Congrés Performance Traditions: Narrative, Ritual, and Meaning in Folk Song, Dance, Theatre, and Storytelling

Performance Traditions

Narrative, Ritual, and Meaning in Folk Song, Dance, Theatre, and Storytelling

22-25 October 2019, Whitstable & Canterbury, UK


Performance traditions are often significant markers of community and identification. In our globalised world, ‘folk’ song, dance, theatre, and storytelling have the potential to create a sense of national or ethnic cohesion, whether within a homeland and within a diaspora. They can just as significantly be used to signal difference and separation. Pride in traditional singing and music, engagement in calendar customs, and other performance traditions can persist long after the vernacular religions and social contexts in which they arose have transformed into something else entirely. Nevertheless, just as there are many communities in which performance traditions are a point of pride, there are others in which performance traditions – even when they ostensibly represent the majority population – are sometimes viewed with suspicion, subjected to ridicule, or seen as outdated customs. Some performance traditions flourish while others wither and are lost to memory. New traditions are created, old ones traditions are revived, and innovations take on the mantle of history and authenticity.

This conference considers performance traditions from around the world, including their meanings for audiences and performers; their roles in creating and sustaining communities; the relationship between their narrative and social function; the ways in which traditions adapt to new media and technologies; the interaction between tourism and performance; the connections and disconnections between performance, nation, and ethnicity; and competing efforts to define, justify, or explain particular traditions.


How to make a presentation.

This interdisciplinary conference welcomes presentations addressing performance traditions from any region of the world as well as comparative research.

Presentations last 15 minutes and will be followed by around 5 minutes’ question time. The deadline for abstracts is 31 January 2018. You can submit your abstract here. The deadline for early registration is 31 March, and the final deadline registration 30 May.

If you have any questions, e-mail convenor Adam Grydehøj (



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Paisatge i conflicte social: coves, refugis i trinxeres (La Vall d’Uixó, 16-17/11/2018).


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