Taiwo Afolabi (University of Victoria)
Taiwo Afolabi is a PhD Candidate in Applied Theatre, a Queen Elizabeth Scholar, and a Graduate Fellow at the Centre for Global Studies, University of Victoria. Taiwo’s doctoral research broadly focuses on forced migration, border, displacement and the role of arts in engendering effective resettlement for both refugees and internally displaced persons for citizen participation. He has undertaken both artistic and research projects in China, Ireland, Burkina Faso, Denmark, Nigeria, Spain, Sri Lanka, Iran, Croatia and Sudan. He is an alumnus of the International Visitor Leadership Program of the United States of America. He founded Theatre Emissary International and co-coordinates the Network of Emerging Arts Professionals of the UNESCO’ s International Theatre Institute (ITI/UNESCO). His articles have been published in highly reputable journals in theatre and performance. He is a sessional instructor at the Department of Theatre, University of Victoria.
Performing arts-based interventions in post-conflict zones: critical and ethical questions
Interventionist approach positions different disciplines to seek ways to be relevant and utilize knowledge to solve problems for the common good in the society. Such approaches challenge researchers/practitioners to intersect, connect and create new forms of realities in the process of knowledge mobilization and production. The constant negotiation and interaction among disciplines has produced multidisciplinary approach in research and knowledge generation. Arguably, the notion of intervention comes with ethical challenges such as politics of representation, power relations, cultural misappropriation and ethical realities. Despite its good intention, arts-based practices like theatre interestingly occupies a liminal position where its interventionist feature becomes both a gift and a poison. For instance, many practitioners/researchers from the Global North consider the Global South as a region for curating and marketing interventions to solve problems or as sites for experimentation. Many interventions have contributed immensely to the growth and development of such society while some have only extracted from the community. In this paper, I explore ethical questions on performing intervention in conflict/post-conflict zones particularly in Africa. I case study selected theatre projects in Nigeria and Uganda and raise ethical questions because intervention itself is a performance that has to be staged within respectful canons and environment.
Kelsey Blair (Simon Fraser University)
Kelsey Blair is a PhD candidate in English with an emphasis in performance studies at Simon Fraser University. Her research interests include performance theory, cultural performance genres, affect theory & new materialisms, sport, and musical theatre.
Theoretical Exchanges: The Structuring of Practice in Cultural Performance Genres and the Case of Canadian Women’s Basketball
In 1958, Gene Kelly danced alongside sports legends Edward Villella, Dick Button, Mickey Mantel, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Johnny Unitas on Omnibus episode titled “Dancing is a Man’s Game.” In the performance, Kelly welcomes Sugar Ray Robinson on stage, and the two men tap dance together. Their routine is cross-cut with split-screen images of famous athletes performing sport specific skills such as throwing and punching. The piece literally demonstrates how sports and dance – two domains of cultural activity that are frequently considered separate – are connected through movements, gestures, and behaviours. Of course, Kelly is not the only person to note such similarities. Scholars and researchers have long observed the intersections between cultural performance genres. Ben Spatz’ book What a Body Can Do marks a recent contribution to this field. In the book, Spatz draws from a range of scholars to construct his conception of the relationship between the terms “practice” (“chunks of human life bounded in time and space”) and “technique (“transmissible knowledge that links such chunks together across time and space”) (45). In this paper, I build on Spatz’ conceptualizations and examine how the trained/trainable body marks a point of intersections between a range of range of cultural performance genres including dance, circus, music, theatre, and sport. To explore, I turn to the case study of the development of the practice of women’s basketball in Canada in the 20th and 21st centuries. Drawing from Carrie Noland, who argues that “the moving, trained, and trainable body is always a potential source or resistance to the meanings it is required to bear” (175), I suggest that the trained, and trainable body is at once a site of resistance and maintenance for the meanings the body is required to bear.
Ben Spatz. What a Body Can Do: Technique as Knowledge, Practice as Research. Routledge, 2015.
Carrie Noland. Agency and Embodiment: Performing Gestures/Producing Culture. Harvard UP, 2009.
