CFP: Performance & Politics & Protest, University College, Cork, Ireland, 4th September 2015

Recent international political movements–such as Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring, the Euromaidan demonstrations in Ukraine, and the Maple Spring student protests in Quebec, and the Marriage Equality changes in Ireland and the USA–ask us to consider how sweeping socio-political change emerges. As a starting point this symposium will consider a range of on-going issues: What role, if any, do the arts play in moments of (dramatic) political change? In the on-going decade of crisis, how can performance and the arts more broadly both provoke and respond to change? How can the immediacy of performance enable political action? What is the role and efficacy of the arts in the (r)evolution of our thinking, law-making, policy decisions, etc.? As the metrics of efficacy permeate every aspect of contemporary life, in what ways can performance engage other registers of what matters or ‘counts’? Does performance have the potential to engender a sea-change in public attitudes that interrupts or re-configures the mandate of daily life? In what way does performance offer an alternative to violent eruptions?  Does it diffuse momentum or empower action? How do the arts make us aware of the complexity of violence, asking us to question its systematization, representation and formation? Can participatory arts practices engaging communities at local levels develop progressive and sustainable change? What are the tensions and synergies between the street and the screen as sites of activism? Where is change located? How do international networks and social media generate momentum from grassroots organizations, which both raises consciousness of and challenges gender/raced/classed-power relations? With the on-going performance actions by groups like IMELDA (Ireland Making England the Legal Destination for Abortion) and the viral performance of ‘Pantigate’, Repeal the 8th protests, and the Right to Water group marches alongside the international movements for change, this is an opportune moment to examine modes, methods and tactics of protest and to explore what role performance plays in effecting socio-political change.
In this context UCC’s Women’s Studies, School of Applied Social Studies, Drama & Theatre Studies (School of Music & Theatre), and ‘Culture as Performance/Performance as Culture’ research cluster, School of Languages are hosting a one day symposium to reflect on the intersections of performance and political life, the efficacy and strategies of performance, and ways in which performative actions can enable protests and processes of political change to remain open, non-violent and represent the complexities of the issues at stake.
Confirmed keynote speaker: Vikki Callahan, Associate Professor of Practice in the Division of Media Arts + Practice, University of Southern California, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses focused on the integration of theory and practice with attention to issues of digital culture, social media + remix, transmedia, and media strategies for social change. See:
If you are interested in participating please email a 300 word abstract and title of a proposed paper (15-20min max), panel (submit all abstracts for all panellists), or workshop (1hr) along with your bio to by 5th August 2015.  (We will inform you of acceptance of proposals by 10th August).
If you have any questions please email: Dr. Róisín O’Gorman, Drama & Theatre Studies: