Performance and Disability Working Group at IFTR

deadline for submissions: 
February 10, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Performance and Disability Working Group, International Federation for Theatre Research
contact email: 



In the general call for papers, the conference organizers link myths to “our ability to fashion new ways of seeing and interpreting the world around us – in narrative and dramatic terms,” and emphasize the “narrative nature of myths; the structuring or ordering of specific (real or imagined) events.” Rather than focusing exclusively on the concept of myth, we invite papers that explore how performances by disabled artists offer “new ways of seeing and interpreting the world around us – in narrative and dramatic terms.” How do artists ‘crip’[1] or ‘neuroqueer’[2] narratives and dramatic structures and processes? 


Alison Kafer states that “How one understands disability in the present determines how one imagines disability in the future; one’s assumptions about the experience of disability create one’s conception of a better future.”[3]  Echoing the general call for papers, we invite submissions that center the “creation of new myths that embody our aspirations for the future,” a future in which disability is present. Rather than focusing on the old myths, we envision our convening as a coalition of knowledge to propel us into the future. What new myths can we collectively create? 


During our 2023 Working Group gathering we will not focus solely on the “stories we tell,” but also on the ways in which we tell them. Within the performance and disability fields that we all inhabit there are nuances, tensions, and complications that impact on how disabled artists tell those stories; why disabled artists tell them in accessible, and non-normative ways; and how those stories reflect or represent lived experiences of disability, d/Deafness, difference, and neurodivergence. 


To create new myths we engage with Kafer’s notion of “accessible futures, future coalitions.”[4] This is a way for Disability to build bridges to other movements, to use the tools we have within Disability studies and the other affordances of disability analysis in order to develop what Disability BIPOC-led activist and performance company Sins Invalid[5] calls “cross-movement solidarity.”[6] We are interested in the generative possibilities of coalition to support other movements to effect and support change. We are interested in the intersection of disability studies, culture, and justice with movements to support trans rights and liberation, anti-racism, and the sustainability of the earth.


Potential topics and questions to explore in your proposal:

- How does time, specifically crip time, interact with our idea of what constitutes a myth?

- What myths can we address in art/performance that may be complicated/difficult to address in real life?

- How do we address or question medical myths surrounding Disability and access to life (for example, eugenics, the politics of cure, medical assistance in dying, COVID19 and questions of quality of life)?

- How can performance offer space, time, and creativity to redefine medical and other myths?

- Can Disability performance be considered a way to make myths for/about/from Disabled people? For example, we are thinking of Mia Mingus’s blog “Leaving Evidence”[7] as a form of crip mythmaking.

- In what ways do Disability aesthetics, care practices, and approaches to performance generate new myths around both Disability and performance?


How to apply:

Submission must be done through the IFTR registration process. Acceptance of abstract submission requires IFTR membership and conference registration through the IFTR Cambridge Core website at  

After you submit your 300-word  abstract through IFTR, please also email a copy to the co-convenors, Jessica, Julie and Tony( 10 February 2023.

Presentations should be 15-minutes in length and consider different kinds of accessibility (creating image descriptions, captions). You can find resources to support this work here:  

Please indicate whether you intend to present in person or online.

Please email us if you have any questions or concerns.


Julie Dind

Jessica Watkin

Tony McCaffrey

Co-convenors, Performance and Disability Working Group



[1] For more on this term, see

[2] For more on this term, see

[3] Alison Kafer, Feminist, Queer, Crip (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013), 2.

[4] Ibid, 149.


[6] For more on this, see