CFP: 'Articulating Artistic Research' CATR 2014

27 October, 2013

Canadian Association for Theatre Research Annual Conference
24 – 27 May 2014 / Brock University / St. Catherines, ON, CANADA

Seminar Topic:
‘Articulating Artistic Research’
Seminar Coordinator: Bruce Barton, University of Toronto

As part of the 2013 CATR conference in Victoria, BC, a seminar entitled “‘Talking and Walking’: PBR/PaR Design, Methodology, Articulation” began a process of exchange, analysis, and articulation focused on praxis-based activities in Canada and internationally. Exploring the intersection of theory and practice, the seminar attempted to bring increased precision and rigour to a notoriously multifarious field. The 2014 seminar “Articulating Artistic Research” will continue and extend this initiative, building upon the inaugural effort in Victoria and inviting additional voices, perspectives, and priorities into the conversation.

As noted in last year’s CFP, it has become a familiar understatement that “Practice-Based Research” (PBR), “Performance as Research” (PaR), and even the more inclusive “Artistic Research” are highly elastic – and occasionally contentious – categorizations. In the decade since the launching of the influential PARIP project (Practice as Research in Performance, 2001 – 2006, at the University of Bristol), the number of Artistic Research practitioners, projects, and programs has increased substantially, on this continent and internationally. However, this expansion has, not surprisingly, further complicated efforts to effectively identify, describe, and communicate – both on the level of generalized, shared priorities and on that of specific, widely differentiated efforts and activities.

As was the case in 2013, the objective of this year’s seminar is not to establish singular definitions of Artistic Research, nor to impose specific theoretical, methodological, or practical criteria. Rather, it is meant as a forum to explore diversity in motivation, design, execution, and documentation. However, participants in this year’s seminar will be called upon to articulate, explicitly and as thoroughly as possible, their practices—both within their conference proposals and within their Artistic Research documents, with direct reference to the following aspects: focus, context, participants, process design, documentation, dissemination and utility (as opposed to “products” or “outcomes”).

  • Interested individuals are invited to submit a 250 – 500 word description of a completed, current, or proposed Artistic Research (PBR/PaR) project, articulated with attention to the above-noted criteria.
  • On the basis of this criteria a selection of up to 12 proposals will be chosen to participate in the seminar.
  • By March 15th, 2014, each invited participant will share (electronically) with the full group a 2000 - 3000 word description of the research/creation activity identified in her/his proposal that explicitly addresses the relevant above-noted criteria.
  • Between March 15th and April 15th, the first stage of seminar engagement will consist of an electronic forum in which participants of the full seminar group will discuss a selection of published articles addressing specific theories and practices of Artistic Research internationally. The particular focus of this exchange will be issues of process design and methodology.
  • After April 15th the invited participants will be organized into two sub-groups according to shared interest/focus and tasked with a structured pre-conference exchange leading to in-conference collaboration.
  • The majority of the actual three or four hour seminar (depending on the number of participants invited) will involve workshop-style Artistic Research exercises, each an hour in length, designed and facilitated by the sub-groups. These exercises will involve the participation of the other members of the full seminar and attending conference participants.
  • The final hour of the seminar will take the form of an open discussion between the seminar participants and audience members.
  • The entire seminar will be open to all conference attendees.

Seminar proposals should be sent to Bruce Barton at by 17 January 2014.

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