TaPRA 2024 Scenography working group

Deadline: Wednesday 10 April 2024

Enduring Scenographies 

For the TaPRA annual conference at Northumbria, the Scenography working group invites contributions around the theme of endurance and duration. Etymologically linked, both words signal a relationship with the temporal aspects of performance, with the former expressing graft, tenacity or suffering as time passes.

Survival can also be about keeping one’s hopes alive; holding on to the projects that are projects insofar as they have yet to be realized. You might have to become willful to hold on when you are asked to let go; to let it go. (Ahmed 2017: 235)

Holding on as a part of endurance may denote that one is out of other options, or it may suggest a desire to hold fast to something of importance. At a time when global events necessitate endurance within bodies, places and cultures, we are interested in exploring spaces and scenographies that investigate and incorporate resistance and resilience. This may include consideration of spaces or atmospheres that endure beyond their use, in a way that begs endurance from the planet and more-than-human beings: “Enduring places, of which there are very few in the world, speak to humanity” (Tuan 1977: 164), but what are those enduring spaces “saying” to us now? How do we speak back to those places on earth that endure?

We might speak of endurance through performances or scenographies that attend to the action and presence of time or that explore the dichotomy between endurance and ephemerality. Perhaps we are seeking to ease the spaces we endure (and which endure) by approaching the design of spaces, stages or atmospheres from a place of love:

When I first declared my desire to work in a loving environment, friends acted as though I had truly lost my mind. To them, love and work did not go together. But I was convinced that I would work better in a work environment shaped by an ethic of love. (hooks 2001: 63)

An “ethic of love” offers a way out of enduring spaces or climates that may be variously hostile or comfortable (including for the scenographer) – what other scenographic strategies can we apply to these experiences? How can we manifest ideas of growth or change via environments that propose feats of endurance in performance space?

We welcome contributions on themes including but not limited to:

  • Performing bodies and public spaces 
  • Threats to established borders and territories (however defined)
  • Durational performances 
  • Political acts of (eco)scenography 
  • More-than-human endurance
  • Scenographic historiographies
  • Climate crisis, mass migration, invasions
  • Established and/or proposed working practices

One of our working group sessions will be dedicated to a workshop exploring space, light, bodies and pole dance/aerial arts: drawing, reflecting, diffracting on themes of endurance. If you are interested in contributing to this workshop, and have specific expertise in pole/aerial, please email scenography@tapra.org with a brief description of your experience.

Working group publication: 
As a result of feedback received from last year’s annual conference, this year we will be working towards publication following the conference: this could be a special issue of a journal, an edited collection, a jointly authored output, or a practice-as-research showing. This will be open to all members of the Scenography working group (we especially welcome postgraduate and early-career researchers) – to be discussed further in the group’s business meeting on the final day of the conference. 

Ahmed, S. (2017) Living a Feminist Life. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
hooks, b. (2001) All About Love: New Visions. New York: HarperCollins.
Tuan, Y.F. (1977) Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

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 scenography@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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