Call for submissions to ‘GHost-dance’

GHost-dance: ghosts as cultural and political movement

‘GHost’ is seeking proposals for thirty minute (max duration) performances, performative presentations and contemporary dance for two interdisciplinary conferences – Hostings 11 & Hostings 12

at CSM, University of the Arts, Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, London, N1C 4AA
Dates: ‘Hostings 11’ 17th April, 6pm – 9pm – LVMH Lecture Theatre
‘Hostings 12’ 21st May, 6pm – 9pm – Studio Theatre (dance and performance space)

Deadline for submissions – 20th March

Please send a (working) title and an abstract of approximately 300 words, a brief biography and, if applicable, a couple of photographs or links to film clips documenting performance or dance.
send to GHost at:

Submissions may address, but not be restricted to, one or more of the following:
Ghosts as a political or cultural voice within marginalised or disenfranchised communities.
The embodying of ghosts within ritual and performance to instigate socio-cultural or political change.
Ghosts as a healing and unifying presence within marginalised cultural groups or genders.
The appropriation of the ghost-dance, and other forms of spirit–possession, within contemporary art.
The ghost narrative as a political device within rhetoric, writing, film, visual art or popular culture

“Standing on the hill where so many people were buried in a common grave, standing there in that cold darkness under the stars, I felt tears running down my face. I can’t describe what I felt. I heard the voices of the long-dead ghost dancers crying out to us.”
(Leonard Crow Dog, during the American Indian Movement’s occupation of Wounded Knee, 1973).

In the last decades of the nineteenth century, self proclaimed prophet Wovoka, of the Paiute people, became the figure-head for the Ghost Dance – a religious movement adopted by a significant number of the Native American Nations. Central to this belief was a communal ritualised dance, inducing a trance state, in which it was believed the souls of the dead and living would be reunited and their land returned to them. In the 1970s the Ghost Dance was revived as part of the Red Power Movement, with the activists group AIM (American Indian Movement) at its forefront, fighting for Native American civil rights. The ghost in the Ghost Dance was a revitalising force for a people whose land and loved ones had been taken from them and who were facing cultural genocide.
The Spiritualist movement in nineteenth century U.S.A provided a forum in which women, whose role in society was very much suppressed, could give voice to their opinions in a public arena. Appeals for women’s emancipation and the abolition of slavery could be expressed under the guise a ghost voice, allegedly channelled through the medium.
At the same time in Europe, in the opening sentences of Marx and Engle’s Communist Manifesto, “A Spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of Communism.” Communism could be said to have been conceptualised as a powerful ghostly presence, waiting to materialise and take shape within the living as a force for revolutionary change.

As a visual arts and creative research project GHost takes on and explores the conceit of guests, hosts and ghosts, both metaphorically and practically, in its activities. Functioning in its capacity as a supporting platform (or host) GHost aims to enable invited guests to visually and conceptually manifest and interrogate the idea of the ghost.

To date the project has had two central strands: a consideration of the relevance of ghosts in contemporary culture, centred around a programme of interdisciplinary seminars – so-called Hostings –previously held in Senate House at the University of London; and a series of exhibitions, screenings and performances designed to make manifest and, by extension, examine the aesthetics of ghosts and haunted spaces.

The Hostings are supported by the Centre for Performance at CSM, University of the Arts.

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