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Conference Programme

Cultures of the Left in the Age of Right Wing Populism

Abstracts and Bios (download as pdf)

Conference Programme

April 15th


10:45-11.30 Gathering


11.30 – 11. 45 Welcome

Bishnupriya Dutt (JNU, India) & Silvija Jestrović (University of Warwick, UK)


11-45 – 13.00 Keynote I
 Chantal Mouffe, University of Westminster
The Role of Affects in Agonistic Politics
Chair: Janelle Reinelt
13.00 – 13.45 Reception/Lunch


13.45 – 15.15
Panel I: Assemblies

Chair: Shirin Rai, Warwick University, UK

 Adrian Kear, University of Arts London

Staging the People: Performance, presence and representation


 Igor Štiks, Faculty of Media and Communication, Belgrade

Self-Management as (artistic) inspiration: the foretold death and a surprising resurrection

 Lily Maeve Climenhaga, University of Alberta and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität

What Cannot be Imagined: Milo Rau’s ‘General Assembly’ and Practical Populism of the Left


Panel II: Collective Memory, Community, and New Formations of ‘We’

Chair: Trish Ried, Kingston University, UK

 Adriana Diaconu, University of Grenoble Alpes, France & Grégory Busquet, University of Paris-Nanterre, France

Living Archives as embodied collective memories: Forms of resistance and claiming a right to the city

Marianne Drugeon, Université Paul-Valéry, Montpellier

Community Plays: Creating a New Unity in Society 

Anika Marschall, University of Glasgow, UK

Of loud and quiet resistance



15.15 – 15.30 Break


15.30 – 17.00
Panel III: Agonistic Tactics: From Streets to Digital Spaces

Chair: Yana Meerzon, University of Ottawa, Canada

 Andy Lavender, University of Warwick, Uk

Neopopulism, neoliberalism and the performance of protest



 Natasha Lushetich, University of Dundee, UK

Glitch, Bending, Obfuscation: A Destinerrant Tactic of the Left


 Dragan Todorović, University of Kent, UK

Mapping Resistance in Hyper-Space


Panel IV: Strategies of Left-Wing Populism: Parties, Disruptions and Charismatic Leaders (Room TBA)

Chair: Anupama Roy, JNU, India

 Rebecca Hillman, University of Exeter, UK & Sarah Weston, University of Leeds, UK

Momentum and the disco turn: popular strategies for Party politics and rebuilding political cultures of the Left in 21st century Britain.


Theo Aiolfi, University of Warwick, UK

Exploring the tension between performance of ordinariness and extraordinariness: the case of Jean-Luc Mélenchon as an illustration of charismatic leadership in left-wing populism

Lone Sorensen, University of Huddersfield, UK

The performance of left-wing populism in transitional democracy: the case of the disrupted South African State of the Nation address



Free time

April 16th


9.30 -11.00
Panel V: Political Performance and Activism

Chair: Mallarika Sinha Roy, JNU

Eleftheria Ioannidou, University of Groningen, Netherlands

Proletarian and Fascist Performance Cultures: Revisiting Frames of Analysis

 Aparna Mahiyaria, University of Exeter, UK

Political Performance: Building Equal and Opposite Forces of Action

Steve Wilmer, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Transnational Nationalism; or, Are Theatres Becoming Dangerous?


Panel VI: Aesthetics of Resistance

Chair: Ameet Parameswaram, JNU, New Delhi, India (TR)

Vicky Angelaki, University of Reading, UK

From Community Reflection to Resistance: Interventionist Political Performance in Austria Today

Amanda Stuart Fisher, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, UK

Theatre of Witnessing and the ‘aesthetic of resistance’: The revenant as a political poetics

Yana Meerzon, University of Ottawa, Canada

Fahrenheit 1789/20? Staging a New Left – Reclaiming Cosmopolitanism


 11.00 -11.15 Break
11.15 – 12.45


Panel VII: Performing Otherness and Togetherness

Chair: Anika Marschall, University of Glasgow, UK

Emine Fişek, Boğaziçi University Istanbul, Turkey

Representing Migration: Idioms of Crisis and Resistance in Turkey

 Helene Grøn, University of Glasgow and Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMnet), UK

”Not just theatre, also politics, law”: Democratic assemblies and theatre-making with detention centre Sjælsmark and Trampoline House.

