WORKING GROUPS

PSi Working Groups bring together individual researchers to exchange ideas about shared topics of interest. Working groups meet during the yearly conferences, and sometimes also organize additional conferences or other events in between the conferences. (Note: Working Groups need to meet at least every other year at a PSi conference in order to be considered an active PSi group.)

If you would like to propose a working group, please contact Chiayi Seetoo.

AFTER DWIGHT CONQUERGOOD

This group aims to support a critical praxis of socially engaged performance scholars. This praxis, to borrow Conquergood’s words, “struggles to open the space between analysis and action”. The group seeks to explore, stimulate and develop its members’ work through the sharing of practice, writing, ethical debate, collaborative research and embodied learning.
In 2016, PSi’s Dwight Conquergood Award (DCA) was in its 10th year. What does it mean to work “in the spirit of Dwight Conquergood”? This phrase shapes the criteria for how the Dwight Conquergood awardees are selected. But what is that ‘spirit’ exactly, and what critical, historical, mnemonic, affective and ethical landscapes and lineages coalesce to contour it? This working group provides a platform for exchange amongst DCA Laureates and other interested PSi members to explore ways of working together ‘after Dwight Conquergood’. The work of such scholars may be socially motivated, or take as its focus socially engaged theatre practices. However, it may also combine action and analysis through modes of ethnography, storytelling or performance practice that reflect a socially engaged methodology. We hope to provide mutual support in the areas we have in common: working with ‘disenfranchised communities’, and working across the disciplinary structures of performance and ethnography.
The group will meet for the first time alongside PSi#23 ‘Overflow’ in Hamburg, Germany. Please contact the convenors to find out more.
Matt Yoxall (Chiang Mai University)
Jazmin Badong Llana (De La Salle University, Manila)
Ella Parry-Davies (King’s College London & National University of Singapore)

COMMUNITY PERFORMANCE

This group offers a meet-up and networking meeting at PSi conferences, for people interested in and engaged in community performance, community-based theatre, theatre for social change – we use a wide open definition, and mainly understand ourselves as a hosting space.
Petra Kuppers, (University of Michigan), chair Community Performance working group.

PERFORMANCE AND PHILOSOPHY

Founded by Laura Cull in 2008, the PSi Performance and Philosophy Group aims to encourage debate and collaboration between PSi members who have in common their engagement in philosophy as it intersects with performance.
The membership is made up of international practitioners, independent scholars, postgraduates, emerging scholars and established figures – all of whom engage with the ideas of a diverse range of philosophers including: Alain Badiou, Giorgio Agamben, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Ranciere, François Laruelle, Luce Irigaray, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Emmanuel Levinas, Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard and Michel Foucault. But for the most part, this research wants to move beyond the mere application of philosophy to performance and to explore the philosophical dimensions of performance alongside the performative dimensions of philosophy.

The working group coordinates research events and publications that allow members to examine connections between performance and philosophy. Members research the nature of the relationship between philosophy and performance in a variety of contexts, such as: the use of philosophy as a methodology in Performance Studies; performance theory and practices exploring philosophical themes; philosophers’ writings on the theatre and performance; dramatic texts by philosophers.

Members pursue research questions including, but not limited to, the following:
How might philosophy and performance relate? To what extent might performance be understood as that which puts philosophy into practice?
What are the benefits and risks of the translocation of concepts from philosophy into the study of performance? What are the values and problems of configuring an individual philosophers’ work as a methodology for the study of performance: the Deleuzian, Derridean, Foucauldian etc.? •
Can philosophy be understood as performance? Can performance be understood to be doing philosophical work?
A special issue of the journal Performance Research, “On Philosophy and Participation” was commissioned following the 2009 interim conference in Aberystwyth and was published by Routledge in December 2011.
Documentation of the groups contributions to PSi 15 in Zagreb, PSi 16 in Toronto, PSi 17 in Utrecht can be found on the working group’s own website.

As a member you will receive a regular mailing list information on the group’s forthcoming activities. You will also be invited to join the group’s website, which includes a members database.

