Representations of the Other:
Language, Body and Space in Cross-cultural Performances
Aims and objectives
This is an independent project with an international outlook initiated by a group of theatre professionals, researchers and philosophers. Its aim is to establish a multi- layered platform for cross- cultural co-operation, research and debate within the field of theatre and performance. The project is also keen to engage with a large spectrum of social groups, enhancing social engagement and output through creating a forum for theatrical innovation and development. The main objective of this research is to foster communication and artistic creation within and/ or through theatre (both theory and practice) in and between various minorities and migrant communities. We are interested in the various cultural practices that inform theatre making in various social- cultural and political contexts; and the (inter)cultural exchanges, translations, adaptation processes and strategies raised within theatre making. Also, the project is keen to analyse the cultural dynamics between minority communities and the dominant cultural tendencies (majority). Hence, intending to raise awareness of the complex cultural and theatrical interactions and fusions between minority-majority discourses. Issues of identities in translation will be core to this analysis. This project focuses on the theatrical language conceived in the widest possible way (use of language, body and space) in the performances of communities with hybrid identities. In recent years, due to economic, social and political changes across Europe, the cultural landscapes are being re-drawn as well. Within this large- scale alteration driven by globalisation, the co-existence of different cultural and ethnic groups that engage in dialogues and inspire each other become ever more important. The theatrical expressions and representation of minorities and migrant communities is a susceptible phenomenon that fosters cross-cultural communication and helps in research and theory formation in newly shaped, multifaceted and complex societies
This current project is inspired by our experience of launching and working on an innovative Hungarian- language theatre periodical focussing on the cross-cultural theatre phenomenon in the unique context of Hungarian minority theatres in Central and Eastern Europe.
Since 2012, around this periodical has grown a community of academics, theatre professionals, artists and researchers conceiving, writing and editing Játéktér/Playing Area and creating a platform for new discourses. Our interest, as a new theatre journal lies within the context of the Hungarian minority theatre in Romania and its divers theatrical practices and interactions with the majority, Romanian culture and theatrical forms. Situated on the borderline between the Hungarian and Romanian theatrical tradition, these theatres could be prime examples of cultural interferences and various cross-cultural practices. New approaches, theories and debates have emerged, often across disciplines, through the publications so far, giving voice to such under-represented areas of study in the region as: Translation Studies, Cultural Translation, Translation and Identity, and the wider issue of Minority Theatre.
Initiatives of the project
1. OTHERNESS DIALOGUES: Otherness Reader, workshops and performance lectures: a collection of studies, site, performance lectures and a workshop-series – from smaller to larger scale, tailored to different participants, aiming cross-cultural dialogue and inclusion.
The Otherness Reader offers an edited and updated reading list of the most significant philosophical texts, with introduction to each of them. The collection is a gap-filling reader in the topic, and it provides material for both academic and extra-curricular activities.
Workshops and performance lectures are based on cross-disciplinary approaches and methods themselves: they engage many players from the public sector and NGO’s and this way help them launch a dialogue in order to facilitate social inclusion (education, health, working conditions, etc.).
Through involving decision makers and representatives of NGOs and public institutions the events foster change in proceedings with unprivileged social groups.
Worked out for 3-4 actors (scientists and artists) and partakers between 12 (in the case of the workshops) and 30 (in the case of performance lectures) one of the main aims of the project is to form an international network of events and exchange knowledge, information and experience. Beyond the fact that events are easy to be toured, further actors (scientists and artists) can be trained to hold the events.
2. RESEARCH AND DATABASE: data-collection, followed by research and theory formation around the new concepts rose throughout the practice and experience of cross-cultural collaboration. A questionnaire of 10 fixed questions devised by theatre professionals, sociologists and researchers is prepared for artists and theatre professionals with experience in cross-cultural theatre making that is followed by a free thorough interview. Methods of oral history are used. The database extends according to the number of artists and communities involved and serves as object to further research and theory formation in several disciplines and even for research across disciplines. Hence, organically connecting the workshop phases of the project (as research output and theories are shared, discussed and internalized by practitioners), and the social engagement phase in which this knowledge is explored by the communities themselves.
3. SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT: finding ways of disseminating, exploring the knowledge researching new ways of reaching out to the members of these communities through new theatrical means. Each partner should find their own method and a flexible way of communication towards their own communities according to their needs and cultural contexts. The social engagement phase of the project is also related to both of the previous stages of the project.
Socio-cultural climate, theatrical traditions (and the exchanges between these), national theatrical canons and actual theatre making are the focus of this project, thus working methods involve all kinds of transmissions, interpretation and sharing of languages, values, narratives and provide opportunity for participants to expand their research and working area by combining several fields of research across disciplines, e.g. : theatre studies: theatre aesthetics and theatre history; anthropology; ethnography; philosophy; sociology; psychology; cross-cultural approaches; communications; political studies, translation, adaptation and dramaturgy.
As an independent project that has come to life through a civic initiative, Representations of the Other is committed to transparent communication and working methods and wishes to offer equal rights and working conditions for all participants and partners. Therefore, all communities involved in the project are encouraged to promote and share their own cultural, social and religious identities.
Project management structure
Initiator and responsible for project management until August 2015: Játéktér /Playing Area Association.
Host for workshops, symposia and conferencesin Romania: GroundFloor Group.
In April 2015 othernessproject was officially registered in Denmark, as an Association (Frivillig Forening), and its work has been coordinated by a board from May 2016.
Allegade 44/2, Elsinore – 3000, Denmark
CVR number: 36 57 94 63