 Jelena Vasiljević, Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade, Serbia

Performing reactive and political solidarity in neoliberal Serbia



Panel VIII: Leftist Politics by Other Means: Making Resistance

Chair: Trina Nileena Banerjee, Centre for Social Sciences, Calcutta

 Nicholas Ridout, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Quite the best news in some considerable time

Paul Clarke, University of Bristol, UK

‘Uninvited Guests’ Make Better Please: Profaning the News Media, Democratic Apparatus and Political Consensus

 Ulfet Sevdi, Concordia University, Montreal & Nicolas Royer-Artuso, Laval University, Quebec City

 The Difficulty of Creating Political Performance in North America: Going Beyond the Symptoms and Beyond (Neo) Liberal “Engaged” Performance


12:50 – 13.20 Interventions
‘Battle of Stories’-- a Provocation

Chair: Andy Lavender, University of Warwick

Susan Haedicke & Tim White (University of Warwick, UK)


Last Pioneer: Childhood-Happiness and Midlife Utopia– Performance presentation

Chair: Silvija Jestrovic, University of Warwick

Snezana Golubović, performance artists, Germany/Yugoslavia



13.30 – 14.50 Break (Lunch at Trattoria Storica)


15.00 – 16.15 Keynote II
 Nivedita Menon JNU, New Delhi, India
Performing the Constitution as an Insurgent Document
 Chair: Milija Gluhović, University of Warwick, UK
16.15-16.30 Break


16.30 -18.00

Panel IX: Indian Cultures of the Left: Personal, Political and Theatrical Histories

Chair: Urmimala Sarkar JNU, New Delhi, India


Shirin Rai, University of Warwick, UK

One Fails to Speak of Things one Loves


Shayoni Mitra, Barnard College, Columbia University, USA

People’s Culture and the National Imagination: Delhi IPTA and the Experiments in Cultural Progressivism

Komita Dhanda, JNU & Jana Natya Manch agit-prop theatre

Creating the Political, Bridging the Social: The Role of Praja Natya Mandali in Rural Andhra


Panel X: Nationalism and Counter-Nationalism

Chair: Igor Štiks, Faculty of Media and Communication, Belgrade

 Malcolm James, University of Sussex & Sivamohan Valluvan, University of Warwick

Left Problems, Nationalism and the Crisis

Tanzil Chowdhury, Queen Marry University, London & Bethany Shiner, Middlesex University, UK

The UK Human Rights Act, Populism and Neoliberalism


Goran Petrović - Lotina, Ghent University & Sciences Po Paris

Performing Counter Nationalism


Free time

April 17th

Cultures of the Left: Gender, Aesthetics, Political Commitment

Co-chairs: Bishnupriya Dutt & Silvija Jestrovic (JNU/Warwick Collaboration)

9.30- 11.00
Panel XI: Feminist Lefts 

Naaz Rashid, University of Sussex, UK

Turning Full Circle: Can left populism resolve the gender paradox?  

Elaine Aston, Lancaster University, UK

The Hard Road to Feminism’s Renewal

Anuradha Kapur, theatre director, New Delhi – Respondent

11.00 – 11.15 Break
11.15 – 13.15
Panel XII: Art of Political Commitment: Aesthetics & Efficacy 

Janelle Reinelt, University of Warwick, UK

Performing an Aesthetics of the Left: Retrieval, Recuperation, Transformation 

Tony Fisher, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, UK

The Political Work of Art as “Speech Act” – the Efficacy Debate Reframed 

Liz Tomlin, University of Glasgow, UK

Political Interpellation in Pluralist Times&Cassandra Commission (excerpt from spoken-word performance)

13.15-13.30 Further Reflections (All participants and delegates)

The End