John Berger (11/11/1926–02/01/2017) wrote widely about art and politics but only rarely about theatre and performance. His few plays are not widely performed, and his collaborations within theatre were relatively infrequent. Yet his insights have arguably informed the artistic practice—and political conscience—of generations of performance-makers. Following the Theatre panel at the John Berger Now Conference (Canterbury Christ Church University, Sept 12-13 2017), we will continue to explore the implications of Berger’s thought for performance.

To further develop the critical understanding of Berger’s thought, we invite expressions of interest for a one-day symposium, scheduled for Saturday, April 14th, 2018. The emphases of this symposium will be determined by responses to the call, but we suggest some key texts, the titles of which indicate general thematics:

About Looking (1980) Performance and visual culture
and our faces, my heart, brief as photos (1984) Time, duration and consciousness
Hold Everything Dear (2006) Migration and exile
Confabulations (2016) Writing, memory and vigilance

Responses may take the form of a traditional academic paper, or an extensive critical reflection, twenty minutes in length. We welcome responses from artists and academics from all stages of their careers. International applicants are most welcome, but we cannot reimburse travel fees.

Given the scope of the symposium we will also offer two bursaries of £500.00 as a commission for short performances. Performances may be early works-in-progress, 20-40 minutes in duration. Commissioned performances will be presented in the evening, to close the event. If you wish to present a paper, we will require a 250-word Abstract along with a 50-word bio. If you wish to present a performance, we will require a 250-word Proposal, 50-word bio, links to previous performance work, and list of technical requirements. Please mark your submission ‘HED-Paper’ or ‘HED-Performance’ in the subject header accordingly.


Deadline for Proposals: 21-02-18

Notification of Acceptance: 01-03.18

Symposium Date: 14-04.18

Hold Everything Dear: Performance, Politics and John Berger is organised by the Drama Programme at the University of Greenwich. The Symposium is supported by the Department of Languages, Literature and Theatre. Please send Abstracts and Proposals to by 21–02–18.