In sectors across the business and creative worlds, old models of cause and effect are becoming obsolete. We are beginning to acknowledge the complex and chaotic nature of the systems that surround us. Flexibility, fluidity, spontaneity and real time responsiveness are the essential qualities needed for this accelerated world. The future will belong to those who can improvise best.
– Lee Simpson & Phelim McDermott, Artistic Directors Improbable
The Global Improvisation Initiative (GII) was launched in 2016 to activate an international exploration into the art and impact of improvisation in depth and collectively, appreciating the rich history and diversity within our field in order to best serve the infinite possibilities of our future. The first GII Symposium took place in 2017 at both University of California at Irvine and Chapman University and served as an intellectual and artistic nexus for sharing, producing, and documenting new knowledge about improvisational processes happening within the performance arts industries and beyond. The first symposium brought together an international gathering of scholars, practitioners, educators, activists, and players all promoting the evolution and advancement of improvisation for future generations.
The GII Symposium 2019 (London, U.K.) will be hosted by Middlesex University and the International Institute of Improvisation (the iii). It will continue and deepen the explorations begun at GII 2017, with specific focus on the central theme of “Awareness.” For Improbable, “awareness” is at the foundation of the improvisational process: “Awareness of what is happening and unfolding now; a belief and willingness to give expression to the wisdom of what is happening and unfolding right now.” At a time when the world in which we live—locally and globally, environmentally and philosophically—requires responsiveness, GII 2019 will create a space for thinking-around how awareness, at the heart of theatrical improvisation, might extend to awareness of issues at stake in wider society. Following an Improbable approach, where improvisation, moment to moment, is built on:
Noticing what is happening and unfolding…
Believing in what is happening and unfolding…
Supporting and giving expression to what is happening and unfolding;
an aim of the 2019 GII Symposium is to explore the potential of improvisation techniques as solution-driven initiatives; ones that respect process, require action, and produce outcomes.
The GII 2019 Symposium will take place at Middlesex University in London, U.K., May 15-18. It is co-hosted by the iii, a project run by Improbable to help shape and support the future of improvised practice. Presentations, workshops, panels, roundtables, etc., will take place May 15 and 16. On May 17 and 18, participants and presenters will engage in an “Open Space Technology” forum facilitated by Improbable. Evening performances and other special events TBA.
Call for Proposals:
The GII invites contributions from teachers, makers, performers, researchers and students from any field to consider the symposium theme of “awareness.” We are interested in proposals across a range of formats, including performances, talks, workshops, presentations, papers, panel discussions, making and craft-based sessions, roundtables. Other formats will also be considered.
We invite proposals that challenge prevalent perceptions of, and address emergent questions about, the field of theatrical improvisation and how this might extend beyond theatrical realms to social spaces. We encourage you to address your proposals under any of these categories:
- Interdisciplinary Practices
- Teaching, Pedagogy and Education
- Genders & Identities
- Policy & Social Practices
- The Future & The Unknown
Possible investigations/topics/questions might address (but are not limited to):
- Where have we been historically? Where are we now? What comes next?
- How do improvisation skills translate to awareness of the now and of the world?
- Ways in which improvisation is applied to enhance creative thinking and pedagogy in academia.
- Teaching values and ethics in the improvisation classroom.
- Connecting theory to practice through improvisation.
- How might improvisation be radical in rethinking politics, policy and/or pedagogy?
- Improvisation and the future of democracy.
- How is improvisation training, performance, and scholarship addressing (or not) issues of race and ethnic diversity?
- Improvisation and access: how can improvisational practice be inclusive to all?
- Recognising/acknowledging/disrupting constructed notions of identity in improvisation training and performance.
- Women in improvisation: what issues do we face?
- What does improvisation have to offer gender and queer studies?
- Improvisation in intergenerational spaces.
- Improvisation and migration.
- Improvisation: Status, power and rank awareness.
- Improvisation and conflict resolution.
- How is improvisation best placed to engage in the (re)telling or revealing of (untold) histories?
- Theatre companies that are built on improvisational processes but are not categorised as improvisational companies.
- The place of improvisation in professional theatre and actor training programs and how this might address awareness of the wider world.
- Awareness of improvisation and the interdisciplinary; how might improvisation impact approaches to architecture, digital technologies, economics, environment, social media?
- How do we promote the evolution of improvisation and cross-pollination of ideas without diminishing or erasing historical and theoretical foundations?
- Challenges we face with the proliferation and commercialisation of improvisational practice.
- In what ways does improvisation present itself through philosophical pursuits?
- Improvisation and spirituality, are they connected?
- What are the practices of improvisation in mindfulness?
- How can we teach, perform, and write about improvisation in a way that deepens our collective knowledge and honours the complexity, diversity, and significance of improvisation?
Please email a one-page (150-250 word) proposal in PDF format by Monday, October 15, 2018, to the GII Symposium Committee at GlobalImprovisationInitiative@gmail.com
- Name, job title, academic/company affiliation (if any)
- Contact information (address, email, phone number)
- Session title and type of session (panel discussion and/or session, presentation, performance, roundtable, or workshop)
- Your space preference, if available (lecture, classroom, studio space, design-workshop)
- A proposed duration (20, 30, 60 or 90 minutes)
- Ideal maximum number of participants (if proposing a workshop)
- Short bios for presenter(s)
Note: Although fully-formed panels (e.g. 3-4 presenters/papers) and/or practical sessions are highly encouraged, GII will accept single paper proposals and, if the subject matter is of interest, we will attempt to find or form a panel to host your research.
Visit our websites for more information:
Devoted & Disgruntled and Open Space: https://www.devotedanddisgruntled.com
Theatre at Middlesex University: https://www.mdx.ac.uk/courses/performing-arts/theatre
LIKE our Facebook Page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/GlobalImprovisationInitiative/