Performance and Conflict: International Conference

  • Date: -
  • Location: Several venues including The Blue Room, University of Lincoln and Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (LPAC)
  • External URL:
  • Organiser: Prof. Ananda Breed, University of Lincoln
  • Rate - Early Bird (book by 16 August): £180
  • Rate - Full Delegate: £225
  • Rate - Postgraduates: Please contact the conference team
  • Scholarship support available?: Yes. Please contact the conference team
  • Contact Email:

Two-day conference based on the use of participatory art forms in conflict/post conflict settings to explore how participatory arts practices might be used to explore some of the nuanced forms of storytelling/performance in contexts when there are often public versus hidden narratives. How might forms be adapted? What new forms might emerge? How can performance contribute to the transformation of conflict?

Keynote talk (1): The Book of Life

The Book of Life aims to archive life before the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda through a collection of letters to the dead. Seeking to supplement extensive testimonies, The Book of Life aims to create another space for Rwandans to process the genocide so that they can make peace with their history and to build a peaceful future. By encouraging the Rwandan people to write their personal stories outside of the official history that was recently rewritten by historians and other academics, The Book of Life introduces the culture of writing in an oral society to provide a genuine and safe space for freedom of expression and dialogue.

Keynote speaker (1): Odile Gakire Katese

Odile Gakire Katese was former deputy director of the University Centre for Arts and Drama of the University of Rwanda (2003 – 10) and is currently the director of the Woman Cultural Centre (WCC). Katese founded the first female drumming company Ingoma Nshya Women Initiatives in 2004 and the Rwanda Drum Festival in 2008. In 2012, she created the project ‘Mumataha, Remember Me’, a unique project on the commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Expanding into the realms of publishing, video, radio and theatre, the project had at its core a collection of letters written to the dead. Katese spent several years soliciting letters from both survivors and perpetrators of the genocide, and increasingly from people around the world – the idea being that memories of trauma need to be actively brought into an affirmative realm through an act of imagination. This act can then expand into other forms, turning isolated grief into collaborative life. Katese was the first recipient of the League of Professional Theatre Women’s Rosamond Gilder/Martha Coigney International Award (2011) and fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar (2011 and 2017). For her work with Ingoma Nshya, she received the 2012 Carnegie Common Ground Award for her accomplishments in conflict resolution, negotiation, community building and peace building around the world.

Keynote talk (2): Story-based theatre in a world of conflict

How do we use dramatised stories to engage communities in conflict? In this talk, Jonathan Fox will present a theory of story-based group communication called narrative reticulation and sketch the development of Playback Theatre from an artistic idea to a socially engaged approach to community dialogue.

Keynote speaker (2) Jonathan Fox

Jonathon Fox is the co-founder of Playback Theatre, an original form of improvisational theatre in which audiences or group members tell stories from their lives and watch them enacted on the spot. The form originates from traditional story practices that has evolved into an international platform of socially engaged performance making as evidenced through the International Playback Theatre Network. Fox was artistic director of the original Playback Theatre company from its inception in 1975. From 1933 until 2010 he was director of the Centre for Playback Theatre in New York. He earned a BA from Harvard University in English; where he studied the oral tradition under Albert Lord; a MA in political science from Victoria University in New Zealand, where he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship; and in 2008 a D.Phil.h.c. from the University of Kassel in Germany for his artistic and scholarly contribution to theatre. He is also a Trainer, Educator, and Practitioner of the American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama. He is author of Acts of Service: Spontaneity, Commitment, Tradition in the Nonscripted Theatre and Beyond Theatre: a playback theatre memoir; the editor of The Essential Moreno: Writings on Spontaneity, Psychodrama and Group Method; and co-editor of Gathering Voices: Essays on Playback Theatre.

Respondent: Professor Tim Prentki, Professor of Theatre for Development at the University of Winchester where, for many years, he ran the M.A. in Theatre and Media as Development. He is co-author of Popular Theatre in Political Culture, co-editor of The Applied Theatre Reader, and author of The Fool in European Theatre and Applied Theatre: Development. He is a member of the editorial board of Research in Drama Education and of the advisory and review board of Applied Theatre Researcher. He is a regular contributor to journals around the world on Theatre for Development.

Workshops will be facilitated by Hannah Fox, Jonathan Fox, Jo Salas and Dr Luis C. Sotelo Castro. Participatory film screenings will be chaired by Professor Paul Cooke, principal investigator of the AHRC Changing the Story project.

Venues: The conference will take place over several venues which include The Blue Room, University of Lincoln and Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (LPAC).


21 September 2018, The Blue Room

9:30 – 10:30 Registration and Coffee / Tea

10:30 – 10:45 Welcome and Opening Talk: Ananda Breed ‘Performance and Conflict’

10:45 – 11:45 Keynote (1): Odile Gakire Katese

11:45 – 12:00 Coffee / Tea

12:00 – 13:00 Table Presentations (dialogues at tables with artists, practitioners or organisations)

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 15:00 Keynote (2): Jonathan Fox

15:00 – 15:30 Plenary Seminar

15:30 – 15:45 Coffee / Tea

15:45 – 16:45 AHRC Changing the Story panel based on participatory arts projects with young people in Kosovo, Colombia, Cambodia, South Africa and Rwanda

16:45 – 17:00 Closing Reflections: Respondent Tim Prentki

*Evening social and/or films based on work in the field

19:00 – 22:00 Participatory Film Screenings

22 September 2018: PRACTICES and CASE STUDIES 

9:00 – 9:45 Warming Up: Moving Community

9:45 – 10:00 Coffee / Tea

10:00 – 13:00 Parallel Workshops

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 15:30 Parallel Paper Presentations

15:30 – 15:45 Coffee / Tea

15:45 – 16:45 Playback Response

16:45 – 17:00 Paths Forward: Respondent Tim Prentki

The conference is in partnership with AHRC Changing the Story, a four-year international, multi-disciplinary project which supports the building of inclusive civil societies with, and for, young people in 5 post-conflict countries. It is a collaborative project between universities, INGOs, artists, grassroots civil society organisations and young people across the world.


For further information about the conference, please email

Places are limited and it is recommended you book your place early. To book please visit the University of Lincoln store website.

There is an early bird discount for delegates until 16th August of £180 per person.  After this date a full price ticket will be available at £225 per person.  We have a limited number of postgraduate student places available at a special rate of £90 per person.  If you are a postgraduate student interested in attending please contact the team via will arrange this for you.

Scholarship support available from SPT UK for low-waged applicants. Apply to