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Online symposium - Theatre and Development Partnerships

This event will be held on the 23rd September 2021

Call for Contributions

Examining partnerships involving researchers, practitioners, donors and communities from the Global North and South, this online symposium will reflect on how we establish more equal, interconnected and mutually beneficial global partnerships in Theatre for Development (TfD) and applied and socially-engaged performance projects. Whereas critical perspectives tend to focus on the frustrations of the competing agendas and ideologies of a range of international actors, and thus find fault with development agendas and structures, we will consider the implications of the recent ‘global turn’ in development (Horner 2019). What might this mean for those of us involved in theatre and performance projects that relate to development outcomes? Might a renewed focus on working together to tackle challenges that affect us all offer fresh possibilities? Or is it just more of the same empty rhetoric? And, in terms of attempting to create more equal and mutually beneficial projects, what might success look like?

2015 saw the ushering in of the Sustainable Development (SDGs), 17 overarching targets calling for action on global hunger, poverty, inequality, health and well-being, action on the climate crisis, and more. Building global partnerships have long been central to achieving development outcomes. However, new conceptions of development have led several scholars to argue the SDGs represent a break from previous eras of development and development partnerships (Horner and Hulme 2017; Scholte and Soderbaum 2017). The goals are applicable to all countries, whereas previously development had been predicated on governments, agencies and experts based in the global North intervening in the South. Moreover, the goal to build partnerships connects with calls for decolonial approaches and promises to create spaces of increased equality and interconnectedness, enabling opportunities for more reciprocal and mutual approaches that address the shared challenges that affect us all. This symposium will enable reflection on the barriers to achieving global partnerships and uncover examples of theatre and performance projects that can inform approaches to global development more widely.

Papers of 15-20 minutes or experimental forms of presentation (such as online workshops or performances) are invited. Please send an abstracts of 200 words, with short biographies of any speakers, to by 23rd April 2021.

Contributions from researchers and practitioners could consider:

  • Reflections on the successes and limitations of working in global partnerships to achieve change through theatre and performance;

  • The histories of global networks, collaborations and partnerships in TfD and applied theatre involving individuals, institutions and communities in the global North and South;

  • Theoretical, conceptual and methodological interventions in how we understand and

    undertake research in TfD and applied theatre involving the Global North and South;

  • Analyses of cultural exchange, flows of knowledge and funding structures in global TfD

    and applied and socially-engaged performance projects

  • Decolonising research, practice and the partnerships we participate in.