Nine provocations, nine conversations

One of the aims of the conference is to curate a series of focused conversations, in different formats, around nine broad provocations.

The purpose of these conversations is to actively expose and interrogate the presuppositions and prejudices of established academic and theatrical consensus.

In the programme there will be two opportunities for attendees to gather in groups to explore a provocation. As part of your registration for the conference, you will be asked to select a conversation that you would like to participate in - one for the Friday and one for the Saturday.

The provocations are as follows:

  • Violence: How can performance and scholarship get closer to and illuminate the violence of our times (including non-physical violence, silencing, the everyday violence of ideology)? 
  • Gender: Can the theatre and the academy radically rewrite our gender expectations? 
  • Race: How can artists and scholars move beyond a "poverty of conversation" about race? What would fully acknowledging white privilege mean or look like in thought or practice? 
  • Religion: Can secular scholarship or performance ever get at the truths of radical religious beliefs? 
  • Art: Are we operating in a climate of timidity as regards artistic authority and definitions of success? Do a diversely mediated environment and globalised marketplace allow us to be more courageous?
  • Difficulty and the public sphere: How might difficult thinking play a greater part in public life? E.g. thought which is not binary, is ambivalent, dialectical, challenging of power structures, institutionalised dogma, or moral consensus? What are the barriers to radical theatre and thought actually reaching a wider public?
  • Form: How can the forms of artistic and critical practice challenge and renew each other? (Participatory workshop)
  • Democracy: How could thought and theatre demonstrate new ways to participate in democracy? (Participatory performance)
  • Institutions: Are cultural institutions such as 'the theatre' and 'the University' in fact now part of the problem?  Could they become the solution?


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