THE YES CONFERENCE
Over the course of two days the Yes Conference experiments with abandoning “critical distance” and the proximities of collective research practices. What happens to the discourse of Theatre and Performance studies when you try to underline the Yes that’s always already at work in it?
The YES CONFERENCE is the third edition of the conference series ‘The Young: What Matters?’ taking place within the network ‘Performance Philosophy’ to constitute a public platform for young academics at early stages of their research. Participants are international students of distinct programmes (ranging from performance studies and performance practice, to critical theory, dramaturgy, philosophy and sociology of arts): University of Antwerp (BE), ArtEZ (NL), University of Giessen (DE), University of Groningen (NL), University of Roehampton (UK), Stockholm University of the Arts (SE), and University of Utrecht (NL).
In his essay ‘Research: The Young’ (1989), Roland Barthes refers to research processes that are based on the unity of their groups of authors, rather than a theme, and he specifically focuses on groups comprised of postgraduate students. The success of a piece of research, he posits, does not lie in its ‘result’ (publication), as is usually believed, but in its reflexive nature. Therefore, the early (more reflexive, perhaps) stages of research are not necessarily less important than the latter stages, its conclusions. To create space for the presentation of young subjects’ initial research means for Barthes to combat repressions and release not only those ‘young presenters’, the authors of the texts, but also their readers, who are similarly caught up in the division of specialized languages.
Drawing on Barthes’ ideas, ‘The Young: What Matters?’ has constituted a public platform dedicated to critical voices of young academics, aiming to facilitate an exchange of thoughts and practices related to performance, performativity, media, and arts and the humanities at large.
In 2016 the conference will take place on February 12th-13th under the title YES CONFERENCE. It will explore questions of proximity in academic discourse, specifically theatre and performance studies. By experimenting with the (temporary) reduction of a critical distance to the object of research as well as to the academic colleagues, the Yes Conference tries to say yes to the affirmative potentials of collective work.