Borders & Boundaries

Two-day conference examining the integration and ethics of socially engaged arts practice.


Conference Dates:          19th & 20th May 2011 Time: 9.30AM – 5.00PM plus evening programme

Venue:                                 An Grianan Theatre & Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny,

                                                County                 Donegal, Ireland

Hotel:                                    Radisson Blu, Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland

Structure:                            Presentations I Discussions I Workshops I Performances I Exhibitions

Exhibition 1:                      Photographic Exhibition by Don Mullan

Exhibition 2:                      Conflict as you see it? – ICAN International photographic competition

Daytime Performances: Cutting & Chopping by James Thompson


                                                Galliagh Stories, An ICAN production

Evening Performances: Star Men, A Playhouse & ICAN production



The Borders & Boundaries conference is building upon the success of the inaugural ICAN conference program 2010 entitled EXCHANGE I CONNECT, whereby we brought cutting edge international practitioners from all over the world, to showcase and discuss the role of the arts in conflict / post-conflict areas. We hosted two conferences in four days, bringing eighteen delegates and three-hundred guests to the Playhouse Derry-Londonderry. This gave us the opportunity to discuss, exchange and connect on a local and international level and we hope this energy will intensify over the coming years.


The Borders & Boundaries Conference Programme is hosted by the International Cultural Arts Network ICAN, a project devised by the Playhouse Derry-Londonderry. We are delighted to announce that the Borders & Boundaries Conference is in collaboration with Arts in One World, Rhode Island, USA who are hosting a conference in April 2011 entitled Radicalizing Peace: The lines we will cross.



Conference Theme

Borders & Boundaries conference aims to bring artists, practitioners, community members, health workers and educationalists together to discuss the ethics of socially engaged arts practice. This conference will provide a space for a diverse group to share and discuss the trials and tribulations of arts practice in the community setting. This forum will give an international and local perspective on the issues of delivering this type of work and will access the outcomes in search of best practice.


Arts practice now takes place in multiple contexts, each of which present specific challenges. Facilitators and practitioners, supported by a benefactor, work with so called marginalized or deprived communities. Louise La Chapelle says that "ethics is not only an attitude of questioning, a disposition, and intention, but a project – a fallible and perishable project – that exists in tension with (and therefore bound to), a setting, history, tradition and language".


Borders and Boundaries will
create a space for discussion whereby we can collectively discuss the setting, tradition, agenda,
beneficiary and benefactor of socially engaged practice. The conference will look at various models and approaches which we can learn from and implement in future work. The conference will enable practitioners, community workers, health workers and educationalists to gain national and international perspectives on the ethics and trends of socially engaged arts practice with the aim of benefiting our local communities.


The conference is aimed at people interested in the power of the arts to advance conflict resolution and social change – community development workers, youth workers, arts practitioners, arts/cultural outreach workers, educationalists and policy-makers. The conferences will draw together a group of community development organisations with particular experience and commitment in this area of work.




Erik Ehn


Erik is Head of Playwriting at Brown University (Providence). Prior to this he was Dean of California Institute of the Arts (Valencia). Over the years he has also taught at Iowa University (Ames), Naropa University (Denver), University of California (San Diego), University of Texas (Dallas), University of California (San Francisco), California State University (San Francisco) Santa Clara University (Silicon Valley), and Skidmore University (Sarasota Springs) and has just completed a writing workshop with the Belarus Free Theater (Minsk).

Erik conducts annual trips to Rwanda/Uganda, taking students and professionals to study and explore ways The Arts may be used as a vehicle to help both victim and perpetrator recover from the genocide of 1984. Each visit culminates with an annual Arts in the One World conference that explores the themes of art and social change around the globe.

 He earned an Artistic Associate at the Theatre of Yugen (San Francisco), and is a graduate and member of New Dramatists (New York City).

EriK has an extensive body of work that have been produced in San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, New York, San Diego, Chicago Atlanta, Los Angeles, Belgrade, and elsewhere. He is currently completing a series of sixteen plays about the history of genocide in the United States for the Soulographie Project which is akin to looking at the topic as with a pin-hole camera. Soulographie is a durational performance examining genocide around the world in the 20th Century focusing on those in the United States (Tulsa Race Riot), in East Africa (Rwanda / Uganda), and Central America (Guatemala / El Salvador). Four of Eric’s plays in this series; Maria Kizito, Heavenly Shades of Night are Falling, Yermedea, and Drunk Still Drinking are intended for production in New York City in April 2012.


Barbara Love  

Dr. Love is Professor Emerita of Social Justice Education at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is a member of the National Training Laboratories (NTL Institute), and is a member of the National Black Women's Health Project. She has worked with a variety of organizations in North America, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa on issues of diversity and inclusion. She works from a unique set of assumptions about the nature of humans and the process of personal, organizational and social change which participants have found empowering, enabling and effectively motivating. Dr. Love's recent research and publications examine processes of personal and organizational transformation. Her focus is on (1) assisting individual empowerment, and (2) facilitating organizations to understand and manage for diversity.

James Thompson – In Place of War

Professor of Applied and Social Theatre at the Centre for Applied Theatre Research, University of Manchester. He is currently the director of 'In Place of War' – a research and practice based project exploring performance and theatre in war zones. He is author of a number of books including recently 'Performance Affects' (Palgrave, 2009) and with colleagues 'Performance in Place of War' (Seagull, 2009). James set up the Theatre in Prisons and Probation Centre (TiPP) in 1992 and worked as its director until 1999, when he started working in theatre projects in war and conflict zones.  He has run projects with refugee communities in the UK as well as working on projects in eastern DR Congo, Indonesia, Rwanda and Sri Lanka. He is currently Director of Research in the School of Arts Histories and Cultures at the University of Manchester and Director of Research at the new Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at the University. He is currently working on a new book called 'Humanitarian Performance'.

