TaPRA 2021, 6-10 Sept, online & co-hosted by Liverpool Hope University, Scenography Working Group CfP: Radical Scenographies: Reimagining Community and Identity

Deadline: Friday 9 April 2021

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 space, place and identity. Across physical and digital work, design-led and material thinking offers 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). 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 examine how we might embed critical concepts in design, and in scenographic practice, across working processes and audience encounters with scenographic work.


This year we will embrace the format of zoom by considering how digital meetings (breakout rooms, gallery / speaker view, chat, Jamboards) might be used to share, discuss and converse around ideas presented in the group. 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 Presentation
  • PechaKucha*
  • Performance Practice
  • Practical Activity
  • Performance Lecture
  • Provocation
  • Panel / Conversations
* 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. Please state in your proposal whether you imagine your contribution to be live or prerecorded.

Areas of Consideration

Suggested topics relating to our core theme – across digital and physical realms, spaces and forms – 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 and race
  • Queer spaces and environments
  • Race and Materiality
  • Access, Inclusion and Design
  • Aesthetics of Participation
  • Transformative potentials of scenographic materials

Process for submitting a proposal

Proposals must be submitted to scenography@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.

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