East European Performing Arts Platform (EEPAP) supports the
development of contemporary performing arts (dance and theatre)
in 18 countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

Call for Papers: Back to the Future - Central European Avant-Garde Reclaimed


Call for Papers within the international conference

Back to the Future - Central European Avant-Garde Reclaimed

16th-17th November 2018, Royal Holloway, University of London

Since 2017, the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute in Warsaw has been leading an international project entitled “Reclaimed Avant-Garde” which aims to research and recall the history, works, ideas, and visions of theatre artists of the avant-garde from Central and Eastern Europe. We are interested in the projects of the artists working within two distinct spans of time and space: the time between the two World Wars, and the space in-between the two significant and influential theatre cultures of Russia and Germany. Most of these artists are still relatively unknown even within their own regions, not to mention the rest of Europe, and the world at large. We are not only trying to remember them as historically significant figures, but also as creators who still provide important inspiration in our time.

The conference „Back to the Future. Central European Avant-Garde Reclaimed” will be the next step in the development of this project after the release of an anthology of Polish source texts (Awangarda teatralna w Europie Środkowo-Wschodniej – wybór tekstów źródłowych), and the conference “Spaces of the Avant-Garde” organized in November 2017 in Warsaw. In London, we will analyse the visions and projects of the Central-European theatre avant-garde from the past which have not been completed, yet still may serve as a starting point for the future. The “theatre of the future” was an obsession of avant-garde theatre artists, who intended for their work to be further developed by future generations. We know that these dreams never came true as many projects of the ‘theatres of the future’ were strictly utopian. Through a selection of case studies, we will consider those projects that still have potential for contemporary theatre.

The conference, organized in London, will coincide with the 100th anniversary of Poland’s independence, as well as the independence of many Central-European countries involved in the project. One of our aims is to ask about independence in arts, and arts during and about the regaining of independence, or said otherwise, the art of independence. These crucial questions are both theoretical and pragmatic in these cultural contexts. We will interrogate transnational and global influences on the histories of the avant-garde.

We encourage all researchers interested in the topics outlined above to submit an abstract. We are interested in historical analyses, critical interpretations and practice-based reflections. We hope to discover what historical ground will be inspirational for the future avant-garde. Please send your proposal of around 500 words to [email protected] no later than July 30th, 2018. The authors will be informed about the results no later than August 15th.

Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute [ZRTI], Adam Mickiewicz Institute [IAM], University of London

The project is co-organised by the IAM as part of the international cultural program POLSKA 100 celebrating the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining independence and financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the Multi-annual Programme NIEPODLEGŁA 2017–2021

Conference homepage here.