Case Studies

Eugene van Erven

Eugene van Erven holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from Vanderbilt University in the U.S. (1985). Between ’85 and ’88 he researched political theatre in Asian dictatorships. Since 1988 he has been working at Utrecht University in American Studies and as a theatre practitioner making group-devised performances with young people. He is currently Associate Professor of Theatre. He also remains active in the cultural field. He coordinates the Community Art Lab for the city and province of Utrecht and he is director of the 2011 International Community Arts Festival in Rotterdam. He serves on the board of Holland’s oldest community-based theatre company, Stut, and of Peer Groep, a site-specific performance company working in rural areas. He is the author of numerous publications, including Radical People’s Theatre (Indiana University Press, 1988), The Playful Revolution: Theatre and Liberation in Asia (Indiana 1992) and the book and film package Community Theatre: Global Perspectives (Routledge, 2001).

Dijana Milošević Director and Co-Founder, DAH Theatre

In 1991, Milosevic and four other women decided to start a small theatre company. As they were preparing for their first production, Slobodan Milosevic began moving forces into Bosnia. The members of Dah Theatre, all avidly against the impending conflict, refocused their efforts to protest the war and took their production to the streets of Belgrade. Ms. Milosevic will be speaking about her company's motivations and discoveries during the Serbia-Bosnia conflict and suggest how art can effect society. Dah Theatre does not work on the fringes of society because it has been relegated there but rather because it has chosen the fringe as a place of freedom, a place without ideology. Dah chose the fringe because there is a better view from there. For the last two years, Ms. Milosevic has also served as artistic director for the International Meeting of Theatre Workshops in Belgrade and has collaborated with the Magdalena Project, an international network of women in contemporary theatre.  She is also the founder and artistic director of Art Saves Lives, a theatre-in-education project that serves at-risk youth throughout Southeastern Europe. During the bombing of Belgrade by native forces, she used it to discuss personal issues that arrive in wartime–causing a therapeutic as well as political effect. Through this project, Dijana has worked with both children and adults who have been personally affected by the war.  Dijana Milosevic, director, co- founded DAH Theatre in Belgrade, the first theatre laboratory in her country and has been actively involved in it through directing and devising it s performances and different projects, serving also as Artistic Director. In 1993, DAH Theatre expanded its activities and became DAH Theatre Research Center. In 1992, she co-founded the NATASHA Project, an international theatre network and ANET –  Association  of Independent Theatre Groups in Belgrade. She collaborates with The Magdalena Project, an international network of women in contemporary theatre.  She co- runs International School for Actors and Directors. Milosevic also writes articles about theatre, gives lectures and workshops and tours with her company round the world.


Adalet Garmiany, Art Role

Adalet R. Garmiany is a Kurdish Iraqi artist, curator and Chief Executive of ArtRole, a UK and Iraqi based contemporary arts organization developing international cultural exchanges with the Middle East. Adalet has been forging important cultural and artistic relationships between Iraq, UK, USA, and other countries facilitating artistic dialogue, exchange and mutual support.

Adalet has inspired a number of artists including Richard Wilson, Anne Bean, the US Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas, to work with him on his intercultural projects and introduced them to Iraqi Kurdistan by organizing cross cultural visits, dialogues and exhibitions. Richard Wilson’s seminal installation 20:50 was shown as part of the Kurdish region’s first ever international event Post-War Art & Culture Festival 7-9 November 2009. See  Adalet’s vision is to develop greater cultural understanding, debate and co-operation between the West and Iraq with a determination to bring about social change through art. Adalet, an internationally practicing artist in performance, installation and experimental/music is based in the UK and Iraq where he delivers presentations and workshops highlighting the value of cultural exchange particularly with the Middle East. In Iraqi Kurdistan he was a painter, sculptor, lecturer in art and art criticism as well as contributing to different local and international arts and human rights groups, NGO’s and other cultural organisations. He performed in a Qadri Sufi group as a Dervish Def (Kurdish drum) player, seeking spirituality through Sufi music and activities, which have influenced his current performance and installation practice.  Adalet has worked with a number of renowned international artists such us Mona Hatoum, Paula Rego, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Fakir Musafa, Susan Meiselas, Anne Bean and Richard Wilson.

Judith Marcuse

 Founder and Co-Director, ICASC
Founder and Artistic Producer, Judith Marcuse Projects
Adjunct Professor, SFU Faculty of Education

Judith Marcuse is one of Canada’s senior artist/producers with a career that spans over 40 years of professional work as a dancer, choreographer
, director, producer, teacher, writer and lecturer in Canada and abroad. She has created over 100 original works for live performance by dance, theatre and opera companies; many projects for film and television; and has produced seven large-scale arts festivals. Her repertory contemporary dance company toured nationally and internationally for more than 15 years, while also creating innovative community and youth programs.

A pioneer in the field of arts for social change, her work is internationally-recognized. The youth-centred, issue-based ICE, FIRE and EARTH projects, each five years long, included workshops, live touring and film productions, and extensive community outreach work. In 2006, Judith Marcuse produced EARTH: The World Urban Festival during the U.N.’s World Urban Forum, hosting performances and exhibitions of socially-engaged artists from around the world and audiences of some 20,000 people.

Marcuse teaches and presents in university and other settings in Canada and abroad. She has received many honours, including Canada’s two major choreographic awards, the Chalmers and the Clifford E. Lee, and an honourary doctorate from Simon Fraser University.

ICAN is a three year project which has been part-financed by the European Union’s Regional Development fund through EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (Peace III) managed through Special EU Programmes Body.