The working group tends to meet twice a year: once at the events organised by the group at the annual PSi conference and again at an interim conference specifically dedicated to performance & philosophy. So far, there have been 4 interim conferences:

– How Performance Thinks in London in April 2012
– Actor, Performer, Citizen in Helsinki in April 2011
– Performance & Philosophy in Berlin in April 2010
– Making and Thinking in Aberystwyth in January 2009

Performance Philosophy will run an open working group at PSi #22 Performance Climates in Melbourne on 5 July 2016.

Based on previous years, the working group will take the format of a brief (5-7 minute) informal intervention that outlines your approach or interest in performance philosophy with time for questions and discussion. The talk can be either theoretical or offer a practical provocation.

The group aims to provide a chance for performance scholars and performance philosophers working within different philosophical traditions to meet and make connections in their research prior to the formal opening of the conference. Participants will include, among others, Performance Philosophy co-conveners Theron Schmidt (in person) and Will Daddario (via Skype).

If you would like to join the working group, please contact the Chair, Will Daddario.

> Website Performance and Philosophy Working Group
> Performance Research, “On Philosophy and Participation

DRAMATURGY & PERFORMANCE

Dramaturgy and Performance Studies Working Group will broadly consider the particular situation of dramaturgy in relation to performance studies. It will open new perspectives on dramaturgy that are not considered in theatre studies contexts nor in cognate fields of research such as literary studies. Meanwhile, it will also consider how the discipline of performance studies has developed alongside and in connection with the revived interest in contemporary dramaturgical practices.
Starting our inquiries are the questions:
What are the ideas and practices connecting performance studies and dramaturgy?
Is performance studies dramaturgical and how does dramaturgy (mis)perform in applying concepts and practices essayed within the performance studies paradigm?
We anticipate that an investigation of the ‘expanded dramaturgy’ (Eckersall) and ‘shifting dramaturgy’ (Blažević) are ways of furthering our understanding about the nature of performance throughout time and into the present, across the (virtual or real) spaces of performance and inside culturally specific localities. Dramaturgy connects artistic practices with politics and society and applies wider aspects of knowledge to performance. It can articulate or otherwise organise and constantly shift the elements of a performance event. Marianne Van Kerkhoven calls this: ‘learning to handle complexity … and feeding the ongoing conversation on the work, it is taking care of the reflexive potential as well as of the poetic force of the creation. Dramaturgy … is above all a constant movement.’

Dramaturgy is arguably universally connected to the idea of thinking about performance vocabularies but our understanding of these varies and so does our understanding of dramaturgy itself. Thus, we aim to consider questions such as: Can dramaturgy foster different ways of communicating human experience? Does it create new forms of scripting, new social dramas and experimentation? What are the limitations of the concept of dramaturgy in performance studies? What are the limitations of performance studies for dramaturgical thinking and practice?

The working group will develop laterally (shifting). Some of its attention will address theories and other aspects will be enabled through workshop and practice-based activities. It will be open to wide participation but will also be able to focus on projects and outcomes.

If you would like to know more about the Dramaturgy & Performance Working Group, please contact the chairs Marin Blažević or Peter Eckersall.

PERFORMANCE IN HISTORICAL PARADIGMS

The Performance in Historical Paradigms Working Group provides a dynamic forum for the discussion of performance studies methodologies for those who engage with multiple (inter)disciplinary paradigms and use performance theory to think historically, or think historically about performance.  
Questions we seek to address include:

  • Where does the merging of history and performance studies currently occur most productively, and where is it less so?
  • Are there, or should there be, any limits to the use of performance theory in historical inquiry?
  • What is the current state of scholarship in this “in between” space?
    And how might that “in between” state change in the future?
  • How might performance studies expand, change, or challenge the field of history—and vice versa?
  • How can the methods, theoretical influences, and other disciplinary preoccupations of Performance Studies apply to the study of the past?
  • How do different research methodologies enable a historical perspective and what are their drawbacks?
  • What constitutes evidence in the intersection of performance studies and history?
  • How do historically-oriented scholars subject evidence of past performance to rigorous critique?
  • How does ephemerality, elusiveness, or transience of performance constitute problems of historical research, how do they need to be accounted for, and what are the options?

