Performing the Anthropocene – Deadline Extension

By
Performing the Anthropocene
Setting the Stage for the End of the World
Canadian Association for Theatre Research
L’association canadienne de la recherche théâtrale (CATR/ACRT)
Toronto, Ontario
Saturday 27 May – Tuesday 30 May 2017
Call for Papers for Curated Panels, Seminars, Roundtables, and Praxis Events
due 17 February 2017
Please note:  We are extending the deadline for the general Call for Papers to Friday 27 January 2017! Please spread the word! 

CFPs for Curated Panels

The Virtuosic Body: Shifting Towards a Post-Human Future

This is a song for the genius child.
Sing it softly, for the song is wild.
Sing it softly as ever you can –
Lest the song get out of hand.

Nobody loves a genius child.
-Langston Hughes, The Genius Child

I knew I had to achieve very quickly in order to beat the menacing development of my own body, to shine with undeniable brightness in my adolescent career, before giving it all up for the old-age home. I had to break in to the top six before puberty and curves and weight made it nearly impossible for me to fly through the air, attempting flips meant for younger lighter girls.
-Jennifer Sey, Chalked Up

At what age should I enroll my child in music lessons, dance, or sport? At what point does the window to pursue virtuosic excellence close? A race against time, these decisions to begin training in such disciplines often must be made before a child is old enough to understand the ramifications of such a disciplined practice.

At what point is the virtuosic body exhausted? Individually, it can occur at different moments during the training process, but what about as a collective? At some point, the record for the 100-metre dash will no longer be broken, the quadruple jump is likely the most revolutions that can be performed in figure skating, the 100mph pitch has already been recorded in baseball. So what’s next? What’s left?

In the light of the recent doping scandal from the Sochi Olympics, the virtuosic body, like the earth in the epoch of the Anthropocene, seems to be in a state of crisis. This panel seeks paper submissions on the topic of the systematic breakdown of the virtuosic body in performance studies, dance studies, sports, music, circus arts. Possible topics include but are not limited to, a reimaging of the virtuosic body, via post-human interventions, including: doping, experimental drug therapy, prosthetics, cyborgs, surgical interventions, and redefining gender in competition.

With the goal of stimulating discussion across disciplines this panel seeks to examine this crisis of the virtuosic body across a variety of disciplines.

Expanded Topics:
-Dance studies
-Performance studies
-Circus arts
-Sports
-Music
-Gender studies
-Disability studies
-Training practices for athletes/artists
-Performance enhancing practices
-Doping, surgical enhancement, prosthetics
-The virtuoso outside of their discipline
-Sustainability, the systematic breakdown of the virtuosic body
-The virtuosic body reimagined
-pain/wellness and the performing body

This curated panel will include three to four paper presentations and will be followed by a question and discussion session moderated by Seika Boye.

Submission Requirements 
-Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words to Christine Mazumdar at christine.mazumdar@mail.utoronto.ca
– Proposals are due by 17 February 2017.
– Decisions will be communicated by the session’s conveners.
– Presentations are limited to 20 minutes; time for questions will be included following all presentations.
– Please indicate your AV needs.  _________________________________________________________________Selection committee members: Christine Mazumdar, Seika Boye

Aesthetics of Indetermination: Theatre of the Real, Multiplicity, and the Disruption of Authenticity
Dr. Kathleen Gallagher (OISE)
Scott Mealey (CDTPS)
Kelsey Laine Jacobson (CDTPS)
University of Toronto

Arguably, one of the markers of the contemporary turn towards the “theatre of the real” is the often evocative presentation of fragments, multiples, or selections rather than a complete representative world. Verbatim performance, for instance, eschews an enclosed and privileging narrative in favour of destabilization, gesturing visibly toward past, or even future, peoples and processes in and amongst the present performance, thereby unleashing a range of temporalities, spaces and social relations on stage.
While “realism” as a theatrical genre is traditionally linked to singular, dominant, conservative authorities in Western metaphysics, contemporary expressions of “theatre of the real” tend more towards non- or partially-representational expressions of a ‘whole’ person/community/place. Further, we note a contemporary trend towards privileging the representation of marginalized or minoritized voices and question whether the simultaneous turn towards partial representational practices is an effort to express ‘humanness’ in more expansive or non-authoritative ways?

