What Place Remains?

Thoughts, questions, reflections

after TaPRA PG Symposium 2017 at University of Leeds

‘Silence stalks me’, she says.

How much alignment does a politician need between campaign promises

and what is actually delivered to leave a heroic legacy?

The performance of authenticity is not reliability.

Charisma is not indicative of wisdom

or the selfless ability to serve.

What qualifies as an excess of performance in politics?

What performances do we expect of politicians?

Let us unfetter language as we tune down the affect of sound

Silence apportions space.

Someone once said, ‘Silence is possible in an anechoic chamber,

but not with John Cage in it’.

The noise of our bodies, together, in space.

‘Does silence break word or do these words break silence?

You can choose silence but it never chooses you’

Can we dialogue through silence when words,

once articulated,

destroy all other potential words held in silence?

What is the ghost that lingers

in iconic theatres?

Can the national ever be separated from the historical?

Is the unfinished business Shakespeare’s,

Polykleitos the Younger who built the ancient theatre of Epidaurus,

or the people’s?

A longing for some place they lost…

‘One day, in the future, the chicken will become the most studied fossil’

for anthropologists.

How can we create art politically when

politics threatens to turn art into propaganda?

What invocations do we make with the pilgrimage to monumental places?

How does the anywhereness of convergent media

exacerbate our addiction to extract only that which is relevant to our lives?

To reduce what we experience to make meaning of it?

Can we stop wanting to win?

How does responsive design attend to meritocracy’s losers?

Must we be cruel to be invulnerable?

In other words,

can we play without being vulnerable?

‘The blog became a rear-view mirror’,

she reads for the author who is absent,

‘a space where the road behind me constantly foregrounded the road ahead

and the past was always present in the future’ (Pinchbeck 2016).

Can it be a meeting place where only one writes?

Is there place for conversations in a blog?

The journey we make is part of the ghosting

of place and places to be.

If you wait for something to be there for you,

it won’t be.

You have to make it up.

Call for Papers and Presentations for TaPRA Postgraduate Symposium 2017: ‘Spaces For / Places In’

Call for Papers and Presentations for
TaPRA Postgraduate Symposium 2017
‘Spaces For / Places In’
3rd February 2017
Edward Boyle Library, Level 13
University of Leeds

Postgraduates and early career researchers are invited to contribute to the 2016 Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA) Postgraduate Symposium titled ‘Spaces For / Places In’. The symposium will take place at the University of Leeds on Friday, 3rd February 2017 and seeks to investigate the inclusions/exclusions of spaces made and places imagined and negotiated in theatre and performance practice and research.

‘The process of reclaiming space for art must begin with the sea that is within the artist and the art lover’ (Sasitharan 1996: 55). Speaking at the 1995 Substation Conference themed ‘Space, Spaces and Spacing’, established theatre practitioner T. Sasitharan cautioned against ways of thinking about the arts that are constrained by rhetoric that gives priority to economic considerations. As artists, theatre practitioners and theatre/performance researchers cope with post-Brexit uncertainties, how might these anxieties also limit that imagination of what is possible? Is there space for failure in research? Will spaces for experimentation diminish and what role might we play in defending, reclaiming and creating new or alternative spaces? How might virtual spaces (for documentation, simulation and communication) shape future places of theatre and performance practice and research? What is the place of practice in institutions and what role do we play in its dialogue with impact?

Jen Harvie’s Fair Play (2013) notes that the increase of pop-up theatre and art projects in ‘semi-derelict buildings…risks fetishizing the apparently authentic, creating a sense of neo-bohemian’ (Harvie 2013: 126). What spaces have we created, in physical, social and virtual terms? How does theatre architecture (pop-up or otherwise) limit/expand production possibilities and who might it include or exclude? Is there space for diversity? What is the nature of interactions between architecture, theatre/production design and the atmosphere of places designed for performance? What are the places that have inspired our practice and research and what is it that makes these places significant? Are these places claimed or allocated? Improvised or built for purpose?

Building on themes and conversations that emerged from the TaPRA Conference in Bristol in September 2016, we ask: what is our place in time? What are the spaces we have created for our research? As postgraduate and early career researchers – how do we make our practice and research matter?