We welcome proposals to our annual workshops at the PSi conference.

The focus of the PSi 23 OverFlow conference is particularly potent for the critical investigation of the intersections of performance studies and history. In our working group, we will examine the social, political, and artistic themes of flow and overflow, immigration, forced migration, assimilation, disidentification, as well as the expulsion or inclusion of (un)desired bodies through the interdisciplinary lens of performance studies.

Panel 1
Cities of Refuge: Genealogies of the Praxis of Hospitality
Dominika Laster (University of New Mexico)

Revamping the Popular: Metro al-Medina’s “Hishik Bishik” Show and Beirut’s New Avant-Garde.
Rayya El Zein (Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia)

Extra-Ordinary Histories, Extra-Ordinary Bodies: Steampunk, Disability, and Imagined, Embodied Histories.
Michelle Liu Carriger (University of California—Los Angeles)

Transmitting Problems: Choreography and Pedagogic Legacy
Megan Nicely (University of San Francisco)

Panel chair: Aniko Szucs

Panel 2
Dancing on the Tongue: Rasa Overflows its “Origins”
Erin Mee (New York University)

“Black and White Are One”: Anti-amalgamation Laws, Roma Slaves and the Romanian Nation on the Nineteenth Century Moldavian Stage.
Ioana Szeman (University of Roehampton)

Postcommunist Melancholia: The Crisis of Activism in the Performances of the Central European Left
Aniko Szucs (New York University)

Museums, Literature, and Performance.
Carol Martin (New York University)

Panel chair: Dominika Laster

Performance Shift
Feminist Theory Theater: Reading History with the (Collective) Body

Yelena Gluzman (University of California—San Diego)

Taking up the PiHP Working Group’s call to explore interactions between Performance Studies and History, this 45-minute workshop demonstrates a performance-based methodology for collective reading and analysis of archival or historical texts.

In the workshop, participants will be introduced to Feminist Theory Theater (FTT), a method developed by myself and colleagues at the University of California, San Diego. FTT, as we call it, is a way to explore the (already) embodied, encultured, collective condition of reading.

In FTT, we read a text together by staging it for each other in an ongoing, dialogical fashion; FTT involves rendering the ideas, sentences, and characters of archival documents into shared space, time, voice, body. FTT stagings are not meant to accumulate or converge into a finished performance for a subsequent audience. Rather, stagings are ongoing, provisional attempts to make interpretation available to ourselves, to each other, and to the materials through which they were performed. Stagings might incorporate sound, costumes, gestures, objects, the architecture and furnishings of the institutional spaces in which we read, and in turn these materials (themselves cultural, historical entities) collide against the seemingly smooth surface of the text.

The Judaica Project—Embodied Research Presentation
Centre for Psychophysical Performance Research

Ben Spatz (US/UK), Nazlıhan Eda Erçin (Turkey/UK), and Agnieszka Mendel (Poland/UK)
(University of Huddersfield)

The Judaica project research team will present results from the first month of its full-time “embodied laboratory in song-action” in Huddersfield. Drawing on previous research by Spatz, this will be the first presentation from the trio and the first test of the lecture/demonstration/discussion mode as a way of disseminating basic or “blue skies” (non-applied) research in embodied technique. The AHRC-funded Judaica project works on songs learned from digitally available ethnographic recordings which are highly culturally diverse but linked by the shared marker of Jewish identity. It raises questions about cultural authority and appropriation, the politics of representation, and the relationship between embodied identity and embodied technique through a provocative and intentionally decolonial proposal for something like a critical ethnotechnics. Reconfiguring the relationship between cultural, religious, and racial identity in an experimental mode, the project overflows boundaries between research and performance, writing and digital media, liveness and archive, to present a new concept and model of embodied practice as research.

The chairs of the Performance in Historical Paradigms Working Group are Aniko Szucs (NYU) and Dominika Laster (University of New Mexico).