The aim of this curated panel is to attend to encounters in which the time, space, and social relations of “theatre of the real” disrupt notions of the originary, the whole, or the singular experience. In particular, it considers the implications for theatre-making when this popular form is utilized and evaluated in ways that move beyond the traditional measures of ‘true-to-lifeness,’ which may no longer be adequate, satisfying or politically complex enough for contemporary stagings of culture. Questions such as the following might be considered:

·      In what ways are authenticity, truth, and the idea of the originary being utilized, challenged, and expanded politically, pedagogically and/or aesthetically in contemporary theatre of the real performance? How might re/presentations of an originary serve to challenge and/or reinforce authenticity or true-to-lifeness?
·      What is the place of theatre of the real in increasingly globalized, digitized, and fragmented societies? Or conversely, how might theatre of the real restore and redress the displacement of embodied Nature within domains dominated by disembodied naturalism?
·      How might active aesthetic practices that erase the privilege of original reals emerge previously hidden, or as yet undiscovered, realities? In what ways could this be harmful or helpful?
·      What is the place of traditional stage realism within/amongst/beside/opposed to theatre of the real? What (dis)connections might exist between the two?

Participants will be asked to present a brief, 6-8 minute long provocation/paper before engaging in a wider discussion with the other participants and the attending audience.

250 word proposals, along with a short biography, should be sent to scott.mealey@mail.utoronto.ca and k.jacobson@mail.utoronto.ca no later than 17 February 2017.

Metamorphic Magic: Performing Objects, Agency and Ecologies
Gabriel Levine and Mark Sussman

In her essay “Reclaiming Animism,” the philosopher Isabelle Stengers argues that it is necessary to reclaim the ambiguous term “magic” to describe the distribution of agency throughout material being. Magic, she notes, is used in a metaphorical sense to describe the experience of something extraordinary: a moment, landscape, or performance. It has also been denigrated as the bane of Enlightenment rationalism—whether in a critique of the “magical thinking” of colonized peoples, or in the persecution of witches and other performers of folk magic. Adopting the term “magic,” Stengers claims, conveys “the experience of an agency that does not belong to us even if it includes us, but an ‘us’ as it is lured into feeling.” It begins to reweave the relational web of agency that runs through matter, including performing bodies and things of all kinds.

What Stengers describes as “the metamorphic capacity of things” is evidently present in theatre, dance and other performance genres, as a wealth of scholarship on material performance and performing objects has demonstrated. In this panel, we invite participants to explore more deeply the connections between performing objects, the magic of agency, and ecological thought and practice. In a historical moment when every ecosystem has been transformed by the extractive and waste-producing processes of capitalism, can performance enact more equitable material relations and assemblages? How does the material magic of performance relate to the magic of the commodity? How do Indigenous performance cultures weave new ecologies and agencies in the world of things? What can the somewhat disreputable traditions of object performance, from stage magic to puppet theatre, teach us about the dramatic ecological metamorphoses that we are all now undergoing?

Possible topics include:

  • performance and waste
  • capitalist sorcery: the magic of the commodity, performances of extraction
  • Indigenous performance cultures and relational agency
  • theatrical metamorphoses: vibrant matter and uncanny life
  • performing objecthood / prosthetic performances
  • dance/movement ecologies and materialities
  • ritual and ceremonial objects in performance
  • traditions of transformation: stage magic, puppetry, performance art
  • ecology, materiality, and performative agency
Panelists will give a 15-minute paper or presentation, in a form of their choosing, followed by a discussion.

