About us

OTHERNESSPROJECT

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

Background

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 coordinate by a board from May 2016.

CONTACT:

othernessproject

Allegade 44/2, Elsinore – 3000, Denmark

othernessproject@gmail.com

CVR number: 36 57 94 63

Members and Partners

CURRENT MANAGERIAL BOARD

From May 2016, othernessproject works with a managerial board that ensures communication flow and takes decision on running projects, in close cooperation with the active members.

IMG_0286 copyUniversity lecturer, author and director, Rita Sebestyen has worked out her own methodology to tackle with the interaction of arts, culture and society. With her practice-based, cross-disciplinary approach she designs courses, performances and events to offer hands-on experience of the most intriguing philosophical, aesthetic and societal questions.
Portfolio: http://sebestyenrita.com/

 

 

 

pil

 

Pil Josefine Nielsen trained as actor and dancer/choreographer at the Trinity Laban College and Copenhagen International School of Performing Arts. Seh is often working with melting down the barriers between art forms, and professions; finding true creative potential in being lost, or on the way. She enjoys using methods like devising, improvisation, and choreography to create a mixture of storytelling, physical theatre, and character work. Lately her work has been focusing and researching into the concept of passage: in communication, bodies, genders, sexuality, death, life, time and expansion.

 

 

balint

Bálint Juhász is cultural and educational developer, and production manager at Othernessproject. He previously had the achievement of conceiving, facilitating, mentoring and managing the Krétakör Free School, a a democratic engagement program with 150 students from Sweden, Germany, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia; also working extensively as fundraiser and project manager in several performing art projects internationally. He was the conceiver and team leader of the Krétakör Archive, and conducted a research in mapping activism in Slovakia and Hungary. In 2016, with Krétakör, he received the Princess Margriet Award for Culture.

 

FOUNDING MEMBERS:

Sisso ARTNER: gartner sissiraduated in Hungarian Language and Literature & Adult Education at ELTE in 1990, graduated at Sociology Studies in Ethnic and Minority Specialisation in 2004 at the Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, HU and EU Diplomacy in 2006 from Pázmány Péter University. She is cultural journalist, author, editor, critic of theatre, dance theatre and pop music at cultural-political weekly Magyar Narancs, writing also for HVG, http://www.revizoronline.hu, http://www.litera.hu, http://www.kultura.hu. Member of Lábán Jury. From 2005: founding editor and activist at Tűsarok (independent women`s periodical) and from 2010: editor-in-chief and activist at human rights content provider and community site http://www.commmunity.eu. Teaching journalism and communication at (PTE), Pécs University, at ZEN project.

BataritaBATARITA: choreographer, dancer, director, teacher, set and costume designer, director of the KINJIKI International Performing Arts Festival in Budapest. Her works – uniquely in Hungary – have strong relation to the Asian culture, especially to butoh dance. She graduated as a choreographer from the Hungarian Dance Academy.
Since 2000 she has her own dance company. Her invitations to work and study abroad include: Paris, Vienna, Bangkok, Tokyo, Munmak. Since 2003 she has won several prizes, awards and study trips. In 2009 she directed three operas at the Hungarian National Opera House. Workshops held by her on butoh and instinct dance: Singapore, Romania, Slovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Serbia, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Austria, Germany, Ecuador and Thailand.

Åse Eliason BJURSTRÖM: drama teacher and lecturer in education at University West, Trollhättan Sweden. She has together with ecologist Miriam Sannum initated RCE West Sweden in relation to the UN Decade of Learning for Sustainable development. She is interested in an intercultural rhizomatic arts-based learning. Learning that sets out to create flows in-between different arenas. For the last twenty years she has worked with drama in intercultural network settings, mainly in East Africa and Sweden. She has co-authored a number of articles and book chapters in the area of intercultural education and work integrated learning, the most recent being ‘Weaving Pedagogies of Possibility’ in Arjen Wals and Peter Corcoran’s edited book Learning for Sustainability in Times of Accelerating Change.

Adam CZIRAK PhD: graduated in German Studies from Eötvös-Loránd University, Budapest and in Theatre Studies and Comperative Literature Studies from Freie Universität Berlin. He wrote his dissertation on participative practices of looking in intersubjective based art and has a PhD in Theatre Studies. Currently he is assistant professor at the Department for Performance Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. His research focuses on aesthetics of contemporary theatre, visual culture, psychoanalysis, and performance art in the Eastern European Neoavantgarde. Publications: Partizipation der Blicke (Bielefeld, 2011) / Die Aufführung (ed. with E. Fischer-Lichte et al., München, 2011) / Theories of Contemporary Dance (Budapest, 2013) / Melancholy and Politics (ed. With Vassilis Noulas et al, Athens, 2013, in print)

Melanie DREYER: director, actor, translator, teacher and producer.  She specializes in intercultural, multilingual theater projects and has directed over fifty productions nationally and internationally. Currently serves as the Producing Director of Civic Ensemble (www.civicensemble.org) and as Assistant Professor of Acting/Directing at Cornell University.  More about her work may be found at http://www.melaniedreyer.com.