ARTISTIC RESEARCH

A primary concern of the Artistic Research Working Group (ARWG) is to encourage and expand artist participation on the ground in PSi and to expand and integrate a spectrum of discourse strategies into the PSi environment. During several years now ARWG has hosted a space and situation called the Porous Studio during the annual conference in order to invite, include, and engage artists from the neighboring region in addition to members of the Working Group to share their artistic research processes.
Among Artistic Research’s primary characteristics is its potential to expand traditional epistemological frameworks for the discovery, creation, and dissemination of knowledge and experience. Artistic Research provides rich and robust contexts for investigations of both tangible events and the affective ambience that they generate. Thus the Porous Studio is designed to realize a productive laboratory of experimentation at the permeable borders of theory, philosophy, pedagogy, practice and research—one that underscores the notion of annual continuity and the practical/symbolic significance of studio/site/process at the PSi conferences. We are a constantly mutating social network of artists, which over successive years maps itself onto sites in different cities, countries and continents.Porousness thus indicates both an opening of the traditionally private domain of the artist’s studio to the public nature of performance research and practice, and a determination to engage with local artist-researchers to explore the specificities of performance in the region.
ARWG is going to meet in Melbourne (2016) and organize a small scale Porous Studio.
If you are interested in Artistic Research Working Group, please contact Johanna Householder (Chair) and Annette Arlander (Vice Chair)

> Website PSi Artistic Research Working Group

PERFORMANCE + DESIGN

PSi Performance+Design Working Group (PSi_P+DWG) is a global network of artists, designers, architects and theorists focusing on interdisciplinary design performativity in all its creative and discursive machinations
This working group focuses on the praxis of performing design and designing performance through a global sharing of research, facilitated by coordinated events, embodied actions, ongoing discussions and discursive writing. Negotiating between performance studies and the visual/spatial/performing/culinary arts, the fluid network aims to explore theoretical underpinnings, new modes of inquiry and generative processes and practices while questioning agency around the development, fabrication, and experiencing of material, virtual, social, and political acts, environments and events.
CFP

Superflu(di)ty: a psi performance+design working group event

Design is too often considered superfluous to performances – aesthetic, technological and everyday – and yet, as sensorially orchestrated phenomena, such inventions can make discursively manifest the varying excesses of our time.  As cups’ excess runneth over, the superfluous-as-design performs its superfluidity, overflowing the edges and slipping between the cracks like water that infiltrates fissures, forcing open new spaces. In greeting this abundance with high-water boots, how are conditions of super-flui(di)ty in the social, political, environmental and/or other realms permeating our theorizing and practicing of performance design?

The psi performance+design working group seeks manifestos + manifestations to be shared at a gathering of abundant research and projects during the PSI#23 conference in Hamburg.

Presentations will be limited to 3 minutes, and may include a single image or video, physical objects or actions. These provocations will form the basis of a dialogue regarding the future of design practices in performance.

We encourage contributions from artists, architects, designers, theorists and performers.

Deadline for Submission: March 20th, 2017
Responses: April 17th, 2017

submissions should include:
• name and affiliation
• presentation title and statement (50 words maximum)
• single image
• bio (max 50 words)

Please send submissions in pdf format to Dorita Hannah (dorita.hannah@utas.edu.au) and Beth Weinstein (bmw99@u.arizona.edu) with SUPERFLUI(DI)TY and your name in the subject line.

A maximum of twelve submissions will be selected through a peer-review process.
All are welcome to attend the event during PSi.

If you are interested in Performance + Design Working Group, please contact co-chairs Dorita Hannah and Beth Weinstein.

> Website Performance+Design

PERFORMANCE & SCIENCE

This working group brings together scholars and artists with an interest in collaborations between performance (academic studies and practice) and science.

Big players in the field of science like CERN and NASA invest in collaborations with performance makers. Joint research projects demonstrate the potential of science-performance collaborations in a diversity of fields, including medicine, cognition, and robotics. Performance presents a key to understanding scientific research and practices of knowledge production past and present, while expanded notions of performativity, like McKenzie’s technoperformance and Barad’s posthuman performativity, afford new, situated, embodied, environmental and post-anthropocentric approaches to questions and issues of concern to both science and performance. These potentials and possibilities are the subject of the working group Performance & Science. Please join us if you would like to share your work in this area and learn more about the work others are doing.

