Reflection: Performance Ecology Heritage Symposium

Minty Donald, 2018

The Performance Ecology Heritage took place on 24 and 25 May, 2018 in Gilmorehill Halls, University of Glasgow and Kelvingrove Park. The event comprised a twilight workshop on the evening of 24 May, led by artist Simon Whitehead, and an inter-disciplinary symposium on 25 May, with keynote speakers Prof Mike Pearson (performance) and Dr Carina Fearnley (geology).

Other speakers included three members of Theatre Studies’ Performance Ecology Heritage Research Hub: Prof Minty Donald, Prof Dee Heddon and Prof Carl Lavery, and two early career/doctoral researchers: Rachel Clive and Dr Sarah Hopfinger. The event was very well attended, exceeding capacity for the workshop (20) and with around 120 attending the symposium (despite the unexpected outbreak of summer). The majority of attendees were from outwith the academy, and included visual and performance artists, environmentalists and professionals working in the heritage sector. Judging by the inter-active, reflective session that concluded the symposium (facilitated by Dr Simon Murray) the symposium appeared to be very well received.

The variety in the content and style of presentations  proved stimulating and productive and set up provocative and generative inter-disciplinary conversations. The symposium led to invitations to contribute blog pieces to the Creative Carbon Scotland website and holds promise of some potentially exciting collaborations (for example, on human-geological performance). The event concluded with a drinks reception and launch of the collection Performance and Ecology: what can theatre do? edited by Carl Lavery and published by Routledge.