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Réka DUNKLER: dramaturg, librarian, teacher, cultural organizer and web editor. Graduated in Theatre Studies and Pedagogical Studies at the Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj, Romania. After finishing also a specialization in Librarian Studies she is currently working as librarian in Odorheiu- Secuiesc and as web editor of the theatre periodical Játéktér (Playing Area) at www.jatekter.ro. For three years she was working as artistically adviser at the Csiky Gergely Theatre in Timişoara and after that for eight years she was part of the managerial board of the Tomcsa Sándor Theatre in Odorheiu Seciuesc. She was working as a dramaturge at several award winning theatre productions and was co-organizer and co-worker of international theatre festivals in Romania. For several years she was a teacher of drama and theatre history at the drama class of the Art School of Odorheiu Secuiesc.

.Kinga KELEMEN: cultural manager working with several NGOs in Cluj. She is founder and director of GroundFloor Group, a contemporary dance association, producer of dance and theatre performances and exchanges, and an International Contact Improvisation Festival. Also member of the board of Fabrica de Pensule (opened in 2009), a new, independent contemporary art space running in a former paintbrush factory, where she is programming theatre and dance events in a black box type studio of 220 sqm. She was employed by the Hungarian State Theatre Cluj (1999-2007) as head of Marketing, Image and Pr Department and coordinator of important international theatre festivals. She is assistant lecturer at Babeş-Bolyai University, Faculty of Theatre and Television since 2002. As a researcher, her interest is in Arts and Cultural Management and Cultural Policies. She is a PhD student at the same Faculty since October 2009.

Marta MinierMárta MINIER: Lecturer in Drama at the University of South Wales. She holds a PhD from the Centre for Performance Translation and Dramaturgy at the University of Hull. Her PhD thesis discussed the translation of Hamlet into Hungarian culture. Márta’s main research interests include European drama with a special emphasis on Central and Eastern Europe; translation studies; adaptation studies; dramaturgy; stage and screen biography; Shakespeare studies. She is Assistant Editor of the Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance and one of the associate editors of the theatre studies journal Symbolon.

Lilla PROICS: graduated from the first class of Theatre Critics’ Course at the Bárka Theatre, Budapest, HU. She has been writing reviews, essays, interviews, tvmonitoring material for more than fifteen years for: Duna TV, Magyar Narancs, Ellenfény, Zsöllye, Színház, Kisvárdai Lapok, Könyvjelző, http://www.szinhaz.net, http://www.szinhaz.huhttp://www.revizoronline.hu,   http://www.commmunity.eu  and she works for the independent Tilos Rádió. She was member of the jury at the Kisvárda Festival of Hungarian Minority Theatres.

Sándor SAJÓ PhD: philosopher and in some sense a poet and a writer too. Currently, he is assistant professor at Eötvös Loránd University Budapest (his Habilitation is in progress). His book Almost Everything. The  Dialectics of Broken Totality is forthcoming both in Hungarian and English. Accordingly, he is interested in almost everything. To put it a bit more exactly, he feels close to various philosophers like Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Deleuze. For different reasons, to be sure. Earlier, he also translated texts from some of these authors into Hungarian.

sebestyen ritaRita SEBESTYÉN, PhD: graduated in Theatre Studies from Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, RO and took her PhD in the Aesthetics of the Ancient Greek theatre at the Eötvös Lóránd University, Budapest, HU (www.sebestyenrita.com). She has taught at universities in Hungary and Romania, also works as researcher and lecturer in Denmark. As a dramaturge she has made stage adaptations for awardwinning productions in Denmark, Hungary and Romania, and as an essayist has contributed to volumes of studies and theatre magazines in Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, The Czech Republic, Poland, Serbia and France. Her first book of literature The Fourteenth (A Tizennegyedik) was published in 2010. With colleagues and former teachers and students co-founded the theatre periodical Játéktér (Playing Area) and http://www.jatekter.ro/ being its editor-in-chief as well. In May 2013 she initiated the othernessproject; in 2015 she has become the artistic leader of it.

