FOOT30: Hopeful Positions, or: Playing in Precarity announces its Call for Proposals - deadline extended to Nov. 15

September 7, 2021 by Tara Maher

The upcoming 30th anniversary of FOOT (Forum of Original Theatre/Theory/Thought) Conference (Feb. 17-18, 2022), organized by graduate students at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies (CDTPS) at the University of Toronto (U of T), invites proposals for this year’s theme: Hopeful Positions, or: Playing in Precarity.

UPDATED OCTOBER 20: U of T was under censure for six months, but it has been temporarily put on hold. In November there will be a vote to formally lift the censure. We now welcome submissions from external applicants, and encourage folks to read about the censure to make their decision to submit accordingly. Should circumstances change, we will notify all applicants as soon as possible

Hope is both a noun and a verb. One can have it. One can be it. One can practice it. If, as Kathleen Gallagher argues, hope is a practice rather than a state of being or possession (2015, p. 423), then Hopeful Positions asks if, when, how and performing new creative work participates in this practice. Perhaps hope is ignited by disaster, loss, uncertainty; perhaps it is precipitated by joyfulness, play, intimacy. Perhaps it ignites these conditions. Like hope, play is also a noun and a verb. Beyond its definition as a unit of theatre, play is commonly associated with freedom, fun, and games. For some, to be hopeful or playful is naïve, out of touch with reality, disillusioned; for others, it is brave, strategic, beautiful. Out of play and hopefulness come a messy performance of competing ideals around nationalism, citizenship, intimacy, aesthetics, kinship, survival.

If hope and play are practices, then Hopeful Positions asks if, when, and how performing new creative work participates in this practice. Where can a play and playing take us? What does it mean to be hopeful? Playful? What do you hope for? What are the connections between hope, play, and precarity? If institutional power does not get in the way, what do you intend for your work to do? What do we learn when things get in the way? What (or who) is in your way? How do you play with it?

We invite proposals for papers, performances, installations, workshops, panels, or other forms of presentation that explore these. Proposals might explore:

  • New and renewed precarities in the arts, academia, elsewhere
  • Impact of ‘hybrid’ modes of interaction on global communities
  • Performance for socio-political engagement/intervention
  • Performance during/after the pandemic or crisis
  • Personal narratives and storytelling
  • Devising and collective creation
  • Games, sports, and roleplay
  • Comedy, improvisation, and surprise
  • Performances of hope, joy, utopianism, optimism
  • Performativities of race, gender, class, sexuality
  • Indigenous sovereignty, resurgence, futurity
  • Climate justice and environmental crises
  • Hopes for the Arts and Humanities, U of T, or CDTPS

We invite proposals from U of T graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, and staff from a variety of fields in the Humanities and Social Sciences beyond Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies. These may include English and Cultural Studies, Comparative Literature, Cinema and Media Studies, Women and Gender Studies, and Education. 

Our aim is for this to be a hybrid online/in-person conference. However, in the spirit of precarity, we continue to monitor the ever-changing situation and will implement a contingency plan whereby the conference may proceed fully online. Participants who select to present in-person are advised to prepare for such reorientations. The conference organizers will inform all participants of a final decision by December 15, 2021.

Please submit a proposal (max 300 words) and biography (max 200 words per participant) via our online application forms by November 15, 2021. For applicants proposing a curated panel, you will be responsible for securing your presenters; the conference organizers may assist if needed. For more information, please visit the FOOT30 website or email

Please submit proposals for papers at this link
Please submit proposals for performances at this link.
Please submit proposals for curated panels at this link.