Can Performance Save The World?
October 4-7, 2012
Proposal Deadline Extended to March 19, 2012
The seventh Performing the World (PTW) conference will be held in New York City, Thursday, October 4 through Sunday October 7, 2012. International, cross-disciplinary, conversational, experiential, and practical-critical, PTW has come over the decade to play an increasingly important role in supporting and expanding "the performance turn" around the world. If you practice and/or study performance as a means of individual, community and world transformation (or want to), PTW is for you.
The theme of the last PTW, held in 2010 and attended by over 500 people from dozens of countries, was, "Can Performance Change the World?" The depth of the challenges facing humanity two short years later have led the conveners of Performing the World to recast the question for the 2012 conference as, "Can Performance Save the World?"
Deadlocked governments, protracted wars, dysfunctional education systems, and a deepening global economic crisis with no apparent solution have become the norm. At the same time, the activity of performance (and playing and pretending and creating…), as an alternative to the cognitive and/or faith-based "solutions" of traditional ideology, continues to spread both at the grassroots and in the university, with the non-ideological, improvisatory movements struggling to embody this trend. PTW is looking for proposals, be they for panels, workshops, performances, demonstrations, installations, etc., that address this question, "Can performance save the world?" from a multitude of perspectives, including but not limited to:
· Does performance contribute to people seeing/being in the world in new ways?
· Can we perform our way to ending poverty?
· Performance and community building and sustainability
· The interface of theatre performance and performance in daily life
· Performance and learning
· Performance and youth development, in school and out
· Performance and the elderly
· Performance, play and therapeutics
· The relationship of performance to physical and emotional healing
· Health and the performance of medicine (East and West)
· New model of community health and human rights
· What is creative conversation and how can it take place in
polarized (and violent) environments?
· The role of theatre and performance in war and conflict zones
· What is play and its role in human creativity and development?
· The social context of creativity
· When "reasoning" and "argument" fail, what then?
· Performance and the creation of history
· Does knowing get in the way of performing?
· The role of cognition/reflection in performance
· The performance of language and the language of performance
· Performance and organizational culture
· The role of performance in politics and revolution
· Does it take pretending to make change real?
We envision Performing the World 2012 as a marathon "performance of conversation" with people from all over the world — scholars and researchers; educators, therapists, social workers, youth workers; doctors and other health workers; theatre, applied theatre and other performance artists; social activists and community organizers; business leaders and philanthropists; film, video and media creatives; and others.
The sponsors of Performing the World 2012 are the
All Stars Project, Inc. and the East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy. PTW will be held at the All Stars Project's performance and development center on 42nd Street in New York City.
Proposal submission forms are available at www.performingtheworld.org.
Before July 1, 2012: $235 (US)
After July 1, 2012: $275 (US)
[NOTE: there is no one-day rate.]
A key part of the Performing the World experience is the person-to-person connection — the building of new relationships with people from around the globe. If you need a place to stay during the conference, our International Host Committee will make every effort to find you one in a home of a New Yorker.
A Brief History of PTW
Performing the World (PTW) was born in a conversation between East Side Institute co-founder, the late Fred Newman, and me at the end of the summer of 2000. We had already "discovered" performance, and its essential role in human development and learning was key to the therapeutic, educational and community-organizing work of the East Side Institute and its broader community. At the same time, Newman and I were also having conversations with Ken and Mary Gergen, leading social-constructionist psychologists who themselves were turning toward performance, particularly by experimenting with new performatory modes of presenting research and scholarship. During the 1990s at annual meetings of the American Psychological Association, we and the Gergens did some joint performatory symposia and Newman's original "psychology plays" were performed — all to great enthusiasm. We were encouraged, and wanted to do something bigger and of our own structure.
My international travels had introduced me to many different performatory practices initiated at both the grassroots and from within the universities. I met dozens of people and heard of hundreds more who were using performance to help people and communities grow and create positive social change. We decided to reach out to those doing this work/play — from community organizers to business people, from artists to social workers, from therapists to teachers.
The first Performing the World conference was held in October 2001, just a few weeks after 9/11. Hundreds from all over the world showed up at the beautiful ocean side village of Montauk, 120 miles from New York City, as if this kind of gathering was what they and their communities needed at such a moment.
There have been five PTWs since then. The last two — in 2008 and 2010 — were held in New York City, bringing the conference to one of the most vibrant and diverse cultural centers of the world and partnering with the All Stars Project as co-sponsor. PTW has been greatly enriched by having the All Stars' performing arts and development center on 42nd Street near Times Square as the conference's home base and by the inclusion of hundreds of young people and adults who participate in its programs. Additionally, both the Institute and the All Stars reach out to friends across New York City's many communities to provide housing for PTW participants and broaden the "performance space." I am inspired by the growth of the global performance movement and the role that PTW is playing in it, as not only a conference/performance festival but also a unique community event bringing people together to perform a new world.