Mediated Matters, with Dorita Hannah and Julian Hetzel

Performance Design as Critical Perspective

This symposium-plus-masterclass explores performance design as critical perspective on the complexity of our contemporary condition in which we cannot separate the theatrical from the sociopolitical. Performance design is an extended notion of scenography that adopts performance theory as a means of acknowledging and critiquing the proliferation of events played out in a world that, as Jon McKenzie contends, ‘has become a designed environment in which an array of global performances unfold’ (2008: 128). Performance design provides a perspective that moves beyond a focus on the self-staging and self-design of individuals within these environments, and towards a post-human approach that investigates and reflects on the ways in which environments set the stage for performances in the broadest sense, from the arts to politics to public space. Performance design de-trivializes the ‘theatrical’ – too often considered false, exaggerated or histrionic – emphasizing the fact that the lived world itself is far stranger than fiction: a complex mixed reality-event unfolding though a multiplicity of material practices and scenographic screens. Furthermore, performance design acknowledges the potential of design itself as what Jane Rendell describes as a critical spatial practice, i.e. a practice that like critical theory is reflective rather than objectifying, and aims to change the world, or at least the world in which the inequalities of market capitalism, as well as patriarchal and colonial (or post-colonial) interests, continue to dominate.

During this masterclass with Dorita Hannah we will explore the theoretical foundations of performance design and explore the potential of this approach through a series of case studies. These examples will include the work of Julian Hetzel, in particular his performance installation Schuldfabrik, present at the Spring Festival. Julian Hetzel will join us for the discussion about his work. Participants are also invited to bring examples, including examples from their own practice.

Dorita Hannah (Research Professor of Interdisciplinary Architecture, Art & Design: University of Tasmania, Australia and Adjunct Professor of Stage & Space: Aalto University, Finland) works across the spatial, visual and performing arts as a scholar and design practitioner. Specializing in theatre architecture, as well as the design of cultural venues and public space, she also creates dance-architecture events and performative installations as practice-led research and was Theory Curator for PQ 2015 (Prague Quadrennial), Research Curator for WSD 2013 (World Stage Design) and Architectural Commissioner for PQ 2011. She has been on the boards of OISTAT (International Association of Scenographers, Theatre Architects & Technicians), Performance Studies international (PSi) and the Interior Architecture/Design Educators Association (IDEA). Hannah currently co-Chairs the Performance+Design Working Group for PSi and sits on various editorial boards and international research centers. Focusing on how the built environment housing an event is itself an event and an integral driver of experience, she has completed Event-Space: Theatre Architecture & the Historical Avant-Garde, a book to be published this year by Routledge Press. Dorita Hannah is Centre for the Humanities SPRING Festival Fellow 2017, a fellowship generously sponsored by the Centre for the Humanities at Utrecht University. This masterclass is co-organized with the Centre for the Humanities, SPRING Performing Arts Festival and Theatre Studies at Utrecht University.

Dates: May 19 and 22. Participants are requested to visit Julian Hetzel’s Schuldfabrik at the Spring Performing Arts festival on May 18, 19, 20 or 21. Tickets (16 euro) will be available through the festival website.

Venue: tba.

Credits: RMA Students can acquire 2 EC if they attend all events, complete the readings and write an assignment related to the topic of the workshop.

Registrations: Please contact Eloe Kingma at Be sure to specify your home institution and programme.


Reception, Nachleben and Transhistorical Art History

Organised by NICA and the OSK with the University of Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum & Coventry University

From reception studies to transhistorical art history: method & theory in the study of the Nachleben of art and literature (28 – 30 June, 2017)

With:   Elizabeth Emery (Montclair University, New York), keynote; Tessel M. Bauduin (Universiteit van Amsterdam), principal lecturer; Juliet Simpson (Coventry University); Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff (Ateneum Art Museum/Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki); and Jenny Reynaerts (Rijksmuseum).

For:     PhD researchers and advanced research master-students.

This masterclass is open for PhD researchers and advanced research master-students from all backgrounds, interests and dissertation topics. Note: there will be a strong focus upon the reception of medieval and early modern (until ca. 1800) visual arts & literature in museum collections, private collections and the arts generally in the period 1850-1950. Participants should be a member of NICA, the OSK, or another accredited Dutch Graduate Research School. Max. amount of participants: 14. Motivation letter required. Include with your letter a brief (1 page) CV.

