Performance in Public Spaces Working Group Call for Papers

13 December, 2014

IFTR/FIRT Working Group

Performance in Public Spaces



for the group’s meeting

at the IFTR Conference in Hyderabad, India, July 6-10 2015



'Performing Democracy in Public Spaces'


Deadline for Proposals: 31 January 2015

Deadline for bursary application: 15 December 2014


"democracy depends to a surprising extent on the availability of physical, public space, even in our allegedly digital world.[...] in many respects the availability of space for democratic performance is under threat [...] by overlooking the need for such space – or arguing against that need – we run the risk of undermining some important conditions of democracy in the modern world."

Parkinson, John R. Democracy and Public Space: The Physical Sites of Democratic Performance. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print. (p2)


The Performance in Public Spaces Working Group of the International Federation for Theatre Research invites proposals focusing on the theme ‘Performing Democracy in Public Spaces’ for our forthcoming meeting at the conference in Hyderabad, in July 2015. This year's meeting will develop themes around the possibilities and problems of performing democracy in public spaces. Following discussion in Warwick during the IFTR 2014 meeting it was decided that the working group would encourage a variety of contributions, not limited to the presentation of papers but also to include group work, on-site tours and collaborations with local practitioners and academics. This is not intended to be an exhaustive demarcation of activity but rather to stimulate potential participants to submit proposals that engage with the diversity of public spaces that we encounter during the working group meetings. Hence, we seek to interrogate the relationship between democracy and public space, and welcome proposals exploring this theme, especially with regard to the following questions:


Democracy in the public space: citizens and institutions


  • What do we understand by the term ‘democratic public space’ and how does this vary between cultures and institutions?
  • How do collectives such as citizens, activists, communities and practitioners construct and question the public space? What different mechanisms and processes do they propose or use?
  • What are the emerging strategies that communities use to interrogate and prove the limits of the public space?
  • How do practices that engage with the public space envision or promote other democratic spaces or structures?
  • How do international bodies and organizations foster freedom of expression? What are the tensions between laws, regulations and treaties and everyday life?



The Making of the Democratic Public Space through Performance


  • How do practitioners engage with the construction of a democratic public space?
  • How the relationship between the local and the global is understood in the making of the public space?
  • To what extent do we need to operate outside the democratic to achieve new rights?
  • Which kind of ethical quandaries do practitioners encounter when they respond to democratic issues?
  • What is the relationship between the enactment of traditional cultural expressions and the making of the public space?


Democracy and the non-physical public space


  • How social media and interactive media should be included in the analysis of the public space?
  • To which extent have social media been responsible for the construction of choreographies of assembly in the public space?
  • How the emergence of intermedial practices have stimulated a democratic and politically engaged agenda?


Application Process

Abstracts for written or practical proposals should be between 250 and 300 words. The group’s working language is English. 

The following is the schedule for proposals for the meeting:

Abstracts are due no later than 31 January 2015. Please note that for those members who wish to be considered for an IFTR bursary, the deadline is 15th December 2014. Because of the tightness of this deadline, the convenors will make every effort to respond to all questions and submissions that aim for a bursary as quickly as possible. Applicants with concerns should contact the convenors - and


  • Notice on acceptance will be given by 28 February 2015.
  • Finalized papers (3000-4000 words) are to be submitted by email by 1 June 2015.


Abstracts should be submitted through the IFTR’s online system, managed by Cambridge Journals. Please visit 

Please note that accepted abstracts will be published in the Congress’s Abstracts Book. Additional information such as the form the proposed submission will take, or information about available dates, should be included on the online form under ‘Equipment required.’ Should this prove insufficient, additional information should be emailed to - and before the 31st January deadline. 

All questions or concerns should be sent to the group’s conveners, Tim White (University of Warwick) and Esther Belvis Pons (Artea) at and



We look forward to your proposals

Tim White and Esther Belvis

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