TaPRA 2020, 2 – 4 September, Liverpool Hope University, Scenography Working Group CfP: Relational Scenographies: Influence, Invite, Engage!

Deadline: Friday 17 April 2020

Design-led and material thinking offer a rich and productive lens through which to consider transformational experiences for audiences, participants and creatives. Scenography, as an event of encounter and a mode of thinking and of being in the world presents a rich opportunity to critically explore the agentive capacities of performance materials and processes. As recent scholarship has firmly established the ‘relational nature of much expanded scenography underscores the potential of the material in performance; meanwhile, the affective register that emerges is in part a result of this new-found appreciation of materials and what they can do’ (McKinney and Palmer, 2017: 13). Accordingly, the potential of scenography to participate in fields of community, activism, ecology, and politics is increasingly understood (see, for example: Okeke, 2019; Beer, Fu & Hernández-Santín, 2018; Coyle, 2018; Sibanda & Gabwa, 2017). For this meeting, we are keen to explore the ways in which the relational nature of scenography structures and invites experiences of community, and the ways in which the materiality and agency of scenography might incite, influence, or shape radical reimaginings of community and identity.
Timothy Morton articulates that ‘ecological thought doesn’t just occur ‘in the mind’, but as a practice and a process of becoming fully aware of how human beings are connected with other beings – animal, vegetable or mineral’ (2010: 7). We are interested in the type of democracies that scenography might produce: the kinds of democratic encounters that are created between beings, human and non-human; the role, function and value of design to create and sustain relational encounters. How might scenography be used to help us imagine new possibilities for experience to transform our conceptions of and engagement with space and place? In this meeting we will aim to examine how we might embed critical concepts in design, and in scenographic practice, across processes of working and audience encounters with scenographic work.
This year we will adapt the spatial format of the room by considering how the table might be used to share, discuss and converse around ideas presented in the group. We welcome contributions that might embrace this format but also panels, papers, provocations, performance lectures that explore, question and unpack the ways scenography might operate as part of an applied, socially engaged or community centred performance practice.
We invite presentation proposals from a wide variety of scholars and practitioners, at any stage of their career. Fully embracing the interdisciplinarity of the field, we are keen to include proposals that would be suitable for panel sessions open to members of other working groups, or joint proposals from members of more than one working group.
As a working group we actively promote practice-as-research methods and welcome proposals in a variety of different presentation formats. These formats can include, but are not limited to:
– paper/practice presentation
– PechaKucha*
– Exhibition and Installation work
– Performance Practice
* A PowerPoint presentation with 20 images/sides set to automatically progress after 20 seconds. Presenters are then invited to speak alongside their images if they wish. This format is ideal for sharing image-based provocations or artistic practice in a time efficient manner.
If you plan to submit a proposal that includes a technical or spatial requirement, early consultation with us is important if you are planning something large, unusual or complicated. If this applies, please contact the working group convenors to discuss your requirements before you submit.
Areas of Consideration
Suggested topics relating to our core theme include, but are not limited to:
Affect and Scenography
Scenography in applied and community contexts
The social function and role of design
Spatial Transformation: cities, urban environments
Design-led process in participatory and community projects
Affordances and invitation
Class, identity, race and environmental design
Queer spaces and environments
Race and Materiality
Access, Inclusion and Design
Aesthetics of Participation
Transformative potentials of scenographic materials
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 scenography@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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