CFP "Performance: Conservation, Materiality, Knowledge" - 36th Congress of CIHA Lyon 2024 Matter/Materiality, June 23-28, 2024, Lyon, France

Posted on Tue, 08/22/2023 - 14:46


Lyon, France

Date and time


We are thrilled to invite paper contributions to our thematic session, "Performance: Conservation, Materiality, Knowledge" to be held at the 36th Congress of the International Committee for the History of Art (CIHA, June 23-28, 2024 in Lyon, France) on the theme "Matter Materiality."

Performance art is often considered an immaterial medium. Yet its immateriality is belied not only by the many material physical traces it leaves behind – including documents, costumes, and other objects – but also by the insistent, if ephemeral, materiality of the human body. This proposed panel seeks papers on the topic of performance’s materiality considered through the lens of conservation. What is the relationship between a performance and the materials it leaves behind, and what experience of the performance can be gleaned from them? Do photographs, “relics,” and other objects replace an absent body, thus smothering performance’s liveness, or do they refer melancholically to an unfillable lack? How might we understand the materiality of the body or, indeed, that of non-human performers such as animals, machines, or even bacteria? How can the material or immaterial elements of a performance be conserved? Though performance has sometimes been considered beyond the realm of art conservation, its increasing presence in museums and museum collections has rendered these questions urgent.

Encouraging global perspectives and particularly those from underrepresented contexts, we are calling for papers from scholars, conservators, artists, curators and others that take a theoretical or practical approach to exploring the various materialities of performance and their role in its continuation. We encourage contributions from all over the world that explore the conservation of contemporary, historical or indigenous performance; comparative examples of modern Western and non-Western conservation practices of performance conservation; performative elements in material art forms; the materiality of the performing body and its documentatory potential; the persistence of performance through physical elements or traces; the role of orality in the conservation of performance; aspect of continuity of performance in indigenous cultures; non-human performance and its conservation; care-thinking and communities of care and performance conservation; or any other relevant topic.

This panel is organized by team members of Performance: Conservation, Materiality, Knowledge - Hanna Hölling, Jules Pelta Feldman, Emilie Magnin, Joanna Lesnierowska and Charles Wrapner - a research project sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation and hosted by the Bern Academy of the Arts. While there has been increasing interest within scholarship and curatorial practice in performance and its afterlives, this research project is amongst the first to broadly and acutely address the problem of performance conservation both outside and inside institutions.

Submissions must be in either English or French and should include:

-a title

-350-500 word summary

-500 characters CV

The proposals can be submitted via the official CIHA Congress Call for Papers website on or before 15 September 2023:

Important dates:
Opening call for papers: 12 June 2023
Closing call for papers: September 15, 2023
Selection: October 11, 2023
Publication of the preliminary program of the 36th CIHA Congress: 27 October 2023
Conference dates: 23 to 27 June 2024

The presentations will take place in person in Lyon at the Congress Centre – Cité internationale. Mobility aids will be available on the website: Call for Grants (

For further information on the call for papers, visit the Call for Papers (, the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs or contact the CIHA Scientific Secretariat:

For any technical question regarding your submission, please contact:

For any questions regarding content calls for papers, contact the session chairs at


International Committee for the History of Art (CIHA)