Invitation to attend the Performance & Science Working Group, PSi Hamburg.

Dear colleagues,

The working group Performance & Science brings together scholars and artists with an interest in collaborations between performance (academic studies and practice) and science to build a network, share work in progress, and explore common interests and possibilities for collaborations. In preparation for our meeting in Hamburg we invite those interested in participating to contact us beforehand so that we can circulate materials about existing projects, experiences and research prior to the meeting.

We are not asking for you to prepare a paper or any other kind of research presentation. Instead, we are planning to facilitate a conversation with the aim of identifying important thematic, theoretical, pedagogical and artistic practices that should considered by the group. We are also seeking suggestions about selections of key readings and citations from the field to be shared in advance of the meeting.

In Hamburg we are hoping undertake a collective mapping of the field and explore questions such as:
• What are the existing interactions between science and performance?
• How are performance and science collaborations organized and what are their outcomes?
• What possibilities do expanded notions of performativity, like McKenzie’s technoperformance and Barad’s posthuman performativity, afford the field?
• What are the examples of best practices to pedagogy in this area and why?
• What practices are members of the working group invested in or interested in developing through collaboration?

Please let us know if you would like to attend and do contact us with any questions or recommendations of key readings that we can circulate to prior to the conference. If you are able to let us know of your likely participation as soon as possible we would be grateful.

Yours,

Maaike and Eddie

Maaike Bleeker is a Professor in Theatre Studies, Utrecht University. Book publications: Visuality in the Theatre. The Locus of Looking (2008); Transmission in Motion. The Technologizing of Dance (2016); Phenomenology and Performance: Traditions and Transformations (2015, with E. Nedelkopoulou and J. Foley Sherman).
m.a.bleeker@uu.nl

Eddie Paterson is a Senior Lecturer in scriptwriting for performance and new media at The University of Melbourne. Book publications: The Contemporary American Monologue (2015); Redactor (2017).
eddiep@unimelb.edu.au

If you are interested in Performance & Science Working Group, please contact chairs Maaike Bleeker and Eddie Paterson.

PERFORMANCE AND PEDAGOGY

Call for new chair

The working group is dedicated to exploring the intertwined relationship between theories and practices of performance and pedagogy. We consider philosophical implications and practical questions raised in relation to the enterprise of teaching not only in more established graduate programs but also in emerging undergraduate programs. Working in a field that professes to critically examine what it means to perform, how does that also necessitate a critical examination of what it means to educate?
Initiated by Sruti Bala and Monica Stufft, the working group started in New York/2007 where discussions focused around the necessity for a classroom ‘scrap-book’ and we shared practical experiences relating to the limits of performance in the teaching of performance studies. In Copenhagen/2008, we began a small research project that tracked the histories of the institutions in which conferences had been hosted, as a way of investigating the formation of the discipline and its impact on individuals as well as the institutional structures in each context. In Zagreb/2009, we hosted our largest event so far, The School of Sisyphus, as a six-hour shift in which we created an alternative site of practice for a pedagogy built upon the (failed) knowledges and (non-)-expertise of members of the conference itself and volunteers from the local community (see Performance Research, Vol. 15. No. 2). In Toronto/2010, Monica Stufft met with conference participants offering papers on the topic of pedagogy, drawing together the ongoing focus of presenters on this theme. In Utrecht/2011, we worked with the local academic community and hosted a shift led by Sruti Bala that was a ‘fishbowl’ on Performance and Pedagogy. In Leeds/2012, Monica Stufft offered a shift, ‘The Performative Classroom,’ where participants explored our classrooms as sites where knowledge is formed, meanings are made, and behaviours are constituted.
If you would like to take over Performance & Pedagogy Working Group, please contact PSi Working Groups Officer Chiayi Seetoo with a new proposal.