King’s College London, September 29th 2018
Keynote Speaker: Jennifer Doyle (University of California, Riverside)
Join us in exploring the role of action and arrest in protest, law, and performance. Taking place during the year of the Suffragette centenary, the fifty-year anniversary of the Paris ‘68 uprisings, and a period of burgeoning civil unrest and political uncertainty in the UK and worldwide, Action:Arrest looks to assess and reassess the relationship between performance, protest, and the law. Inspired by their compelling dualities, the symposium aims to open up a new set of questions that may further complicate the relationship between these terms.
Recent and ongoing people-led political movements – for example, the March for Our Lives against current US gun laws, Yarl’s Wood #HungerForFreedom hunger strikes and #Stansted15 activists fighting against inhumane detention in the UK, and global campaigns to fight gendered and sexual violence with #MeToo and #TimesUp – contribute to the sense that we are in a moment of global action, where national and international uprisings are opening up new alternatives for social and political futures. At the same time, disparities in media representation, state reactions, and police response to different forms of activism expose tensions between the hope for positive change and forward momentum and the recreation and reinforcement of existing oppressions and dynamics of power. This conference asks where performance intervenes in these tensions, examining the value of reading protest as performance, particularly as it intersects with the law and disciplinary structures of power. Grounding itself in the current political moment, we hope the conference will provide an opportunity to engage with current and historical protest in its varying forms and varying spaces – the street, the theatre, the courtroom, and the gallery, amongst others – to analyse the relationship between of performance, protest, and the law.
Interdisciplinary in its aims, Action:Arrest draws together academics, artists and practitioners from varying disciplines and their intersections. Honouring the constitutive links between methodologies, content, and form, Action:Arrest resists the cloistering control of academic tradition and discipline and encourages diversity, collaboration, and dissent. We welcome proposals for 15-20 minute papers, 10-minute provocations, and collaborative and performative papers. We are also very open to suggestions for alternative formats or styles of presentation not listed here.
Proposals for contributions that bear directly on one or more of the above themes are welcome. These might address:
- Explorations of action and arrest as bodily and affective, and considerations of how they define different bodies.
- Racialised, gendered and sexualised bodies in performance, protest and arrest.
- Thinking through the relationship between movement, action, arrest, and stillness, and their relationship to political uprisings and the law.
- How does action catalyse change, and how is action used as a means of control?
- Affect as protest, the body protesting itself through exhaustion, fatigue, boredom, irritation, sweat, and excitement.
- (Non)/Spectacular violence and protest.
- Protest in and outside the museum, gallery and/or institutional setting (e.g. WHEREISANAMENDIETA, Liberate Tate etc).
- Protest as the duality and contradictions of arrest as a control of bodies, and as a protection of bodies.
- Explorations of restorative and transformative justice, penal reform, and abolitionism.
- The influence of legal structures and policies on recent or historical actions and protests, with particular focus on how this has been used as a regulatory and disciplinary tool.
- Protest, legal action, and minoritarian feminisms.
- Resistance to repressive politics through action, arrest, stillness and movement.
- Considerations of police behaviour, civil unrest, and dissonance. Moments of action and stillness between dissenters and those attempting to exert state control. (e.g. riot police and protesters, state or police interventions in performance works).
- The relationship between arrest as being taken into legal custody, and arrest as inaction or stillness.
- The capitulation of radicalism under neoliberal/late capitalist regimes.
- Languages of visual activism.
Please send 250 word abstracts and 100 word bios and/or artist statements to firstname.lastname@example.org by the 20th of June 2018.
Organised by Bryony White and Savannah Whaley
Kindly supported by London Arts and Humanities Partnership