Call for papers: Performing mobile identities A one-day symposium at the University of Roehampton, Wednesday 10 September 2014

The deadline for proposals for this event is next Monday, 14 July.

Critical attention to mobilities makes the social sciences different, according to the sociologist John Urry (2007). In what ways does it also affect the terms in which we discuss performance? This symposium will explore the role of performance as a means of asserting, constructing, negotiating and making sense of a range of mobile identities, including those relating to migration, tourism, international labour markets, art-making and spectating.

Mobile people, the geographer Tim Cresswell writes, ‘are never simply people – they are dancers and pedestrians, drivers and athletes, refugees and citizens, tourists or businesspeople, men and women’ (2006, p.4). In cultural theory, some mobile figures have been more privileged than others: there is a wealth of scholarship that deals with the nomad, the flâneur and the pedestrian, but what about, for example, the vagrant, the passenger, the commuter, the refugee and the busker? What ways of ‘being mobile’ are missed in the dominant formulations? And how are these articulated in performance?

Questions of who we are and how we understand ourselves are often considered in transit between places, roles and senses of belonging. It becomes clear that being ‘on the move’ is always caught up in complicated relationships with forms of immobility and stillness. It is also apparent that experiences of mobility are multiple and unequal, inflected by power relationships and political decision-making. How might performance intervene into such contexts?

This one-day symposium aims to explore such themes and questions. The event will include:

·         keynote presentations by Professor Deirdre Heddon, University of Glasgow (‘“The steps got me”: the variable dis/pleasures of walking’) and Dr Emma Cox, Royal Holloway (‘Human remains, mobile possessions: performing repatriation in postcolonial Europe’);

·         a performance-lecture, walked works, by Dr Mick Douglas (RMIT, Melbourne);

·         All Roads Lead to Rome, a performance by Chris Dobrowolski (by arrangement with Artsadmin).

We invite papers that consider theatre, installation and live art practices in relation to ideas of mobility. Possible topics include, but are not restricted to:

·         the artist as a mobile figure;

·         (im)migration and performance;

·         the construction of contemporary citizenship in terms of mobility;

·         representations of travel;

·         global flows and their hidden consequences;

·         tourism and performance;

·         sustainability and transport;

·         art works that require a mobile audience.

Please send paper proposals (of 300 words), plus brief biographies, to Fiona Wilkie,, by Monday 14 July.