Time & place:  Wednesday 28 June, 13:00 – 17:00 h (masterclass), Vondelzaal, UBA; conference attendance on Thursday 29 & Friday 30 June, 09:00 – 17:00 h, Rijksmuseum.



This masterclass will explore the methodology of art and cultural historical reception study. The focus will lie in particular upon research that is concerned with the reception of the visual arts, and literature, from before ca. 1800 (medieval and early modern) in the modern period 1850-1950, specifically in private and museum collections, as well as in the arts generally. It should be noted that both that which is being received as where the reception occurs does not necessarily need to be Western.

Recurring themes in such research often are cross-mediality (reception of one medium in another) and cross-modality (reception in another context); temporality, cross-historicity and trans-historicity: dynamics of reception within another time period altogether; along similar lines, transnationality or even trans-globalism; identity-politics and nationalism; and the rather large spectrum of modes of “reception”, incorporating relevance, reception in the classic sense, nachleben, survivance, and appropriation as much as restoration, (re-) construction, and invention. To face such concerns, methodology and theoretical constructs used in cultural reception research include (but are not limited to): reception studies, classical reception history, nachleben, survivance/mémoire, transhistorical art history, and memory studies. The particular nature and context(s) of one’s research subject may also lead to interdisciplinary forays into other disciplines’ methodologies.

Outline of the programme of the masterclass

In this masterclass we will excavate the methodological challenges and opportunities of reception history in arts and literature. All participants are asked to prepare a statement on the methodology employed in their own research, to be presented as a 5 min. elevator pitch. This should include:

a) the subject of one’s research
b) expected conclusions (or direction of conclusions)
c) the method(s) currently used or slated to be used.

In addition, we would also appreciate it if researchers would also note:

d) an obstacle or challenge: is there a method or theoretical frame you would like to use, or think you should, but don’t really know how to deploy, incorporate or even, define?

In addition to responding to these presentations, the invited speakers will also reflect upon methodological challenges and blind spots in their own work. This will open the floor for discussion and group reflection upon the issue of method & theory in art and cultural historical reception study.

All participants will have read a portfolio of relevant articles & chapters (provided beforehand), which ensures a common ground for discussion, even as there will be sufficient space to reflect upon individual cases.

Admission to this masterclass includes access to the 2-day conference Gothic Modernisms at the Rijksmuseum, 29 and 30 June (no separate registration required).

Participants are furthermore expected to write a brief piece afterwards (ca. 2000 w.): either a conference review of Gothic Modernisms suitable for publication, or an essay that reflects upon the insights (methodological, theoretical and otherwise) gained during the conference that are particularly relevant for the candidate’s own research, and why.

Reading list:    will be provided in May.

The group of participants will be limited to max. 14 participants. A letter of application (outlining your motivation for this masterclass) is required.

To register: email dr. Eloe Kingma at Please specify your home programme and institution, and offer a brief motivation and one-page CV.

Organisation:   Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis (NICA) and the Dutch Graduate Research School for Art History (OSK).

Partners:          University of Amsterdam; Coventry University; Rijksmuseum; NWO.

Everyday Analysis and Politactics with Dan Bristow

Time: 4 May 2017, 1-3pm and 4-6pm (main event 4-6pm)

Location: TBC

Short description: Talk and masterclass linked to the Everyday Analysis book and blog project, and its most recent publication, Politactics (2016), organised by Ben Moore (Department of English) with guest speaker Dan Bristow (co-editor of Everyday Analysis), hosted by ASCA and NICA. The masterclass will focus on Lacanian approaches to cultural analysis.

Full description: From 2012 to 2016 the Everyday Analysis collective ran a successful blog and website ( dedicated to exploring everyday life, culture and politics from the perspective of literary and cultural theory, taking inspiration from earlier projects such as Roland Barthes’ Mythologies. A wide range of contributors from the UK and beyond produced short articles on topics ranging from Zombies and The Hunger Games to train journeys and social media, drawing on an array of theoretical heavyweights such as Lacan, Žižek, Bachelard, Jacqueline Rose, Kierkegaard and Althusser. The project has led to three volumes of collected articles with Zero Books (2014, 2015, 2016), including most recently Politactics: Political Conversations from Everyday Analysis, which registered a turn towards more explicitly political commentary and debate. The project has been characterised by the wish to take seriously the ephemeral experiences of the everyday, and to comment on them in a form that is both appropriate to the modern media landscape and accessible to non-academic as well as academic readers, without compromising the complexity of its theoretical sources. Politactics adds to this general goal the particular project of carving a middle path between conventional ‘Politics’, understood narrowly as the work of political parties, movements etc. and the broad academic insistence that all culture and social action is ‘political’. The book is organised to promote open-ended discussion around this topic, comprising a collection of themed articles from a range of writers along with responses from other contributors that build on or reinterpret those articles.

