Scenography Working Group: call for contributions - Belgrade 2018

11 December, 2017 by Nick Hunt | 0 comments

Scenography Working Group: call for contributions - Belgrade 2018

The Scenography Working Group invites proposals for our meeting in Belgrade in July 2018.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Scenography Working Group, International Federation for Theatre Research

IFTR 2018, Belgrade, Serbia, 9th July – 13th July 2018



Theatre, Nation and Identity: Between Migration and Stasis


Deadline for proposals: 15 January 2018

Migration understood as an act—a form of being/doing—unfolds within different socio-political scenarios and through a repertoire of performative and affective gestures making possible for both individual and collective aspects to emerge. Dictionary definitions also describe the term ‘as movement from one part of something to the other’ — which includes both spatial and temporal dimensions, individuals, communities, animals, but also forms, ideas, aesthetics, and conventions. Thus, migration emerges as ultimately a relational category. Applied to culture, these attributes of migration also suggest the spreading, mixing and remixing of forms and ideas. Hence, migration does not unfold in a straight line; it is rather a process of moving from one point to the other that necessitates meandering, wandering, changing of pace, transformation, negotiation, and adaptation.  

The term migration is also closely linked to the construction of the Other, the figure of the foreigner in our everyday realities, in the media, and on stage.  The uprooted person, the migrant figure, whether political, economic or spiritual, often triggers tensions between the familiar and the unknown, native and foreign, us and them.

The Scenography Working Group (SWG) of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) invites paper proposals for our forthcoming meeting at the IFTR annual conference in Belgrade in July 2018. The aim of the Working Group is to address design for performance in all of its theatrical forms (design of space/set, costume, sound, light, projections/multimedia, objects, masks and makeup, etc.) and including events that may be staged well beyond conventional theatre buildings.



For our meeting in Belgrade we will be adopting the main theme of the IFTR conference (see above, and which offers the opportunity to explore the discipline of scenography in relation to migration and stasis. 

We would like to approach the topic of Theatre and Migration from several broad angles, asking:  How has performance space responded to issues of exile, displacement and Otherness both historically and in our times? How does migration as a process and as a notion shape various political, social, cultural and artistic scenarios through design for performance? 

How can the notion of migration be employed to grapple with issues of cultural cross-fertilization, transfer, appropriation and mutation?  

Contributions may address, but are not restricted to:

  • Scenography and migration
  • Scenography and the scenographic body creating or deconstructing stasis
  • Theatre, space and performance as and in migration
  • Spatialities of theatre and performance: shifts and displacements
  • Scenography and processes of social, political and cultural change
  • Open, closed and mobile spaces of performance
  • Abandoned spaces, memory and performance
  • Performativity of places and bodies through transfer and displacement
  • Outside/Beyond the institution: migration and touring
  • Performing borders through performing bodies
  • Costuming the Other: ethics, aesthetics and politics
  • Costuming non-traditional theatre spaces
  • Designers and migration
  • Theatre of migrants/theatre for migrants: performance spaces and objects
  • Moving migrating bodies: performance space and spectatorship
  • Ecologies of migration in design and performance

The working group welcomes diverse responses to the above theme, and proposals from researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds as well as scenography specialists from all fields of performance design. The working group invites presentations in different forms (see below).


About the IFTR Scenography Working Group

This working group's research focuses upon the history, theory, aesthetics and practice of scenography through a specific program of meetings, presentations and publications. The group also aims to nurture and develop new contributions to practice-led research by providing opportunities for scenographers/performance designers to discuss their work and exchange ideas in an international academic forum. Our research investigates scenographic elements, (including: costume, setting, make-up, sound design, lighting design, projection/multimedia design, masks, puppets and objects) and considers their proxemic relationship to performers and audiences in traditional and non-traditional spaces. Such research considers both contemporary practice and the influences of scenography on theatrical form and the audience experience of performance. By offering opportunities to share and discuss members’ research in a variety of formats, we aim to promote aesthetic, theoretical and philosophical investigations that are both distinct from and inclusive of technological developments for performance.

The Scenography Working Group welcomes early career researchers and postgraduate scholars (either as presenters or observer/participants) although they may also wish to contribute to the IFTR New Scholars programme, which may be more appropriate. IFTR rules prevent individuals from presenting more than one paper during the conference.

Working Group Co-convenors

Nick Hunt,

Sofia Pantouvaki,


Format of Presentation

The Scenography Working Group invite proposals for the Belgrade meeting in EITHER of these formats:

1. Academic paper presentation (20 minute maximum) followed by questions

Abstracts will be double blind peer reviewed before acceptance. Papers (usually around 3,500 words) will be made available to participants two weeks before the conference. Presenters are encouraged not to read papers in full, but to guide the audience through the main arguments and ideas. The formal presentation will be followed by a question and answer session to promote in-depth discussion and constructive debate within a supportive environment. This format is ideal for those looking for feedback prior to a future submission for publication.

2. Seminar Proposal / Provocation for focused group discussion (15 minute maximum)

Presentation will be followed by small group discussions responding to the themes of the provocation. Abstracts will be double blind peer reviewed before acceptance. An outline of the proposal/paper will be made available to participants two weeks before the conference. This format is useful in developing ideas, connections and gaining further theoretical insights as part of the process of research within a supportive environment.


Submission Procedures

Submission must be done through the IFTR registration process (see links below). After you submit your abstract through IFTR, please also email a copy to the co-convenors. Please ensure you make it clear if your proposal is for an academic paper or a seminar/provocation.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 15 January 2018. 

Please note that to submit an abstract for consideration you must be a member of IFTR. To present at the World Congress each member will need to buy membership of IFTR and in Spring 2018 register and pay for the conference (IFTR operate a banding system and a number of concessions are available).

Additional information such as the form the proposed submission will take and any information about restrictions to your availability over the course of the IFTR World Congress should be included on the online form under ‘equipment required’ and MUST be discussed (via email) with the Working Group co-convenors. 

We anticipate that the process of peer review and presentation as part of the working group’s proceedings will be beneficial to the process of publication in a range of peer-reviewed published volumes in the field.

Please note: IFTR rules prevent individuals from presenting more than one paper during the conference.



Working Group Co-convenors

Nick Hunt

Sofia Pantouvaki


IFTR bursary information 

IFTR membership and registration at Cambridge Journals Online

IFTR abstract submission at Cambridge Journals Online



IFTR supports researchers suffering financial hardship by providing a limited number of bursaries each year. These bursaries are awarded on the basis of merit, relevance to the conference or Working Group theme, and financial need. Please visit for information and instructions about bursaries, and to download the application form.


Stay up to date with the IFTR Weekly Digest