TaPRA 2024 Performance, Identity and Community working group

Deadline: Wednesday 10 April 2024

Resistance/refusal in the afterlives of performance

This year, we continue our focus on methods (both contemporary and historical) and the epistemic politics in and of performance. To that end we are turning our focus to the afterlives of performance, and specifically, the politics and ethics of creating and maintaining those afterlives, with an emphasis on queer and anti-colonial approaches that resist or refuse closed/ untroubled legacies.

How does a politicised framing of ‘afterlives’ enable us to explore issues of entrenched harms or recurrent wounding that occurs ‘in the wake’ of atrocity – specifically in theatre and performance, as Christina Sharpe insists? What remains, and what does an orientation towards resistance and refusal mean for how we study theatre and performance?  

An afterlife might be thought of as a revival or adaptation in that traces of the original performance live on and are reshaped by subsequent productions. We can also determine the afterlife of a performance through our research practices, including, for example, how we record performance in academic print; or questions of which performance practices have afterlives and why; or else, following Rebecca Scheider, what remains/ what resists?   

Another way of defining afterlives is as records of performance which take a number of different forms. For example, an afterlife of a performance might be its documentary footprint. Is a record of the performance held in an archive? What is this record, what is the archive, and how is the performance documented there? While documentation and preservation may indicate significance for future generations of scholars, and thereby have a promising affect, the consideration of afterlives tells a story of unexpected impacts or traces that are not always positive. In that sense, how does a specific focus on resistance and refusal within the afterlives (eg: archival gaps/ unruly materials/ dissonant evidence/ wayward methods) generate productive spaces for research in our disciplines?  

The creation and maintenance of afterlives thus comes with a series of political and ethical questions that we seek to address in the Performance Identity and Community Working Group this year.

Theatre and performance afterlives can be explored in a number of ways, including, for example:

  • Archives and the violences of unlearning imperialism (Arïella Azoulay)
  • Institutional harms (e.g. open letters about racism/ wounding working practices)
  • Spectral presences, specifically refusal in the afterlife of enslavement & colonialism (Saidiya Hartman, Christina Sharpe, Catherine Cole and Clare Finburgh Delijani)
  • Critical approaches to nostalgia (what residues of empire, class politics, patriarchy form afterlives in our institutions and on stages?)
  • Afterlives of military occupation, genocide, war and resistance (eg Rebecca Schneider’s Performance Remains; Jenny Hughes’ Performance in a Time of Terror; Jasbir Puar, Allen Feldman, Patrick Anderson, Coco Fusco) 
  • Care ethics and archiving the afterlife of performance
  • Site specificity – footprints of performance in space after a site specific performance. How are spaces changed (if at all) after a site-specific performance? material terms e.g., place-based responses to exploring race, class, or queer frameworks (We Dig, Emma Frankland & Co; Lucía Miranda’s Crossborder Project; The Actor’s Touring Company piece The Architect; or Lola Arias’s Futurland)
  • Live art’s material afterlives – Poppy Jackson’s menstrual blood; Martin O’Brien’s phlegm; Cassil’s archive of piss  
  • Traces and temporalities: Processes of durational work as afterlives 
  • Claims about community-based practice and its afterlives/ legacies, including pedagogies of legacy-work 
  • The role of the glitch as a resistance/ refusal of neat afterlives (Legacy Russell)

You may be thinking with some of these artists/organisations: 

ear for eye (debbie tucker green)
Salt (Selina Thompson) 
Winsome Pinnock 
The gift (Janice Okoh)
Moj of the Antarctic and Family Tree (Mojisola Adebayo) 
Project O
Tambo & Bones (Dave Harris)
An Octoroon (Brandon Jacobs Jenkins)
Chorus in Rememory of Flight (Julianknxx)

Postcolonial haunting:
Pacific Trilogy (Azcona&Toloza, Chile and Spain)
Minefield/ Campo Minado (Lola Arias, Argentina)
Action Zoo Humaine (Chokri Ben Chikha, Belgium) 
Exhibit B (Brett Bailey, SA)

Freedom Theatre 
Palestinian Performing Arts Network

Re Member Me (Dickie Beau) 
I Joan (Charlie Josephine)
It’s True, It’s True, It’s True  (Breach Theatre)
Blue Now (Fuel Theatre)

Invitation: We are intending to collaborate with Theatre and Performance Histories WG and as such if you would like to be considered for the joint panel, please indicate as such and send the abstract to both working groups and indicate that you’re doing so.

NOTE: we were unable to include all the paper presentations that applied last year so please do engage with the CFP as the papers we are able to select resonate across the themes. We will also circulate all abstracts to WG coordinators to consider for other groups.  

OUR APPROACH:  We welcome work that addresses original research and also pedagogic research/scholarship.

We aim to embed intergenerational working in planning panels and organising the working group. We also welcome papers in all forms, including short performances, a conversation between speakers and/or pre-recorded presentations. We also want to encourage collaborations between academics and artists and seek to place value on knowledges that extend beyond the academy (noting that there are always asymmetries in accessing support for conferencing). 

Embedding learning from the prior conferences, we will continue to work with the idea of friendship as methodology, rooted in dialogue. Our programming will thus seek to offer moments of this generative cross-pollination and allow time for conversations, rather than a traditional Q&A.

Conference structure
Northumbria University will host the TaPRA 2024 annual conference in central Newcastle-upon-Tyne (UK) as a hybrid event from 4 to 6 September 2024. We welcome online and in-person delegates.

Process for submitting a proposal
Please email a submission with the following elements by midnight on 10 April 2024 to the Working Group convenors at pic@tapra.org:

  • 300-word max abstract
  • 100-word max biography
  • Confirmation on whether you plan to attend online or in person
  • Any specific requirements relating to space or AV technology

Please note: You may only submit a proposal to one working group (or to the TaPRA Gallery) for this conference, proposals submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

TaPRA will inform you whether or not your proposal has been accepted in mid-May 2024. Registration will also be open from mid-May 2024, which will ask for accessibility and dietary requirements. A draft schedule will be ready by the end of June 2023. Registration will close on 1 August 2024. Accommodation options in central Newcastle with special rates will be available to all delegates.

Conference costs
There are two main delegate types (standard and concession, definition below) and all fees include one-year TaPRA membership of £35 (standard) or £17 (concession). Early bird rates only apply to in-person full conference fees.

In-person fees: (early bird/late bird)

  • Full conference fee: £250/£300 (standard) and £180/£230 (concession)
  • Day rate: £130 (standard) and £100 (concession)
  • WG Convenors and Exec: £198 (standard) and £17 (concession)
  • Life members: £163

Online fees:

  • Full conference fee: £110 (standard) and £90 (concession)
  • WG Convenors and Exec: £108 (standard) and £17 (concession)
  • Life members: £73

A day rate is not available for online delegates.

Concession definition
Concession rates apply to all students, postgraduate researchers (MA or PhD), unwaged, unaffiliated, and retired researchers, and staff on contracts of either less than 0.6FTE or else fixed for less than 12 months. These categories apply to the delegate’s circumstances on the first day of the conference.

Each Working Group manages a bursary to cover the fee and some expenses, offered on a competitive basis. Preference will be given to those without access to any institutional funds. This process is open to accepted presenters only and will be managed by the Working Group convenors post-confirmation of acceptance.

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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