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Call for Papers: Queer Fun at Royal Vauxhall Tavern on 10 June 2017

Queer Fun: an ivory-tower vaudeville from Duckie and QMUL

Royal Vauxhall Tavern

Saturday 10 June 2017, 3-7pm

Fun is a wide-ranging experience that has rarely been taken seriously by the academy or society. This is changing, with the publication of monographs on fun in the fields of sociology (Ben Fincham) and cultural studies (Alan McKee), and the realisation of projects such as Fun Palaces and the British Library’s There Will Be Fun exhibition.

Fun can be a powerful engine for feelings, thoughts and actions with many political and ethical implications. But where does fun sit in relation to queerness? Does queer experience entail exclusion from some kinds of fun and access to others? What might queer fun look or feel like?

This half-day conference aims to explore queer fun at a historic site of queer fun, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. Eight-minute presentations by academic researchers, contemporary queer performers and others will be showcased in a format inspired by the Olivier Award-winning C’est Duckie! show. Conference attendees are also welcome at Duckie’s club night at the RVT later that evening.

The event emerges from doctoral research being carried out by Ben Walters under a Collaborative Doctoral Award granted to Queen Mary University of London’s Department of Drama and queer performance collective Duckie. The subject bears directly but far from exclusively on performance studies (particularly socially-turned performance) and queer theory (particularly affect, relationality and futurity).

Questions for consideration might include:

  • Why take fun seriously?
  • What kind of fun is queer fun?
  • How your fun (un)like my fun?
  • What are the politics of fun?
  • Queer fun vs gay fun
  • Is there a time and place for fun?
  • Fun? 😉
  • What happens when the fun ends? (And what if it doesn’t start?)

Relevant subjects might include abjection, affect and relationality; high and low status; temporality and futurity; normativity; care; pleasure; happiness; socially-turned performance; relief, resistance and rehearsal.

We invite proposals for presentations of eight minutes incorporating the first-hand exhibition of an object (or image, sound, gesture, taste or smell) that illustrates the point you would like to make about queer fun. Presentations can be academic in nature, or performance-based, or in other formats. Proposals in formats other than eight-minute presentations will also be considered, particularly ambient or installation-based ideas. PowerPoint presentations (or equivalent) are discouraged.

Proposals of up to 150 words (or audio/video files of up to one minute), along with a brief biography and a picture of your selected object, should be sent to queerfun1@gmail.com by Aprila 14 2017. Please specify any particular technical requirements. Applicants will be informed of decisions by April 21 2017. Please feel free to contact the organiser, Ben Walters, at queerfun1@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Tickets for the event cost £10, which includes entry into that night’s Duckie club night, and are available at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/queer-fun-an-ivory-tower-vaudeville-tickets-32726784694. Successful applicants who aren’t salaried to produce such work or are not in receipt of academic funding will receive a fee of £200. We regret that there is no funding to support travel or accommodation.

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