Bordered States: 29th Annual FOOT Conference Call for Proposals

September 14, 2020 by Tara Maher

The 29th annual Forum of Original Theatre/Theory/Thought (FOOT) conference at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies invites proposals on the theme of Bordered States. As we navigate this year of uncertainty, the conference will be held virtually and synchronously over Zoom from February 25 – 27, 2021. Deadline extended to Monday, November 2, 2020

Borders create. They create nation, culture, and community. They can bring people together and force others apart. As we prepare this call for proposals in a time marked by physical distancing, isolation, and quarantines, we find ourselves acutely aware of the many borders that surround us. The global politics of 2020 are also preoccupied with the tensions of bordered existence. From the recent surge in regionalism and protectionism, to restrictions on domestic and international travel in response to the COVID-19 crisis, worldwide calls for racial justice by the Black Lives Matter movement, and protests against pipelines that threaten to encroach on unceded Indigenous territory — across the world, borders are constantly being performed, interrogated, reinforced, and transgressed.  

FOOT 2021: Bordered States seeks to engage with this bordered existence through the lens of performance. How are borders performed? How are bordered identities expressed? How have borders been explored in creative ways through art, theatre, music, media, and dance? We are particularly interested in the multiple meanings that the theme presents. We take ‘bordered states’ to mean:  

  • a bordered State — that is, a nation, country, province, or territory 
  • the state of being bordered – that is, the state of living in, on, or in-between borders of culture, identity, technology, or place

The Forum of Original Theatre/Theory/Thought (formerly, ‘Festival of Original Theatre’) began as a graduate student-led initiative to showcase dramatic works. This event has since grown into a conference that includes academic papers, panels, and performances. FOOT 2021: Bordered States welcomes both artistic and scholarly submissions of any type. These may take the form of performances, scholarly papers, workshops, working groups, panels, staged readings, works of art, and any creative or embodied exploration of the theme. We encourage submissions that engage with the digital and online nature of the conference. 

Possible topics might include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Intersections of performance and nation, nationhood, or nationality 
  • National, international, or regional borders
  • Borders of culture, race, gender, or identity 
  • Artistic and theatrical expressions of bordered identities
  • Digital or virtual borders – especially in the time of COVID-19
  • Black performance 
  • Indigenous Performance
  • Postcolonial and/or diaspora theatre and performance 
  • Performance and/as protest
  • Queer identity and performance
  • The impact of COVID-19 on Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies
  • Interdisciplinary borders of Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies
  • Micronations and other self-declared states

We welcome proposals from anyone seeking to engage with the conference theme in a scholarly and/or creative way. As a community of scholars in Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies, we acknowledge the interdisciplinary and ‘bordered’ nature of our own field, and are therefore excited to consider proposals from any and all of the following: 

  • Scholars, graduate and undergraduate students in Drama, Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies
  • Scholars, graduate and undergraduate students in a variety of related fields in the Humanities and Social Sciences including Women and Gender Studies, Political Science, Sociology, Comparative Literature, Diaspora and Transnational Studies, and more 
  • Artists, practitioners, and industry professionals
  • Independent scholars

Submit your proposal by November 2, 2020 at: Download a PDF copy of the Call for Proposals.

Questions? Please email us at 

Thank you for your interest in FOOT 2021! We look forward to working together. 

Yours, socially distanced, 

Rohan Kulkarni 
Robert Motum 
Julija Pesic 
Ross Slaughter 

FOOT 2021 Organizers