The Politics of Framing and Staging: Performance as Paradigm II

8 December 2014

CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, CB3 9DT - SG1&2

Register online via the link at the top right hand side of this page
Conference fee: £45 (full), £25 (students) - includes lunch, tea/coffee, performance dinner
Deadline: Thursday 4 December 2014

Download the poster here.

Twitter Hashtag: #framing2014


Clare Foster (Classics, University of Cambridge)
Floris Schuiling (Music, University of Cambridge)
Zoe Svendsen (English, University of Cambridge)
Jonas Tinius (Anthropology, University of Cambridge)


This single-day curated conference, following on from the first performance-as-paradigm conference in April 2013, explores the politics of acts of creativity and their consumption. Framing and staging have historically been powerful ways to negotiate collectivity, both metaphorically and in practice. This conference looks at ways in which performance is less about objects than the power of frames.

Questions addressed will include:

How do groups – both hegemonic and counter-hegemonic - imagine and perform themselves politically?
Can something be performance without assuming a collective reception, and vice versa?
In cultures that privilege the individual, how can systems be made visible?
How do artworks deal with their situation of complicity with the political relations they seek to critique?
How does creative behaviour interact with its various economic frames? 
How does performance subvert prevalent notions of ‘the work’?
How do live and recorded performances respectively frame interaction between participants of all kinds?


In this interdisciplinary conversation, we take the paradigm of performance as a mode of enhancing cultural critique.

Keynote speaker: Joe Kelleher, author of Theatre & Politics (2009) and (forthcoming) The Illuminated Theatre: Studies on the Suffering of Images.

Featuring: Georgina Born (Professor of Music and Anthropology, University of Oxford), Selma Dimitrijevic (Artistic Director, Greyscale); The Voice Project (Sian Croose and Jon Baker, of Neutrinos fame); Lena Simic, performance artist and founder of the Free University of Liverpool and the Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home; METIS/World Factory; Rafael Schacter on Independent Public Art; New Art Club (Tom Roden and Peter Shenton); performance architect Helen Stratford; Associate director of the Young Vic Nathalie AbrahamiEirini KartsakiVita Peacock, anthropologist and ERSC Postdoctoral Fellow on anti-austerity activism and the rise of ‘spectacular dissent’, UCL, Rachel Beckles Willson (Royal Holloway, Music) and others....

Once again a series of roundtables and performances throughout the day will be brought together in a summing up discussion at the Cambridge Junction, in a conference ‘dinner’ staged by live artists Hunt and Darton.



Supported by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH) and the Judith E. Wilson Fund; in collaboration with Cambridge Junction and Hunt & Darton Cafe.

Accommodation for speakers selected through the call for papers and non-paper giving delegates

We are unable to arrange or book accommodation, however, the following websites may be of help.

Visit Cambridge
Cambridge Rooms
University of Cambridge accommodation webpage

Administrative assistance:

8 December 2014




Welcome and Introduction


ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: ‘Capitalism, complicity, opposition’

What meanings can or does performance produce under conditions of late consumer capitalism? And what interventions are possible?

Chair: Zoe Svendsen (Metis Arts/‘World Factory’, an interdisciplinary transmedia work, exploring and performing the relationship between China and the UK through the global textile industry)


  • Jen Harvie (neoliberalism & performance forms, author of Staging Britain 2005)
  • Lucy Ellinson (performer and activist, currently on tour performing Grounded, produced by The Gate, Notting Hill)
  • Vita Peacock (anthropologist and ERSC Postdoctoral Fellow on anti-austerity activism and the rise of ‘spectacular dissent’)
  • Lena Simic (performance artist and founder of the Free University of Liverpool and the Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home)

Tea and coffee


ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: ‘Staging the audience’

How are audiences – both implied and actual – already a frame? How are they conditioned by, and reflective of, social, political, and economic considerations?

  • Georgina Born (Professor of Music and Anthropology, Oxford: director, MusDig, research project on Music, Digitisation and Mediation)


  • Selma Dimitrijevic (Artistic Director, Greyscale Theatre Company)
  • Rachel Beckles Willson (Professor of Music, RHUL)

Chair: Floris Schuiling (Phd. candidate in Music, University of Cambridge)





  • Joe Kelleher (Professor, Theatre and Performance, Roehampton University)

Chair: Clare Foster 


Tea and coffee



The Voice Project, Norwich (Jon Baker and Sian Croose) 

Response to the CRASSH environment by performance architect Helen Stratford who will run a participatory workshop exploring the 'mechanisms of control’ of the Alison Richards Building, devising ways to perform it differently.

Joined for discussion afterwards by:

  • Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll (Fellow, Institut of Art and Visual Studies, Humboldt University Berlin)
  • Rafael Schacter (Anthropologist/Curator, British Academy)

Travel to the Junction, Clifton Way, Cambridge, CB1 9GX 



Live art duo Jenny Hunt & Holly Darton, part of the Cultural Olympiad and just awarded a major Arts Council grant to take their work around Britain over the next two years, will personally present the conference ‘dinner‘ as art, in a room specially set aside for the purpose at The Junction - not just décor and menu, but servers and served.

This will provide a framework for provocations from other practitioners, some of whom may have participated in discussions during the day:

Summing up discussion for the day as a whole will be led by the conference convenors.