Envisioning the Practice:
International symposium on performing arts curation
Deadline for submission: June 1, 2013
This international symposium will examine the practice of performing arts curation. Organized by the Arts Curators Association of Québec and hosted by the PHI Centre and the Faculté des arts of the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) it will be held in Montréal (Canada) on April 10-13, 2014.
Over the last 20 years, numerous gatherings, organizations, publications and graduate university programs have been devoted to developing discourse around the profession of visualarts curation. During this period, the concept of “performing arts curation” – a métier variously known as presention, programmation, artistic direction, production, cultural agency and more — has been little discussed among practitioners. However, at least in North America, the notion of artistic direction has played an increasing role in the work of presenters.
In the last few years, discourse about this practice has been gaining ground by way of formal and informal conversations. The first Forum on performing arts presenting in 2007 and organized in Québec by the Réseau independent des diffuseurs d’événements artistiques (RIDEAU) included this subject in a meeting of creators, producers and presenters. In 2010, a collection of texts entitled “Curating Performing Arts” was produced by Frakcija Performing Arts Journal No. 55 in Croatia. Two exploratory meetings of artists and arts curators were organized in North America and Europe: “The Culture of Curation” in Toronto, (Canada) in 2010 by the Canadian Association of Performing Arts Presenters (CAPACOA), and “Beyond Curating: Strategies of knowledge transfer in dance, performance and visual arts” was held in Essen (Germany) in 2011 with support from Tanzplan Essen.
As well as these conferences, dialogues and publication, an increasing number of international performing arts marketplace events have recently fostered discussions on various aspects of performing arts curation. Additionally, a premier graduate program, the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP), was inaugurated at Wesleyan University (U.S.A) in 2011.
Building on these events, “Envisioning the Practice” will serve to create further parameters and grounds on which to foster theories about the practice. This symposium endeavors to bring together recent discourses on curation in all performance disciplines (dance/movement, music/sound, theatre/text-based, interdisciplinary, media arts and emergent practices) in order to enrich, structure and theorize possibilities of curating in these fields, with an interest in “best practices”.
Curators (institutional, independent, artist-curators, critic-curators, etc.), artists, artistic directors, programmers, presenters, producers, arts administrators, art historians, art critics, scholars and university students are invited to submit proposals about issues concerned with the current practice and new methodologies of performing arts curation. Papers may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:
• Responding to the recent proposal of the editors in Cultures of the Curatorial (2012; ed. Beatrice von Bismarck, Jörn Schafaff, Thomas Weski) about the curators’ work as “principally a task of putting together,” and further, as that of “enabling, making public, educating, analyzing, criticizing, theorizing, editing, and staging.”
• Defining the practice as a field of inquiry and knowledge. Naming, proposing parameters for the field and consideration of how far have we, can we, take the evolution of this work.
• (Re)creating typologies for emergent forms of the arts. What might be included in the framework of “performing arts”? / Thinking about the function and meaning of the “performing arts event”. / Implementing a cultural and critical studies approach in a contemporary and interdisciplinary perspective, as well as from the disciplines of history, sociology, anthropology and political science.
• Describing the work of the curator. What is their role as compared to that of the dramaturge, or the community/audience development agent? / How does one become a
performing arts curator? Finding and creating employment in the field. / Looking at the relationship between curation and community-based practices.
• Working inside and/or outside of institutions and theatres. / Engaging audiences to embrace new and hybrid forms of viewing and participation.
• Conceptualizing a scholarly program of study: between theory and practice. / Investigating best practices/ethics, possible models, utopias. / How to articulate a
curatorial vision? / Past experiences, current trends and future perspectives. / Examining one’s own practice as a constructive case study.
• Documenting, archiving and conserving the “immaterial culture” of live performances.
Submission of papers
Each paper will be allotted 20 minutes and be included a session composed of three speakers with related topics, followed by 30 minutes off discussion among delegates. Pre-formed panels
with a common topic and several presenters may also be submitted, as long as they function within the 1 1/2 hour period of a session. A moderator will be present to foster dialogue and
exchange. Papers are welcome that focus on research and findings, case studies, and/or critical studies that expand on personal experience and/or knowledge. Thirty papers will be selected
through the method of blind jury by an international committee composed of scholars and practitioners.
Presentations that incorporate theatrical performance, workshops and / or unusual formats are encouraged but should be presented as a paper-recital or paper-demonstration. The languages
of the abstracts and presentations may be either in English or in French, as simultaneous translation will be made available.
Innovative presentation techniques might include, for instance:
• an accompanying visual montage/artwork, sound/music, or movement/dance performance
• inventive use of technologies
• a lecture “in character”, as a fictional dramatization
• the format of an interview or group presentation
Submissions must include:
1) An email that includes the name, title or vocation, institution (if applicable), mailing address, telephone number and e-mail address of each presenter, as well as a 150 word biography.
2) An abstract of 350 words maximum that clearly outlines the paper’s proposal (in a doc or docx attachment) with title and presentation of the subject or research question, in relationship
to past experiences or research and present-day debates in the field. Please include information on the format of your paper. Since papers will be blind juried, don’t include your name in this document.
Please send submissions to email@example.com by no later than June 1, 2013.