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Posted: May 23, 2012
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Call for papers – Scenography Working Group

Scenography & Stratification

Abstracts may be submitted until 15th January, 2014CFP for download  twitter for IFTR scenography @scenographyiftr

The Scenography Working Group (SWG) is seeking proposals that will respond to the conference theme, Theatre and Stratification from a perspective that specifically addresses design for performance (in all of its theatrical forms, not only for theatre but also including dance, puppet and object theatre, installation and performance art, multi-media, digital practices, etc. and for events which might be staged well beyond conventional theatre buildings.)

This meeting of the Scenography Working Group is an opportunity to reassess the stratifications that underpin our discipline: to take core samples and to examine the breach between theatre design and scenography (Irwin in Hannah & HarslĂžf, 2008:42) and to look once again into the abyss (Aronson, 2005).

The conference call suggests that: ‘To speak of stratification, however, is not merely to speak of layers and layering’

How is scenography stratified?

As a discipline it has been a shifting landscape of tectonic plates: “For several years scenic art has been on a path of evolution. [New forms] have violently shifted the earlier boundaries” (Appia, 1904)

  • What are our discipline’s subduction zones and surface ruptures?
  • What are the past tectonic processes and current seismic shifts?
  • How might we think of stratification in relation to composition?
  • What are the scenographic processes and forces at play?
  • How does the layering of stage space and the performers’ bodies make meaning?

Contributions might include (but are not be restricted to) aspects such as

  • Layering of costume
  • Masking and unmasking
  • Layering of audience experience and spectatorship
  • Levels of immersion
  • Layering of place and space – in site-specific performance practice for example
  • Materiality of performance
  • Layering of technologies – both ancient and contemporary
  • Layers of meaning making
  • Creative processes
  • Hierarchies of production and their impact on scenography
  • How do the histories of performance design underpin contemporary practices?
  • How might we excavate these layers and look once again into the abyss?
  • What are the new scenographic landscapes?

Papers presented as part of the working group’s proceedings will have the opportunity of inclusion in a new peer-reviewed publication focused exclusively on scenography.



Adolphe Appia [c.1902] (1904) ‘Ideas on a Reform of our Mise en Scene’ La Revue des revues 1 (9), June, 342-349

Hannah, D & HarslĂžf, O (eds) (2008) Performance Design Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, University of Copenhagen

Aronson, Arnold (2005) Looking into the Abyss: Essays on Scenography (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press)


Abstracts (up to 300 words) will be accepted in English and French although the working group’s primary language is English.

Abstracts are to be submitted to BOTH the conference organizers and the co-conveners:

  1. Submit via the abstract submission pagevia Cambridge Journals Online. You will be prompted to join or renew your IFTR membership before you can submit your abstract. Please visit if you are ready to submit your abstract.
  2. Submit your abstract to co-convenors of the group; Professor David Vivian ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) and Scott Palmer ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

The Scenography Working Group welcomes participants with an interest in scenography and all aspects of design for performance. The group offers an opportunity to present and engage with participants who are both practitioners and theorists. Presenters and observers are welcome to participate in all of the group’s activities. It is expected that observers will be registered for the conference and will be presenting in the general programme.  If you wish to participate as an observer please send a brief request to Professor David Vivian ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) so that you may be added to the SWG mailing list and provided access to SWG meeting documentation. The SWG will also convene a business meeting for all members and guests during the conference period.

We invite a range of styles and formats for your presentation, from the more traditional academic writing to theorised, media-rich formats. Each presenter will be allocated 20 minutes to present their paper, including any audio-visual or practical demonstration, plus an additional 10 min for Q&A with the audience. As international dialogue is an important aspect of our gatherings please restrict the duration of your paper presentations to 20 mins to allow for this interaction to take place.

Those selected to present at the meetings of the SWG will be asked to make their presentation or paper available to all group members before the conference. The conveners will provide a secure online environment for the distribution of the presentation material. Group members are expected to read all papers in advance of the SWG meetings. Further details and deadlines for this aspect will be provided upon acceptance of your abstract.

