CFP - Performance and Interdisciplinarity Conference (University of Malta)

16 December, 2014

Call for Papers:



and Interdisciplinarity


A conference at the University of Malta,

hosted by the School of Performing Arts


20/21 March 2015


The School of Performing Arts (University of Malta) will be holding its annual conference on the following theme: Performance and Interdisciplinarity. The focus of the conference will be on interdisciplinarity in performance and the performing arts, and how this connects to other disciplines from Science and the Humanities.

Interdisciplinary research and practices answer to what Richard Schechner calls the phenomenon of ‘blurry boundaries’, where the decidedly premodern approach of distilling fine categories and certainties has given way to ideas of continuum across different fields. Performance is charged with interdisciplinarity to become a paradigm and concretisation of such discourses. The conference will take as a point of departure the eight overlapping performance categories elaborated by Schechner: everyday life, the arts, sports, business, technology, sex, ritual, and play. The performing arts themselves are a space where these categories are combined in an endless stream of permutations. These may range from the ways that theatre, dance, and music draw material from but also impinge upon everyday life; to training in performance and in sports; the drive for ‘efficacy’ and ‘efficiency’ that is shared with business; and the ever-increasing use of the performing arts as an area for technological innovation.  The idea that the performing arts appertain to the fields of the Humanities also needs to be taken into consideration, due to the strong ties that theatre, dance, and music have with the disciplines of philosophy, history, critical theory, sociology, politics, and others.

The conference Performance and Interdisciplinarity aims to contribute to these (and other) discourses on interdisciplinarity, within the practices and theorizations of both performance in general as well as the performing arts in particular. The conference also attaches importance to establishing links with other disciplines such as Digital Technology and Digital Gaming, Cognitive Science, the Creative and Tourism Industries, Critical Theory, History and Historiography, the Fine Arts, and Philosophy.

Proposals along these lines are therefore welcome, and may include discussions on such topics as:

  • interdisciplinary performance and research;
  • interdisciplinarity in the performing arts;
  • links between performance and other disciplines, including but not restricted to those listed above;
  • difficulties of interdisciplinarity, e.g. what Mieke Bal refers to as ‘vague objects of enquiry and muddled methodology’.

Proposals (maximum 250 words) are hereby invited, and they should be submitted to Dr Stefan Aquilina on by the 21 January 2015. Presentations by two or more presenters, sharing a common theme or interdisciplinary approach, are particularly welcome.

The Conference will feature Dr Laura Cull (University of Surrey) as Keynote Speaker.



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