Call for Proposals: On Children

Performance Research 23.1

Vol. 23, No. 1: On Children (January/February 2018)


Issue Editors: Dr Adele Senior (Leeds Beckett University) and The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home

In contemporary popular culture, the body of the child has become a site of (and for) anxiety, nostalgia and consumerism. Children’s bodies are sexualized, objectified, medicalized, censored, safeguarded and protected in the name of innocence and vulnerability. Meanwhile, news media discourse around teenagers often positions young people as powerful, threatening and dangerous. This context of fear and sensitivity around children, particularly following recent high-profile child abuse cases in the UK, demands that we revisit and reimagine how we perceive, represent and collaborate with children, both in scholarly research and performance practices.

This issue aims to facilitate a dialogue on children as both research subjects and artistic collaborators within Western and Non-Western contemporary performance, live art, dance and other performance-related practices. It will address questions around the social, political and ethical aspects of children’s participation in performance by positioning the child, children and childhood as important but nevertheless problematic categories of academic enquiry. In particular, the issue invites disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives that complement, challenge, develop or break with more established methods of working with children in applied contexts by reflecting on the wider emerging field of socially engaged and activist performance with children rather than for children.

Attesting to this wider engagement with the child in the field of performance, there has been a growing interest in making work with children as performers and/or collaborators in the UK, Europe and beyond. This includes work by Boris Charmatz/Musée de la danse, Bryony Kimmings, CAMPO, Fevered Sleep, Forced Entertainment, HETPALEIS, Josse De Pauw, Kabinet K, LADA, Mammalian Diving Reflex, Ontroerend Goed, PLATFORM/Voices that SHAKE!, Quarantine, Sibylle Peters, Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio and Zoo Indigo. As such, established and emerging practices with children have begun to echo the recent paradigm shift in childhood studies from perceiving children as socially and biologically unfinished bodies (Shilling 1993) towards children as agents who are shaped by but also have the capability to shape society (Prout 2015). Given these potential disciplinary crossovers, this issue welcomes multidisciplinary perspectives and methodologies for researching children that have yet to be explored in the field of performance. These might include theoretical writings on children within philosophy, such as Matthew Charles (2011), Catherine Malabou (in Schwab 2007), Gilles Deleuze (1997) and Jacques Derrida (1967), or scholarship on children drawn from other disciplinary fields.

In addition to inviting contributions that interrogate any of the ideas, practices and provocations above, we welcome proposals that seek to address any of the following areas:

  • intergenerational performance
  • child as artist/activist
  • performance and family
  • children as philosophers, philosophy for children, philosophy and children
  • children and collaboration
  • risk, responsibility and legalities
  • children and ethics
  • children’s labour
  • dance and children
  • the child’s body and childhood bodies
  • children and politics
  • live art and children
  • childhood as social construction
  • objectification and exploitation
  • children, performer training and pedagogy
  • children and animals
  • children and pretence
  • ownership, authorship and autonomy
  • children, presence and charisma
  • vulnerability and precariousness
  • children, gender, race and/or ethnicity
  • childhood and sexuality
  • memory and nostalgia
  • representations of babies and infants 
  • child performers and adult audiences
  • archiving and documentary practices with children
  • children and aging
  • young people, teenagers and power
  • children, futurity, ecology and climate change
  • the history of childhood
  • performativity and the child
  • methods and methodologies for studying children

We are inviting articles (between 4,000 and 6,000 words) and artist pages (number of pages to be agreed with the editors). The shared co-editorship of the issue between a performance scholar and a family of artists/scholars that collectively make up The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home puts into practice the scholarly/artistic, adult/child collaborative focus of the issue. The Institute is Dr Gary Anderson (Liverpool Hope University, UK), Dr Lena Šimić (Edge Hill University, UK) and their children Neal (16), Gabriel (14), Sid (9) and James (3). Specifically, the children of The Institute will participate in the editorial selection of the ‘artist pages’ so we strongly encourage potential contributors for this section to carefully consider this specific audience of co-editors when submitting a proposal.

Proposals: 31 March 2017                      
First Drafts:  June 2017                
Final Drafts: September 2017
Publication Date: January/February 2018

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

Issue-related enquiries should be directed to the Issue Editors:
Dr Adele Senior ( and Dr Gary Anderson of The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home (

General guidelines for submissions:

  • Before submitting a proposal we encourage you to visit our website ( and familiarize yourself with the journal.
  • Proposals will be accepted by e-mail (MS-Word or Rich Text Format (RTF)). Proposals should not exceed one A4 side.
  • Please include your surname in the file name of the document you send.
  • If you intend to send images electronically, please contact the Journal first to arrange the best means of doing so.
  • Submission of a proposal will be taken to imply that it presents original, unpublished work not under consideration for publication elsewhere.
  • If your proposal is accepted, you will be invited to submit an article in first draft by the deadline indicated above. On the final acceptance of a completed article you will be asked to sign an author agreement in order for your work to be published in Performance Research.