Performer Training

A group that shares research about performer training in all its manifestations.

TaPRA 2020, 2 – 4 September, Liverpool Hope University, Performer Training Working Group CfP: Training and Agency

Deadline: Friday 17 April 2020

Training could be thought of as a regime; a repeated practice with structures and boundaries within which the subject performs. Yet, this subject is an agent with their own thoughts, feelings and instincts apart from the demands of the training. In this conference, we will be exploring performer training in relation to the idea of agency. Developing from our 2019 theme of The Exercise, in that the exercise might represent structure, we will explore to what extent the subject has agency within frameworks of training.
Agency, the ability of the subject to act according to their own will, is temporal: dependent on the past, present and projected future of the subject (Emirbayer and Mische 1998). The capacity for agency is often defined in relation to structure, the social, economic, cultural or other circumstances in which the individual acts. Moving beyond a belief that subjects operate entirely according to their freewill, or an approach that argues humans have no independence and their behaviour is entirely determined by circumstances, it is possible to conceive of structure and agency as interlinked; if this is the case, then the following might be argued: as structures increase, agency rescinds, as the agent is empowered the structural power decreases.
Situating this within performer training, we want to investigate how training structures (the institution, the practice, the exercise for example) impacts on the agency of the trainee, and vice versa. Are the boundaries of training necessary in order to define the individual agent? Is it possible for these structures to diminish or promote the creativity, imagination or abilities of those in training? Are the social, economic and political structures that correspond to institutional power erasing social and cultural difference, erecting barriers to accessing training, or even actively marginalising certain groups? Or are training structures an essential part of the individual’s journey to the realisation of agency? Does the trainee need to resist the structures of training in order to attain empowerment – or embrace them?
Topics may include:
– Creative will and agency
– Training and power structures
– Training and social or cultural difference
– Self-development, empowerment and training
– Access to training and socio-economic deprivation
– Agency and subversion of training
– Blind obedience to training ‘gurus’
-Training as transmission of knowledge or cultivation of agency
– Agency as individual power or the functions of ideology
– Training as the temporary or permanent suspension of agency
– The limits of agency from training within given socio-economic contexts
– Training to enhance agency of marginalized groups
– The different roles of training and its relationship to agency in academic, conservatoire or professional contexts
– The question of individual agency versus collective agency, particularly under neoliberalism
Coronavirus Disclaimer
Whilst we are continuing to make plans for the Annual TaPRA Conference to go ahead as scheduled at LHU in September, we are also working on contingency arrangements should government advice restrict large gatherings. We will keep all members informed of any changes.
Process for submitting a proposal
Please send a 300 word (max) proposal and short biography to the Working Group Convenors at by 23.59 on 17 April 2020.
Originally proposals were due by 9th April, however due to the recent UCU strike action and the rapidly evolving situation regarding Covid-19 we are extending the proposal submission deadline until Friday 17th April.
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.
Working Group Convenors 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 18 May 2020.
Conference Costs
The early bird registration fee for this year’s conference will be £215 (standard) and £112 (concession), including TaPRA membership for the year, rising to £245 (standard) and £142 (concession) after 19th June.
It will also be possible to register for a ‘half conference’ – that is, Day 1 to after lunch Day 2; OR all of Day 2; OR from 4pm on Day 2 & all of Day 3. ‘Half conference’ fees are: £125 (standard) and £65 (concession), rising to £140 (standard) and £79 (concession) after 19th June.
All of the above conference fees include TaPRA membership for one year (starting on 2 September 2020).
On-campus conference accommodation will cost no more than £50 per night. The conference dinner will cost £40 (£35 for concession delegates booking in the early bird period).
Please note: 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.
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 5 bursaries available for postgraduate researchers and up to 3 available for 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: Conference fee waiver and one year of TaPRA membership; up to £300 toward travel, accommodation, childcare or access costs (the TaPRA Administrator will book accommodation; travel fees or access costs can be reclaimed quickly on production of receipts).
You must submit your application for a bursary at the same time as your proposal to the Working Group (as a separate document). Please note that PG students will require a supporting statement from their supervisor or programme leader, which may take extra time to source. Full details, criteria, and application forms are available on the TaPRA website (

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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