– cfp – solidarity and/in performance: rethinking definitions & exploring potentialities (spring 2014)


CALL FOR PROPOSALS: activate (, the peer-reviewed e-journal in the field of performance and creative research, based in the Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance at University of Roehampton, London, Vol. 3, Issue 1, Spring 2014. Guest Editor: Katerina Paramana.

Deadline for proposals: no later than 30 October 2013, 1pm GMT

The socioeconomic crisis in Europe and the US and the massive demonstrations that have accompanied it, as well as recent uprisings such as the Arab Spring have resulted in calls for solidarity from philosophers, sociologists and activists (e.g. Franco Bifo Berardi, Jürgen Habermas). Artists and millions of citizens around the world have been experimenting with different forms of individual and collective action.

The word ‘solidarity’ has a long and complicated history. First used in the Roman law of debts, it acquired political meaning during the French Revolution of 1789 (‘solidarité’) being used synonymously with ‘fraternité’. It was separated from ‘fraternité’ during the mid-19th century class struggles and the workers’ movement. With a capital S- (Solidarność) it was the name of an independent trade union movement in Poland, formed in 1980.

Moreover, the word ‘solidarity’ in different languages produces different understandings of the ethics, responsibilities and actions of those ‘in solidarity’. For example, in most English dictionary definitions, ‘solidarity’ implies unity, unanimity, a singular vision and/or agreement. In contrast, in Greek, ‘solidarity’ – ‘αλληλεγγύη’ [alilengíi] from ‘αλλήλων’ (others) + ‘εγγύτητα’ (distance / proximity) – is understood as ‘the ethical imperative / obligation of members of a group to reciprocally support one another’. This latter definition emphasises the support of others as a right and responsibility and foregrounds the protection of common rights and responsibilities. Most importantly it does so without the erasure of individuality or the assumption of unity, harmony or cohesion. In addition, its etymology leads to the definition of ‘αλληλεγγύη’ as ‘the distance / relationship / proximity between people’.

For this special issue of activate, we invite artists, scholars, and postgraduate and early career researchers (especially those in the areas of Live and Performance Art, Theatre, Dance, Choreography, Film and Cinema, Visual Art, Philosophy and Sociology) to submit work based on the theme of performance and solidarity (whether solidarity is defined as above or approached through redefinition or other languages). Submissions might engage with questions such as:

● How can we (re)think solidarity in terms of a performance work or performance more broadly? What might it mean to be in solidarity with the ‘other’, where ‘other’ might be defined as the performer, the artwork, the spectator, the fellow citizen or a country? What forms might solidarity take in these relationships?

● How does the concept of performance act upon the practice of solidarity? How does the concept of solidarity act upon the practice of performance?

● How might solidarity be related to the performance of the politics of space? What different forms of proximity and/or distance with the ‘other’ – e.g. fellow citizen, performer, artwork, country – might enable an ethical encounter?

● We often speak of an Act of Solidarity. Is it possible to be in solidarity with someone without her knowledge or acquiescence? Must solidarity be a mutual condition? Is it a uniform stance, or can there be solidarity in multiplicity and disagreement? How do we perform solidarity? How do we perceive it?

● How does an understanding of solidarity in society or in performance affect the relationship of the individual to a / the collective? What kinds of actions and strategies are produced by such an understanding?

● How can we rethink solidarity so that it can be useful to addressing today’s socioeconomic problems around the world?

For this special issue on solidarity and / in performance we invite proposals within four broad categories:

1. NEW CRITICAL WORK: We invite essays that address this issue’s theme through (but not restricted to) one or more of the above questions.

2. ‘PERFORMING SOLIDARITY’: We invite submissions of short videos / audio recordings, images or photographs that ‘perform solidarity’ or allow for a renewed understanding / redefinition of solidarity in society and/or in performance.

3. NEW CREATIVE WORK: We invite submissions in response to this issue’s theme that can take the form of scores, (self) interviews, descriptions and reflections of works (in progress), open letters, games, monologues, scripts or any other text-based creative work.

4. REVIEWS: We invite reviews of books or performances that relate to this issue’s theme.


❖ Final Submissions should conform to the following lengths:
1. New Critical Work: 3,500-4000 words
2. ‘Performing Solidarity’: Expression of interest (300 words) and short bio (150 words)
(required formats: JPEG for images, stable embed code or link for video or audio)
3. New Creative Work: max. 4000 words
4. Reviews: max. 1,200 words

❖ First Submissions will be required no later than 15 January 2014 and Final Submissions no later than 30 April 2014.

❖ Submissions should be original, unpublished work.

❖ All submissions must conform to the activate Style Guide accessible on our website at

❖ Reproduction of copyright material: As an author, you are required to secure permission to reproduce any proprietary text, illustration, table, or other material, including data, audio, video, film stills, and screenshots, and any supplementary material you propose to submit.

Deadline for Proposals: no later than 30 October 2013, 1pm GMT. Proposals should be submitted by emailing the following information to citing reference ‘PROPOSAL for activate’:

Full name
Academic (or other) Affiliation
Email address
Contact Telephone number
Proposed Title
Abstract – (300 Words)

RETHINKING DEFINITIONS & EXPLORING POTENTIALITIES, the fifth issue of activate e-journal will be published in May 2014.

Editorial Team: Katerina Paramana (Guest Editor), Maria del Mar Yañez-Lopez (Managing Editor), Emily Sweeney (Associate Editor)

For General Enquiries email For Editorial Enquiries on this Special Issue email the Guest Editor at

activate is a peer-reviewed e-journal in the field of performance and creative research, based in the Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance at University of Roehampton, London.