CFP: Performance and Disability Working Group, IFTR Conference Stockholm 2016: “Disability and Performance as an Archive”

24 October, 2015

Call for Papers: “Disability and Performance as an Archive”



International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) Conference 

“Presenting the Theatrical Past: Interplays of Artefacts, Discourses, and Practices”

Stockholm University, 13-17 June 2016


The Performance and Disability Working Group of the IFTR aims to have an international dialogue regarding disability and performance and to share scholarly work and best practices from around the world – traditions, conventions, and demonstrations of how diverse physical, sensorial, developmental, and psychological abilities manifest in all areas of performance. We are soliciting proposals from any area of performance studies that intersect with disability studies. 


In 2016, participants are invited to orient their contributions of any format towards the theme:

Disability and Performance as an Archive”


Performances with and by artists with different physical, sensorial, developmental and psychological corporealities are always places of remembrance.  Narratives of the body and its dis-states are inscribed onto the performer and concepts of difference, able-bodiedness, and docile and neutral bodies are repeated, transformed or subverted through performance. Diverse bodily variations are archives of individual life stories, which are manifested on stage, and create “disability aesthetics” (Tobin Siebers) as a counter-narrative of historically traded norms. 


At the same time, contemporary dance or theatre practices examine the representations of disability in history as a subject, by referring to the common roots of the historical freak show or other cultural-specific narratives of dis-figuration.  Recent and current artists adopt performance with/by disabled artists as a genre, and several art works build on and refer to each other by constructing disability performance genealogies as part of disability culture(s). 


The Working Group welcomes contributions of any format on the following topics:


•Performances and disability as an archive: Explorations of (disability) history through (disability) performance

•Archives of performance and disability: Disability performance genealogies (e.g. How do performances refer to each other?)

•How to archive performance and disability (e.g. To which extend can alternate documentation formats (apart from text) open up new ways of inclusive research that includes diverse voices?)

•The (d)evolution of disability performance



To submit abstracts for papers to be presented in the Performance & Disability Working Group for the 2016 IFTR Conference in Stockholm, you must upload your 300 word abstract along with a short bio of 50 words (max) by 15 December 2016 through the link provided below; specify that you are interested in applying for the Performance and Disability Working Group, if this is your preferred forum (please see below for other submission options).  The Working Group deadline for abstract submission is earlier than the general IFTR deadline.


If you are ready to send your abstract now, please visit You will be taken to the Cambridge Journals Online website where you will be prompted to join IFTR or renew your membership. After this you’ll be taken to the abstract submission form.  


We welcome 20-minute presentations of any format. We will confidentially circulate our papers and presentation materials to the attending members of the Working Group in advance of the conference in order to enable a deeper discussion. The deadline for submitting presentations will be no later than 1 April 2016. 


Please note that there are three distinct options for submitting an abstract for the IFTR conference:

1.Submit to the Performance and Disability Working Group (following the guidelines above).

2.Submit to the general congress (following the guidelines on the IFTR site; please note the conference theme is distinct from the CFP for our Working Group).

3.Submit to the New Scholars Forum (following their guidelines).


You can only submit one proposal and must elect from the three options above. If you prefer to present in the General Panel or New Scholars Forum, you are still welcome to participate in the Working Group sessions. Just write an email to the conveners.


The deadline to apply for conference bursaries is 1 December 2015. The application form is scheduled to be available at by 30 September.


We would also strongly encourage anyone who is qualified to submit work for the New Scholars' or Helsinki Prizes.  The application deadline for both the New Scholars' Prize and the Helsinki Prize is 1 December 2015.  Full details are available on the IFTR webpage:  



For more information on the IFTR conference in Stockholm, please visit:; as of the posting of this CFP, this site has not yet been updated for 2016; please continue to check the site.


For information on the IFTR-FIRT, please check:


If you have any questions about the Working Group, please contact the conveners:

- Mark Swetz:  markjswetz [at] gmail [dot] com 

- Yvonne Schmidt: [at] zhdk [dot] ch


Join the mailing list of the IFTR-FIRT Working Group:



(search for: IFTR Performance and Disability WG)

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