Research Presentation at Dance Now. Work With(out) Boundaries at Universiteit Ghent


Dance Now. Work With(out) Boundaries at Universiteit Ghent

This conference is organised as part of the FWO-funded research project Choreographies of Precariousness. A Transdisciplinary Study of the Working and Living Conditions in the Contemporary Dance Scenes of Brussels and Berlin.

Both conference and project focus on the contemporary dance profession as one of the many professions in a regime without boundaries. Psychologists Allvin et al. (2011) claim that the working lives of post-Fordist workers (among them contemporary dance artists) have the potential for the destruction of work as we know it (also Sennett 1998; Bologna 2011). They describe the new working life as a giant switchboard of work and life that (dis)connects people. Whereas people’s control within their work increases, their control over the conditions of work diminishes.

In this respect, the work of dance is without boundaries in a double sense: it is increasingly mobile and transnational (no geographical boundaries) and, as the organisation of work becomes more flexible, sees the distinction between work and private life blurred (no mental boundaries). It is now up to the individual employee to establish this distinction and maintain personal limits (Gielen 2009). Following Lauren Berlant, we hypothesise that this precarious work without boundaries “occurs not only in the debates on how to rework insecurity” but “is also an emerging aesthetic” (Berlant 2011, 192) of which traces can be found in the performances of contemporary dance artists.

Although scholars from both sociology and theatre/performance studies have done research on the careers and the (aesthetics of) working processes of artists, the field of contemporary dance has received only modest attention. The aim of this two-day conference is to further resolve the hiatus in the debate on work without boundaries in the (performing) arts through organising lectures by scholars from various disciplines and talks and interventions by artists from the field of contemporary dance and performance.


Saturday 18/03/2017

9h-9.30h: Registration and coffee

9.30h-9.40h: Introduction to the PhD Forum by Prof. Katharina Pewny (Ghent University) and Dra. Annelies van Assche (Ghent University/KU Leuven)

9.40h-13h: PhD forum “Working on Dance”

Participating PhD students will present their research related to theme of the conference and receive feedback from senior experts Mark Franko and Gabriele Klein:

      • Alice Chauchat: “Dancer’s Labor as Exercise of Presence, or a Practice of Precariousness”
      • Anne Schuh: “‘Having a Practice’: Choreography Between Art-Making and Private Life”
      • Sasha Amaya: “Israeli Dance Artists in Berlin: Some Initial Conversations and Reflections”
      • Verena Kittel: “States of Uncertainty in the Filmic Images of Nicholas Cernovich”
      • Coleen Hooper: “Dance as Public Service During the Comprehensive Employment Training Act (CETA)”
      • Luisa Gehriger: “On Free Time. Precarity Beyond Work “

The PhD forum is open to other participants of the conference, who can witness the presentations of the PhD students.

13h-14.30h: Lunch break

14.30h-15h: Introduction to the conference by Prof. Katharina Pewny (Ghent University and Dra. Annelies van Assche (Ghent University/KU Leuven)

15h-16h:: Keynote speech: Dance, the De-materialization of Labor, and the Productivity of the Corporeal by Prof. Mark Franko (Temple University, Philadelphia) (Chair: Katharina Pewny)

16h-16.15h: Coffee break

16.15h-18h: Panel A: The Physical and Mental Boundaries between Work and Life (Chair: Christel Stalpaert)

  • Prof. Helen Thomas (Trinity Laban Conservatoire, UK), The Precarity of Dancing Bodies: Dancers’ strategies for managing (or not) pain and injury
  • Prof. Rudi Laermans (KU Leuven, Belgium), Artistic Precarity as Liminality: An Anthropological Perspective
  • Igor Koruga (Choreographer, Serbia), Discontinuity as Their Only Continuity: The Life of a Dance Artist

18h-18.30h: Lecture performance: The Principles of Survival of Today’s Artistic Career/Life by performance artist Tan Tan (China) (Chair: Annelies Van Assche)

Sunday 19/03/2017

9.30h-10h: Registration and Coffee

10h-10.45h: Keynote speech: Artistic Work as Cultural Translation. The Example of Contemporary African Choreographers Germaine Acogny and Mamela Nyzama by Prof. Gabriele Klein (Universität Hamburg, Germany) (Chair: Katharina Pewny)

10.45h-12h: Panel B: Mobility and Transnationalism (Chair: Jeroen Coppens)

  • Prof. Anusha Kedhar (Colorado College, US), Strategies of Mobility: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Transnational Choreographies of Migrant Indian Dance Workers
  • Dr. Jonas Tinius (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) and performing artist Wanja Van Suntum (Germany), FUTURE PERFECT: A Dialogue on Mobility, Precarity and Temporality

12h-13.30h: Lunch break

13.30h-14.15h: Keynote speech by Prof. Gabriele Brandstetter (Freie Universität Berlin) (Chair: Katharina Pewny)

14.15h-15.30h: Panel C: Rituals, Structures, Community (Chair: Inge Arteel)

  • Dr. Dunja Njaradi (University of the Arts Belgrade, Serbia), Our Labour, Hard Labour! Pain, Exhaustion and Endurance in the Folk Dance World
  • Dr. Delphine Hesters (Flanders Arts Institute, Belgium), Individualized Careers, Collective Challenges

15.30h-15.45h: Coffee break

15.45h-16.15h: Artistic contribution by Jeremy Wade (Performing artist and curator, Germany) (Chair: Annelies Van Assche)

16.15h-16.45h: Closing word by Dr. Angela Pickard (Canterbury Christ Church University, UK)

For more information, see here.