Feb 2024 Hybrid Conference: Performing Care and Carelessness

Type of post: Association news item
Sub-type: No sub-type
Posted By: Hilary Halba
Status: Current
Date Posted: Thu, 31 Aug 2023

Performing Care and Carelessness: An interdisciplinary conference delivered in hybrid format

Hosted by The Performance of the Real Research Theme at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
th 16th February 2024

Call for Papers

Care is a topic of enormous complexity that is relevant to all of us. In a turbulent era, scholars from many different fields are returning again and again to consider care, or a lack of care, in political spheres, in relation to the environment, in a globalised world, in everyday life, amidst health crises, and in our mediatised and digital lives.

Care is both an affective orientation (I.e. ‘caring about’) and a practice (I.e. ‘caring for’, or ‘taking care of’). As such, it is something that is both performed, and performative; attached to embodied subjectivities, in which it takes on polysemic potential as a communicative and symbolic as well as relational act. As intimate and everyday as it can be, it is also recognised as being both political and politicised; entangled with systems of power at both macro and micro/everyday levels. As James Thompson observes, while care was once considered the province of the household, it is now ‘a crucial issue within public policy’ (2020: 41–2). This is perhaps especially true given that 21st century care politics have been deeply concerned with aims such as unmaking racial capitalism, cisheteropatriarchy, the carceral state, and the colonial present (Woodly et al. 2021: 891).

A lack of care - or a carelessness - can also become routinely embedded in many social institutions. As we acknowledge structures that represent barriers to care/ing, we can also acknowledge that caring despite these can stand as a form of resistance; an articulation of particular ethical commitments, an expression of collective identity, or an act of political imagination. As such, amidst shifting and challenging contemporary contexts, we consider how a call to care (for marginalised groups, for the natural world, for the people around us, and for distant others) can generate tensions and dilemmas. We focus on how both care and carelessness are performed, negotiated, and communicated, in both public and private settings, in response.

We encourage contributions relating (but not limited) to the following aspects of the performance and performativity of care:

  • -  Landscapes, geographies, and architectures of care: how ways of using and/or designing spaces might express care or carelessness, through inclusion and inclusion, enabling or disabling; care of environment in the context of climate change; multispecies relations of care in a more-than- human world

  • -  Mediatisation and visualisation of care and carelessness: in local and global information circuits; aesthetic, affective, and iconic qualities of images associated with NGOs, news media, or political parties; empathy and response-ability through communication technologies, including screens; performance of group- and self-identity in an era of ‘culture wars’ and the rise of the alt right; ways of responding to hate speech or dangerous speech online; solidarity and collective memorialisation online in responses to major events

  • -  Health/care, and cyborg care infrastructures: The role of technologies and materialities in extending or reconfiguring relations of care , both within and between bodies; the link between health technologies, digital technologies, media technologies, and contemporary biopolitics; formal and informal networks of care, in families and communities, online and offline

  • -  Care practices and the Care Turnin the arts: how care is expressed and performed in and through theatre and other art forms; how representations and practices of embodied care within theatre and other art forms can affirm the value of care, reveal and critique carelessness and unmake inequity; the lack of care for the wellbeing of performing artists within the industry; the unequal power relations within and without the performing arts which dictate whom has the ability and right to create artwork that purports ‘care about’ and ‘take care of’ important issues in society; issues of care when representing real people and events in performance and art

  • -  Workers, institutions, and professional care (and self-care): Institutions performing care or carelessness through specific language, discourse, structures or politics (including educational institutions, academic institutions, healthcare institutions, and other public institutions); care amidst precarity and precariousness; caring identities and professions, how care is performed both ‘front stage’ and ‘backstage’ in institutions; care that occurs within the margins of prescribed roles or practices; commodification and individualisation of notions of care including 'self-care' as part of neoliberal frames for responsibilised citizenship; care as radical political act amidst capitalism; political and politicised dimensions of care in recent social movements (e.g. BLM, Climate protests)

  • -  Care and respect for indigenous peoples, knowledge and culture: the slow move to decolonisation and recognition for the carelessness with which indigenous peoples and their culture knowledge and artefacts have been treated; decolonisation as caring practice ; the transformative power of indigenous models of ethical care relations between people, and with the environment

  • -  Multiple, competing, and pluralistic ethics of care: A variety of frameworks exist to lay out ethical obligations; religious frameworks, feminist frameworks, bioethical frameworks, policy frameworks. Developed in different historical contexts, how are these negotiated, applied and performed as part of the ‘ordinary ethics’ of people's everyday lives? As part of social institutions and/or forms of governance? As part of academic practice?

Abstracts of 200-250 words due by 31st October 2023.
Questions and to submit abstracts email: