Monday, February 8, 2016

Intersection 2016 Chicago: Request for Proposals

The Network of Ensemble Theaters will present a national Symposium in Chicago from May 20-22, 2016, in partnership with Columbia College Chicago and the League of Chicago Theatres.

NET is soliciting a wide range of presentation formats and modes for the Symposium, including performative papers, interactive lectures/demos, curated panels, performance-based events, participatory workshops, roundtables, working sessions, collaborative skill-shares, etc. We encourage hybrid and boundary-breaking presentation forms that blend and/or move between theory and practice in creative ways.

Proposed presentations should investigate the broadly construed field of Ensemble Pedagogy (focusing on co-creation/collective creation and collaborative practice in any performance discipline, not limited to theater), and should fit within one or more of the Symposium’s three thematic program tracks:

Art + University + Community
Topics might include, but are not limited to: applied theater; civic & social practice; collaborations & partnerships (between departments, artists/arts organizations, non-arts-based partners, or other community organizations); community engagement; creative placemaking; devising; site-specific work; theater for social change.

Movement + Physical Theater Approaches
Topics might include, but are not limited to: contemporary circus; collaboration & partnerships (cross-departmental, etc.); dance; devising; movement; interdisciplinary performance; physical theater.

Navigating the Academy/Industry Relationship
Topics might include, but are not limited to: building & gathering institutional support for a new university-based ensemble program; collaborations & partnerships (between departments and with non-affiliated artists or arts organizations); ensembles as university-based artists-in-residence or guest artists; industry-focused field research; internships/fellowships; ongoing professional development; support for new graduates/young professionals; techniques for teaching devised work; touring to/presenting by universities.

To focus the discourse, we are particularly (but not exclusively) interested in proposals that include one or more of the following lenses in their exploration of the track theme(s):

We encourage presentations which highlight place-based work and the specifics of particular geographic communities. Preference will given to proposals that involve the participation of (and/or focus on work by) local Chicago-area artists, scholars, and practitioners where possible.

Cultural Pluralism, Equity, Access, and Inclusion.
As an organization that champions ensemble practice and collaborative creation, NET is committed to the equitable access, inclusion, and full participation of a community made up of multiple and diverse voices. We celebrate a holistic vision of equity and of cultural pluralism that honors diversity of place, race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexuality, physical/mental/sensory dis/ability, age of individuals and ensembles, artistic form, aesthetic orientation, class, national origin, religion, language, and cultural heritage. Proposals that share this prioritization will be given preference.

Technology and Innovation.
We’re interested in presentations that share and explore ways that new technologies and innovative tools impact and are integrated into ensemble training, design, performance, audience/community engagement, and access. Possible topics (among many others) might include: the rise of university-based interactive media programs; virtual reality; gaming; use of phone texting or other mobile/cloud technologies; the future of design; technology-enabled virtual collaborations in devising/rehearsing/performing across distance; web-based teaching/learning; digital archiving and livestreaming; etc.

PLEASE NOTE: Proposals that demonstrate authentic intersectionality (by touching on multiple tracks and/or multiple lenses) are a plus!

Please email proposals containing the following information in .doc or .docx file format to by TUESDAY MARCH 1, 2016:

Presentation title

Relevant thematic program track (list all that apply): Art + University + Community
Movement + Physical Theater Approaches
Navigating the Academy/Industry Relationship

Relevant lens (list all that apply):
Cultural Pluralism, Equity, Access, and Inclusion
Technology and Innovation

Presentation format/mode
Indicate whether this is a performative paper, interactive lecture/demo, curated panel, performance-based event, participatory workshop, roundtable, working session, collaborative skill-share, or other type of session (please identify). NOTE: Most sessions will be scheduled for 90 minutes. If your proposed session would require a different length of time, please indicate this preferred length in your proposal.

250-word abstract/rationale/proposal description

Names, titles, and organizational affiliations of all involved presenter(s)

Presenter(s)’ biographical information (no more than 100 words per presenter)

Anticipated media, setup, or space needs (please note that support available for these elements will be minimal) Those submitting selected proposals will be notified BY MARCH 15, 2016 to discuss subsequent planning and steps toward realization.

Across the country, NET is seeing a rise in ensemble artists working within academia, as well as an increasing inclusion of ensemble practices in curricula and expanding interest in ensemble scholarship and pedagogy. The next generation of ensemble artists is being developed in today’s university-, college-, and company-based programs. The academy has long served as a feeder to the ensemble movement, as groups of graduating students continue to form new ensemble companies, banding together to build on their shared training and experiences.

The 2016 Intersection Symposium is the second in a four-event exploration of the connection between ensembles and colleges/universities/training programs. NET recognizes the already significant interrelationships between academia and ensembles, and hopes through this four-year series to identify ways to serve more intentionally as a resource and connector within and between these sectors. The first Symposium event was held in New York City in October 2014, in collaboration with Eugene Lang College The New School of Liberal Arts, The New School for Drama, and La MaMa. A downloadable version of the 2014 NYC Symposium program can be found at NET’s website.

A national community of artists and arts organizations dedicated to collaborative creation, Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET) exists to propel ensemble theater practice to the forefront of American culture and society. NET links a diverse array of ensembles and practitioners to one another and the performing arts field, encouraging collaborations and knowledge building/dissemination. NET is committed to the advancement of the ensemble form and strives to bring about change in the world beyond ourselves through the transformative power of collaborative theater and ensemble practice. Programs and activities focused on field building, field convenings, and field professional development/resources serve to nurture, sustain, and connect NET’s 350+ individual and organizational members throughout the U.S.


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