Anarcha Symposium

The Olimpias Performances Research Projects



April 4/5th 2007: The Anarcha Performative Research Symposium

Black Culture/Disability Culture


We invite participants for this intensive research seminar at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The emphasis of our symposium is on collaborative process, performative and expanded methodologies, and embodied research.

We envision about ten members in each of these strands of investigation. You will work together during the day in breakout sessions, sharing position/research statements and developing material together. On Wednesday evening, Lynn Manning will present his show ‘Middle Passage’, after a meal with crip culture cabaret. Thursday night, the various strands will present their work.

1. Anarcha Laboratory Practice: Touching History

Building on existing work in the Anarcha Project, a performance project that investigates medical experimentation on slave women in 1840s Alabama, participants in this strand will work towards a 40 minutes performance for Thursday evening. You will be improvising, devising, responding to performance ideas, with a focus on process rather than product. Participants in this strand can select to begin working together a day earlier, on Tuesday.

2. Performance Practices/Folk Practices: Dealing with Pain and Healing

In this strand, you will share and discuss artistic and healing-oriented practices surrounding pain, discussing biomedicine, different folk practices and alternative approaches as valuable tools that need critical examination. This strand will together create a 30 minutes community or participatory event for Thursday evening.

3. Interdependencies: Cross-Cultural Issues and Disability

In this strand, you will discuss and find connections around issues such as:

- the position of disability in different cultural contexts

- disability and health inequality

- cultural practices around nursing homes, care-giving, life in the community

- racialisation and biomedicine

This strand will create a manifesto/performative lecture to be given on Thursday evening.


To become part of any one of these groups (which will mesh and overlap), please send in a CV and a short statement describing your interest and what you hope to bring to the strand. Participation and meals are free. A small number of readings will be sent out before the symposium. After the event, writings and other expressions will be collected into a publication.

We have a number of small grants for self-funding participants, to help with transportation and housing costs. Please advise us if you are applying for one of these. We invite members of the community as well as academics, and welcome social workers, people working in Independent Living Centers, community nurses, healers traditional, alternative and biomedical, teachers, theorists and artists.

Please send your applications to the symposium director, Petra Kuppers.


The Anarcha Project and the Anarcha Performative Research Symposium are funded by the Global Ethnic Literatures Seminar, with support from the English Department, the Theatre Department, the University of Michigan Initiative in Disability Studies, and the Duderstadt Center, and in collaboration with the Center for Independent Living, Ann Arbor.


Further info about the Anarcha Project can be found at




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