & Anderson, M. (eds) (2018) Applied Theatre: Understanding Change. London: Springer.
Kershaw, B. (2016) ‘Toward a historiography of the absent: on the late pasts of applied theatre and community performance’ in Hughes, J. & Nicholson, H. (ed.) Critical Perspectives on Applied Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Nicholson, H. (2010) ‘The promises of history: pedagogic principles and processes of change’, Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 15:2, 147-154
Coronavirus Disclaimer Whilst we are continuing to make plans for the Annual TaPRA Conference to go ahead as scheduled at LHU in September, we are also working on contingency arrangements should government advice restrict large gatherings. We will keep all members informed of any changes.
Process for submitting a proposal
Please send a 300 word (max) proposal and short biography to the Working Group Convenors at appliedandsocial@tapra.org by 23.59 on 17 April 2020.
Originally proposals were due by 9th April, however due to the recent UCU strike action and the rapidly evolving situation regarding Covid-19 we are extending the proposal submission deadline until Friday 17th April.
Please include an optional 2nd choice of Working Group (this can also include the TaPRA Gallery, where appropriate). If we are unable to accept your proposal, we will then pass it on to your 2nd choice for consideration. Your proposal will not be less likely to be accepted by our Working Group if you indicate a 2nd choice.
Please note: You may only submit a proposal to one working group (or else the PaR Gallery) for this conference, proposals submitted after the deadline will not be considered.
Working Group Convenors will inform you whether or not your proposal has been accepted as quickly as possible, and will offer brief summary feedback to all proposals that could not be accommodated. If we have passed your proposal on to your 2nd choice of Working Group, we will let you know this as well. Please note that putting together a full draft schedule for the conference is a complex process, and therefore your patience while this process is ongoing, and prompt responses to acceptances are much appreciated. Convenors will have completed their draft schedules by 18 May 2020.
Conference Costs
The early bird registration fee for this year’s conference will be £215 (standard) and £112 (concession), including TaPRA membership for the year, rising to £245 (standard) and £142 (concession) after 19th June.
It will also be possible to register for a ‘half conference’ – that is, Day 1 to after lunch Day 2; OR all of Day 2; OR from 4pm on Day 2 & all of Day 3. ‘Half conference’ fees are: £125 (standard) and £65 (concession), rising to £140 (standard) and £79 (concession) after 19th June.
All of the above conference fees include TaPRA membership for one year (starting on 2 September 2020).
On-campus conference accommodation will cost no more than £50 per night. The conference dinner will cost £40 (£35 for concession delegates booking in the early bird period).
Please note: 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.
Concession definition: Concession rates apply to all postgraduate researchers, unwaged, unaffiliated, and retired researchers, and staff on contracts of either less than .6FTE or else fixed for less than 12 months. These categories apply to the attendee’s circumstances on the first day of the conference.
There will be up to 5 bursaries available for postgraduate researchers and up to 3 available for unaffiliated presenters/contingent faculty. These are highly competitive and so we would encourage everyone who is able to secure institutional support where possible.
Each bursary includes: Conference fee waiver and one year of TaPRA membership; up to £300 toward travel, accommodation, childcare or access costs (the TaPRA Administrator will book accommodation; travel fees or access costs can be reclaimed quickly on production of receipts).
You must submit your application for a bursary at the same time as your proposal to the Working Group (as a separate document). Please note that PG students will require a supporting statement from their supervisor or programme leader, which may take extra time to source. Full details, criteria, and application forms are available on the TaPRA website (http://tapra.org/bursaries/).

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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