CFP: On Medicine: Performance Research

Call for Proposals

Performance Research 19.4 (August 2014): ‘On Medicine’

Proposal Deadline: 20 January 2014 (see below for details)

Issue Editors: Martin O’Brien (University of Reading) and Gianna Bouchard (Anglia Ruskin University)

The aim of this issue of Performance Research is to explore the complex and vibrant relationship between medicine and performance. Through a necessarily interdisciplinary approach, it seeks to interrogate various modes of performance practice that engage with the histories, practices and discourse of medicine. In reflecting on medical contexts and approaches, this issue will address the potential of performance to intervene in and extend vital debates around medical knowledge and practice, to enhance its understanding and to offer a site of resistance and challenge to its influence and dominance.

There is a growing body of work emerging that is concerned with the interface between art and science, but this issue of Performance Research specifically seeks to deepen understandings about the connections, dialogues and dissonances between performance and medicine. ‘On Medicine’ will attempt to examine these points of intersection through an address to specific themes, which are: the medicalized body; biopolitics and ethics; and the histories and practices of medicine.

Key themes and questions

The Medicalized Body:

• In what ways have performance practices used the medicalization of the body in order to examine subjectivity, personal agency and embodied knowledge in relation to biomedicine?

• How have medical practices been appropriated for performance?

• In what ways have performance practices managed to challenge and resist ideologies and representations of illness and disability?

Biopolitics and Ethics:

• How have artistic practices intervened in dominant ideological constructions and bio-ethical debates within the discourses of medicine and the body?

• By what means does contemporary performance expose the politics of health and illness?

Histories and Practices of Medicine:

• What new perspectives can be offered on the presentation and understanding of the body in performance when considered in relation to the history and practices of medicine?

• What are the intersections between discourses and practices within medical and art histories, particularly in relation to the ways in which bodies have been represented and displayed?

• In what ways have concerns such as subjectivity, representation, identity and body knowledge been examined through performance?

Possible topics include:

  • Art and illness
  • Autopathography and illness narratives
  • Wounds, injuries and scars
  • Biopolitics
  • Histories of medical display and exhibition
  • Current medical practice and performance
  • Health, the athletic body and well-being
  • Medical instruments and technologies
  • Medicalized pain and suffering in performance
  • Surgery, body-alteration and -modification in performance
  • Healing or treating the body in or through performance
  • Temporalities of illness and endurance
  • Disability
  • Use of biomedical practices in art
  • Ageing
  • Medical imaging and representation

‘On Medicine’ invites artists, practitioners and theorists to submit proposals for critical articles, documents, interviews, artist’s pages or other forms of contribution that explore medical practices and histories in relation to the contexts and discourses of performance, performance-making and artwork.


• Proposals: 20 January 2014

• First drafts: March 2014

• Publication date: August 2014

ALL proposals, submissions and general enquiries should be sent direct to:

Rosa Bekkenkamp (

Issue-related enquiries should be directed to the issue editors:

Gianna Bouchard:

Martin O’Brien:

General Guidelines for Submissions

Proposals will be accepted by e-mail (MS-Word or RTF). Proposals should not exceed one A4 side. Please DO NOT send images electronically without prior agreement.

Please note that submission of a proposal will be taken to imply that it presents original, unpublished work not under consideration for publication elsewhere. By submitting a manuscript, the author(s) agree(s) that the exclusive rights to reproduce and distribute the article have been given to Performance Research.