The conference will take place at our Luton campus which as you know is 22 short minutes from London. Our keynote speakers are Professor Catherine Grant, Birkbeck, University of London, who has moved from the traditional scholarship to video essay making, and Professor Thomas Elsaesser, Columbia University, who after a life time of acclaimed books and papers, has turned his hand to making of a personal documentary featuring his family’s archive. In the spirit of transdisciplinarity, we have also invited the newly elected Chair of TAPRA (the Theatre and Performance Research Association), Professor Roberta Mock, who will talk about her practice research as a stand up comedian, and a performer involved now in film too. We have quite amazing theorists and practitioners coming already and bringing forth their films, their writing, their thinking, their video essays and academic papers.
Why did they decide include practice in their work? What have they learnt that they can share? Can a theorist analyse practice and how? Can a practitioner generate theories and how? What is the relationship between traditional knowledge and artistic research and professional practice? To what extent can creative practice research tap into areas of experience unavailable to traditional patriarchal scholarship? Do first person narratives unveil profound knowledge even though they are deeply subjective? In film, can practice research move beyond a narrow discussion of the filmmaking practices into discussion on philosophy, ethics and gender? What do we learn through creative practice research that we cannot get at through ordinary routes? What is the relationship between ‘high’ theory and practice then? We will be hoping to tackle these and other questions.
I will be screening my feature film Escape made in a collaborative partnership in Zimbabwe and sharing with the participants what I have learnt from the process.
Whilst being aware of the pressures of forthcoming REF which defines research as any pursuit which is , ‘a process of investigation leading to new insights, effectively shared’ (futurepracticeresearch.org), we are also hoping that the conference will open a space for a generative dialogue about the importance of creative practices as a site of progress and resistance.
We also want to consider the importance of individual reflection vis-à-vis the work one creates, echoing the feminist poet Adrienne Rich’s thought on the personal and creative work:
We are, I am, you areby cowardice or courage the one who find our way back to this scene carrying a knife, a camera a book of myths in which our names do not appear.
From Diving into the Wreck: Poems 1971–1972
Theorists and practitioners from all fields and disciplines are welcome. We invite individual papers of about 20 minutes, pre-constituted panels of 3 members plus a respondent as well as workshops and other forms of screenings and performance.
We will kick off in the evening of Thursday 10th of May with the screening of Professor Elsaesser’s film and then carry on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th May. We invite filmmakers, writers, scholars, practitioner scholars as well as theorists and performers to have a couple of days of remembering why creativity matters even in today’s grim climate. The conference fee is £140 to include coffee breaks, lunches and a wine reception. PhD students register at £75 with the proof of their status. Please email me at the above address or at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact my wonderful PhD student Priyanka Verma on email@example.com before midnight on 20th March 2018.
During office hours
+44 (0)1234 400 400
Outside office hours
+44 (0)1582 74 39 89
University of Bedfordshire
UK, LU1 3JU