Please submit proposals by 17 February 2017 to:

gabriel.levine@concordia.ca

Gabriel Levine
SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Theatre
Concordia University

Mark Sussman
Associate Professor
Department of Theatre
Concordia University

CFPs for Roundtables

Pop-Up Culture and the Anticipation of the End
Organizers: Alana Gerecke and Laura Levin
This roundtable will explore pop-up culture in context of the geological time that structures the Anthropocene. As several theorists note, the Anthropocene has been shaped by the acceleration of consumption and production since the mid 20th century, an orientation to time and space coincident with what Jonathan Crary views as the non-stop, “world-destroying patterns” of 24/7 late capitalism. How might this orientation towards time give rise to and propel the recent pop-up trend in Canada and beyond, with its attendant urgency and hyper-temporality? Here we are specifically thinking of events and experiences that emerge temporarily in vacant, underused, or about to be demolished urban spaces, but also a much wider range of temporary inhabitations whose appearances—and meanings—are predicated upon their imminent disappearance.
With this session, we hope to start a conversation about the pop-up as a mode of address and a mechanism of assembly that is definitively structured by the anticipation of its own end. How does the pop-up spring from and speak to a culture of urgency that is preoccupied with inevitable endings and impossible futures? In selecting pop-up events to discuss, participants might consider the following prompts:
  • Is the pop-up simply a signature of a culture bent on filling every available moment and space with consumable (and/if exclusive) content? When does the form explicitly resist forces of consumerism (climate change awareness, human rights protests, Occupy, etc.)?
  • Can pop-up culture think long-term? What might this tell us about our relationship to possible futures?
  • Pop-up culture appears to be acutely contemporary: what are some historical precedents for the pop-up, ones that might also complicate the temporalization of the Anthropocene?
  • How has the popularization of temporary inhabitation shaped perceptions of, and rationalized (dis)investment in, arts infrastructure in Canada and other national contexts (as Jen Harvie has noted in relation to the UK)?
  • The pop-up implies a leave-no-trace ethos; but, of course, events mark and make space. What does the pop-up leave in its wake: what physical, material, psychic, spatial, and/or social stuff remains? What detritus? What vacuums or ghosts?
  • What are the dynamics of inclusion/exclusion that structure pop-up events?
Structure: In the spirit of a fervent pace, this ninety-minute long PechaKucha-style roundtable will allow each participant 6.66 minutes to show 20 image-based slides (20 slides x 20 seconds each) while theorizing some aspect of pop-up culture. These brief presentations will be followed by a sustained conversation about all things pop-up. Slides are to be added to a roundtable Dropbox folder by 20 May 2017.
Please send 250-300 word abstracts and a brief bio to organizers Alana Gerecke (agerecke@yorku.ca) and Laura Levin (Levin@yorku.ca) by 17 February 2017.
Life after Theatre Studies: Learning for the 21st Century
Dr Glen Nichols
As a follow-up to last year’s very successful round-table on Liberal Education and Theatre Studies, I invite participants for a more focused session that addresses the question, “How are our theatre, drama, and performance undergraduate programs preparing students for life in the 21st century?
With more than 2000 students graduating every year from theatre, drama, and performance programs in Canada, it seems reasonable to consider that a large number of those are not being employed in the theatre industry. They are putting their education to work in more complex ways, benefitting from the fundamental liberal education that theatre, drama, and performance studies can stimulate. To date there has been little scholarly attention paid to those elements of our curricula, attention being more usually placed on ambitions to professional or pre-professional training. With pressure on arts programs to more clearly define themselves, with the needs of our students to make their lives in a world of change and uncertainty, it seems very timely for us to have serious discussions around the role of theatre education in the broader preparation of our students.
To that end I invite 250-word proposals that address the round-table question (due by Feb 17, 2017). Round-table participants will then circulate brief (1500-word) position statements by May 1, 2017. At the conference round-table session, each participant will present the ideas of another paper as a kind of introduction/response. These will take the form of 3-minute “mini-theses.” Once everyone’s position has been introduced the round-table will spend most of its 90-minute length in general discussion among participants and auditors.

