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CALL: Papers for Spring 2024 Center for Research and Study Conference

Call for Papers: Center for Research & Study Spring Conference —


April 5th – 6th, NYU Tisch School of the Arts

Keynote Speaker: Mel Y. Chen

Inside a chrysalis, the caterpillar liquifies its body into imaginal cells which become reoriented, old tissues forming new parts of the yet-to-be butterfly. It unmakes its body to make itself anew.

Sponsored by the Center for Research & Study at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, this graduate student conference is organized by the joint effort of students at the departments of Cinema Studies, Performance Studies, and Art & Public Policy. Together, we seek to consider the close relationship between unmaking and making, where assembly often involves destruction, and decomposition may imbricate a creative force.

We are looking for papers/performances/projects that consider this question of “(un)making.” We welcome proposals from a very wide range of fields, including: environmental studies, as processes of (un)making may also be found in the metabolic assemblages of compost and decay; art history and philosophy of art, where (un)making is central to aesthetic practices of patchwork and collage arts; queer, gender and trans studies, as queer life can learn and unlearn gender; and in the activist approaches of abolitionist theory. We hope to find (un)makers from many fields and we hope, with this conference, to foster a productive cross-pollination across and within disciplines, departments, as well as between the academic institution and the wider world.

The conference sets out to ask such questions as:

  • What do we want to (un)make in the world?

  • How might these processes of (un)making be both generative processes of creativity and practices of disassembly?

  • How does art, activism, film, or everyday performance unmake and make the world?

  • What are the tools we build in order to disassemble?

  • How does cinema and other time-based media help us to simultaneously undo and reimagine our relationship to images?

  • How do questions of ephemerality trouble the distinction between making and unmaking in performance, research, and social life?

  • How do theaters (the auditorium, the movie theater, the social stage) unmake and remake our orientations to space, and to each other?

We are interested in proposals drawing from a variety of fields and approaches, including but not limited to:

  • Performance studies

  • Cinema studies

  • Black studies

  • Indigenous studies

  • Crip theory, disability studies

  • Cultural studies

  • Decolonial theory

  • Dance and movement theory

  • Trans theory

  • Historiography

  • New object-oriented materialism

  • Eco criticism

  • Archival studies and methodology

  • Sound studies

  • Food studies

  • New media studies

  • American studies

  • Ludology and Play Studies

  • Psychoanalysis

  • Art history

  • Craft Making and Folk Art Traditions

  • Law

  • Speculative methods

We are excited to receive submissions that engage in any number of topics. The following list is intended as possible examples of where questions of (un)making may be applied:

Remixing and sampling

Sound and noise

Collaging and found footage


Fission / fusion


Game theory

Experimental performance

Ephemerality of performance

Materiality of film


Choreography and improvisation

Break dancing

Decay / decomposition / dissolution

Fermentation / preservation

Digestion and metabolization







Psychosis and madness / schizoanalysis


Chosen/queer families

The carnivalesque

Theater Adaptation



Who can apply?

To apply to the conference you must be a current or recent student of any NYC consortium university (ie. Fordham University, Columbia University, CUNY Graduate Center, New York University, The New School for Social Research, Princeton University, Rutgers University, Stony Brook University). Undergraduates can also apply.

Will the conference be on Zoom or in-person? This conference will be taking place entirely in-person at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU. Panelists requesting to present on Zoom will be considered on a case-by-case basis, to address issues of accessibility only.

How do I apply?

Please complete the following Google form The form will ask you to upload a pdf file containing a 300-350 word abstract (that explains the work’s relevance to the theme of “(un)making”). If you have any requirements for your presentation (ie. projector, microphone, etc), or if you intend to use props, please detail everything in a 50-100 word statement in the pdf. Please include your name and contact details. You can also submit a  50-word biographical statement.

What mediums do you accept?

We are looking for proposals for academic papers, films, performances, lecture-performances, and creative writing. (However, bear in mind that you will present your work in a conference setting with no additional lighting, sound, or production equipment. There will be projectors/speakers for film screening and presentation slides.) Each slot will be 20 minutes.

Can I/we apply as a group? 

Yes. You can apply as a group, however you will have the same 20 mins to present, no additional time. Please nominate one group member to submit the application form for your group.

Can I/we apply as a panel? 

Yes. In fact we encourage panel submissions! A panel submission is when 3 separate applicants, whose work is thematically linked, apply together to form a conference panel. However, we will not accept panels where all the applicants are from the exact same department, as we want to encourage inter-departmental/inter-university work.

Please nominate one panel member to submit the application form; the 3 separate proposals should be uploaded as 3 separate pdfs, specified with the individual panelists’ names, affiliations, and contact details. Please state the theme/title of the proposed panel on the google form.

I would like to apply to run a workshop, is this possible?

Yes. We are also taking submissions for workshops, including: education, dance, movement, performance, etc. Workshops will take place in a larger space, where participants can move about. Workshops will be 45 mins long. The application submission is the same as above, but instead select the option for workshop proposal.

Can undergraduates apply?

Yes! We welcome undergraduates applications. If you are an undergraduate student and would like assistance with how to prepare your application, you can contact the NYU Director of Undergraduate Research, Ethan Youngerman, at

Deadline: December 1st