TaPRA 2019 has ended
Welcome to TaPRA 2019 at the University of Exeter!

Chair's Welcome

Whether this is your first or your tenth TaPRA conference, I want to thank you for making the time to share, discuss, critique and dream with the research community that we comprise and forge together.  
The TaPRA Executive wants you to feel welcome and valued – and not simply regardless of your nationality, gender, body, sex, race, ethnicity, dis/ability, age, institutional affiliation, research interest, field or area of practice, but because of these lived experiences. TaPRA aims to facilitate an environment in which productive balance of researchers at all career stages are able to work together, supporting and learning from each other. 

TaPRA held its first conference in 2005 and at its core are its Working Groups. With the exception of the keynotes and a sponsored full conference panel, Working Groups drive the conference; they choose the feel, format, themes and presenters for their own sessions. They create spaces for dialogue and development – of ideas, networks and projects – over an extended period of time, and are constantly evolving to incorporate the energy of new participants. 

We are often asked how the conference should be negotiated and the truth is that it’s completely up to you, your needs and your interests. But it would be disingenuous not to say that there is an expectation that those presenting in a Working Group stay and engage with that group throughout the conference by attending its sessions. The Open Panel sessions, by contrast, each curated by a different Working Group (or two together), are designed so that you can ‘break out’ of your normal group and explore others. 

If you are not presenting within a Working Group session or sponsored panel, then you are absolutely welcome to pick and mix and attend any session you like throughout the conference. It is worth saying that occasionally Working Groups circulate papers in advance or hold ‘business meetings’ (especially in final session) – so it’s worth contact the Working Group convenors in advance to ask them about the nature of a session. All Working Group convenors are listed with photos on a page on the conference app and also the TaPRA website. 

This is a difficult time for researchers, across all disciplines, in the UK, but perhaps even more so for those in the arts & humanities who need to negotiate precarious conditions and are often made to instrumentally justify the value of our knowledge generation. As a result, it is even more important that we practise a form of radical acceptance and solidarity – that we make space, that we respect each other and that we look to common goals and aspirations related to the vitality of our disciplines. 

You will probably know that the TaPRA Executive made the decision to withdraw from our intended conference venue very late in the planning cycle. This means that, atypically, this conference has not been organised by and on behalf of the host institution but, rather, the TaPRA Executive. The Drama Department at the University of Exeter has opened its doors to us with great generosity and openness and has made this conference possible. I would especially like to thank Dr Katie Beswick, who is Communications Officer on the TaPRA Executive, for holding the organisation of this conference together. Her commitment to and work towards this event has been extraordinary. 

It’s important to note that TaPRA is an organisation of volunteers. All of the Executive, all of the Working Group Coordinators, and all of the Prize judges are giving of their time and doing their best for the organisation, often on top of full time jobs. We know that nothing is perfect and we want your feedback. But if something isn’t working for you, try to express this with respect and sensitivity. 

And please also remember that you are now a member of TaPRA and have a voice in its running and priorities. Your membership runs until the day before next year’s conference, 1 September 2020. This means that you may attend any other TaPRA events during the year (either for free or at a reduced rate), nominate or run for the TaPRA executive, nominate for TaPRA prizes, will receive the newsletter by email, and so on. You also have the opportunity to contribute to discussion and vote on issues during our Annual General Meeting (AGM) which will take place on the final day of the conference. 

Please do not hesitate to come up and talk to me during the conference (unless, of course, you find me in the ‘introvert room’). I want to know about your research, your experiences and your ideas for TaPRA as an organisation.  

For TaPRA2019, I am setting myself the task of properly listening. Here I am referring to Rolando Vázquez’s decolonial listening, a listening with “conviviality” and as critique; listening that is also an “ethical orientation, towards knowledge as relationality”. I hope you will join me in this attempt, and that you have a rich and rewarding conference. 
Professor Roberta Mock 
Chair, TaPRA

Hosts' Welcome

It seems fitting that Exeter should host TaPRA 2019, which falls at the close of the 2018/19 academic year — marking the end of our 50th anniversary celebrations. We have spent the past year reflecting on the achievements of alumni and staff, and looking forward to what might be needed, in theatre and performance research and practice, and in the wider world, in the years to come. 
Over the past 50 years, Exeter has built an international reputation for Drama research and teaching, pioneering a critical praxis of learning and researching through doing, and cultivating a generation of theatre makers, teachers and scholars who have impacted on the cultural landscape in large and small ways. In the coming months we are looking forward to co-hosting a symposium with Theatre Alibi, alumni company, on school children as audiences, to a return visit from Punchdrunk, and to hosting academic alumnus from Turkey, Oman, Korea, Thailand and Australia. 
We know that many of you attending TaPRA will have passed through Exeter in one way or another — as students, staff, examiners and collaborators. It is indicative of the challenges facing our discipline that the conference venue was changed just a few months before this event took place. Under these difficult circumstances, we are proud to stand alongside colleagues from across the country and the world, and show solidarity in the face of existing and oncoming challenges. We hope that those of you returning to Exeter – and those visiting for the first time —  find that you have arrived at a home of sorts, where you can feel supported and safe among colleagues. In the midst of a tumultuous social, political and professional climate, a disciplinary conference such as this offers space to feel excited about the possibilities of theatre and performance research and inspired by one another.  
The conference team have worked to keep breaks and lunchtimes free of events in order that colleagues can connect with each other, and discover the possibilities that rest and relaxation offer for combating the stresses of our times. The University of Exeter Campus has numerous gardens, parkland, and a sculpture walk, and the region is surrounded by spectacular countryside. We encourage you to explore the campus and the surrounding area during your time here.  
We welcome you to Exeter, and hope that you have an enriching and inspiring conference experience.  
Professor Jane Milling and Dr Katie Beswick (On behalf of Exeter Staff). 


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