INSTITUTIONAL PARTNERS:

indexThe Centre for Studies in Otherness is a collaborative project between scholars primarily from the University of Aarhus, Denmark and Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, Ireland. The Centre works to initiate vigorous and productive interventions into nominal areas of otherness as a site for critical, socio-political, cultural, and literary exploration. As an international and multidisciplinary project, it also involves discussions and readings that relate to cultural theory, continental philosophy, sociology, postcolonial studies, psychoanalysis, gender studies, Gothic studies, postmodernism and poststructuralist theory. The Centre promotes and envisages expanding and productive international collaboration; hence, we gladly invite fellow academics, writers, artists, individuals, and institutions from all countries, to convene and discuss representations of otherness in the arts.

908Diasporic Genius (Canada, Toronto) is grounded in the creative process and the development of creative capacity and agency, in individuals and communities. It brings the impact strategies of artists (and scientists, business leaders, teachers and innovators in every sector), together with the power of Story-as-a-generative-force to bear on the opportunities and challenges of community engagement and economic resilience. Our projects range from community development to multidisciplinary performance. Diasporic Genius is also dedicated to reclaiming the innovative power of large-scale public celebration and performance, and presents its vision and plan as ultimately the shortest route to significant and sustainable economic, cultural, social and built-space transformations. http://diasporicgenius.com/

909The Commedia School (Denmark)  is a 2 year professional level actor training program founded by Ole Brekke and Carlo Mazzone in Copenhagen, Denmark. Since 1978, each September, a new group of students from around the world have been attracted to Northern Europe’s oldest physical theater school to develop themselves as performers. The school has started students on successful careers in many areas of performing including stage, street theater, circus, puppet theater, magic, children’s theater, performance, cabaret, and film. The Commedia School is a physical theater school. The basis of the training is movement, the physical aspect of acting, which is often left out of traditional acting programs. The school has attracted students from 35 different countries and all continents. Because each class has students from many countries, the English language is used. The current (2013) multi-national teaching staff includes: Ole Brekke (USA), Marcello Bosschar (Brazil), Ruth Lerche (Denmark), Janusz Komodowski (Poland), Finbarr Ryan (UK), and Petra Föhrenbach (Germany). http://www.commediaschool.com

Copy of etclogoEuropean Theatre Collective (ETC), established in 2007, is a cutting-edge theatre ensemble based in Helsinki, Finland. ETC is at the forefront of an expanding international network of both foreign theatre artists who have immigrated to Finland and Finnish theatre artists who have received their education abroad. Through a number of avenues, including original dramatic productions with prominent artists, storytelling workshops, and many other creative activities, ETC is bringing artists from many diverse cultural backgrounds together to create new and exciting artistic work, strengthening both the Finnish artistic community and the international artistic community with every collaboration.

UniLogoWhiteBkgd.gifThe Theatre Studies Department at the University of Malta is a relatively young department, forming part of the School of Performing Arts, although Theatre Studies has been established as an area of study at the university for about twenty five years. Members of staff in the department specialize in a number of different aspects of theatre scholarship, including physical theatre, musicality in theatre, the Russian twentieth century, Baroque and postcolonial theatre. Further information about the department can be found at http://www.um.edu.mt/performingarts/theatre.  For this project the department is represented by Dr Marco Galea (http://www.um.edu.mt/performingarts/theatre/staff#Marco).

MEDIA PARTNERS:

809Transindex http://www.transindex.ro: the website was launched initially by Philosophy students in 1999 as an independent online media. With a daily 15.000 hits of visitors, by now it has become the most popular Hungarian written medium in Romania and the most influential forum on politics, culture and society. It’s principles and values are: liberal, cosmopolitan and innovative.

obsObservator Cultural and http://www.observatorcultural.ro: Observator Cultural (Cultural Observer) is a literary weekly that reports on culture and arts scene in Romania and also features debates on political issues. The printed version is funded by subscriptions and arts advertisements. It functions as a joint-stock company, the shares are held by the editors. In 2005 some of the journalists left the editing team owing to friction over the financing. In 2006 Observator Cultural was designated the country’s best cultural magazine by the Romanian cultural broadcaster Radio Romania Cultural.

jatekter_logoJátéktér/Playing Area and http://www.jatekter.ro: the printed and online journal came to life in 2012 with the intent to become an active part of Hungarian theatrical life in Romania. It wishes to be a chronicler and a participant of this world of extreme diversity both in structure and artistic expression, situated on the meeting point of Romanian and Hungarian culture. Hungarian and Romanian theater makers, critics and writers contribute to this journal that speaks in mostly widely accessible, understandable terms about the theatrical life of our area.