Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Charlotte McIvor
International Federation for Theatre Research
"Migration, Performance and Intercultural Dialogue in the European Union: When Social Policy Meets Performance Practice"
Belgrade, Serbia
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
This paper examines the relationship between migration, performance and intercultural dialogue as social policy in the European Union since the late 2000s. It is currently enjoying a second wave of prominence with several recently published reports by the European Union explicitly highlighting the relationship between intercultural dialogue’s transformational possibilities and the role of the arts. Crucially, in both European social policy and performance theory today, interculturalism is increasingly used to mean an embodied practice and site of encounter that strategically multiplies rather than binarizing or reifying cultural differences between individuals and within groups. For social interculturalism, the end game is a democratically and mutually negotiated “social cohesion” which would allow ethnic majority and minority ethnic residents of European Union member states (including recent migrants from a range of backgrounds and statuses including that of refugees) to “live together as equals in dignity” on scales ranging from the local to the supranational. This broad aim for EU practices of intercultural dialogue appear to extend and concretise Ric Knowles’ critical hope for a new theatrical interculturalism that might capture “processual, performative (re)constructions of subjectivities”(2017, 4) by individuals, particularly those from minority ethnic communities, as he outlines through his Toronto-based case studies in “Performing the Intercultural City.” But how does the imagined operation of this practice at the scale of the European Union within the “performance ecologies” (5) of diverse locations complicate these utopian imaginings and instead reveal the inequalities that this performative conception of intercultural dialogue might not only conceal but sustain? To answer this question, I will briefly profile the work of three European theatre companies who describe their work as theatrical interculturalism and use it as a means of practicing and furthering intercultural dialogue: Kloppend Hert (Belgium), Terra Nova Productions (Northern Ireland), and Outlandish Theatre Platform (Republic of Ireland).
Publication Themes
Humanities in Context