Revised call for papers – Dance, Diaspora and the Archive

Society for Dance Research

in Association with State of Trust and Rimap (University of Bedfordshire)

Call for Papers

Dance, Diaspora and the role of the Archive

Saturday September 17, 2016

Venue: University of Bedfordshire

Deadline for receipt of proposals May 30th 2016.

As the work of the Black Dance Archives Project is revealing, an understanding and awareness of a particular dance style, artist or institution depends in part on how it is situated historically, how it is documented and remembered. As the field of dance research has expanded, the significance of archives and archival practices extend beyond concerns of recovering memory, providing avenues through which to investigate questions of authenticity, tradition and ownership, among other issues. Archives are constantly in flux, open to interpretation, and can increase the visibility of the invisible. Significantly under-represented in the past, more material records of dancers and dancing from various diasporas are currently being collected and catalogued. The concept of archive also extends beyond the official documents, to encompass the memories that reveal perspectives of performers, creators, funders, administrators and viewers, captured through interviews, personal photos, journals, rehearsal notes and correspondence.

Papers are sought that explore the concept of the dance archive with particular reference to dancers and dancing of diaspora communities. Presenters are encouraged to engage with the Black Dance Archives Project, but papers that explore wider issues around archives are also welcome. Themes may thus include:

  • The significance of particular archive materials relating to one artist/company
  • The work of a particular artist/company whose work is documented  as part of the Black Dance Archives collections or other diasporic dance archives
  • Issues revealed by archive materials relevant to the career trajectories and management of emergent Black British or other diasporic artists
  • The relationship between memory and the archive
  • Archival issues and complexities that are specifically relevant to dance and /or diaspora.
  • The influence of the work of dance artists from the diaspora on current choreographic and performance practices

Abstracts/Proposals of no more than 300 words with an indicative bibliography and any technical requirementsshould be sent to Brendan.mccarthy@gmail.comAny enquiries may be directed to

Abstracts/proposals will be blind reviewed by a panel. Individual papers should be 20 minutes in length but we also encourage submissions of roundtable discussions, lecture-demonstrations, movement workshops, performative engagements and collaborative presentations, or posters.

Deadline: 30th May 2016 

Information about State of Trust Black Dance Archives Project

With funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, State of Trust* is working with partners across the UK to collate, preserve, document and make accessible 25 collections from eminent individuals and organisations from the British Black dance sector who have made a significant impact on dance in Britain. The initial stage of the project has collected materials from the following companies and individuals: ACE Dance & Music, Avant Garde, Boy Blue, Breakin’ Convention, Bullies Ballerinas, Jeannette Brooks, Carl Campbell, Shaun Cope, Jonzi D, June Gamble, Robert Hylton, , Kompany Malakhi, Greta Mendez (inc Maas Movers), Nubian Steps, Henri Oguike, Phoenix Dance Company, RJC Dance Company, State of Emergency, Step Afrika!, Norman ‘Rubba’ Stephenson, Tavaziva Dance, Sheron Wray, and Union Dance.

To prepare abstracts researchers are invited to contact and visit the archives:

Birmingham Museums and Libraries:

Materials regarding ACE Music and Dance and Shaun Cope

Black Cultural Archives, Brixton, London:



Materials regarding June Gamble, Robert Hylton, Kompany Malakhi, Nubian Steps, State of Emergency, Norman ‘Rubba’ Stephenson (oral history), Tavaziva Dance.

Plus materials from the following are being processed. Please ask if they are of specific interest: Avant Garde, Boy Blue Entertainment, Carl Campbell Dance Company 7, Step Afrika!

NRCD Guildford Surrey:


Materials regarding Bullies Ballerinas, Greta Mendez (inc. Maas Movers), Sheron Wray, Union Dance  – these are still being processed so only some may be accessible.  Please note that NRCD also have core collection materials related to many artists, companies and developments including Adzido and Black Dance Development Trust plus other special collections relevant to the area such as Angika Dance Company, Kokuma Dance Theatre and Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company.

University of Leeds Library:

Materials regarding Phoenix and RJC Dance Companies

* State of Trust is the registered charity sister company of State of Emergency Productions