21 September, 2023 | by Jemimah Jacobs

Our Dance Democracy 2:
November 27th/28th 2020 Liverpool Hope University

Call for ABSTRACTS and Delegates

Building on the success of Our Dance Democracy in 2018, this conference will further the debate, extending the dialogue of how artists and academics interrogate the function of dance in the 21st Century.

Our Dance Democracy 2 will consider the notion of our world as an ever-challenging and changing global society, in which social media facilitates the circulation of opinions and prejudices rooted in intuitive,
and frequently unexamined narratives of contemporary societies. These are increasingly taken up, legitimised, and recycled as common-sense master-narratives across the discursive circuits of established media and political debate. A real expansion of inclusive public space is one outcome
of this and introspection another. These tendencies expose boundaries in human relations, always constituted – contradictorily – as zones of exclusion which are always also points of contact. The UK as a bounded and bordered territory, demonstrates that perceptions of (in)visibility, identity and belonging have real-world significance, and the importance of interrogating assumptions underpinning them cannot be over-stated.

Artists and cultural workers perform a critical public role in exposing inherited and novel ideas and practices to examination and re-examination.
Our Dance Democracy 2 sets out to explore the proposition that, because dance lives by contact across boundaries, borders, and frontiers, it has proven capacity to enable critical understanding of the human and historical contingency of even the ‘hardest’ borders, erected in the name of immutable, non-negotiable, traditions, beliefs, and value systems. Dance as a ritualistic act can perform difference as historical defiance, our art form is also practised in creative ways that can name – and, therefore,
resist – complex contemporary forms of oppression, not least by promoting and supporting social and political activism. Dance and dancers can model, rehearse, and embody ways of living together for mutual flourishing, thus reinvigorating democratic concepts, practices, and structures for a
fractured twenty-first century.

In Our Dance Democracy 2 we propose dance and dancing, pedagogy and performance making, writing and critical discourses, as dynamic sites for critical thinking, progressive social intervention, civic engagement, ethics and activism – both established and emergent.

We announce a space for ethical action, beyond borders imposed on our creative worlds: a platform for artists to make visible, and test the viability of, ideas of equity and embodied principles of collective

Our Dance Democracy 2 will be a two-day conference, dedicated to deliberating on the role of dance artists and scholars in ways including, but not limited to

Dance as cultural identity

Dance as protest/resistance/conflict/celebration

Movement of peoples: Belonging/displacement/segregation

Cultural forms as political legacies

Dance as peace-building

Cultural amnesia


Borders, boundaries, frontiers: contacts, exclusions, histories and

Dancing uncertainty, landscapes and re-mapping

Dancing Communities: social justice, civic responsibility and ethics

Internal Borderspaces: dancing the maternal in mind and body

Abstracts accepted for 20 minute papers, experimental formats including performative lectures, workshop/seminars and provocation world-café style.

The organisers are exploring a peer-reviewed collection of articles based on conference contributions and invited essays, and delegates may be invited to contribute to this.

Opening Keynote Speaker:

Victor Merriman, Professor of Critical Performance Studies, Edge Hill University

Conferences fees are set at £100, and include: digital access to all content; morning and afternoon refreshments; lunch on both days (special dietary requirements, notified at the time of booking, can be accommodated).

Our Dance Democracy 2 offers the following concession rates:
£80 (Early Bird; Deadline: Sunday 30th September)
Artist/Postgraduate: £80 Daily Rate: £50 (30th October 2020)

Artist delegates may apply to Karen Gallagher & Associates for one of 10 bursaries, to support attendance, and, as appropriate, presentation.


Submission of Abstracts: 5st June 2020
Conference Attendance: Opens 1st May 2020 Ends 30th October 2020
Application for Bursaries: Opens 1st May 2020 Ends 14th July 2020

For further information, please contact
Dr Sarah Black [email protected] or Niall Doherty [email protected]

Our Dance Democracy is made possible through a collaboration between
Karen Gallagher & Associates, Liverpool Hope University and People
Dancing, with funding from Arts Council England National Lottery Project

*Dr. Sarah Black *

*Lecturer in Dance *
Higher Education Academy Fellow

*Co-founder and Co-director – DARE Doctoral Arts Research Events *

COR 117Liverpool Hope University

*The Creative Campus 17 Shaw Street Liverpool L6 1HP *