CFP: Special Issue of Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, ‘International Perspectives on Performance, Disability, and Deafness’

RiDE: the Journal of Applied Theatre & Performance

Special themed issue: International Perspectives on Performance, Disability, and Deafness

Co-edited by Carrie Sandahl (University of Illinois at Chicago), Yvonne Schmidt (Zurich University of the Arts), and Mark Swetz

Advisory editor: Petra Kuppers (University of Michigan)

This themed issue of RiDE, entitled ‘International Perspectives on Performance, Disability, and Deafness’ calls for contributions that reflect on how performance, applied theatre, and drama education are responding to local or foreign conceptions, evaluations, and definitions of disability and deafness.  It will explore the traditions, conventions, and demonstrations of how diverse physical, sensorial, developmental and psychological abilities manifest in all areas of applied theatre, drama education, and performance.

This publication builds upon the themed issue: ‘On Disability: Creative Tensions in Applied Theatre’ (Volume 14, Issue 1 2009) and explores the evolution and geographically distinct notions of disability, deafness and performance in the years since that edition. We are particularly interested in featuring perspectives, examples, and voices from regions, cultures, and people who have not previously been featured or addressed in RiDE or English language discourse, practice, and scholarship.

We look forward to expanding our understanding and awareness of the context of performance and disability across nations and cultures.  We are open to any definition of disability or performance. Mindful that much of the applied theatre and educational publications on performance and disability focuses on a Western, or more specifically Anglo-American, perspective, this themed issue is designed to introduce new voices, observations, ideas, and examples into consideration.

We welcome contributions from practice, history or theory in any field or discipline.  Proposals are encouraged from international or geographically diverse performance practitioners and scholars who operate in applied and educational settings, broadly defined. The goal of this themed issue is to feature international perspectives and examples of disability and performance and to share scholarly work, reflections, and observations from around the world.

Context Setting
Performance, theatre, and dance involving disabled performers interacts with several factors: The politics of traditions, aesthetic norms or constraints, structural conditions in a performing arts system, and the societal, legal, political, and cultural status of disability. These conditions determine the ability of disabled or deaf performers to participate in performing arts practice. At the same time, disability performance reveals invisible rules inside the theater and the society.

These various interdependences between societal rules and the manifestations of disability in performing arts or applied theater practices are in the focus of the emerging research area, which combines Disability and Performance Studies. Carrie Sandahl and Philip Auslander argue in the first edited collection that connects Disability Studies and Performance Studies, Bodies in Commotion: Disability & Performance (2005), that the representation of disability on stage or as a subject of performance is intrinsically connected to the perceptions of disability in everyday life and vice versa. According to Sandahl, Western performer training excludes persons with disabilities (Sandahl 2005), and the perception of their work. Recently, the assumption that art should play a forerunner role by stating a utopia of society is challenged: Why not turn the tables?  i.e. if persons with disabilities are a self-evident part of society, how can art *not* transform rigid aesthetic conventions?

Whereas disability as a “narrative prosthesis” is always based on ableist norms and constraints (Mitchell 2002: 20), persons’ shared experiences and living conditions are also a common ground for what is called disability culture (Kuppers 2003). Tobin Siebers explores in his book Disability Aesthetics the function of disability in the context of modern art and in aesthetic judgement (2010). Only a few theorizations focus on the contextualization of disability performance within a framework of alternate cultural and ethnographical contexts (for example Hadley, Johnston, Kochhar-Lindgren, Ugarte). At the same time, the field is developing very rapidly, and emerging scholars from different part of the world are discovering research areas in their own countries. Thus, the aim of this volume is to make this emerging scholarship visible and to internationalize the existing discourses on performance and disability.

Contributions to this themed issue may be represented in a wide variety of formats, to capture and reflect the extent and range of perspectives. A variety of written journal articles are encouraged from short 1,000 word provocations to longer 5 – 7,000 word papers. We would also welcome dialogues, interviews, and practitioner reflections. Furthermore, contributors may wish to consider hybrid media responses that consist of a combination of writing and audiovisual materials, including audio or visual and filmic vignettes and commentaries on rehearsal processes, class based projects, community interventions and events, etc., which can be accessed online; if media is submitted, it should be made accessible for a variety of perceptive strategies and so include audio description and/or captioning.

It is anticipated that responses to the theme will be varied, and may consider some of the following questions:

  • How do evolving conceptions of disability or deafness locate themselves in established performance practice?
  • How is performance expanding, interrupting, or affecting local notions of disability or deafness?
  • To what extent is disability or deaf culture challenged or reconsidered by local performing arts practices?
  • How do specific geographical or cultural factors impact the intersection of performance and disability or deafness?
  • What culturally specific opportunities and tensions arise when disabled artists and audiences encroach upon conventional or traditional drama and performance?
  • How are differently abled bodies and perspectives influencing conventional performance training and education?
  • How (and what) are the prospects for performing artists who identity as disabled or deaf, particularly in a time when performance work with people with disabilities may be considered in some locations as ”fashionable”?
  • How does the meeting of performance and disability or deafness demonstrate itself in the work of applied theatre educators and learners?
  • What are the histories, current states, and anticipated futures of performance and disability in your community, regional, or national context?

Proposals may also draw upon the perspectives of disability culture and disability aesthetics as well as intersectionality in context to different regions, cultures, and people.

All proposals, questions and suggestions to:

Key Dates

Proposals: 1st February 2016
First drafts: 1st July 2016
Hybrid media responses: August and September 2016
Final copy: 1st May 2017
Publication: August 2017

RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance is a refereed journal aimed at those who are interested in applying performance practices to cultural engagement, educational innovation and social change. It provides an international forum for research into drama and theatre conducted in community, educational, developmental and therapeutic contexts. The journal offers a dissemination of completed research and research in progress, and through its Points and Practices section it encourages debate between researchers both on its published articles and on other matters. Contributions are drawn from a range of people involved in drama and theatre from around the world. It aims to bring the fruits of the best researchers to an international readership and to further debates in the rich and diverse field of educational drama and applied theatre.

Peer Review Policy
All research articles in this journal undergo rigorous peer review, based on initial editor screening and anonymized refereeing by at least two anonymous referees. All reviewers are internationally recognized in their field, and the editorial board of Research in Drama Education aims to support scholars from many different parts of the world.

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