Professor Laura Levin


Co-investigator - York University

My research has primarily focused on the following areas: contemporary theatre and performance art, gender and sexuality in performance, site-specific and urban intervention performance, intermediality in performance, and histories of performance theory/studies.

I have published several articles on intersections of gender, performance, and space, which appear in journals and edited volumes, and I am in the final stages of completing a book manuscript entitled Performing Ground: Space, Identity and the Art of Blending in, which explores camouflage as a spatial performance art practice (to be published by Palgrave in 2014).  In that book, I explore the politics of what I call “performing ground,” which I used to describe art practices in which the body is presented as coextensive with its material surroundings.

Aside from my primary interest in the politics of performance art, my research intersects with the Consortium in at least two more ways. First, I have spent the last few years working on a SSHRC-funded study called the Performance Studies (Canada) Project, which explores how the field of performance studies has developed in Canada over the past few decades, brings together performance studies researchers located in Canada to share their work, and asks how institutional and cultural conditions have produced alternative articulations of “performance” in Canadian contexts. As part of this project, I chaired a PSi conference in Toronto in 2010, published an issue of Performance Research on “Performing Publics, published a special section of Canadian Theatre Review on Performance Studies in Canada, and created a website with video recordings, audio-recordings, and other documents ( Second, a number of my previous publications have focused on hemispheric performance and artists who have been active in the Hemispheric Institute. I recently edited Conversations Across Borders, a book with performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña (Seagull 2011) on dialogue as a political and conceptual art practice, and my current book project looks at the work of Rebecca Belmore, Liliana Angulo, and Violeta Luna.

Thinking forward to my contribution to the Consortium, I would like to continue some of the work that I have been doing in mapping genealogies of performance studies scholarship and practice-based performance research in Canada. I have spent the last year compiling a bibliography of performance studies research as part of a larger SSHRC project on the performance studies in Canada (which ended in March 2013). As I start to work with the Consortium for Performance and Politics, I think it would make sense to create a second online bibliography as a resource for performance studies scholars, which would focus on how performance researchers are defining and redefining a hemispheric understanding of Canadian performance.

In addition, I would very much like to collaborate with other Consortium participants. I have been brainstorming a bit with Julie Nagam, one of the collaborators on this project (prof at OCAD in the Aboriginal Visual Culture program), about pairing up to create a series of performance actions/site-specific installations that explore our shared interest in gender, intercultural histories, and urban geographies.

I am currently Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Theatre Review, and I would be happy to find ways that this publication can intersect with the grant. We recently received a proposal to do an issue on performance and human rights in the Americas, and I think there are lots of opportunities for this issue to showcase some of the work of the Consortium