Statement on Palestine

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Statement on Palestine

The Theatre and Performance Research Association Executive Committee recognises that many people in our community are deeply impacted by the devastating events in Gaza, Palestine, Israel and across the region. As an Executive Committee, we join global calls for a permanent ceasefire, an end to what the International Court of Justice has ruled as plausible genocide of Palestinian peoples, and the safe return of Israeli and other nationals who are currently being held as hostages. We mourn every life that has been taken and recognise all who have been harmed by violence before, on and since 7 Oct 2023. We acknowledge that many in our communities are grieving and extend our compassion to all impacted.

The past months have seen the decimation of schools and universities in Gaza and the targeted killings of Palestinian scholars. This assault on future Palestinian epistemes extends to the arts, including the targeted attack in December 2023 on Freedom Theatre, a community-based theatre and cultural centre in the Jenin refugee camp in West Bank, Palestine that has toured the UK. Here in the UK, as well as globally, we have seen a connected rise in anti-Arab hate, anti-Jewish hate, antisemitism, and Islamophobia, and the state-sanctioned suppression of academic freedom carrying many of these same logics.

We affirm that TaPRA as an organisation opposes racism and discrimination in all its forms. As a community of researchers who recognise that anti-oppression struggles are interconnected, who are invested in anticolonial and antiracist futures for our fields, and who have been moving our organisation beyond rhetoric and towards actions, the Executive wish to announce the following actions:

  1. Ringfencing the next TaPRA Fellowship to support the work of diasporic Palestinian and Palestinian scholars.
  2. Inviting and foregrounding Palestinian and diasporic Palestinian scholarship and artistic practice at our Northumbria conference.
  3. Initiating collaboration with Palestinian universities, research organisations and scholars.
  4. Organising an online workshop on academic freedom for our members, that recognises the currently heightened targeting and silencing of pro-Palestinian speech in Higher Education and beyond, and that will also speak to connected forms of state-sanctioned silencing prevalent in UK HE.

As always, we welcome the contribution of TaPRA members in bringing these actions to fruition.

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