Open Call for Co-Motion: Dance and Borders

Crescent Arts Centre and Queen’s University Belfast
25 and 26 October 2019.

Dance Ireland and Dance Resource Base in association with Belfast International Arts Festival and Queen’s University Belfast present Co-Motion: Dance and Borders, Ireland’s first all-island dance conference.

Co-Motion brings together dance practitioners, researchers, educators, policy makers and supporters to create an inclusive platform for putting thought into motion about how we move together. Featuring keynote talks, interviews, workshops, panels, roundtables, artist spotlights, and performances, the conference aims to mark a significant moment for dance in Ireland.

We invite proposals for papers, panel discussions, artist talks, workshops, and short performances (including work-in-progress showings). Proposals that engage with the conference theme in both an Irish and/or an international context are welcome. Proposals outside of the conference theme, but that are related to dance practice on the island of Ireland, will also be considered.

Co-Motion responds to a critical moment globally, in which the hardening of international borders raises questions about the operation and experience of borders in dance communities. Considering the artist as citizen, the conference will bring critical attention to complexities of border interrelations in a contemporary moment of precarity and flux.

Dance’s fundamental relationship with movement and stasis makes it a discipline particularly suited to tackling questions of mobility, migration, and movement across borders (Scolieri, 2008). As an embodied art form, dance also presents a rich site for the examination of the intersection of lived experience and cultural policy. Recent scholarship has contributed important studies of dance practice in the context of migration (e.g. Brandstetter, Egert & Hartung, 2018), neoliberalism (e.g. Burt, 2017), and interculturalism and transnationalism (e.g. Purkayastha, 2014; Mitra, 2015).

Building on this work, the Co-Motion conference hopes to examine the lived experience of dance practitioners working with/through/against different kinds of “borders”, conceived of in the broadest sense across a spectrum of embodied, political, conceptual, and philosophical understandings:

  • How do dance practitioners, educators, researchers or policy makers experience and negotiate different kinds of borders in their work, and what facilitates or hinders co-motion across them?
  • How might danced “commotion” create interventions into the stasis of political inaction?
  • At junctures of threatened division, how can dance function as a site of connection, collaboration, and movement?
  • Or conversely, how does dance practice highlight boundaries, limits, fractures, or immobility?
  • How might dance practice question, confirm or strengthen existing currents of fluidity, creative indeterminacy, or Co-Motion?
  • Confirmed keynote speakers and workshop leaders include: Shobana Jeyasingh, (Shobana Jeyasingh Dance), Fearghus Ó Conchúir (National Dance Company Wales), Juan Kruz Diaz de Garaio Esnaola & Luc Dunberry (Sasha Waltz & Guests) and (La) Horde Collectif (France).

Further programme details to be announced in due course.

Format for submissions

Papers, artist talks, and practice demonstrations should be of maximum 15 minutes duration. Proposals for workshops and performances must specify activity length. Proposals for other, non-standard presentation formats are also encouraged. We welcome presenters from any disciplinary background and from all career stages.

Please include the following in your proposal:

  • Names of presenter/s and organisational/institutional affiliation/s (if any);
  • Title and type of submission (e.g. paper, artist talk, panel, performance);
  • Technical, spatial and duration requirements;
  • Biography of each presenter (max 100 words);
  • 300-word abstract/description.

Conference Travel Bursaries and Support

All accepted presenters will receive a 25% reduction of the conference fee.

Additionally, a small number of bursaries are available for presenters travelling to the conference from outside Belfast to help cover costs of travel and accommodation. Please indicate on your proposal if you would like to be considered for a bursary, providing details of your estimated cost of travel. There are also a small number of bursaries available to cover the conference fee.

All bursary decisions will be made by the conference steering committee.


Proposals should be submitted to:

Programming decisions will be made by the conference curator, Dr Aoife McGrath, in collaboration with the conference steering group, which includes representatives from Dance Ireland, Dance Resource Base, and Belfast International Arts Festival.

Deadline for submissions is 30 August 2019.

Acceptance decisions will be communicated by 13 September 2019.

For any queries please contact