Maya Borhani (University of Victoria)
Maya Borhani, teaching poet and doctoral student in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Victoria, hails from the Sierra Nevada mountains, Northern California, where she sings poetry outdoors to an attentive forest as often as she can. She holds a Masters degree in Language and Literacy Education from UBC-Vancouver.
Poetry through Song: Sounds of Resistance
Poetry resonates as a site of resistance, “an antidote to the morning news” (Greenwood 13). Singing poetry amplifies poetry’s ability to nourish and inspire. By singing poems, harmonic entrainment, modulation of heart/breathing rates, and articulated elocution become powerful, meditative practices, creating “intersections and interventions” between poetry as required curriculum and its ancient roots as a performative oral tradition, as well as cultural intersections among diverse poets like Lorca, Dickinson and Blue Cloud. Empowering voice as personal/political currency, we sing poems to perform resistance, and to mend the heart of the world—one note, one word at a time.
Greenwood, D.A. “Nature, empire, and paradox in environmental education”. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education vol. 15, 2010, pp. 9-24.
Jennifer Chutter (Simon Fraser University)
Jennifer Chutter is a PhD candidate at SFU in Liberal Studies. Her areas of research include urban studies, performance studies, gender history, and legal geography. She holds a MA in History, and her thesis was on the iconic Vancouver Special.
Domestic Architecture as a Performance of the Urban Form
Single-family dwellings are often dismissed as structures that have little relevance in how a city positions itself on the world stage. Yet, collectively, they cover the majority of the urban landscape, and give shape to the city. Drawing from my research on Vancouver’s domestic landscape, I will argue that the city has two performances of everyday life based on style, and size of single-family dwellings, which are based on 19th century ideas of race and class embedded into the urban landscape. Challenging the performance of the single-family dwelling helps to uncover a more nuanced argument about housing in the city.
Katrina Dunn (University of British Columbia)
Katrina’s scholarly work explores the spatial manifestations of theatre. She also researches ecocritical and eco-material theatre. She has twice been acknowledged by CATR’s Robert G. Lawrence Prize, and she co-won the Heather McCallum Award in 2017. Katrina’s career as a stage director and producer has had considerable impact on the performing arts in Vancouver.
Strange Noises of the Deep Earth: Lithic dramaturgy in Marie Clements’ Burning Vision
Through a close reading of Métis playwright Marie Clements’s 2002 opus Burning Vision this paper creates intersections between dramatic analysis and geology, looking at how the play’s structure troubles the linear framing of Anthropocene discourse. Clements’ work shows us fragments of the passage of uranium from its discovery in Sahtu Dene territory at Great Bear Lake Northwest Territories to its murderous arrival in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. An epic account of the effect of nuclear industrialization and weaponization on land, water, human and other-than-human communities, Burning Vision stares into uranium’s false sun to suggest radically dissoluble boundaries between time worlds at Humanity’s nuclear dawn. Clements’ intervention mines the agency of atomic stone as it moves effortlessly back and forth in time and projects itself in great arcs of mobility across the globe, collapsing time and space as never before in moments of unparalleled destruction, giving sickening testament to Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s assertion that “lithic agency impels human knowing” (4). Rethinking both geologic and narrative conventions, the shards of Burning Vision cohere into a dramaturgy for the Anthropocene based in a new and beguiling logic of stone.
Clements, Marie. Burning Vision. Talonbooks, 2003.
Cohen, Jeffrey J. Stone: An Ecology of the Inhuman. University of Minnesota Press, 2015.
Natalia Esling (University of Toronto)
Natalia is a PhD candidate and SSHRC doctoral award recipient at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies. She holds a Master’s in European Theatre from the University of Edinburgh and a BA (Hons) in English and French from the University of Victoria. She most recently co-edited a special issue of Canadian Theatre Review (172) on Articulating Artistic Research.
Embodying/Embodied Audiences: Sensory-Focused Tools for Generating Affective Impact in Participatory Performance
Performance creators are increasingly using the manipulation of sensory experience as a dramaturgical tool in developing participatory and immersive theatre. Within a performance context, audience members’ habitual perceptual processing is accompanied by the added invitation to engage with unusual, creative realities. Through a Practice-Based Research study that explored the discrete effects of sensory manipulation in one-to-one performance, I generated qualitative data that reconsiders how affective impact connects to physical and sensory experiences. These outcomes demonstrate the connection between artistic intention and particular effects, demanding an examination of how various knowledges used in performance creation are accessed, articulated, utilized, and appreciated by those experiencing the work.
