Call for Papers

05 January, 2016 by Scott Palmer | 0 comments

Call for Contributions Scenography Working Group IFTR 2015, Hyderabad, India 5-10 July, 2015 Scenography and Democracy


 The Scenography Working Group of the International Federation for Theatre Research invites proposals for contributions to our forthcoming working group meeting at the IFTR annual conference in Hyderabad, India in July 2015. The aim of the group is to explore scenography in all its aspects, from design for performance through to the use of scenographic thinking as a way to approach a diverse range of cultural practices. For our meeting in Hyderabad, we are seeking contributions that address the conference theme of ‘Theatre and Democracy’. The proposal topics may respond to one of the following provocations, or may address the conference theme in other ways.



Pyramid or Circle: Models of Hierarchy and Equality in Performance Making

Institutionalised theatre and performance making has almost always involved hierarchical staff structures, in which designers, technicians and craftspeople have seldom been accorded the highest status. Companies and groups that have sought to disrupt or overturn such structures and replace them with ‘democratic’ or ‘ensemble’ organisational models have tended to focus on the interrelations between directors, performers and writers to the exclusion of others. What has been gained and what has been lost by such organisational models? Can a scenographer be the artistic leader of a national theatre/dance/opera company, and if not, does it matter?

Scenography and Co-Authorship

Performance theory has a long-standing interest in the relations between the performance and the audience, in tracing the forces of authorship and control, consumption and resistance. Various models of co-authorship between spectators and performance makers have been proposed, sometimes with a view to animating the figure of the spectator as an ‘emancipated’ – and so perhaps a democratically engaged – citizen. How then can the space and place of performance configure these relations between spectator and performance, and how can these relations be reinforced or subverted by the materials of performance? To what extent is scenographic thinking democratic thinking? And is democratic thinking desirable anyway?


As the working group will be meeting in Hyderabad shortly after the open meeting it is hosting as part of the Prague Quadrennial, we also welcome proposals that respond to the themes set for PQ’15 so that we can continue our discussions from meeting to meeting. See and the Scenography Working Group’s call for contributions for PQ’15.


For more information on the general themes of IFTR 2015 in Hyderabad, see:



We are asking for proposals in one or more of the following formats:

1. Seminar Proposals or Provocations for focused discussion

Small group discussions based on a pre-determined theme. SWG members are invited to propose and prepare a short provocation, statement or question (15 minute maximum) to stimulate focused discussion of the theme.

2. Visual/Aural Presentations

An opportunity to explore emergent ideas through a range of presentation methods (e.g. a 10 minute maximum Pecha Kucha, Prezi, sharing of video content etc.)  This offers an opportunity to share research-in-progress or relatively complete work that is being readied for publication elsewhere.

Early career researchers may also use the presentation format to present work not intended for publication, or that will be submitted as part of their doctoral studies, (although they should also be aware of the IFTR New Scholars programme at the annual World Congress which may be more appropriate.)

3. Academic paper presentation

A 20 minute formal presentation of a research paper. Abstracts will be double blind peer reviewed before acceptance. Papers will be pre-circulated, and presenters are encouraged not to read papers in full, but to talk the audience through the main arguments and ideas.



Proposals of 300 words must be submitted to BOTH the conference organisers and the co-convenors:

1.     Submit via the abstract submission page via Cambridge Journals Online. You will be prompted to join or renew your IFTR membership before you can submit your abstract. Please visit if you are ready to submit your abstract.

2.     Submit your abstract to co-convenors of the group: Scott Palmer ( and Nick Hunt (


If you have proposed an academic paper and then had this formally accepted following peer review, it should be submitted to the convenors by 8 June 2015. These will then be circulated to all SWG members attending the conference. Group members are expected to read all papers in advance of the SWG meetings. 

Each proposal must correspond to a certain type of presentation, listed above. You will choose a category and specify in the submission which one applies to your abstract. Only one presentation is allowed per person, so you must decide where to send your submission: General Panel, New Scholars Forum or to the Scenography Working Group.

Please note that in order to submit an abstract for consideration you must be a member of IFTR/FIRT for the year 2015. Membership registration, conference registration and abstract submission are handled by Cambridge University Press on behalf of IFTR/FIRT.

Participants will be informed of the status of their proposal to the SWG between 21 February  and 1 March 2015. Conference registration will open in March 2015, after all abstracts have been received and accepted.



The Scenography Working Group welcomes participants with an interest in scenography and all aspects of design for performance. The group offers an opportunity to present and engage with participants who are both practitioners and theorists. Presenters and observers are welcome to participate in all of the group’s activities. It is expected that observers will be registered for the conference and will be presenting in the general programme. If you wish to participate as an observer please send a brief request to the co-convenors so that you may be added to the SWG mailing list and provided access to SWG meeting documentation. The SWG will also convene a business meeting for all members and guests during the conference period.



General Call for Papers:


To join or renew your IFTR/FIRT membership, submit an abstract, or register for the conference:


The SWG website, where you can sign-up to receive communications and updates:



We look forward to seeing you in Hyderabad in 2015!




Scott Palmer (

Nick Hunt (


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