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Improvising Care – McGill/Montreal, October 5–9, 2024

July 20

An graphic for Improvising Care, McGill University, Montreal Quebec. October 5-9, 2024. Proposals due July 20th.

Improvising Care


Oct 5-9, 2024

“In a democratic society art should be the location where everyone can witness the joy, pleasure, and power that emerges when there is freedom of expression….” bell hooks, “Workers for Artistic freedom”

“Healing can occur . . . when one’s inner experience is made manifest and accepted by others.” Pauline Oliveros, Sonic Meditations

Recent history, from COVID through climate change, massive displacements of people, a worrying increase in various forms of totalitarianism, unjust wars (are there any other kinds?) the rapid rise of neo-liberalism (one can easily multiply this list) has both placed a greater focus on, and need for, care, and at the same time radically reduced the structures from which care often operates. As traditional institutions of care are denuded of resources, and governments implement policies that make care simultaneously more difficult to enact, yet that much more needed, it is fair to say we are facing a crisis of care. How can art and artists implement care in their practices? How should society care for artists, and artists for each other, and how can art itself be a tool for care and how should artists interact with communities in caring ways? Given improvisation’s ability to creatively and imaginatively find ways to modify existing structures, subvert norms and implement new forms of sociality, do we perhaps now more than ever need to improvise new models of care?

Some topics might include:

– How can artists work ethically in community, showing care for them?

– What would a society that cares for its artists look like, what policies and structures would be called for?

– How can art itself both model care and implement care—how can art be used to care for ourselves and others?

– How does putting care front and centre in artistic practice problematize a host of traditional assumptions about what art is and what it isn’t?

– How can new technologies both be used to create new possibilities for care, and themselves be the subjects of care?

We invite contributions addressing the topic of care and the arts, with an emphasis on the improvisatory. Contributions can be varied, traditional papers, panels, discussions, performances, mixed-media, videos, interventions—we place no limitations per se on what you might want to contribute, except that the linkage with the theme should be clear, and technically the contribution should not require excessive equipment, set up, staff, etc.

Some of this event will be dedicated to research and performance emerging out of the COST-Funded Toolkit of Care project (https://toolkitof.care). This pan-European project focuses on ways in which artists can model care, enact principles of care in their artistic practices, and create networks of mutual care.

We will be partnering with Art in the Margins’ Festival Flux Festival, which will run concurrently, affording us fun evening performances!

THIS CALL IS NOT DIRECTED ONLY TO ACADEMICS! We seek out contributions from community members/organizations, independent artists and researchers, or anyone with an interest in this topic.

Please send your proposal to: [email protected] by July 20. Please put in the subject heading “improvising care”. Be clear about what you are proposing. If it involves other participants, please name them with contact info. If you have particular tech needs/space needs be clear about them. Also let us know the length of time you ideally would need—flexibility here is helpful (e.g., 25-40 mins, is better than just 40 mins!). Please limit proposals to one page.

While we will endeavor to have all our spaces wheelchair accessible, please let us know in your proposal if you have any particular needs with respect to access or adaptability (or anything else that will allow us to make the event as welcoming to you as possible!).

This event is a partnership between IICSI, LUC, Toolkitofcare, and Arts in the Margins


July 20
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