Some of us here in BC are hosting a conference on community engagement
and the arts. Please spread the word.
WHOSE SHOW IS IT, ANYWAY?
COMMUNITY-ENGAGED PERFORMANCE AND EXHIBITION ARTS
IN THE SMALL CITY
In collaboration with Canadian Studies and Western Canada Theatre, the
Small Cities CURA is organizing a Conference at Thompson Rivers
University, March 26-28, 2009.
The small city in Canada today typically has a wide range of artistic
performances and exhibitions, variously including professional, one or
more amateur, and perhaps several alternative groups. Many of these
groups claim to engage their local community in important ways, whether
by means of highly artistic, up-to-date professional shows, such as
might be seen in a big city, or by activist works on political or social
themes—and less frequently the showing of works depicting local
historical characters, narratives, and issues. This conference will
broadly explore the claims and possibilities of community
engagement—interrogating the desire and effectiveness of artistic and
performance groups in following Lucy Lippard’s dictum that the arts need
become part of “the social multicentre rather than the elite enclave.”
(The Lure of the Local)
We invite students, scholars, and practitioners to explore
ways—historical, ideal, operational, critical—in which artistic
performances and exhibitions intersect with community. Specifically, we
are looking for papers, panels, performances, workshop proposals, and
exhibitions that address
the following kinds of questions and topics as they apply to small
cities and towns in Canada:
• Historical meanings of community-engaged performance and
• Essential theories/principles underpinning community engagement
in the arts.
• The range, functions, and rhetoric of community-engaged arts.
• Changing models of community-engaged arts.
• Is the small city especially conducive to community-engaged
• Issues in creating community-engaged arts.
• Staging community: engaging on-site and alternative spaces.
• The professional arts: how engaged can they/should they be?
• Patrons: are audiences different in the small city?
• Critically engaging? The role of criticism in small city arts.
• Creating and designing the arts for community engagement.
• Engaging the arts with other civic entities.
• Re-examining paradigms of amateur and professional arts.
• Intersections between the performance and exhibition arts.
• Disengaging the whiteness of Canadian performance and exhibition
• Indicators of cultural and social engagement.
Submissions: If you wish to present, please send a 350-word abstract by
WORD attachment to the following address: [log in to unmask]
Deadline for 2nd Call for Submissions: January 23, 2009.
Inquiries welcome: feel free to contact Jim Hoffman (Theatre), Ginny
(EML/Canadian Studies), Lori Marchand (Western Canada Theatre), or Will
The conference website can be found linked to the TRU website
and to the Small Cities CURA website www.smallcities.ca
W.F. Garrett-Petts, Professor & Chair
English & Modern Languages
Director, Small Cities Community-University Research Alliance
Thompson Rivers University
900 McGill Road, Box 3010
Kamloops, B.C., V2C 5N3
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