TLA Plenary – Call for Papers

2010 Annual Conference of the American Society for Theatre Research-Theatre Library Association-Congress on Research in Dance

Seattle, Washington, November 18-21, 2010

Harnessing the Power of Performance:

Documentation Strategies for Theater and Dance

Throughout history, capturing performance through various media has been challenging.   Performance historians have based their work on archeological artifacts, paper records, oral history and memory, audio recordings, and film documentation of dance and theater performances.  Each method – in itself ephemeral – presents challenges due in part to limitations inherent in its physical characteristics:  images fade, paper crumbles, and memory fails.

This session will address and assess past, current, and future methodologies for harnessing the power of performance – and the extent to which these approaches and strategies support or impede research.  We invite papers addressing the many forms of documentation – from depictions of Athenian performances on vases to computer-generated dance notation/animation.

Papers might consider:

  • How do documentation strategies negotiate, undermine, or emphasize power?
  • How do developments and changes in technology impact performance studies?
  • How do cultural politics and the power of societal perceptions of theater and dance affect performance documentation?
  • How do documentation strategies or models strengthen or undermine our understanding and appreciation of performance?
  • How have theater and dance practitioners, librarians and scholars collaborated to develop effective documentation strategies?
  • What are the limitations and drawbacks of video and film documentation of performance?
  • How will the proliferation of born-digital objects impact documentation of theater and dance?
  • Do artists have the ethical right to resolve that their work may perish with them?

Please submit one-page Proposal as e-mail attachment by February 15, 2010 to:

Susan Brady, Chair, TLA Plenary Program Committee

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University


The Plaza, San Juan, Puerto Rico. no. 54082.

The Plaza, San Juan, Puerto Rico. no. 54082.

ASTR-TLA Annual Conference/TLA Call for Papers

American Society for Theatre Research
November 11-15, 2009

San Juan, Puerto Rico
Theatre, Performance, and DestiNation

Theatre Library Association Plenary
Call for Papers

“Playing” the Pilgrim:  Scholars, Collections, and Archival DestiNations

Performing arts archives and special collections are a destination for artifacts and ephemera – as well as for the artists and scholars who experience them.  The research process is a journey undertaken for diverse purposes and outcomes.  This panel poses an investigation of the kind of “play” that occurs between archive and destination, research and journey, and the scholar-pilgrim-voyeur.

Proposals may consider the following questions:

•       How does a performance undertake the journey from ephemeral cultural expression to tangible archival evidence?  How do archives and special collections serve as destinations for performances?

•       What is involved when a performing arts archive or collection travels from its place of origin to a new repository, or across repositories in different geopolitical regions?  What does it mean for a collection to come “home?”

•       What challenges are presented to archives and special collections when theatre itself “travels” (as when it tours), becoming, in effect, a moveable destination?

•       How does research travel to archives and special collections negotiate the tension between pilgrimage and voyeuristic consumption?  In what ways does research travel become performative?

•       How do libraries and archives participate as sites of privileged viewing and local experience?  How do special collections engage issues of privacy or stage themselves to an audience?

•       Are theatre archives and special collections themselves an “island?”  How do they reflect or reinvent “island culture?”  Are they tied to the mainland of performance practices or archival methodologies?  How do theatre archives and performing arts collections “travel” across these boundaries?

Please submit one-page Proposal by February 1, 2009 to:

Colleen Reilly

Chair, TLA Plenary

Arts Library, Yale University

Image credit: Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Image ID 1037089

There’s still time to send in a submission…*

Call For Papers

Deadline: All proposals for papers must be received by 31st March 2008.

There will be three types of papers considered for the 2008 conference programme:

Invited Papers: A number of keynote speakers will be invited to participate.

Full Papers: A paper addressing one of the stated themes (see below). Full papers should last 20 minutes.

Exhibition Papers: Papers will be issued to delegates and presented as part of an exhibition and trade fair session on August 28th. Presenters will be expected to discuss their papers with delegates and will be provided with an opportunity to demonstrate an audio-visual or online resource (digitisation, electronic archive, database, etc). Roving French/English interpreters will be available.

All presenters will be listed in the conference programme and their papers will be published in the subsequent published Proceedings.

Conference Themes

Papers on the following themes will be welcomed:

The ephemeral nature of performing arts documentation and examples of projects which have attempted to present documentary material in an innovative way, in traditional or electronic formats.

Lessons to be learned from other disciplines and cultures about the challenge of recording intangible heritage.

Examples of innovative methods of collecting evidence through, for example, reminiscence work; oral history projects; proactive collecting through close collaboration with performing artists, etc.

Exercises in recording the whole process – in creating a production from the initial idea through to public performance.

The special characteristics of specific forms of documentary materials: such as costumes, photographs, designs, etc, and their reliability as a source of evidence.

Re-staging and reconstructions as a means of reliving theatrical performance.

Format for Proposals

Please complete the Proposal Form and e-mail to All proposals must

be submitted in full by 31st March 2008.

An expert panel from SIBMAS’s executive committee will consider proposals. Prospective

presenters will be contacted by 28th April 2008 with the panel’s decision.

*Image credit: The City of Glasgow Pavilion at the 1938 Empire Exhibition from the NYPL Digital Gallery, Digital Record ID 1525311.