How Performance Thinks

April 13, 2012 - April 14, 2012
PSi Performance and Philosophy working group

The London Studio Centre
42-50 York Way
London N1 9AB
United Kingdom

View the Call For Papers

Keynote speakers:

Joe Kelleher
University of Roehampton
Vida Midgelow
University of Northampton
Freddie Rokem
Tel Aviv University

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This conference hopes to bring together practitioners and scholars concerned with the question of how performance thinks from a wide range of overlapping perspectives and contexts including practice-as-research, professional practice and the emerging sub-field of ‘performance & philosophy’. Can performance be understood as a kind of thinking in its own right? What value might such an understanding have for performance and philosophical research, for academia and for practices operating outside the academy?

The idea of practice-as-research has achieved a growing institutional acceptance in international Higher Education institutions over the last decade, with funding councils, government bodies and academic institutions increasingly recognising the capacity of arts practices, as well as text-based research, to produce new knowledge. Likewise, in his recent book, Philosophers and Thespians, Freddie Rokem argues that the question of how, or in what ways, performance and theatre “think”, constitutes one of ‘the most urgent issues on the agenda of today’s institutions of higher education’ (Rokem 2010: 5). And yet, the tendency to treat performance as the mere application or exemplication of pre-existing ideas (for instance, from philosophy) remains a feature of scholarship in both Performance and Philosophy. In contrast, this conference will question: Can we extend or democratize, perhaps, our conception of what counts as ‘thought’ without rendering the term meaningless? To what extent can performance be understood as a way of thinking rather than as the illustration, application or demonstration of existing ideas – including philosophical ideas?


Enquiries can be sent to Laura Cull (laura.cull@northumbria.ac.uk).

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