Performance and Disability Working Group at IFTR 2024

deadline for submissions: 
February 2, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Performance and Disability Working Group, International Federation for Theatre Research
contact email: 

Call for papers 2024

Performance and Disability Working Group CFP

“Resisting and Reclaiming Tragedy”

IFTR 2024 - University of the Philippines (our Working Group also welcomes online participation)


“Disability was always framed as a sad or bad thing, as something unfortunate that happened to me, a tragedy, a flaw. My experience with the medical world was one about “fixing” me and making me more “normal” and less disabled. This of course, echoed my experience of the world at large. I never saw disabled women in the media being desired or living whole complex lives, let alone disabled women of color. The messages always boiled down to: disability is wrong and undesirable.” – Mia Mingus


Call For Papers:

Tragedy has been a prevailing concept --a drumbeat-- throughout Disability scholarship worldwide. The nondisabled, able-bodied assumptions surrounding Disability being a tragic state, a personal tragedy, is a narrative that Disabled people have to confront on a daily basis (Snyder (2007), Kafer (2013), Oliver (1990), Sins Invalid (2020)). 


With this year’s call for papers inviting a “re-[imagining] of tragedy as a social experience and an aesthetic encounter” that exceeds its original, mythological traditions we believe that the Performance and Disability working group can gather with different perspectives and ideas unpacking the traditional and contemporary understandings of tragedy; resisting tragedy in all narrative forms; and ultimately identifying ways that Disability performance practices offer avenues to engage and challenge contemporary tragedies that touch our social, political, and artistic lives.


Questions to Further Open up the Theme:

  • How can we re-imagine tragedy within the contexts of Performance and Disability? 
  • What can a Disability approach to tragedy/crisis/emergency offer our understanding/s of performance? Aesthetics? Society? Power?
  • Disability studies is moving away from a tragedy model of disability. If disability isn’t our tragedy, what other tragedies are we attending to? 

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 and indicate if you would like to be a respondent, Jessica, Julie and Tony (, by 2 February 2024.

Please indicate if you plan to present in person in Manila or online through Zoom.


Tentative Working Group Format:

We imagine this year’s conference exchange to go as follows.

  1. You write a short paper, maximum 15 pages double spaced, and share that paper at least 24 hours prior to your presentation through reply all email that the co-convenors will provide.

  2. You can volunteer to participate in a Respondent Exchange, where the convenors will assign someone else’s presentation to you so you can provide a 2-minute response to their paper during the Q and A section. This is optional and we will provide more guidance and context closer to the conference.

  3. During our time in Manila/Zoom, each presenter will have ten minutes to present either a summary of their paper, or main questions from their paper to invite discussion between panelists. We will provide more guidance closer to the conference.


Our goal is to facilitate an engaged and meaningful discussion in a hybrid format. 


Presentations should consider different kinds of accessibility (creating image descriptions, captions). You can find resources to support this work here:  


Please email us if you have any questions or concerns.