TaPRA Performer Training Working Group
University of Aberystwyth 5th – 7th September 2018
Performer Training Working Group
The Performer Training Working Group has been meeting for thirteen years and has produced several collaborative outputs, including a variety of contributions to the thrice-yearly journal, Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, dedicated to training in all its manifestations, and the associated blog https://theatredanceperformancetraining.org.
The working group co-convenors are delighted to issue a call for contributions for the forthcoming 2018 TaPRA conference.
We are interested in a range of presentation formats including the following:
- provocations or position statements (max 10 minutes)
- laboratory explorations rooted in practice research e.g. workshops, demonstrations, performance lectures or other appropriate formats (30-60 min)
- formal papers (max 20 minutes)
2018 Theme: “Who are we training for?”
This year we invite proposals that respond to a purposefully provocative, playful and open question that the WG Convenors have derived at to address a very particular set of current concerns and debates in our field.
As was experienced at the conference last year, in which ‘the end of training’ was explored, ‘training’ in itself remains an open, ambiguous and contentious term. Whatever form ‘training’ takes (i.e. however it is experienced or defined) it will not conform into one neat homogenous experience, nor should it. Indeed, training can be understood and experienced in numerous ways: as a self-practice; a collective endeavour; a means to an end; a means in itself; a discovery. It can be embarked upon to fulfil an ambition; to land a role; to develop a particular skill, craft, or discipline. However, something that remains unclear, yet applicable to all forms of training, is who the beneficiary of this endeavour is. Indeed, who or for whom are we training?
This question, and its series of sub-questions, call for equally urgent critically framed responses. This Call for Papers encourages contributions positioned, although not exclusively, in light of one or more of the following contexts:
Institutions and Pedagogical Approaches
Specifically with reference to the rapid decline of access to arts provision across core compulsory state education in the UK and the predicted knock on effect this will have on the viability and perceived value of ‘training’ in our field in Higher Education. (See numerous recent reports and studies based on Government and independent research, including for example: BBC, January 2018, which states nine in every ten schools has significantly cut back on its arts provision: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-42862996 and Arts Professional, June 2017 https://www.artsprofessional.co.uk/news/devastating-decline-arts-schools-surges)
Industry and Professional Organisations
Particularly in light of an industry that has been globally disgraced, outraged, and left searching for solidarity and solutions through committing to the mass movements and global campaigns of #Metoo and ‘Time’s Up’. (See, for example, numerous recent industry guidelines and statements by organisations including Society of London Theatre (SOLT); Equity; and many independent theatres)
With reference to agendas that demand trained graduates to be multi-faceted practitioners who can readily devise, perform, self-produce, fund and promote their own practice, as well as desperately seeking to improve and address diversity quotas and credentials. (See, for example, ‘Skills for Theatre: Developing the Pipeline of Talent’ 2017 and Arts Council England ‘Creative Case for Diversity’: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201617/ldselect/ldcomuni/170/170.pdf
In relation to this background, we invite proposals that may address, but are not limited to, the following questions:
- How do performer training approaches and regimes understand and frame ‘the Other’ and/or questions of otherness?
- At what point in training does a consideration of ‘an audience’ arise?
- How do I consider and position myself in relation to those others that I am in a training situation with?
- To what extent is training recognised and experienced as a solo endeavour?
- Can training respect and work through marginality or does its very process and logic cultivate homogeneity and conformity?
- When and how might training become ‘counter-training’?
- How might a trainer or trainee be experienced as ‘other’ and what impact might this have on my experience of training?
- How might performer training practice and discourse relate to recent theorisations of marginality, queerness and otherness?
- How do we experience training in relation to our social media selves/other personas?
- How do we train in relation to a digital other? How do I relate to and experience/feel a training mediated through digital technologies?
- How has intersubjectivity in performer training practice and discourse been framed?
We are particularly keen to receive proposals where responses are situated inside critical frameworks as well as recent cultural policy related to the aforementioned questions.
This year, the Performer Training Working Group will be collaborating with the Performance and New Technologies Working Group by holding a joint session, addressing performer training in relation to digital/networked technologies. If you believe your proposal is most appropriate for this session, please indicate this, though final decisions will be made by working group convenors.
Submitting a Proposal
Please email all abstracts (no more than 300 words in length), along with an additional few sentences of biographical information. Please also include precise details of your resourcing needs, for example, any audio-visual technology, or a particular type of space (e.g. drama studio) that you will need to make your presentation.
The deadline for the submission of proposals is Friday 20th April 2018.
Please note: only one proposal may be submitted for the TaPRA 2018 Conference. It is not permitted to submit multiple proposals or submit the same proposal to several Calls for Papers. All presenters must be TaPRA members, i.e. registered for the conference; this includes presentations given by Skype or other media broadcast even where the presenter may not physically attend the conference venue.
Early Career Researchers Bursary Scheme
If you are an Early Career Researcher, then you are eligible to be considered for a TaPRA ECR Bursary. Please follow this link for more information, and please indicate on your proposal whether you fit this criteria and wish to be considered for the bursary scheme: http://tapra.org/bursaries/
Circulation of paper-based presentations in advance of the conference
Papers are circulated in advance of the conference, so paper contributors should be prepared to have a full paper by early/mid August.
Please note that our group also welcomes participation from colleagues who do not wish to submit papers or other presentations. However, if you do wish to participate in our working group, but are not delivering a paper, please email us your name and details so we can ensure you receive papers in advance.
We also warmly encourage, that where possible, contributors attend over the 3 days, so that conversations and experiences can grow and develop collectively during this time-frame.
Theatre, Dance and Performance Training journal (TDPT)
TaPRA Papers may be considered for further development and publication in the Routledge Journal TDPT, http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/rtdp
We very much look forward to hearing from you.
Kate, Maria and Tom