Call for Applications ‘Performance and Conflict II: Listening, Performance and Conflict

Performance and Conflict II: 
A Practice-Based Research Symposium
November 4 – 7, 2019 in Montreal


This symposium is about listening in the context of performance methodologies in which the audience is addressed as listener of personal memories. Particular attention will be paid to memories related to sites of conflict and post-conflict. The symposium draws on content that has emerged from the international conference Performance and Conflict, held at the University of Lincoln in 2018. This second iteration will reignite discussions that were carried out in the first conference, and its smaller, more intimate configuration (max. 25 participants) is designed to benefit this year’s focus on listening.

The organizing committee of Listening, Performance, and Conflict is pleased to invite you to submit:

  • workshop proposals;
  • papers addressing listening in the context of oral history performance and conflict;
  • expressions of interest of practitioners, activists and scholars who would be interested in being designated respondents during and after specific workshops.

Particular attention will be paid to memories that relate to sites of conflict and post-conflict. Such approaches include Playback Theatre, Theatre of the Oppressed, post-conflict performances and sound installations, verbatim-based theatre with headphones, experimental performances, indigenous cultural practices (such as ‘Talking Circles’), and restorative justice re-enactments.
The symposium will follow a practice-based research methodology:

  • This means that four (4) to five (5) methodologies maximum will be chosen;
  • Practice demonstrations and workshops will engage all symposium participants with chosen methodologies over the course of two (2) days;
  • Reflection and discussion about listening in the context of each methodology will be held after each workshop by designated respondents, participants, workshop leaders and organisers;
  • The final day will be dedicated to the comparing and contrasting of listening in the context of the different chosen methodologies. This third (3) day will conclude the symposium and establish an agenda for further research and events.

A variety of concepts have been used to refer to the types of listening that are at work in the context of artistic methodologies, especially those in which personal stories are shared and therefore become a piece of performance for a given audience. Such notions include ‘empathic listening’, ‘deep listening’, ‘active listening’, and ‘embodied listening’. It is claimed that these modes of listening bring about effects that go beyond entertainment. For instance, it has been demonstrated that empathic listening in the context of Playback Theatre ‘promotes healing’ and thus, is a mode of performance that can effectively be applied in contexts such as supportive spaces for mental health needs and sites of conflict and post-conflict. Similar claims and applications have been made in relation to the Theatre of the Oppressed. There are, however, many more approaches within disparate fields including oral history performance, sound installation, transitional and restorative justice performance, peace-building performance, verbatim theatre, documentary theatre, autobiographical performance, experimental performance, and so called ‘conversational art’ in which the same basic principle operates: audiences are addressed as listeners of personal, often traumatic memories and thus, become subjects, fellow citizens and human beings rather than distant ‘spectators’. The symposium Listening, Performance, and Conflict explores the powers of listening in the context of samples of the said performance methodologies.

The organisers invite:

  • workshop proposals in related performance methodologies;
  • papers addressing listening in the context of said performance approaches or in related practices;
  • expressions of interest of practitioners, activists, and scholars to be respondents during and after the workshops

Please submit to with subject line: “Listening, Performance, and Conflict”


Dr Luis C. Sotelo Castro
Luis C. Sotelo Castro is Canada’s Research Chair in Oral History Performance and an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre at Concordia University, Montreal (Quebec, Canada). In his current research-creation, he investigates modes of listening in the context of oral history performance and, more broadly, in the context of performances of memory. Since 2002, he has worked with and for internally displaced people, Indigenous communities, migrants, and elderly people both in Latin America and in the United Kingdom. More recently, he has collaborated with a family of refugees from Colombia living in Quebec. Along with sound artist Barry Prophet, he produced a performative sound installation based on the family’s testimonies of displacement. His creative work has been commissioned by civil entities and academic organizations such as the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration. His latest publications explore listening in the context of post-conflict performances of memory. Check out his forthcoming book chapter ‘Facilitating voicing and listening in the context of post-conflict performances of memory. The Colombian scenario.’ in De Nardi, S., Orange, H., et al. Routledge Handbook of Memoryscapes. Routledge: London. (2019)

Ananda Breed
Professor Ananda Breed is author of Performing the Nation: Genocide, Justice, Reconciliation (Seagull Books, 2014) in addition to several publications that address transitional systems of governance and the arts. She has worked as a consultant for IREX and UNICEF in Kyrgyzstan on issues concerning conflict prevention and conducted applied arts workshops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Indonesia, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Palestine, Rwanda and Turkey. Breed is Professor in Theatre at the University of Lincoln. Prior to this, she was the Co-director of the Centre for Performing Arts Development (CPAD) at the University of East London (2014-2017) and former research fellow at the International Research Centre Interweaving Performance Cultures at Freie University (2013-2014).

Jonathan Fox
Jonathan is the founder of Playback Theatre and the artistic and executive director of the original Playback Theatre company from its inception in 1975. He is the author of Acts of Service: Spontaneity, Commitment, Tradition in the Nonscripted Theatre; the editor of The Essential Moreno: Writings on Spontaneity, Psychodrama and Group Method; and co-editor of Gathering Voices: Essays on Playback Theatre. In 2008 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Kassel in Germany for artistic and scholarly achievement in theatre.


What: Listening, Performance and Conflict Practice-Based Research Symposium
When: Between Monday, Nov. 4th and Thursday, Nov. 7th, 2019
Where: Montreal (QC, Canada)
Concordia University’s Acts of Listening Lab part of Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling
J.W. McConnell (LB) Building 1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W. LB-1042-03 Montreal, QC H3G IM8

Registration fee: 130 $ (CAD) This fee covers:

  • Access to all Symposium activities: talks, workshops and performances.
  • Opening Reception Treats, Breakfast snacks every morning & Farewell Dinner at restaurant.

Accommodation: For special discounted rate for symposium participants please make your reservation under the reservation block: “Concordia Acts of Listening Lab” with Carol-Ann Traicheff at La Tour Belvédère 2175 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W. Montreal, QC H3H 1L5
Discounted rate will be available until October 1st, 2019 (8AM). Please make sure you reserve your accommodation prior to this date in order to benefit from the discounted symposium rate.
For your reservation with Carol-Ann, please provide a valid credit card with expiry date without this no reservation will be possible.
Contact: For further information on the symposium, or if you have any questions, please contact:
Veronica Mockler at


The Acts of Listening Lab (ALLab)

is a hub for research-creation on the transformative power of listening in the context of oral history performance. It brings together artists-researchers, communities, and activists from across disciplines and cultures interested in exploring alternative and creative ways of making life stories matter in the public sphere. We investigate listening as a live act in the context of oral history-informed performance for social change, verbatim theatre, documentary dance, music, performance, sound art, activist performance, and public history.

Our mandate is to engage audiences as listener-participants of personal narratives that raise issues of shared concern. We accomplish this by using a range of strategies and sound technologies; we gather data on such listening experiences and analyse them through the lens of research-creation and critical frameworks. By using a range of sound, video, translation, and playback technologies, listening events are prepared and documented. Using focused group discussions and other methodologies, reflection on listening is encouraged, documented and analyzed.