Call for Proposals: IFTR/FIRT Performance as Research Working Group

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Performance as Research Working Group
International Federation for Theatre Research
Studio-Lab, Belgrade, Serbia 9-13 July 2018

Theatre and Migration
Theatre, Nation and Identity: Between Migration and Stasis

Prompted by the conference theme ‘Theatre and Migration’’ and following the platform proposed by the current conveners for Performance as Research Working Group of IFTR, we encourage old and new members to consider the future of Performance as Research (PaR).

We invite proposals for our ‘participatory laboratory’ in Belgrade in July 2018 from those working in multiple and mixed artistic practices involving dance, theatre, performance art, live art and socially engaged practices, as well as other types of cultural performances and performative practices.

Theatre & Migration and PaR:

The geographically dispersed research methodologies that can be gathered under the umbrella of PaR often involve diverse approaches and terminology. While the term Performance as Research has some currency in the US, those primarily used in the UK are ‘practice as research’ and ‘practice-led research.’ The specific methodological legacies in Australia are often related to ‘performative research’ or ‘creative arts research,’ while terms like ‘arts-based research’ and ‘research-creation’ are utilized in Canada. In the Nordic and Central European countries, ‘artistic research’ is the preferred reference. Is there a way for practices and research done in Asian, African and South American contexts that do not use this nomenclature find a way into this conversation? Would this inspire a reflection on decolonization and PaR? Can we examine the evolution of these specific geo-cultural forms of PaR, in order to understand their potential future development? Can we expect these largely geographically-based strands to merge and hybridize following artist-researcher mobility, or can we expect further diversification in order to satisfy local needs?

Following on and inspired by the conference theme, and based on the priorities established in our four-year plan, we propose a number of specific areas of inquiry concerning the futures of PaR.

  1. What are the multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary potentialities of PaR? What can PaR contribute to the ‘transdisciplinarization’ of knowledge beyond the academy?
  2. What kind of futures can be imagined concerning the various trajectories of PaR based on specific geographical and methodological legacies? How are these reflected in the pedagogy or institutionalization of PaR? Is there a way for this question to engage with the question of PaR’s engagement with decolonizing research?
  3. What kinds of writing about, in or on PaR are emerging from the meeting of practice and research within and outside the academy? What (other) forms of hybridization of artistic practice and research can be imagined in the future?
  4. What can PaR offer to the sustainability of research practice both within academia and in the wider societies we live in? What sustainable forms of PaR are evolving at local and global levels and how does this reflect on wider social, political, ideological, and ecological issues we face in working together across disciplines, methods and cultures?

Application Process 

We invite abstracts which respond to this call with a submission deadline of 15 January 2018 (please check the IFTR website in case the deadline is extended).

All applicants should follow the instructions regarding abstract submission through the conference website at

The PaR Working Group can accommodate up to 30 participants, who have multiple options for engagement. Categories of participation and specific application processes are as follows.

  1. PRESENTATION: Participants may propose a 20 minute presentationto be considered for inclusion in the Curated General Panel of the PaR Working Group. This panel will be held during the General Panels section of the conference (that is, not during the scheduled Working Group meeting sessions). Alternative, performance-based presentations are encouraged and will be given priority. NOTE: A total of THREE such presentations will be included in the Curated Panel. Participant-presenters whose proposals are not selected for the Curated Panel will be invited to submit their complete PaR documents for distribution to the Working Group, and to participate in all Working Group activities.
  2. DOCUMENTED WORKSHOP:Participants also have the option of taking part in the collaborative creation of a documented workshop process. Based upon the initial submission of individual workshop ideas (see below), groups will be formed to complete a structured pre-conference process of materials exchange, online discussion/exploration, and workshop planning, leading to a 45 – 60 minute PaR interactive session onsite in Belgrade. Groups will also be responsible for providing the full Working Group with documentation of their workshop creation process, including a description of the group exchange and a statement of the workshop design and objectives for future application/adaptation.


  1. For inclusion in the Curated General Panel please submit a 300 word abstract describing the form and content of the proposed presentation. The proposal should address the intersection of PaR activities and approaches with the announced conference theme of “Theatre and Migration.” As noted above, alternative, performance-based presentation modes are encouraged and will be given priority. Please include a 150 bio, full contact information, and indication of any technical requirements.
  2. To be considered for the role of CollaborativeWorkshop Facilitator, please submit a 250 – 500 word workshop proposal. The proposal should include a clear description of the workshop process and objectives, as well as an explanation of how the exercise(s) reflect your current PaR priorities and preoccupations. As noted above, these proposals will be used as the basis of the formation of sub-groups tasked with the creation and facilitation of collaborative workshop designs that reflect the intersection of participants’ interests. Once sub-groups are formed, participants will receive a proposed framework for pre-conference exchange and workshop development.

All proposals should be sent via the IFTR Cambridge University Press website ( by 15 January 2018. Please copy your proposal to

We intend to organize a Pre-Conference Workshop in collaboration with other IFTR Working Groups, to take place on the Sunday prior to the conference. Please indicate in your submission whether you would like to participate if the workshop is organized.

We look forward to your responses.

Bruce Barton, Manola Gayatri & Johnmichael Rossi



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