Mind the Gap

TaPRA 2024 postgraduate symposium

Friday 5 July 2024, online

Deadline for abstracts: Wednesday 15 May 2024

Intimation of acceptances: Wednesday 5 June 2024

There are good reasons for the canyons that have opened up between us. I do not believe that ‘our differences don’t matter’ or that we are all the same. I acknowledge the social, historical, economic and political context of our differences and how they impact upon our lives. I also think that beneath our direct lived experiences – beneath our unique cultures and identities – there is a commonality, and I believe that is something we can all access through creativity. (Tempest, 2020)

For their first TaPRA Postgraduate Symposium we, the newly appointed PG Reps (Nic, Alisha and Eleanor), invite contributions around the theme of ‘Mind the Gap’.

Embarking on postgraduate research can feel overwhelming, all we can see are the gaps: The gaps in our knowledge, the gaps in our schedule to be crammed with reading, and the gaps in research that we are meant to be filling. Standing before the Grand Canyon with a tub of Polyfilla wondering where to start.

As we take on the shared role of ‘Postgraduate Representative’ we are also keenly aware of how we are bridging a gap into a new phase of what TaPRA can offer its postgraduate community. Building bridges is a collaborative endeavour, and in this inaugural symposium, we aim to engage the TaPRA PG Community in a dialogue about the most pressing gaps that concern us. From the divide between theatre practice and research to the gaps that we encounter while transitioning into our PhD lives, the interstices between different disciplines that we try to work through to the lacunae within current scholarship, this year’s TaPRA PG symposium wants to hear from you, the researcher, the practitioner and sometimes both, how you navigate through these myriad gaps that we all encounter in our academic journeys.

In the age of…escalating climate change due to environmental racism, severe economic injustice and a collapsing theatre industry that has laid bare the fault lines of racial and class hierarchies that exist inside the precariat class, what kind of theatre is to be fought for and how does one re-dream a new theatre? (Svich, 2022)

We invite submissions broadly addressing the following themes:

Bridging Interdisciplinary Divides:

  • Navigating the intersections between different disciplines and identifying potential for cross-pollination of methodologies.
  • Facilitating dialogue and collaboration between scholars from diverse academic backgrounds to address complex societal issues.
  • Messages of hope or successful bridges.
  • Bridging the gaps between practice and research.

Transitioning into the PhD Life:

  • Sharing personal narratives and reflections on the challenges (and triumphs?) of embarking on your PhD journey.
  • Navigating the transition from undergraduate or master’s studies to PhD-level research
  • Addressing fears of the unknown.
  • Collaboration and camaraderie between researchers as a way to resist the expectation of postgraduate research to be isolating.

Addressing Gaps in Existing Scholarship:

  • Critically evaluating gaps and limitations in current literature and proposing avenues for future research and exploration.
  • Identifying gaps in terms of marginalisation of voices within academic discourse and advocating for inclusivity and diversity in scholarly inquiry.
  • What does the pressure as a PhD researcher to articulate the ‘gap in knowledge’ mean? How does this link to economies or structures of knowledge production? How can we resist the expectation of marketable, quantifiable outputs?

Anticipating Future Gaps and Challenges:

  • Anticipating emerging trends and potential questions that may pose challenges or opportunities for scholars in the future.
  • Exploring strategies for staying ahead of the curve and addressing gaps before they become barriers to progress.
  • Situating yourself within the gaps
  • What does the gap, like the margin, offer as an alternate perspective?
  • What does it mean to position yourself within the gap as a site of knowledge, or speak from the gap?

We invite proposals that relate to the theme in all forms of theatre and performance practice, theatre histories, performance, performance studies, formal and informal performer training, stagecraft and theatre/drama in education from postgraduates at all levels of study (including MA students), postdoctoral researchers and early career academics to be presented online. The symposium is free to attend and open to all postgraduates and early career researchers, based anywhere in the world.

We invite proposals for the following:

  • A Paper – A solo or shared presentation (10-15 mins)
  • A Provocation – A short offer or discussion point (5min)
  • A Practice Sharing – A sharing of documentation or a live (digital) activity (10–15 min) Please send a 250-300-word abstract to pgtapra@gmail.com with an additional short biography of no more than 50 words. Please let us know in your covering email if there are access provisions that would better enable you to participate.

Deadline for abstracts: Wednesday, 15 May 2024

Intimation of Acceptances: Wednesday, 5 June 2024

(Please note that you do not have to be a member of TaPRA to apply/attend.)

Event organisers: Alisha Ibkar (University of Manchester), Eleanor Field (Northumbria University), Nic Farr (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama)

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