UPDATE: [Film] Acting Out: A symposium on Screen Performance, Inference and Intepretation

full name / name of organization: 
Lucy Fife Donaldson
contact email: 

Acting Out - A symposium on Screen Performance, Inference and Interpretation

20th March 2009, University of Reading

Keynote Speaker - Andrew Klevan, (St. Anne's College, University of Oxford)
- Film Performance: From Achievement to Appreciation (Wallflower Press)

This one-day symposium seeks to provide a forum for scholars of screen
acting to meet and progress the spate of recent work on performance on
film. We would like to explore how we draw out performance through an
interrogation of the relationship between performance, inference and

In order to encourage discussion the day will run with no parallel panels.
We are inviting proposals for 20 minute papers. Please send us your 250
word proposal, plus a short biography.

In addition, due to the surprising volume of interest we have already
received and the limited spaces we have available for papers, we would like
to encourage those interested to contact us, and for proposals to be
submitted as early as possible.

Deadline for Proposals - Monday 22 December 2008

Please send us your 250-word proposal and brief biography by email to:
actingout_at_reading.ac.uk Enquiries should be directed to the organisers Ceri
Hovland and Lucy Fife Donaldson at the same email address.

As viewers we frequently respond instinctively to the material and kinetic
details of the performer within their fictional world. In consequence, the
role of inference could be said to be indivisible from interpretation. But
how important is that moment between engaging with a performance and
analysing it? How do you find it and observe it? What is the role of
inference in the process and production of performance? What is left unsaid
and/or assumed in performance?

Arguably, many performances communicate in non-verbal ways and leave a
certain amount to the imagination but how does this vary between
performance styles? More histrionic, melodramatic or ostensive performances
are frequently thought of as offering more privileged access to thoughts
and feelings or even a transparently clear communication of meaning. What
kinds of assumptions underpin this way of thinking about performance? And
where does this leave more contained or repressive performances?

The perceived problem of subjectivity is the ghost of film studies,
haunting many analyses but rarely addressed directly. How do discourses
around spectatorship effect discussion of performance? Could it be that the
study of performance is uniquely disposed to alerting us to the complexity
of engagement?

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Received on Fri Nov 28 2008 - 11:34:57 EST