Please sent proposals (250 words) by February 17, 2017 to gnichols@mta.ca
Dr Glen Nichols
Director of Drama
Mount Allison University
109 Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts
152 Main St
Sackville, NB
E4L 1G9

CFPs for Seminars

Watching the World Burn: The Rise of the Spectator in an Anthropocene Dusk
Session led by: Cassandra Silver, Jenny Salisbury, Scott Mealey and Kelsey Jacobson
Deadline: February 17, 2017
Among countless other issues, the 2016 American election has foregrounded—even here in Canada—the ways that we ‘the people’ source, share, understand, and indeed spectate the world around us (Shirky 2011, Smelik 2010, McGregor 2016). In this techno-human age of what Jack Bratich called “audience power,” the producing class must contend with audiences who are no longer merely consumers but (co)producers in their own right. Is the Rancierian (2009) epoch upon us? Following Maaike Bleeker and Isis Germano (2014), does the theatrical event offer a model for understanding the roles and responsibilities of spectators in an always-performing staged world? How might the persistently understudied area of spectator research (Reinelt 2014, Freshwater 2009, Park-Fuller 2003) help us grapple with the pragmatics and ethics of watching? Our seminar will invite participants to consider what it is to be a spectator in 2017.
  • How do we newly perceive and engage; how do we (or indeed do we at all) delimit the actions that constitute spectatorship?
  • Which audiences continue to be marginalized in Canadian theatre? How might their increased presence shift our conception of spectatorship?
  • How do we come to understand the diverse groups of individuals we call an audience? What research methodologies allow us to engage with these groups?
  • Do emergent technologies complicate the unique claims on liveness in performance reception? What avenues might this open in inter-disciplinary research? How might spectators perceive differently in the future?
  • What are the dramaturgies of theatre with participant-spectators?
Prior to the conference, participants will be invited to collaborate on a shared annotated bibliography. At our session, participants will share their perspective on contemporary spectatorship in short (~5 minute) presentations followed by small-group discussions about issues raised.
250 word proposals, along with a short biography, should be sent to the Centre for Spectatorship and Audience Research (centreforspectatorship@gmail.com). 
Difficult Knowledges and Performances for/by/with Young People
Heather Fitzsimmons Frey
What is at stake and how do we approach making and thinking about difficult knowledges and the performances for/by/with young people that engage with them?  This seminar encourages thinkers to consider the precarity of human presence on the planet through the lens of those people on whom we tend to place the greatest burden of hopes for the future: children and young people. We will focus on performances for/by/with young people that engage with the difficult knowledges (Belarie Zatzman 2015), uncomfortable truths, horrific memories, challenging impacts, and potential dystopias of humanity on earth, in all scales of imagination, from the profoundly personal, to the national, to global, from the micro-moment to the epic to the timeless. The work of the young person, the young person’s body and the idea of hope are particularly significant in terms of ethics, what we have come to expect children to represent, and types of content deemed appropriate for young people.

This seminar/workshop encourages scholars of all career stages to discuss complicated questions related to performances for/by/with young people that engage with difficult subject matter and taboos, to stretch ideas of how performance is appropriate for/by/with children, and to interrogate the role of young people in performance culture. Applicants are encouraged to consider performance work for/by/with the very young (Early Years), children, and “young people,” in Canada or elsewhere, in historical or contemporary perspective, in amateur, professional, applied, social performance or educational contexts. Applicants are invited to submit a 300 word proposal by Friday 17 February.  Participants will share a significant image (or 2) and a working paper of about 1200 words for small group discussion online prior to CATR (due 22 April 2017).  At CATR we will continue small group discussions, and also share ideas with the larger group about our research and research questions.  Please send proposals to Heather Fitzsimmons Frey at h.fitzsimmonsfrey@mail.utoronto.ca by Friday 17 February, 2017.

Topics may include (but are not limited to):
– Holocausts, genocide, residential schools, forced assimilation, war
– Environmental disaster or degradation / science and technology / traditional knowledges
– The dark, discordant music, snakes, other (possibly) cultural created fears
– Divorce, bullying, cyber-bullying, child abuse, sexual abuse, eating disorders, suicide, child labour, child soldiers, mourning and grief
– Connections to race, class, religion, gender, sexuality, neuro and physical ability
– HIV / AIDS, FAS, cancer, substance abuse, drug and health challenges
– Mental Health challenges
– Political rallies and youth participants/leaders
– Recreational activities (gaming, sports, consumerism(shopping), dance, Disney, charitable volunteerism…)

