Extended Call - Sacred Places: Performances, Politics and Ecologies: A Multidisciplinary Perspective

14 December, 2016 by Silvia Battista | 0 comments

Extended Call - Sacred Places: Performances, Politics and Ecologies: A Multidisciplinary Perspective

Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, April 20-21, 2017 Drama, Dance and Performance Studies Department Conference

Conference organised by the Research Cluster ‘Cartographies of Belonging’, in partnership with the Working Group ‘Performance, Religion and Spirituality’ (PRS) of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR); and the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Centre for War and Peace Studies.

Organising Team: Annalaura Alifuoco, Silvia Battista, Kris Darby, Simon Piasecki, Rachel Sweeney. 


Sacred Places: Performances, Politics and Ecologies. A Multidisciplinary Perspective is a two-day conference aimed at investigating the actuality of sacred places in contemporary society; their practices and performances, politics and ecologies. The overarching theoretical umbrella is the perspective of Performance Studies, which offers a prolific framework for multidisciplinary engagement and exchange. 

Sacer, from which the term sacred derives, defines an area that stands apart; the Hebrew term k-d-sh, which is usually translated as “holy”, is based on the idea of separation; and the Latin word templum is derived from the Greek templos, of which the root tem means “to cut out” (Tuan 1978, 84). According to the geographer Yi-Fu Tuan the activity of differentiating the undifferentiated space through the establishment of sacred places is an operation analogous to the geographer’s cartographic activity of mapping a territory. Both are attempts at confining nature within demarcated bounds. 

Sacred places might refer to landscapes, operating rooms, scientific laboratories, theatrical spaces, rehearsal studios, religious architectures, museums, rooms in houses, street corners, gardens, stones, trees, the body, archives, etc. Depending on the cultural contexts, sacred places become points of arrival and departure; locations for personal and collective transformations; sites where the given confines of nature and culture are re-negotiated. In addition, sacred locations are becoming increasingly involved in issues of social and environmental justice, peace and conflict, resistance and activism, potentially having an impact on the political, economic, historical, and cultural developments of our time. 

This event is part of the ongoing research project of Liverpool Hope University’s Research Cluster ‘Cartographies of Belonging’, and the first of a series of activities designed to create a web of networks that examine and redefine the terms of human agency in relation to the environment, at both a micro- and macrocosmic level. The main objective is to set up a transdisciplinary platform from which to engage critically with the function and role that sacred places might play in intervening in the present ecological, social and ethical crisis. 

Call for Papers

We invite contributions by scholars, artists and scientists willing to present individual papers, provocations, performance presentations and workshops on topics including but not limited to:

• Sacredness and human agency;
• Cartography and territories of the sacred;
• Notions of sacred places and scientific practices;
• Theatre and art galleries as sacred places;
• Performances and practices of sacred locations;
• Inscription and/or natural dispositions of the sacred;
• Pilgrimages to sacred locations as performative practices;
• Geopolitics and activism in sacred locations;
• The role of sacred places in conflict;
• The function of sacred locations in peace building;
• Ecology and sacred grounds;
• Sacred places and experimentation;
• Religion, eco-ethics and sacred locations;
• The body as sacred space;
• Identity, perception and sacred locations.

Please send abstracts of max. 300 words (word or pdf-format) for presentations lasting no more than 20 minutes to the conference organisers Silvia Battista at battiss@hope.ac.uk, and Rachel Sweeney at sweener@hope.ac.uk by – extended call - the 15th of January 2017. Also include name, contact information, and affiliation and technical requirements where applicable. Please provide a brief biography (max. 100 words) and a list of keywords (max. 5), and use the subject heading: ‘Sacred Places’ followed by your name and surname. 


An open call for papers to be submitted for publication in a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal PRS (Performance, Religion, and Spirituality) will be announced at the event.




To participate to the joined IFTR conference in Brazil and /or to the PRS ancillary meeting happening on the 19th of April before the conference proper please refer to the following link: https://www.iftr.org/news/2016/december/cfp-performance-religion-and-spirituality-working-group

Keynote Speakers:
Dr Joshua Edelman, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Contemporary Arts at the Manchester Metropolitan University; international artist Anne Bean working with installation, large-scale sculpture, sound art, and performance art; Prof Andy Newsam, astrophysicist at Liverpool John Moores University; international artist Louise Anne Wilson working within biological-sciences, ecology, art, and performance.

Early Bird: £120 (Deadline 28th February 2017)
Full: £140
Postgraduate: £100


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