CFP: New Researchers’ Symposium – Emergence

Inaugural Symposium


20 May 2014 The Theatres Trust London

Call for Papers

The recently founded New Researchers’ Network of the Society for Theatre Research is pleased to announce its inaugural symposium on the theme of ‘Emergence’. As a term ‘Emergence’ is multi-dimensional, referring simultaneously to a movement away from or out of something else, an escape from confinement or the manifestation of something new, and recovery from difficult circumstances.

As new scholars emerging in the field of theatre research, we have a heightened awareness of the difficulties facing our discipline from GCSE level upwards. More broadly, the emerging theatre scholar looks on in dismay at the issues facing higher education as a whole in the UK. For newly emergent theatre scholars and also practitioners the present economic conditions may seem inhospitable. We live in an age of slow economic recovery, where funding is limited and where the arts are suffering severe cuts from all sides. In all sectors new jobs are hard to come by, new houses are unaffordable, and new business ventures struggle to emerge.

As theatre historians we also deal with issues around ‘Emergence’. The ephemeral nature of theatre and performance, constantly emerging and dissolving, raises a range of historiographical questions. We deal with emerging evidence from archives and collections and use it to develop our own research. Emerging evidence consequently brings new debates, theories and themes to the fore.

With these ideas in mind, we encourage applicants to interpret the theme of ‘Emergence’ broadly; topics and questions may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The process of emergence for new practitioners or theatre companies, and their struggles and successes, perhaps with regard to experimental theatre and the development of new work;
  • Historical shifts in form or style, and the narratives we create around these;
  • Concepts, ideas, theories, or themes which are emergent in contemporary theatre research;
  • Emerging evidence of theatre and performance, and new meanings emerging from existing evidence;
  • Historiographical questions: with regard to lost or missing materials, those things which are non-emergent, or to theatre’s ephemerality;
  • How does (or how should) the theatre react to or reflect on emergent world issues and political movements?
  • What strategies might be employed to help theatre and performance studies, and the humanities more generally, emerge from its current crises?
  • What happens when something unexpected emerges, either from research or from practice?
  • What happens to the things which are displaced when something new emerges?

    The New Researchers’ Network Committee welcome papers of up to fifteen minutes from new scholars, postgraduates and early career researchers on any aspect of the conference theme, broadly interpreted. Abstracts of 250 words should be submitted by email to by 21 February 2014. Notices of acceptance will be sent by 21 March 2014.


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