CFP: Scene 8 (2020)– Special Issue: ‘Performance and Ireland’

This will be the first special issue of a peer-reviewed international journal since the early 2000s to focus on Performance Studies as it relates to Ireland.

The issue aims to provide a forum for examining a range of artistic practices as well as for studying different indigenous, migrant and diasporic Irish cultures through the lenses of performance and performativity. It examines the pivotal role that performance has played in constructing and negotiating Irish identities within and beyond the island of Ireland, historically as well as in contemporary life and artistic practice.

The scope of this special issue is aligned with the interdisciplinary field of Performance Studies, particularly in relation to visuality, spectacle and display. As such, it also connects with Shannon Jackson’s claim that ‘visual culture seems to require performance for its seeing to be shown’ (2005:164).

Abstract deadline by 1st September 2019

This special issue welcomes contributions on regional, national and international theatre, performance and audio/visual cultures relating to Ireland, in addition to using performance as a frame for examining wider sociocultural and political engagements with Irishness. It offers fresh perspectives on the global field of Irish Studies by supplementing the traditional literary leanings of that field with examinations of more ephemeral and multimedia phenomena. Broadly, this special issue promotes examinations of Ireland and Irishness from the perspectives of Performance Studies and Visual Culture – as well as how those fields productively intersect.

Performance has long been central to the construction and negotiation of Irish identities in national and international contexts. Examples since the early modern era in which we are interested include but are not limited to:

• the shaping and performance of Irishness by and through natural and built places and spaces
• the preservation and transformation of Irish culture by the vast and wide-reaching Irish diaspora
• the stage Irishman in Shakespearean and subsequent theatre
• costume cultures and cosplay relating to Ireland and Irishness
• Irish ethnic villages at the great international exhibitions in the latter half of the nineteenth century
• regenerations, transformations and global proliferations of Irish music, dance, and folk cultures
• nation-building and, later, nation-branding in Ireland and beyond through large-scale public spectacles such as commemorations, pageants and festivals visual and performance cultures relating to Irish contemporary and historical theatre, for example the Abbey – the world’s first government-subsidized national theatre
• Irish fashion shows since the early twentieth century, and the internationalization of Ireland’s indigenous fashion industry since the late 1940s
• performance cultures surrounding sport, particularly Gaelic games
• civil rights demonstrations in Northern Ireland and other political protests across the island, for example #Repealthe8th
• customs, rituals and religious events such as weddings and papal visits
• arts and media engagement with the Troubles, the Peace Process and the Irish Border
•  the proliferation of performance art in Ireland since the 1970s
• international celebrations of Irishness such as St Patrick’s Day
 • the performance of politics and populism as they relate to Ireland
• the culture, art and activism of Irish minorities including, for example LGBTQ+ and migrant communities
• the culture, art and activism of Irish feminists
• Irish traditional, contemporary and experimental dance
• live art and sound art practices that relate to Ireland
• the performance of a range of intersectional and cross-cultural Irish identities
• performances of Ireland and Irishness across social media and digital culture.

These and other areas relevant to the fields of Performance Studies and Visual Culture have also provided inspiration for and helped to shape the development of a range of Irish artistic practices which also could be considered.

If you are interested in contributing to this special issue of Scene, then please – in the first instance – send an abstract (300-400 words) to the editors by 1st September 2019. Authors of successful abstracts will be notified by 1st October 2019. The deadline for completed articles (not exceeding 8000 words) is 1st March 2020. Each article will then be double-blind peer reviewed.


Christine White, De Montfort University,
Alison Oddey, Nottingham Trent University,

Guest Editors

Marie Kelly, University College Cork,
Siobhán O’Gorman, University of Lincoln,
Áine Phillips, Burren College of Art,