Jemma Llewellyn (University of Victoria)
Jemma Llewellyn is a first year International PhD student in Applied Theatre at the University of Victoria. Originally from Wales, UK, Jemma’s research interest in the intersections between Digital Technologies and Applied Theatre stems from her experience of working with teens from a range of backgrounds in youth theatres, schools and youth services, personalized through her interactions with her ‘digitally native’ nieces and nephews.
Applied Theatre: Reframing Digital Media Literacy Education
This is an invitation for researchers to consider the future of digital media literacy education in the practice of Applied Theatre by posing the question: how can Applied Theatre practitioners develop a praxis, between ‘digital natives’ and ‘digital immigrants’, to educate one another about the social and political uses of digital technologies in everyday life? Through an informal presentation of research and follow up discussion, the intersection between theatre and digital technologies will be examined by noting the current interventions taking place in Applied Theatre settings globally. It will conclude with an insight into future project intentions and the potential benefits and limitations of undertaking such research.
Sandra Lockwood (Simon Fraser University)
Sandra Lockwood is a PhD Candidate in the Graduate Liberal Studies Department, Simon Fraser University. She has recently completed her Comprehensive Exam and is now working on her dissertation into the “Twenty-First Century Sublime.”
The Moon Plays Beethoven
Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata is one of the most recognizable pieces in the Classical music canon. Using EME “moonbounce” technology, Scottish interdisciplinary artist Katie Paterson creates an intersection between the moon and this famous piece with haunting results. This presentation explores Paterson’s Earth-Moon-Earth (Moonlight Sonata Reflected from the Surface of the Moon). Paterson’s foundation is in both the Romantic and Kantian Sublime; her art explores the wonder and awe inherent in monumental, ontological ideas surrounding interstellar communication, deep time, and our place in the universe. Although we know the moon to be a lifeless sphere of rock, it has long served humanity as a vehicle for creation. Paterson’s work allows the moon its own creative agency. The lunar ‘performance’ is not note-perfect: the cratered regolith fragments Beethoven’s 200-year-old composition, withholding phrases, adding pauses, thus leaving human audiences “to imagine the missing chords, drifting up, lost in space” as the transmission journeys 250,000 miles back to Earth. Originally conceived for automated grand piano, this moon-altered sonata score is now widely performed by human hands.
Paterson Katie. “Earth-Moon-Earth”, http://katiepaterson.org/portfolio/earth-moon-earth/
Sara McIntyre (Simon Fraser University)
Sara McIntyre is a filmmaker and an instructor of creative arts at Langara College in Vancouver, BC. She is currently developing a feature-film based on a novella by Kim Clark of Nanaimo, BC. Sara’s Graduate Liberal Studies thesis project addresses representations of disability and sexuality in screen-based media, and forms the basis for her adaptation of Clark’s “A One-Handed Novel” into a web-series.
Intimacy Sound Geography: A creative inquiry into the use of sound to explore the intimacy of shared geography.
“Intimacy Sound Geography” is an online audio installation that uses the personal theatre of digital technology. The aesthetic medium of sound opposes the dominance of Visual as an answer to Alexander R. Galloway’s call for a poetic response to the impotence of visual culture. The content of the project addresses Sara’s interactions with three refugee/immigrant friends, and the locations of their geography and hers with them. The elements of the project (intimacy, sound, geography) form the inquiry with which Sara approached the challenge of representing these experiences in a meaningful way. To guide her inquiry and creative process she consulted voices from the fields of psychology, geography, philosophy, art practice and theory, media and cultural studies, science and poetry to explore the intersections of emotional intimacy, the sensuality of listening, and the location of geography. Intimacy is the instigation, Intimacy and Geography are the content, and Sound is the medium.