Atomic Performances
Seminar Leader: Jenn Cole
In 1998, a delegation of Dene people from Canada’s North made their way to Japan to apologize to the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the harm that the land they lived on had caused during the American bombing in 1945. My hometown of Deep River ON was constructed as a planned community to house physicists and engineers who built Canada’s first nuclear reactors. An Anishinaabeg woman from the area recounts, in Bonita Lawrence’s Fractured Homeland, that she and her family were moved off the land by the government, and that she can no longer drink the waters of the Kiji Sibi or Ottawa River. Uranium mining, nuclear power plants and political military nuclear projects mark Canada’s history and geology.  How do people bear and negotiate these deep traces?  A seminar on cultures and performances of nuclear sites of extraction and processing raises questions about the relationships between bodies, societies, radioactive materials, waters and lands, scientific and political competition, illness, the dangers of both knowledge and the unknown. Scholars and artists working on atomic history, topography, and performance ask questions like: what is the nature of apology when it is made on behalf of the land? How can a signpost mark nuclear toxicity for hundreds of years? What are the dangers of scientific progress made at a rate faster than the collection of knowledge about repercussions? At whose expense was Canada’s nuclear project developed? What does it mean to create art in a radioactive waste zone that no one can see? How does a person grapple with the many fallouts of nuclear failure through performance? I would add, based on my own experience growing up in a town built for Atomic Energy of Canada, how do people most intimately affected by uranium processing daily perform trust in a technology that symbolizes radical contingency?

What, in the context of performances of Canadian atomic culture, can be said about films like Tarkovsky’s Stalker, the musical Miss Atomic Bomb, the media spectacle around Fukushima, or the This is Your Life segment where Hiroshima survivors Kiyoshi Tanimoto and the “Hiroshima maidens” met pilot Robert A Lewis, who dropped the first bomb on Hiroshima? What about Marie Clements’ Burning Vision or Jullie Salverson’s recent atomic memoire? How can we account for the erasure of first people’s histories from conventional representations of nuclear progress? How could we re-perform and re-represent what was once a spectacle of atomic achievement and disaster? What iterations are now possible and necessary?

Participants are asked to share 10-12 minute papers and to bring in a cultural text to share. This can be an object, a photograph, a film clip, a theatre side, a live performance, etc. The rest of us will rally with the presenter to uncover its potential meanings. Pre-circulation of papers is not required, but if participants want to circulate cultural objects related to their discussion, these can be shared with the seminar group by May 10 in a forum that allows group feedback and online discussion. The Atomic Performances seminar emphasizes discussion, with the goal of generating and addressing good questions about representations of atomic culture and nuclear confrontations with lands, waters and bodies.

Please send a working title, a 200-300 word abstract and a short bio by 17 February 2017to jenn.cole@utoronto.ca

Decolonizing Methodologies and Settler Responsibility in Theatre and Performance Studies: 3.0
Organizers: Selena Couture and Heather Davis-Fisch
Building on the two seminars on decolonizing methodologies in theatre and performance studies convened at CATR 2016, this seminar will move conversations forward, specifically focusing on how decolonial methodologies can be applied by settlers and other non-Indigenous peoples working and living on occupied Indigenous homelands.

Place-based methodologies are key to Indigenous epistemologies, expressing reciprocal relationships to ancestral homelands; conversely the settler colonial project demands that non-Indigenous arrivants adopt an extractive relationship to commodified lands, treating them as generically re-place-able resources. This seminar invites settler, non-Indigenous, and Indigenous scholars and researchers to consider how settler scholars can engage with Indigenous decolonial methodologies to address their own specific, place-based positionality and to develop responsible relations with the traditional caretakers of the lands.

Participants will have the opportunity to share and receive feedback on a well-developed work-in-progress (whether this is a draft of a journal article, a dissertation chapter, or a piece of writing in another genre/form). Participation is not limited to those who participated in 2016 seminars. We encourage participants to consider the themes of the CATR conference but also welcome papers on a range of topics–including historical, contemporary, theoretical, and practice-based considerations of decolonial methodologies–and reflecting a range of disciplinary and cultural perspectives. We invite 250-500 word abstracts summarizing the work-in-progress and explaining why the participant wishes to share their work in this forum.

