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 Jennifer Nikolai.

PERFORMANCE & CRITICAL SOCIAL PRAXIS

The working group is actively seeking members, and aims to support the critical praxis of socially engaged performance scholars. This praxis, to borrow Dwight 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.

The work of scholars aligned to this group 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, collaboration, storytelling, or performance practice that reflect a socially engaged methodology. The group also promotes ethical and institutional critique, and was formed in 2016, when PSi’s Dwight Conquergood Award made its 10th award for work in Conquergood’s “spirit”. What is that “spirit” exactly, and what critical, historical, mnemonic, affective, and ethical landscapes and lineages coalesce to contour it? We hope to provide mutual support in the areas we have in common: working on questions and with people that have historically been under- or mis-represented in scholarship, and working across the disciplinary structures of performance, ethnography, or other socially engaged research areas.

The working group is convening the Neighbourhoods stream of the 26th PSi conference in 2021 via a series of virtual exchanges leading up to the conference. For more information and to get involved, please contact the conveners. 

Matt Yoxall (Chiang Mai University)
Jazmin Badong Llana (De La Salle University, Manila)
Ella Parry-Davies (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama)

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 & 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.

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

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?

The PSi working group on Dramaturgy & Performance will engage three broad subjects over the coming years: How we respond to the ways in which new research paradigms have expanded dramaturgy; the forms of emergent and embodied thinking that dramaturgical awareness facilitates; and the ethical dimensions of the choices that dramaturgy enables.

The working group is inclusive; when convening at a PSi conference or event, an open call for participation will be distributed well in advance. This call will include a subset of discussion themes and an invitation to submit discussion prompts in the form of 1-page responses to a series of open-ended questions. The working group sessions are generally organized as a combination of 2-3 minute presentations, facilitated work in smaller groups, and feed-back/discussion in a larger group.

If you would like to know more about the Dramaturgy & Performance Working Group, please contact the chair Pil Hansen

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.

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 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.

If you are interested in Artistic Research Working Group, please contact the conveners, Bruce BartonJohanna Householder, and Annette Arlander

> Website PSi Artistic Research Working Group

PERFORMANCE

& PEDAGOGY

The new working group Performance & Pedagogy offers a forum for sharpening questions and workshopping models that arise from the PSi membership. P&P opens conversations spanning embodied being, doing and knowing across multiple dimensions of pedagogy, such as learning, teaching, and institutional contexts of delivery. Our goal is to discover and expand on urgent topics in dialogue with PSi membership across positionalities. This working group can serve as one support system through which to assess existing and imagine new topologies of P&P practices and methods.

Topics may be framed in institutional terms: How do pedagogies evolve, reflect and how can they drive education practices within cultural and economic ecologies? How can pedagogies effectively encompass responsiveness to social and political modalities? Do pedagogic models imply demands on curriculum? Where is change agency located? How are pedagogies embedded differently in cultural institutions dedicated to production and presentation? Other topics may originate in procedural observations: What are forms of feedback and critique across performance and performing arts? How do research and production methodologies impact student/teacher and student/student interaction? Whose responsibility is it to make professional ecologies transparent? How to articulate needs for improvement? Are we taking stock of practitioner knowledges and how should we track new developments around embodied exercises in teaching?

If you are interested in Performance & Pedagogy Working Group, please contact chairs Adelheid Mers and Rumen Rachev.

Contact emails: Adelhed Mers (amers@saic.edu) and Rumen Rachev (rrachev@aut.ac.nz).

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.

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