Emma Morgan-Thorp (York University)
Emma Morgan-Thorp is a white settler feminist living in Ucluelet and studying settler love of West Coast wilderness in York University’s Theatre and Performance Studies Program. She can be found reading, writing, or walking with her dog in the forests and on the beaches of Vancouver Island.
Performing My Love of Place: Unsettling (&) Reconciliatory Affects in Pacific Rim National Park
What insights might performance studies offer into decolonizing environmentalisms on Canada’s West Coast? Building on my experiments in ‘walking ethnography’ in PKOLS/Mount Douglas Park, I play with performance theory, performance ethnography, and performance art in an attempt to trouble my own love of West Coast wilderness and think through settler emplacement and the Canadian desire for catharsis through reconciliation. While Canada emerges from the #Canada150 craze of sesquicentennial celebrations and calls for reconciliation without seeming to desire change to the settler colonial system, this paper parses settler performances of environmental love, ecotourism, and conservation in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
Kyle Stooshnov (University of British Columbia)
Kyle Stooshnov is a doctoral candidate in Language & Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia. His research examines VR related to Early Modern English theatre practices. He has a chapter in the forthcoming Canadian Curriculum Studies: A Virtual Renaissancing: A New Space for Drama Education: A Métissage of Inspiration/Imagination/ Interconnection (E. Hasebe-Ludt & C. Leggo, Eds.).
Virtual Renaissancing: A New Space for Drama Education
Virtual Reality (VR) is in the midst of a renaissance. Since 2013, programmers and designers made innovations in head-mounted display (HMD) technology and 360-degree video not seen since the early 1990’s when “VR meme started to flame out” (Laurel 184). With these new possibilities in digital technology, VR creators must think like drama educators, directing action upon an immersive digital stage. My research into VR and drama education develops arts-based research (Barone & Eisner, 1997; Leavy, 2016) evoking Murray’s (1997) cyberbard. This new mode of performance brings the classroom and playhouse into the same virtual space.
Barone, T. & E. W. Eisner. “Arts based educational research”. Complementary Methods for Research in Education. 2nd Ed. Edited by R. M. Jaeger, American Educational Research Association, 1997, pp. 73-99.
Laurel, B. Computers as Theatre. 2nd Ed. Addison Wesley, 2014.
Leavy, P. Fiction as a research practice: Short stories, novellas, and novels. Routledge, 2016.
Murray, J. H. Hamlet on the holodeck: The future of narratives in cyberspace. MIT Press, 1997.
Leah Tidey (University of Victoria)
Leah is a first year Master of Arts student studying Applied Theatre and hopes to pursue her PhD. Her area of research is exploring to what extent there is a social stigma of sexuality and aging and how can Intergenerational Theatre in Education be utilized to address it. She hopes to work with seniors and youth to devise a performance to be brought to various high schools and seniors homes across Victoria with a follow-up workshop for the audience.
Grandma has WHAT?!
Grandma has WHAT?!, a proposed devised intergenerational performance discussing the social stigma of sexuality and aging, hopes to utilize humour and the fictionalization of real life stories to engage audiences across Victoria. In previous youth and senior workshops, the themes of a Slut/Prude dichotomy and the shame and silence surrounding sexuality have appeared. Through an informal and workshop-style presentation of research, I would like to invite fellow researchers to explore the intergenerational intersections of these identified themes. The question I would like to pose is why do these themes appear in both communities and how do we create an environment for these diverse communities to continue the conversation on sexual health?
Matthew Tomkinson (University of British Columbia)
Matthew Tomkinson is a PhD student in Theatre Studies at the University of British Columbia. His research focuses on the intersections of disability studies, performance studies, and the health humanities. He is particularly interested in representations of invisible illness in performance.
Staging Anxiety in Rachel Aberle’s Still/Falling
Still/Falling (2016), written by Rachel Aberle, and produced by Green Thumb Theatre in Vancouver, will be touring Canadian high schools in the spring of 2018. The one-person show is about a teenager named Nina who struggles with anxiety and depression. According to promotional materials, it explores “the difference between ‘teen angst’ and mental illness.” This essay will look at the play’s role in local high school curriculum and its reception among youth audiences. I will also consider the play’s intertexts (the study guide, specifically) in order to ask how the mental health discourse therein is communicated to students.