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Moving beyond Coloniality: Practices of Emancipation across Performances of the Popular

22/11/2019 - 24/11/2019
Date limite: 

This year, PoP [Performances of the Popular] MOVES, in partnership with the University of Roehampton, goes to London! Once the centre of the British Empire, today this multicultural hub has become a sought-after destination for those seeking to critically question and overcome long-lived systems of oppression. 

Moving beyond Coloniality invites artists, scholars and activists in the fields of dance and performing arts who think and work across the popular to help us navigate the difficult task of articulating decentralized dialogues across different aspects of artistic production and scholarship, and their dissemination in global contexts. In brief, what does it mean for a popular movement practice or performance to be emancipatory, transgressive or otherwise act as a form of resistance? For whom? And, most importantly, how can movement-centred tactics and strategies allow us to, as Marcus M. Garvey Jr. declared, “emancipate ourselves from mental slavery”?

Our international research group of performances of the popular welcomes proposals that investigate innovative ways of thinking, moving and interacting, whether regarding HE curricula in the UK, street performances in Mexico City, theatrical programming across the US, state funding for the arts in São Paulo or auditions in Beijing. In our inquiry, we want to encourage the broader task of listening to voices repressed by the darker side of (Western) Modernity – i.e., Coloniality (Quijano 2000, Vazquez, 2012) and shedding new light on the ideas and skills neglected or erased from view (Santos, 2007). Similarly, we invite postcolonial and decolonial discussions that question, for instance, the discursive construction of exclusionary dichotomies, such as Western versus (other) World/Global Performances or “studio” and “street” divisions, whose fixed borders reinforce the racial abyss imagined between them (Savigliano, 2009). Deploying the concept of border thinking, the conference seeks to expose the tactics and strategies that seep through coloniality’s shields and delimitations, stretching, blurring or perforating them. The broad scope of the category “popular”, and its diverse association with folk, vernacular, community, street, urban, staged and mediated movement practices, makes it a unique space for contestation, innovation and emancipation.

Proposals may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • The ways in which performances of the popular might contribute to and expand corporeal, empirical or theoretical understandings of movement or performance, as well as their relevance to processes of emancipation;
  • Investigations of practices and performances of the popular that seek to unplug from a system of oppression (e.g. patriarchy, coloniality, capitalism), in which they are physically, intellectually and emotionally immersed;
  • Critical analysis of aesthetic and/or philosophical principles guiding the underlying movement systems that are shaping popular practices and performances and how they might differ from or exceed normative systems;
  • Individual and/or collective efforts to deploy practices of the popular to turn hierarchical systems inside out or work from within and reverse their terms;
  • Questions of authorship and agency, especially those dealing with South-North dialogues between artists, scholars and activists;
  • Inquiries into the political and economic implications of set or improvised movements, resistances, transgressions, and emancipation;
  • The correlation between performances of the popular and the cognitive, emotional or spiritual dimensions of their performers and audiences, especially how these efforts might expand the ecology of knowledges and ways of knowing in relation to performance.    

How to Apply

Pop Moves welcomes proposals in the form of a paper, pre-formed panel, lecture-demonstration, round table or workshop. You may also propose an “alternative” format presenter. For those unable to travel to London or wishing to further address the question of (im)mobility in global contexts, we encourage virtual contributions in the form of pre-recorded audio/video, digital plataforms, or similar. Please send your queries and proposals to popmovesgroup@gmail.com. DEADLINE:  21st July  2019.

Proposals [all formats]

Document 1: title, format/duration, abstract and bibliography (see Proposals below).*

  • Abstract:  300 words (max.) for all formats, outlining the research area and key issues within a clearly articulated methodology.
  • Alternative formats: Additional 200 words (max.) describing the proposed format of presentation and time frame.
  • Bibliography: 4-5 keys texts supporting the abstract.
  • Blind review: The name(s) of the presenter(s) should not appear anywhere in document 1. 

Document 2: title, name of presenter(s), affiliated institution(s), email address(es), space and time requirements (if relevant) and AVS needs (see Technical Requirements and Resources below)

*Alternatively, artists may submit a proposal in audio/video (as opposed to written) format, in place of document 1, clearly stating title, format/duration, abstract and bibliography (3 min. max). Submit document 2, as described above.

Technical Requirements and Resources

  • Paper presentations should be 20 minutes in length (approx. 8 pages double space, or less if screening video excerpts).
  • Pre-formed panels and round tables must be 60 minutes (max.) in length.
  • Lecture-demonstrations and workshops can be 45 or 60 minutes in length.
  • Alternative formats may be either 20 minutes in length (to be included in a regular panel) or 45 or 60 minutes (stand-alone).
  • When applicable, please indicate if participants must wear shoes/sneakers or not (to ensure compatible studio space allocation).
  • If speakers intend to present a lecture-demonstration or workshop, please indicate what your time and space requirements might be for this
  • Please identify any AVS equipment that you might need for the presentation: DVD playback, data projector, or internet access, for example. Attention: Please note that the conference will provide only basic tech resources (i.e. no lighting).
  • Any questions regarding format and resources, please visit our website or send email topopmovesgroup@gmail.com.

Publication Opportunities 

PoP Moves network intends to curate an anthology based on the presentations selected for this conference. Further information and guidelines will be circulated during the conference in November.

Coordination : Cristina Fernandes Rosa (University of Roehampton); Deborah Williams (University of Malta)

Programming committee : Elena Benthaus (The University of Melbourne), Melissa Blanco Borelli (Royal Holloway and University of Maryland, College Park), Jo Hall (University of Brighton and University of Surrey), Celena Monteiro (University of Chichester and Kingston University), Clare Parfitt (University of Chichester), Jonathan Skinner (University of Roehampton), Laura Steil (School for International Training), Alexandra Quinn (Independent Scholar), Mary Woehrel (York University, Toronto).