Performance and Disability
Performance and Disability WG aims to provide a venue for the sharing and dissemination of scholarly and artistic work, and best practices from around the world, which explores how diverse physical, sensorial, developmental and psychological abilities manifest themselves in all areas of performance.
The International Federation for Theatre Studies Performance & Disability Working Group was co-founded by Mark Swetz and Yvonne Schmidt in Osaka, Japan in 2011. The aims of our Work Group are to create international dialogues, partnerships and networks at the crossovers of disability and performance, and to provide a venue for the sharing and dissemination of scholarly and artistic work, and best practices from around the world – research and practices that explore how diverse physical, sensorial, developmental and psychological abilities manifest themselves in all areas of performance.
The “Performance and Disability” Working Group held its inaugural meeting during the IFTR conference 2012 in Santiago de Chile. Since then, the Working Group has had five productive meetings at the annual IFTR conferences in Barcelona (Spain), Warwick (UK), Hyderabad (India), Stockholm (Sweden), and São Paulo (Brazil) as well as several cluster meetings, steadily increasing its academic and artistic network around the world. Under the co-editorship of Mark Swetz and Yvonne Schmidt, a special issue entitled "International Perspectives on Performance, Disability, and Deafness” has recently been published in the peer-reviewed journal, Research in Drama Education in 2017. The special issue features the work of many of our WG members.
As part of our mission, we are open to any definition of disability or performance. As a starting point, we are considering how performance may disable those with abilities that fall outside of ‘mainstream’ culture. We seek to question ideas of normalisation, ableism, cultural inclusion and expression.
Some of the questions we want to consider include (but are not limited to):
- How disability is performed (on stage and in daily life)
- The integration and (re)consideration of abilities in performance
- Enabling audiences and practitioners
- Disabling practice and theory
- The intersections of disability and performance studies
- Genealogies of disability and performance
- The expression of disability culture (disability and interculturalism)
- Physical, sensorial, developmental and psychologically normality
- How representations of disability in the performing arts can be subverted
- Career opportunities and education of disabled performers and scholars
- Accessible research and practice
Meetings: At every IFTR conference we will host formal presentations of papers or workshops of practice as well as pre-curated group discussions of papers. As some of our members may be practice-based researchers, we welcome workshop proposals that demonstrate your work. Details of these proposals will be included in our call for papers. We plan to have interim meetings or cluster meetings, either virtually (lifestreaming or Skype) or in parallel with another suitably themed international conferences all over the world.
Network building: We aim to continue expanding our global network of researchers and practitioners from all over the world. At every annual conference, the working group will meet with a local organisation or individuals that works in disability and performance to observe and share each other’s approaches and perspectives.
Julie Dind, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tony McCaffrey, email@example.com
Jessica Watkin, firstname.lastname@example.org