Description of work required:  Selected participants will submit their work-in progress, approx. 5000 words in length, by 15 April 2017. These will be shared with all seminar participants online (through dropbox, googledocs, or a similar platform). Each participant will be assigned to formally respond to one paper (approx. 500-1000 words) by 15 May 2017. Online dialogue and comments on additional papers will be encouraged but not required. When we meet in Toronto, each participant will provide a brief abstract of their paper (2-3 mins.) and each respondent will deliver a 5 min. response to the paper. Over the course of the winter, we will also circulate several readings to selected participants; participants will be asked to read a selection of these pieces in preparation for the seminar.

Due dates:  250-500 word abstracts and bio are due 17 February 2017. Works-in-progress are due 15 April 2017. Written responses are due 15 May 2017.

Contact info: please address any questions and abstracts/bios to Selena Couture: couture2@ualberta.ca.
W.E.T: Water Ecologies in Theatre
Donia Mounsef and Stefano Muneroni
This seminar looks at the history and aesthetics of the hydro-imaginary and considers the material, symbolic, and aesthetic conditions of water in theatre and performance. It goes beyond the dichotomy between the symbolic and the mimetic in order to demonstrate how the aquatic reflects our complex and often contradictory relationship to the element. This seminar will trace water ecologies in performance from the ancient Greeks and Romans to the more recent proliferation of water in performance, as seen in Franco Dragone’s The House of Dancing Water, Anabel Soutar’s Watershed, Marie Clements’ Burning Vision, and Théâtre du Soleil’s Tambours sur la digue (1999), to mention only a few.

Proposal submissions should address one of the following topics:

  • Use and significance of water on stage throughout theatre history
  • Contemporary performance in/on/around water
  • Staging sustainability, global warming, pollution, and water security
  • Waterscapes as scenic, sound, and lighting designs
  • Aquatic dramaturgies (immersive and fluid approaches to texts in performance)
  • Politics of water in theatre and performance
The seminar will accept a total of eight participants (for a duration of 3 hours) who will share their work ahead of time, and serve as discussants on each other’s papers. During the seminar, each discussant will introduce their assigned paper (5 minutes) followed by a short presentation by the participant, then an open discussion with all participants. This seminar will serve as the first step toward bringing together a number of contributions for a collection of essays that will be co-edited by the organizers.

Please email your proposal (500 words) and a short bio (max. 100 words) by 17 February 2017 to Donia Mounsef (mounsef@ualberta.ca) and Stefano Muneroni (stefano.muneroni@ualberta.ca)

“Terra Nullius: Charting Paths To Settler–Indigenous Relationships through Theatre and Performance in Academic Contexts”
Annie Smith
Lib Spry
Maragaret Kovach writes:
As an Indigenous presence surfaces within Western universities, it brings with it all that is Indigenous: thought, custom, culture, practice, and self.  This is causing the academy to pause for a number of reasons.  For some, the hesitancy reflects an active resistance to change, while for others it is born of a passive non-awareness.  Still others are uncertain as to how to include, without subsuming, Indigenous knowledges. . . . They know that ‘add Indigenous and stir’ is not a valid response . . .  (156)

This seminar offers participants the opportunity to present traditional papers that address their experiences, concerns and questions arising from their inclusion of Indigenous texts and performance in their research, teaching, and artistic practice.  How can our research, teaching, and artistic creation challenge the settler reality and history described by Paulette Regan as “The foundational myth of the benevolent peacemaker – the bedrock of settler identity” (2010, 11) (our italics)?  What can we learn from each other that will assist us in charting paths to becoming settler allies?  Following the paper presentations there will be an open discussion/workshop session where the presenters and curators will facilitate small group circles based on the issues raised in the papers.

Potential topics or perspectives:

• Challenges in audience reception of Indigenous plays.
• Building relationship with Indigenous communities in preparation for presenting Indigenous work.
• Respecting cultural diversity among students of different Indigenous and non-Indigenous backgrounds.
• Resisting Pan-Indigeneity.
• The risks of subsuming Indigenous knowledges as cultural artifacts.
• The pitfall of academic authority: can we relinquish our control to Indigenous knowledge keepers?  How do we do this?
• Cross-cultural collaboration.
• How do we go about decolonizing settler theatre?
• How have Indigenous peoples been represented in settler theatre?

