TaPRA 2021, 6-10 Sept, online & co-hosted by Liverpool Hope University, Performance Identity and Community CfP: Performance, Redress and Reparation

Deadline: Friday 9 April 2021

What does reparations mean within the context of UK theatre, dance and performance studies? What might a redressed theatre, dance and performance studies discipline look like? This year’s meeting of the Performance, Identity and Community working group draws together threads of conversation and research from across TaPRA’s recent events (and beyond) concerning access, participation and the urgent project of decolonising theatre, dance and performance studies. This initial work suggests that our primary challenge is not an absence of critiques of dominant institutions or frameworks for knowledge. Despite stated desires to foster and amplify the voices of research subjects and communities who have been systematically marginalised (and to engage with complex questions of social justice, equality and reparation) our discipline continues to replicate marginalising structures, valorise hegemonic approaches, and reward disciplinary conservatism. What are the practices – manifest in both performance and research – that might challenge, displace and repair these institutional habits?

  • How can performance which addresses questions of identity and community help us to confront and disrupt engrained habits of power, and the hierarchies which they foster and sustain?
  • How can research which engages with this body of work make new arguments for alternative forms of social impact, beyond the narrow expectations of REF?
  • How might we avoid the recuperation of reparations from ‘recovery’ and ‘healing’ that Bergin and Rupprecht (2016) critique as ‘neutralising the past’?
  • How does performance reinvigorate the past in the present? How are artists exploring these considerations through the space of form/ language/ aesthetics or relationship with audience?
In raising these questions, we are interested in identifying the particular, potential contribution of research concerning identity and community to disciplinary-wide projects of change (e.g. work by Sylvan Baker, Sruti Bala, Broderick Chow, Jerri Daboo, Royona Mitra, Pratharna Purkayastha and many others concerning interculturalism and the decolonisation of dance and performance studies). What is the history of this effort in our discipline, prior to its naming? What can ‘we’ do, and who is imagined to be involved and/or responsible in that question? Your approach to these questions may be inflected by these issues:
  • Black Lives Matter and the Rhodes Must Fall protest movements
  • the performativity of institutional statements (Ahmed, 2017)
  • genealogies (Selina Thompson)
  • reparations as payment (Coates, 2014)
  • irrecoverable loss (Saidiya Hartman, 2007; 2008)
  • trauma (Hughes, 2007; Humphrey, 2002; Stuart Fisher, 2011)
  • anti-imperial amnesia (Priyamvada Gopal, 2007; 2016)
  • apology (Schmidt, 2010)
  • race and structural racism (Eddo-Lodge, 2017)
  • radical black tradition (Fred Moten, Tavia Nyong’o, Alexander Weheliye, Amiri Baraka)
  • abolition & activism (Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Angela Davis)
  • truth & reconciliation (Catherine Cole, Allen Feldman, 2003)
  • representations beyond ‘scenes of subjection’ (Hartman, 1997; Aranke & Sparks, 2017)
  • Epistemologies of the South (Santos, 2019)

Commitment to accessibility in the discipline

The PIC WG is interested in hearing from a wide range of researchers – established, emerging and post-graduate, whether working in institutions or independently. We’re conscious that this call is expansive and that there are lots of different ways that it might be addressed – so please do get in touch if you have an idea that you think might be developed for this year’s meeting. We welcome proposals for full papers (15-20 minutes) or hour-long panels, as well as presentations in alternative formats that attend to the potentials opened up by the online format of this year’s conference (e.g. pre-recorded presentations watched prior to ‘live’ discussion). We are especially interested in hearing from researchers who have not previously presented at the group, and from those who are currently underrepresented across TaPRA as a whole. If you’d like to discuss an initial proposal to the working group, please email us (Ally, Lynette and Steve) at pic@tapra.org no later than ONE WEEK before the submission deadline so we can offer some thoughts or arrange a chat.

Selected sources

  • Bergin, C., & Rupprecht, A. (2016) History, agency and the representation of ‘race’ – an introduction. Race & Class, 57(3), 3–17.
  • Coates, T. (2014) ‘The Case for Reparations’ The Atlantic. Available at: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/
  • Gilmore, R.W. (2002) Fatal Couplings of Power and Difference: Notes on Racism and Geography, The Professional Geographer, 54(1): pp.15-2.
  • Gopal, P. (2007) It is contradictory to condemn slavery and yet celebrate the empire. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2007/apr/02/comment.race
  • Gopal, P. (2016) Redressing anti-imperial amnesia. Race & Class, 57(3), 18–30.
  • Hartman, S.V. (1997). Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth- Century America. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • McKenzie, J. (2006) Is Performance Studies Imperialist? TDR: The Drama Review 50(4): pp.5-8.
  • Nyong’o, T. (2019) Afro-Fabulations: The Queer Drama of Black Life. New York: New York University Press.
  • Rai, A.S. (2012) Race racing: Four theses on race and intensity. WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, 40(1): pp. 64-75.
  • Santos, B.S (2019) Towards an Aesthetics of the Epistemologies of the Global South: Manifesto in Twenty-Two Theses, pp. 117-125. Knowledges Born in the Struggle: Constructing the Epistemologies of the Global South. Edited by B.S Santos & P. Meneses. London: Routledge

Process for submitting a proposal

Proposals must be submitted to pic@tapra.org by 23.59 on 9th April 2021.

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.

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.  


We 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 17th May 2021.

TaPRA Conference 2021 Registration Prices

Full Price Early Bird: £65 + £35 (TaPRA membership) = £100

Concession Early Bird: £33 + £17 (TaPRA membership) = £50

Full Price Standard: £85 + £35 (TaPRA membership) = £120

Concession Standard: £43 + £17 (TaPRA membership) = £60

The registration costs above will pay for digital infrastructure and administrative support for the conference, alongside fees for the keynote speaker and artists contributing to the programme.

Please note: All presenters must be TaPRA members, i.e. registered for the event.

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 10 bursaries available for postgraduate researchers and 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 a conference fee waiver and one year of TaPRA membership. There is also a separate discretionary fund towards access costs such as digital access, key materials, childcare and so forth. You must submit your application for a bursary at the same time as your proposal to the Working Group (within the same document as your abstract/bio) If applying for a bursary, please include the following:
  • Whether you are applying as a postgraduate researcher OR unaffiliated presenter/contingent faculty
  • A statement of up to 100 words explaining why you are applying for the bursary
  • An indication of any access needs for which you would like to apply to the discretionary fund: what they are and an indication of costs
Decisions about bursaries will be made by Friday 7th May and notifications will be issued by this group shortly after. The criteria for awarding bursaries are:
  1. Quality and strength of submitted abstract.
  2. Strategic case made by the WG conveners outlining the significance of the applicant’s contribution to the WG sessions (connection to advertised theme, methodological approach, expected outcomes).

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.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.