The Performance Ethnography Working Group met for the first time on Friday the 7th of February, 2020 in the Sensorium Loft at York University. We had a diverse, multidisciplinary group of 15 participants. Some were of a humanities background, coming from Anthropology and Environmental Studies. Others were of a fine arts background, coming from Dance, Theatre and Performance Studies. Participants were of a variety of stages in their academic careers. Some participants were full time or part time faculty. Of the graduate students, some were completing coursework; others working on their dissertation; some were on hiatus.
Following introductions, working group co-leaders Dr. Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston and Dr. Cassandra Hartblay gave a short introduction with a synopsis of theoretical perspectives on what performance ethnography is.
Our first group activity involved re-performing impressions from a walk through campus. As a group, we took a silent walk around our building. Our group lingered on echoing sounds of footsteps in a reverb-rich stairwell, solipsistic phone-staring, and the dripping of water.
We broke up into group to re-perform these observations. Performers took the assignment in a variety of directions. Some engaged in experiments with improvised text; others pursued possibilities with technology. Some thickly scripted and organized movement while others left more room for improvisation.
We are looking forward to our next meeting on March 6th from 2-5 in ACE 207 at YorkU.
Summary composed by Sadie Hochman, PhDPerformance Ethnography Working Group RA