Performance in Public Space: Responses to Uncertainty in a Time of Pandemic

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Performances in Public Space: Responses to Uncertainty in a Time of Pandemic

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“Public space is contested both as a concept and actuality and that ambivalence makes it appealing to street artists who often seek to expose the normative behavioural codes, social constructions and ideological operations at work there.”

Susan Haedicke

The possibilities of performance in public space are vast, from challenging societal norms and conventions, to sharing joy and hope. Covid-19 has made so many of us think about how these possibilities can be invited, supported and made accessible.

The Centre for Performance Practice and Research (CPPR) at The University of Winchester and its research project The Institute of Place is inviting you to join a webinar looking at how performance in public space is responding to the challenges and possibilities that Covid-19 has brought.

Titled Performances in Public Space: Responses to Uncertainty in a Time of Pandemic this webinar will include practitioners, researchers, policy makers and funders for a day of presentations and conversations to exchange ideas on current issues in Public Space Performance.

Confirmed contributors are:

Charmaine Childs - Self-Producing artist and Creator of Strong Enough, an outdoor circus show

Stella Hall - Festival Producer and Co-Director of National Festival of Thrift, the UK’s only national celebration of sustainable living

Andrew Loretto - Director of the Hat Fair, the Winchester based festival of Street Performance and Outdoor Arts

Clive Lyttle - Artistic Director, Certain Blacks, a diverse led arts organisation

Angus MacKechnie - Executive Director of OutdoorArtsUK a national membership and strategic organisation that advocates for Outdoor Arts across cultural, governmental, public funding and private funding arenas

Lorna Rees - Artistic Director, Gobbledegook Theatre, an outdoor multidisciplinary arts practice and production company

Sho Shibata - Executive Producer, StopGap Dance Company, an international touring company of disabled and non-disabled dancers

Cathy Turner - Professor of Drama at the University of Exeter. Author of Dramaturgy and Architecture: Theatre, Utopia and the Built Environment

Ideas shared during the webinar will be collected and disseminated as a resource archiving a range of voices, interests and priorities around performance in public space in a time of pandemic.

We will be exploring some of the following questions:

- What opportunities are there now for forward looking and hope building through public performance?

- How can opportunities emerge from limitations?

- What issues are raised by the controlled regulation of embodied encounters?

- How has Covid-19 reduced confidence in social interaction and how does this have an impact on the potential pleasure an audience might experience in sharing physical space?

- To what extent does the rapid adaptation to a digital realm offer the potential for inclusivity and accessibility in public performance?

Further themes that will be explored include:

The role of innovation and adaptation in outdoor performance, festival production and participatory practices in supporting place

Regulatory practices/frameworks and issues within creative practices in outdoor and participatory performance

Growth of digitalization/blended delivery and outdoor performance/ transformation of domestic space into public space.

The role of outdoor arts contribution to issues of health and wellbeing.

The role of outdoor performance and productions in re-animating and repopulating town centres/and growth of ‘experience economy’.

We hope you will join us in this knowledge-sharing event, to begin picking apart the logistical, economical, emotional and creative landscape that public performance now finds itself.

This is an online event, and you will be sent a Zoom link closer to the event.

The event will be chaired by Noyale Colin, Senior Lecturer University of Winchester, John Lee visiting fellow University of Winchester/co director Fuseperformance, and Kat Hawkins PhD Researcher C-DaRE, Coventry University.

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