Paper proposals with title and a 300 word abstract should be sent to curators Lib Spry and Annie Smith by February 17, 2017.  The proposal should also include two or three discussion points that the presenter would like to facilitate in the following discussion/workshop session.

Inquiries are most welcome.

Annie Smith
anismith@telus.net

Lib Spry
lib.spry@queensu.ca

Works cited: 

Kovach, Margaret.  Indigenous Methodologies: Characteristics, Conversations, and Contexts.  Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press, 2009.

Regan, Paulette. Unsettling the Settler Within: Inside Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and 
Reconciliations in Canada. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press, 2010.

CFPs for Praxis Workshops

Verbatim Theatre Praxis Workshop
Come join us for a reading and discussion of
Out At School:  A Verbatim Theatre Project about the 
Experiences of LGBTQ Families in Ontario Schools
Tara Goldstein, Jenny Salisbury, Pam Baer
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
Purpose of the Workshop

Some practitioners of verbatim theatre, especially in Britain, believe verbatim theatre is displacing mainstream media as a way for the public to access reliable information about current political events.   However, other practitioners such as Alana Valentine in Australia, have described their work as being on a spectrum that ranges from “pure verbatim” (where nothing said in the play hasn’t been said in the interviews, and nothing is fictionalized) to fiction. How reliable is a verbatim play that has fictionalized (some of) its research findings?

The purpose of this praxis workshop is to discuss the spectrum of verbatim theatre using a play called Out at School as an exemplar of a play that is positioned closer to the “pure verbatim” side of the continuum spectrum.  Out at School   is a work-in-progress play script that has been written from interviews with LGBTQ families about their experiences in schoolsIn the workshop we will read aloud the current draft of Out at School, share our process of turning our interview findings into a play, discuss where it sits on the spectrum and discuss its relationship to truth, reality, authenticity and subjectivity.  We are interested in hearing from our workshop participants where they think the play is positioned and what they think about its relationship to truth, reality, authenticity and subjectivity.

The deadline for expression of interest to our session as Friday 17 February 2017 to tara.goldstein@utoronto.ca

Stopping the Breath: an exploratory workshop
Maria Meindl
mvmeindl@gmail.com
The way we breathe affects the way we move, and this, in turn, affects our breathing. Equally important is the way we stop breathing, and we all do it as part of normal functioning. This workshop will bring awareness to habits of stopping and starting the breath which often lie beneath the level of consciousness. Since breathing is both a voluntary and an involuntary activity, exploring habits of breathing affords access to the liminal territory between nature and culture.

Elsa Gindler (1885-1961) wrote: “The pause, or rest, after exhalation must not be lifeless. It should never be a matter of holding the breath. On the contrary, it should most closely resemble the pause we experience in music – which is the vital preparation for what is to follow.” (Gindler 10) Yet there is a reason Gindler felt the need to articulate this thought. Stopping the breath is often associated with death. It is a moment of both fear and possibility.
One accessible way to work with stopping the breath is through the Feldenkrais Technique (which was influenced by Elsa Gindler’s work). The workshop will consist of a Feldenkrais lesson (called “Stopping the Breath”) followed by a discussion. The discussion will focus on the question of how the very real threat of destruction shapes our work, just as habits of breathing shape our bodies. What can the experience of consciously stopping the breath teach us? What possibilities arise when any unconscious habits are brought to light? How can fear transform to possibility?

Named for Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984) the Feldenkrais Technique uses gentle movement and directed attention to enhance functioning. The movements are based on martial arts and child development, yet the method is based on proprioception, rather than on following external forms. The group practice of Feldenkrais involves lying on a mat while a teacher verbally guides students through a series of pleasant and deceptively simple movements designed to bring awareness to underlying habits.

WORKS CITED
Gindler, Elsa. “Gymnastik for People whose Lives are Full of Activity.” Translated by The Charlotte Selver Foundation. Bone Breath and Gesture: Practices of Embodiment edited by Don Hanlon Johnson. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1995. pp. 5-14. Print.