We will also be proposing a curated panel from the SWG to the main conference program. The panel will be based on the same Working Group call. If you wish to be considered for the panel rather than for presentation in the working group meetings please indicate this clearly in your abstract submission.


Abstracts may be submitted until 15th January, 2014.

The maximum length for the abstract submission is 300 words.

Please indicate the equipment requirements for your presentation.

The working groups are scheduled to meet throughout the conference period, from Monday 28th July until Friday 1st August, 2014.


All abstracts, as well as the live panels during the conference, MUST be presented in English or French.

Each abstract corresponds to a certain type of presentation. You will choose a category and specify in the submission which one applies to your abstract. Only one presentation is allowed per person, so you must decide where to send your submission: General Panel, New Scholars Forum or Working Groups.

Please note that in order to submit an abstract for consideration you must be a member of IFTR/FIRT
for the year 2014. Membership registration, conference registration and abstract submission are handled by Cambridge University Press on behalf of IFTR/FIRT.

Participants will be informed of the status of their proposal to the SWG between February 21 and March 01, 2014. Conference registration will open in March 2014, after all abstracts have been received and accepted.


Useful links:

- general Call for Papers:
- Appel à Communications en français:

- to join or renew your IFTR/FIRT membership, submit an abstract, or register for the conference:

- you may find additional information about this Working Group here:

- SWG website, where you can sign-up to receive communications and updates:


We look forward to seeing you in Warwick in 2014!

Prof. Scott Palmer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Prof. David Vivian  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Co-Convenors of the Scenography Working Group IFTR/FIRT


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This working group's research focuses upon the history, theory, aesthetics and practice of scenography through a specific program of meetings, presentations and publication. The group also aims to nurture and develop new contributions to practice-led research by providing opportunities for scenographers and designers to discuss their work and exchange ideas in an international academic forum. Our research investigates scenic elements, costume, make-up, sound design, lighting design, masks, puppets and objects, and considers their proxemic relationship to performers and audiences in traditional and non-traditional spaces. Such research considers both contemporary practice and influences of scenic practices upon subsequent theatre developments. Through theme-specific paper presentations, we aim to develop opportunities for a two-tier publishing program (web and print) and an aesthetic/theoretical/philosophical investigation that is both distinct from and inclusive of technological developments for performance.

Work Plan

Our research during the next four years will include:

  • examination of regional identity construction and transmission through scenographic practice and research
  • dissemination of methodologies of scenographic practice: e.g., metaphoric, poetic, political, spatial and linguistic
  • exploration and development of theories and methodologies to articulate scenographic discourses in the performance event
  • potential collaborations with Scenography International, the History and Theory Commission of OISTAT and the IFTR Theatre Architecture Working Group


  • The publishing program includes:
  • participation in the advisory board for the Scenography Reader (Routledge)
  • selected papers of the yearly conference program prepared for e-distribution
  • proposed volume, provisionally entitled Scenography: Staging the Nation
  • We continue plans to conclude the publishing collaboration with the Theatre Institute in Prague, the University of Lodz (PL) and Brock University (CA). The edited conference proceedings of the 2007 Prague meeting are expected to be published under the title The New Space of Authenticity in collaboration with the PQ11.

Group members have recently participated in the 2007 Prague Quadrennial and IFTR/FIRT conferences in Seoul (2008), Lisbon (2009: theme The Politics of Theatre Space: Censorship and other Constraints, 12 papers), Munich (2010: theme: Stage Spaces and Modernity, 13 papers), Bacelona (2012: theme: Re-Routing Performance / Re-caminant l’escena). In October 2012 members also participated with the conference Current Innovative Research in Theatre Design (Prague, Theatre Institute) and in July 2010 Scenography Stages the Nation (London UK: Regent's College and The Society for Theatre Research).


Prof. Scott Palmer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Prof. David Vivian  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Co-Convenors of the Scenography Working Group IFTR/FIRT

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