Performer Training

A group that shares research about performer training in all its manifestations.

TaPRA 2021, 6-10 Sept, online & co-hosted by Liverpool Hope University, Performer Training Working Group CfP: Training and Agency

Deadline: Friday 9 April 2021

Training could be thought of as a regime. A repeated practice with structures and boundaries, which the subject performs in line with. Yet, this subject is an agent with their own thoughts, feelings and instincts apart from the lines drawn by the training. In this conference, we will be exploring performer training in relation to the idea of agency. Developing from our 2019 theme of The Exercise, whereby the exercise represents structure, we will explore to what extent the subject has agency within frameworks of training. Agency, the ability of the subject to act according to their own will, is temporal: dependent on the past, present and projected future of the subject (Emirbayer and Mische 1998). The capacity for agency is often defined in relation to structure, the social, economic, cultural or other circumstances in which the individual acts. Moving beyond believing purely that subjects operate entirely according to their freewill, or an approach that argues humans have no independence and their behaviour is entirely determined by circumstances, it is possible to conceive of structure and agency’s power as interlinked. In this sense, structure and agency are in a tandem relationship: as structures increase, agency rescinds, as the agent is empowered the structural power decreases. Situating this within performer training, we want to investigate how training structures, e.g. the institution, the practice, the exercise, impacts on the agency of the trainee, and vice versa. Are the boundaries of training necessary in order to define the individual agent? Is it possible for these structures to diminish the creativity, imagination or abilities of those in training? Are the social, economic and political structures that correspond to institutional power marginalising some, erasing social and cultural difference, or even preventing access to training? Or are training structures an essential part of the individual’s journey to the realisation of agency? Could the empowerment of individual agency subvert, counter or challenge the structures of training regimes?

Topics may include:

  • Creative will and agency
  • Training and power structures
  • Training and social or cultural difference
  • Self-development and training
  • Access to training and socio-economic deprivation
  • Agency and subversion of training
  • Training and empowerment

Process for submitting a proposal

Proposals must be submitted to by 23.59 on 9th April 2021.
You might propose a traditional paper of 20 minutes, a shorter 10-minute provocation, or a practical presentation of a different length such as a workshop or work demonstration, bearing in mind the online nature of this year’s conference.
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.

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