EQUIPMENT
Participants are asked to wear loose and comfortable clothing. Please bring a yoga mat. No auditors, please, but all are welcome to participate.

Applications due by 17 February 2017.

Articulating Artistic Research 5.0: Positioning the Researcher with/in Artistic Research”
Bruce Barton (University of Calgary) & Natalia Esling (University of Toronto)
This year’s “Articulating Artistic Research” praxis seminar extends conversations and investigations developed through its past four sessions, shifting attention to the position(ing) of the researcher in Artistic Research. Building on previous seminar discussions of methodology (CATR 2013), utility (2014),epistemology (2015), and results (2016), AAR 5.0 will focus specifically on the role of the researcher – as facilitator, collaborator, subject, material, observer, recorder, articulator, analyst, creator – and the critical impact of this role on the environment in which it operates – through presence, absence, influence, displacement, adaptation, affect.
We welcome proposals that consider the many ways that researchers are positioned and position themselves within research-creation contexts, across the spectrum from deeply embedded to critical/analytical observation.
  • How are these different placements direct expressions of the research’s theoretical underpinnings and methodological frameworks?
  • In what ways are a researcher’s possible placements predetermined by her prior education, training, and experience, her personal history and habits, her mental and/or physical capacities?
  • How do these positions within the processes shape and define potential outcomes and articulate epistemological possibilities and priorities?
As was the case in the previous four iterations of this seminar, next year’s gathering is meant as a forum to explore diversity in motivation, design, execution, and documentation. However, participants will once again be called upon to explicitly articulate their practices with direct reflection on the following aspects: focus, context, participants, methodology, process design, documentationdissemination and utility. Through this process of detailed articulation, we hope to draw particular attention to the expanded epistemological horizons attainable within artistic research contexts. We also hope to identify innovative models that may be transferred and adopted within other artistic research contexts and, potentially, within more traditionally organized research processes.
  1. A selection of no more than 12 participants will be invited to attend the seminar in accord with the above noted criteria.
  2. By February 28th, 2017, all invited participants will share (electronically) with the full group an approx. 3000-word articulation of a personal Artistic Research activity that explicitly addresses the above-identified aspects. (Additional criteria for these documents will be distributed to all accepted participants.)
  3. Between March 1st and April 15ththe first stage of seminar engagement will consist of an electronic forum, in which participants of the full seminar group will discuss a selection of published articles addressing the theories and practices of Artistic Research internationally. The focus of this exchange will be issues of process designmethodologyepistemological orientation, and research roles and positions in Artistic Research.
  4. After April 15ththe invited participants will be organized into two or three sub-groups (depending upon the number of participants), according to shared interest/focus, and tasked with a structured pre-conference exchange leading to in-conference collaboration.
  5. The actual seminar will involve two or three workshop-style Artistic Research exercises designed and facilitated by the sub-groups, involving the participation of other members of the full seminar and attending conference participants.
  6. The final hour of the seminar will take the form of an open discussion between the seminar participants and audience members.
  7. The entire seminar will be open to all conference attendees.
Seminar proposals should be sent to Natalia Esling (natalia.esling@mail.utoronto.ca) and Bruce Barton (bruce.barton@ucalgary.ca) no later than Friday, January 17th, 2017.
Natural Clowning Session
Megan Hyslop
This is actually a Call For Participation – seeking fellow theatre researchers to act as participatory audience members for a doctoral pilot performance autoethnography and post-performance feedback activity that privileges the physical and imaginal, as different to the verbal.  At a time in my life when I became increasingly frustrated with human impact on the environment, theatre and clowning was the answer I received. How can the physical, dialogical qualities of clowning advance the human ability to be in physical connection and dialogue with the more-than-human, especially for non-Indigenous Canadians? This performance will explore my ongoing personal and academic journey in the gifts and connections between clowning and the natural world. As long as it isn’t pouring rain, we will be outside, so please dress for the weather.  Please contact Megan at meganhyslop@yahoo.ca by 17 February 2017 to express interest in the session.