RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance. Call for proposals Themed Issue: On Access in Applied Theatre and Drama Education (23,3. August 2018)

RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance

Call for proposals

Themed Issue: On Access in Applied Theatre and Drama Education (23,3. August 2018)

Guest Editors: Colette Conroy, University of Hull, UK, Adelina Ong, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, UK and Dirk Rodricks, OISE/University of Toronto, Canada.

This themed issue is an invitation to examine and interrogate access, an ordinary concept that grounds and motivates work across a variety of fields. One possible model might posit access as a physical act of opening a door to a pre-existing room: the politics of diversity in arts funding might be one example of this. Other notions of access could involve the dismantling of the conceptual and material world to make way for more fluid notions of access that alter the shape of society. Yet it may seem easier to understand access more by what it is not rather than what it is. The need for access is rooted in inaccessibility; through barriers. How might this deficit notion limit the ways in which we imagine access and accessibility in pedagogic, creative and research practices? How does one account for the relationship between access and power? Vincent Tinto (2008) posits that the utility in access lies in its ability to be a ‘revolving’ rather than an ‘open’ door. We extend Tinto’s theorisation to advocate for access and accessibility that is sustainable and persistently supportive.

Access is limited by capital but there are other dimensions to power at play in the ‘ever-shifting geometry of social/power relations’ (Massey 1994: 149), such as one’s ethnicity, gender, perceived mental health, physical impairments or learning abilities. But even as one is granted conditional access, does this reinforce the exclusion of others? Does access reinforce compliance to social expectations that suppress dissent? What role might theatre/drama play in creating such access, and what is the experience of space and place after gaining access? What control does one have within the sphere accessed, and is it possible to change the conditions of access for others from within? Are tradeoffs made in order to gain access, and if so, what is lost in the process?

Access is a concern of cultural disability studies and disability activism. The aesthetics of access or access-aesthetics is a practice that assumes and interpellates disabled audiences, creating multiple and simultaneous rich and integral experiences that can be experienced differently but simultaneously by different spectators. Does access as an artistic discipline offer a formal as well as an ethical transformation of culture and cultural artefacts? Is access concerned with hermeneutics, with the appeal to meaning, or with the creation of a more inclusive sensorium? What impact might access-aesthetics (and participation) have beyond the artist’s intervention or performance? Access can be seen both as necessary (if we cannot gain access we remain outside) and also naïve; an insufficient response to the problems it seems to solve. Is access a political stepping stone or a theoretical trip hazard?

Access is not one single moment or just one thing. It is layered and relative to time and place. It offers the potential to place different aesthetics, pedagogies, and practices in conversation with each other. It allows for a multiplicity of stories because no two individuals have an identical relationship to the similar access they share. Sara Ahmed’s (2004) work on the ‘cultural politics of emotion’, offers a useful provocation to this issue: rather than what it is, what does access do? This call invites proposals that demonstrate how social theatre and drama education practices mobilise and engage with “access” conceptually and empirically. Contributions might address the following provocations:

How do artists, practitioners, educators, and scholars engage with issues of access in our aesthetic and intellectual practice?
Which practices take up or displace the values (and impact) of cultural capital or elitism in a neoliberal world?
What sorts of practices and operations enhance or enable access and accessibility?
Is access always a social good?

In responding to these questions, proposals might focus on:
The social (de)construction and performance of access/Philosophy of access
The ethics of access
Access aesthetics and sustainable social impact
Theatre, drama, and the politics of mobility, including access to free markets and movement of labour
Access, education, and drama in neoliberal times, including access agreements/legislation
Access at the intersections of social identities
Issues of “voice” and “story”
Access as translation
Access and the environment/environmentalism
Measuring access and accessibility
(Un)Tangling the “creative commons” – Drama research and public culture
Cultural disability studies
Limits, or expanded dimensions, to national imaginaries created by access.
Digital access/the intellectual accessibility of research and scholarship
DIY, makeshift, and “pop-up” theatres
Disruptive modes of creative enterprise

The themed issue will feature a mix of research articles (c6000 words), documents ( up to c1500 words) and online outputs (10 – 15 minutes approximately). Documents may include project descriptions, manifestos, provocations, letters and/or photo essays as well as other modes of expression. Online outputs might include recorded conversations with and between researchers, drama educators and theatre-makers involved in cross-cultural multi-site projects, annotated clips of performance, etc. All research articles will undergo rigorous peer review, based on initial editor screening and refereeing by at least two anonymous referees.

Please send 300 word proposals for articles, documents and online outputs, with short biographies to Adelina Ong [adelina.ong@cssd.ac.uk].

Expressions of interest: 16th December 2016
First drafts: 1st August 2017
Final drafts: January 2018
Final copy deadline: May 2018
Publication: 1st August 2018

Ahmed, S. (2004) The Cultural Politics of Emotion, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press.

Massey, D.B. (1994) Space, Place And Gender, Cambridge, Polity.

Tinto, V. (2008) Access Without Support is not Opportunity, Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development, University of Texas at Austin, May 26, 2008.

Please contact us with any questions or suggestions: C.Conroy@hull.ac.uk

For information about RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance and its remit please visit: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/crde20/current