We invite presentations that engage with the theme of ‘Spaces For / Places In’ in all forms of theatre practice, performance, performance studies, formal and informal performer training, stage craft and theatre/drama in education. Themes might include, but are not limited to:

● Alternative (theatre) spaces: Theatre and performance in and beyond the auditorium; virtual spaces; alternative locations; creating with communities; new architectures; facilitating flexible spaces; generating atmospheres.
● The place of voices, bodies, and identities: reclaiming narratives; reshaping and augmenting archives; rewriting histories, rereading literatures; finding origins.
● Space for audiences: children and infants in theatre; relaxed performances; accessible performances; participation, immersion, anonymity.
● Places for inclusion/exclusion: diversity in practice, research and institutions.
● Space(s) for creative processes: collaboration; devising; improvisation; writing; training; scenography; dramaturgy; research; technology; games; sound; light; voice.
● Representative spaces, imagined spaces, safe spaces: freedom of speech; political expression; dissent and regulation; spatial justice; national theatres; touring.
● Spaces of theatricality and the place of performativity in politics, urbanism, commerce, online.
● Spaces for urgency, errancy, transgression and liminality.
● Global, local and/or glocal in practice and research
● Place of nonhuman, posthuman and beyond human: places for new forms of thinking.
● Spaces for research and research methods: new forms of training; research and practice beyond institutions, alongside organisations, outside buildings and in front of establishments; practice as research; models for investigation; the unexplored.
● Applications, implications and limitations of opening spaces and places for/in/of/through/beyond…

Abstracts will also be considered towards publication in JAWS, The Journal of Arts Writing by Students. The award winning, international journal, published by Intellect Books (http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journa…/view-Journal,id=243/), will aim to publish two full papers as well as a selection of abstracts in a forthcoming performance focused issue. JAWS is the only arts journal entirely written, edited and peer reviewed by current students and first year graduates. Publishing across art and design at a postgraduate level, JAWS acts as writing-studio. A space for early-stage academics to explore and share ideas and flex their peer review muscles over emerging themes and trends in arts research.

Papers (15mins), provocations (10mins) and alternative presentations from postgraduates at all levels of study, and early career academics, are welcomed. The symposium is free for TaPRA members and £10 for non-members; this includes membership for the academic year 2016/17. All membership must be paid online via the TaPRA website prior to the symposium: http://tapra.org/membership/

Abstracts should be 250 words in length. When submitting your abstract, please also include a short biography (no more than 50 words) and a brief note on technical requirements (if any) in the same document. Those wishing to engage with alternative approaches to presenting research, such as performance lectures, are asked to include an additional 100 words detailing your intended presentation methods. All correspondence should be directed to Adelina Ong and Yaron Shyldkrot at postgraduate@tapra.org.

The deadline for submitting your proposal is 5pm on 16th December 2016. We will be unable to accept submissions after this deadline. Notifications will be sent by early January 2017.

We also invite proposals for a Pecha Kucha session (20 slides lasting 20 seconds each) featuring Practice-as-Research image-based provocations or artistic practice. Presenters will not need to speak alongside these images. If you would like to take part in the Pecha Kucha session, please send a 50-word biography and short description of your research, practice or project to postgraduate@tapra.org. The final slideshow must be in .ppt or .pptx format and must be submitted by 30th January 2017.

If you would like to be considered for a limited number of travel bursaries, up to the value of £25, then please specify that this is the case in your submission email. Priority will be given to those travelling farthest.

Adelina Ong and Yaron Shyldkrot
TaPRA Postgraduate Representatives

Edward Soja (1940 – 2 Nov 2015): On ‘Thirdspace’

One of the ideas that I greatly value from Edward Soja is the concept of Thirdspace.

Soja uses ‘Thirdspace’ to describe ‘a constantly shifting and changing milieu of ideas, events, appearances, and meanings’ that provides new alternatives, opportunities and possibilities for openness and diversity (Soja 1996: 2, 99). Building on Lefebvre’s ‘lived space or social space’, Soja’s Thirdspace, is arguably more future-oriented and offers broader scope for intervention. Lefebvre’s ‘social space’ describes how social hierarchies are prescribed according to one’s age and gender, maintained through relationships of employment and transaction within the ‘space of society’ (Lefebvre [1974] 1991: 35). Soja’s Thirdspace acknowledges how the lived experience of a particular location can vary according to one’s gender, race and social status, but reaches beyond one’s lived experience to include one’s aspiration for this particular location, and one’s lived experience within it (11). This conception of Thirdspace goes further than Lefebvre’s ‘social space’ or ‘lived space’ which focussed primarily on the shifting simultaneity of present meanings created through one’s social interactions with others within a site. In the context of Singapore, Thirdspace could be conceived as all futures possible and the multiplicity of places possible within it.