The talk will explore the origins and philosophy of Everyday Analysis, and will present extracts from Politactics selected for their relevance to recent (and ongoing) political development in Europe and America. Presenting will be Dan Bristow, co-editor of Everyday Analysis and author of Lacan and Joyce: Reading, Writing and Psychoanalysis (2016), along with Ben Moore (Department of English), a regular contributor. There will be time for questions and discussion.

Preceding the talk is a masterclass aimed at master students, which will explore ways of engaging with the work of Jacques Lacan (and psychoanalysis in general) as a tool of cultural analysis, taking as case studies a selection of pieces from Everyday Analysis and Bristow’s work in progress on 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968). Scenes from the film will be shown on the day, and readings will be provided in advance for registered participants. The session will revisit and interrogate key Lacanian concepts such as the cut, das Ding, and the barred subject.

To register for the masterclass, please contact Eloe Kingma at, mentioning your programme and affiliation.

Public Lives/Private Platform: Politics of Twitter

Symposium 23-24 May 2017, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
With the support of Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis and Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis

Confirmed Keynote Speaker: Jillian C. York (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

Confirmed Speakers:

Dipsaus Podcast, featuring Seada Nourhussen, Ebissé Rouw, and Mariam El Maslouhi. Curated by Nina Köll.

Flavia Dzodan – “Our Collective Unconscious of Violence”

Nora Reed

Speaking in 2013, Dick Costolo, then CEO of Twitter envisioned the site as “a very public, live, in-the-moment conversational platform” describing it as the “global town square.” With this concept, Costolo imagined the site’s users as producers, consumers and citizens participating in a digital commons. In the years that followed, Twitter drew criticism for its free speech absolutism, which while providing a space for marginalized voices, also left those populations vulnerable to harassment and abuse. In the aftermath of the Gamergate controversy, Twitter made small steps toward addressing abuse, giving users new tools to protect themselves. However, their commitment to free speech has created ever greater tensions within a virtual town square that replicates disparities in local, national and global power relations.

Twitter is at once the soapbox of the powerless and the platform of the powerful. It is the megaphone of the voiceless and an echo chamber for state and corporate speech. For instance, while Twitter has helped launch vital grassroots social movements like Black Lives Matter, it has also fomented the rise of the alt-right and the emergence of the world’s first Twitter President, who uses the microblog as a bully pulpit and policy platform. While it has suspended ISIS-affiliated accounts, it has verified those of high profile white nationalists. While it has given space to anonymous activists around the world, it has given new tools of surveillance to the states they agitate within and against. This crowded town square is moderated by complex algorithms, contradictory policies and competing regimes of public and private censorship.

How does Twitter’s shared town square invite us to rethink the theoretical and practical limits of free speech? Where is the potential for social and political change in a space that is at once public and privatised, civic and commercial? What can we do to help defend the space claimed by those most marginalized within this public square, alongside their more powerful antagonists?

These questions about the political life of Twitter affect every message that circulates within the square. Its 140 character limit has led to a seemingly infinite variety of expressive styles and forms of communication. Every few hours, thousands of hashtags rise and fall, trolls provoke, Trump boasts and bots tell jokes while corporate drones perform customer service before a global audience of millions. Amid the din, people make real connections, plant the seeds of social movements, supplement (and contradict) the official news, and build communities of support that extend beyond digital limits.

We call for researchers, artists and activists to reflect on how Twitter has expanded, complicated and advanced the concept of free speech. We are especially interested in explorations of Twitter’s potential as a site for social change, and of the unique forms of political and cultural expression that this space makes possible.

Topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • Twitter and activism
  • Crowdfunding, signal boosting and support networks
  • Citizen journalism
  • Black Twitter
  • Trans and queer identity on Twitter
  • Twitter feminisms
  • Twitter and disability
  • Appropriation, intellectual property and mass media
  • Diaspora politics and Twitter
  • Occupy
  • Black Lives Matter
  • NoDAPL
  • (In)visibility: anonymity, pseudonyms, doxxing, hacking, alt-accounts, verified accounts
  • Twitter tactics: hashtags, subtweeting, retweeting, blocking, muting and more
  • Call-out culture, shaming and pileons
  • The politics of memes, trolling and satirical accounts
  • Twitter linguistics
  • Weird Twitter, irony and humour
  • Twitter literary genres
  • Twitter entrepreneurship and self-branding
  • Twitter and academic life
  • Twitter litter: shitposting, inside jokes and other detritus
  • Temporalities of Twitter- reverse chron reading, news cycles and talk across time zones
  • The post-human social network: bots and algorithms as content producers, zombie accounts, dead accounts
  • Corporate Twitter, advertising and performative customer service
  • Twitter diplomacy
  • Trump and the Twitter presidency
  • The °alt right° and global ethno-nationalism
  • Twitter and state violence: the CIA, Pentagon, IDF & more
  • Twitter police: the tough business of Twitter rules
  • Regimes of censorship

We will consider contributions in the following formats:

  • Research papers for 15/20 minute presentations
  • Workshop proposals
  • Performances
  • Journalistic and/or polemical presentations
  • Live remote Twitter presentations

Proposals should be no longer than 300 words and include a short bio with your Twitter handle and any other material that could support your idea.

Proposals should be submitted to no later than March 20, 2017. Applicants will be notified by March 27, 2017.


The rMA students presenting at the symposium will earn 4 ECTS. Presentations will be around 20 minutes long. The assessment will be based on the final draft of the presented paper, consisting in 3,000 words. Upon proposal acceptance, rMA students will have to enrol through the NICA office in order to receive ETCS certificates.

More info on and on Twitter @plpp_


Rose Mary Allen: Contesting Respectability, Unheard Voices

Mon 27 March 2017 (17-19hrs.): Public Lecture
Contesting Respectability: Sexual Politics in Post-Emancipation Colonial Curaçao

The lecture examines the ways in which colonial politics of respectability, aimed at shaping ideal Curaçaoan male and female behavior, formed a response to racist representations of black sexuality and character in Curaçaoan society. By reflecting on the discourses of respectability in Curaçaoan society, the lecture offers an analysis of gender differences in the region from a Dutch-Caribbean perspective and analyzes experiences of inclusion and exclusion within the wider Caribbean context. Data to sustain this presentation are principally drawn from documents as well as oral history interviews with elderly Curaçaoans.

Moderation and Q&A: Esther Captain

Tue-Wed 28-29 March 2017 (14-17hrs.): Workshop
Unheard Voices: Critical Perspectives on Oral History

Researchers are often confronted with the fact that certain key information is not in written form but stored in people’s memories. This is particularly the case in societies where written information represents colonial or other dominant views while alternative views are silenced. Oral history is a technique for recovering silenced or ignored perspectives as well as for recollecting information about the more recent past that combines anthropology, history, storytelling and journalism. Someone who does oral history research is both a listener and an archivist and is involved in interviewing individuals about their lives, experiences and memories, usually focused on a specific topic. Oral histories, the results of this technique, offer a unique way to learn about past events and about the people that experienced or played important roles in those events. In this workshop, participants will look at oral history research findings, issues around reliability, transcription, interpretation and analysis.

Dr. Rose Mary Allen is a cultural anthropologist and Senior Lecturer at the University of Curaçao dr. Moises da Costa Gomez. She is a recipient of a knighthood in the Order of Orange-Nassau by the Netherlands, the Cola Debrot award as well as the Boeli van Leeuwenprijs for her contribution to and achievement in the sciences. Publications include ‘Di Ki Manera’: A Social History of Afro-Curaçaoans, 1863–1917 (2007); and “The Oral History of Slavery, Afro-Curaçaoan Memory, and Self-Definition: A Caribbean Perspective on the 300th Anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht,” In: Sargasso: Journal of Caribbean Literature, Language, & Culture I & II (2014): 135-152.

Venue: Atria – Institute for Gender Equality and Women’s History Vijzelstraat 20, 1017 HK Amsterdam
Credits: RMA Students can acquire 2 EC if they attend all events, complete the readings and write an assignment related to the topic of the workshop.
Registrations: Please email Eloe Kingma at Be sure to specify your home institution and programme.