RISC coll 2017 poster University of Regina Colloquium 2017

Improvisation and Mobility: Interdisciplinary Conference and Festival

May 10-14, 2017
The Improvisation and Mobility Conference and Festival, held at the University of Regina May 10-14, blended keynote presentations, creative performances and immersive experiences, panel conversations, and group workshopping to keep participants engaged, curious, and stimulated. There were keynotes by Vida Midgelow, Frédérique Arroyas, and George Lipsitz, as well as “An Interview with Two Leading Improvisation Scholars,” featuring Ajay Heble and Dr. Lipsitz. Panelist Rick Kotowich, a long-time community educator and IICSI collaborator, reflected, “For me this conference stands out as one of the very best collective learning experiences of my life (on so many levels).” For a full schedule of events and participants, see below. Elizabeth Jackson, who attended the conference, was “struck, again and again, by the depth of connection, inquiry, and impact that Regina’s diverse team has grown together.” Congratulations to the organizers and participants of this landmark event in Canadian improvisation studies!


The Regina Improvisation Studies Centre, which is the Regina site of the national SSHRC Research Partnership the IICSI, together with the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance at the University of Regina, hosted the the Improvisation and Mobility Conference and Festival, held at the University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, and downtown Regina art venues.

The program explored themes of improvisation and mobility, and includes lectures, performances, hybrid performative talks, workshops, installations, the launch of interactive apps, and much more.

A special project “The Prairie Heartbeat Schools Project” connected local public schools in Regina to produce performances and workshops on themes of improvisation and cultural identity.

We are very grateful to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, who sponsored a special theme exploring improvisation and social isolation. Entitled “Improvise Mobilize,” the events in this series of events throughout the conference brought together researchers, students and community organizations to explore the potential for improvisation to support social change at the community level. Look for the “Improvise Mobilize” label on the schedule to identify these events.

Keynote presenters include George Lipsitz, Ajay Heble, Vida Midgelow, Isabella Stefanescu, and Frederique Arroyas.

The full schedule is listed below

Conference Theme

We are interested in the connections between critical studies in improvisation, contemporary improvisatory practice, and concepts of artistic, physical, technological and cultural mobility. Presenters were drawn from the fields of dance and performance studies, theatre, community-engaged art and music, ethnomusicology, creative technologies/new media art, intermedial studies, and critical studies in improvisation.

Presentations addressed questions such as:

  • How (and why) do improvising artists and scholars of improvisation engage with mobility in and through their practice?
  • How can notions of real-time decision-making, risk, collaboration, active listening and the reconfiguration of mistakes into productive material model new types of engagement with difference and culture, through new kinds of mobility?
  • What are the new possibilities for improvisation opened by the ubiquity of hand-held mobile devices and new types of mobile interfaces for creative expression?
  • What are the possibilities for intersections between literatures and practices in somatic work, disability cultures, and improvised movement and performances?
  • Who is brought in, and who is left out, when improvisation mobilizes?
  • What are the possibilities and issues with improvisatory mobilization across disciplines?

Conference Organizers


Wednesday May 10

Doors and bar open at 7:00, show from 7:30 – Improvised Performance “What’s At Hand” (Jayden Pfeifer with Joanna Bundon and Jon Neher)– The Artesian

Thursday May 11

Main conference talks held in RiC208 and RiC 209 (unless indicated)”
12:00 – 12:30– Registration and performance by the University of Regina New Music Ensemble
12:30 -1:00 Welcome and Opening Remarks
1:00 – 2:00 – Keynote: Vida Midgelow – performance lecture held in Sound Studio “Everywhere and Nowhere: Dance Improvisation as Un/disciplinary knowledge”
2:15 – 3:45Research Panel by QimprovGround: Yi-Chen Wu, Yi-Jung Wu, I-Ying Wu – return to RiC 208 and 209 “The Encountering Grounds of Dance improvisation: Explorations through Studies in Culture, Performing Arts, and Dance Education”
3:45 – 4:15 – Coffee and Round-table talk-back
4:15 – 5:30Darci Anderson- The Human Condition- movement workshop
Break for Dinner
8:00 – Creative Work-in-Progress Showing- Sound Studio
Dance Improvisation Performance: Dominic Gregorio & I-Ying Wu – “? un ? conscious”
Paula Weber- Student Presentation
Garry Wasyliw Student presentation + jam
REACTING Jam- interdisciplinary improvisation

Friday May 12

Main conference talks held in RiC208 and RiC 209 (unless indicated)
(Special schools only programming “The Prairie Heartbeat Project” runs 11:15AM-3PM- Shubox Theatre and surrounding classrooms, pre-registered school groups only)
9:45- 10:00 – Meet and greet with the Dean of Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance
Professor Rae Staseson
10:00 – 11:00Keynote: Frédérique Arroyas: “Study abroad: Exploring intercultural understanding through Forum Theatre”
11:00 – 12:00 – Coffee and Round-table talk-back with Dr. Sara Schroeter
Break for Lunch
1:00 – 1:45Public Performance-“Prairie Heartbeats Schools Project” with Clinton Ackerman and Daya Madhur and Grade 7 & 8 students- held in Shubox Theatre
1:45 – 2:00 – Break
2:00 – 4:00 – Papers (return to RiC 208 and 209)

4:00 – 4:45Grad presentation and exhibition: Jason Cullimore
5:00-7:30 – Conference Dinner
8:00 – Word Up Slam Poetry & Jam – Creative City Centre

Saturday May 13

Improvise & Mobilize- moderated by Dr. Elizabeth Jackson (IICSI- Guelph)
Main conference talks held in RiC208 and RiC 209 (unless indicated)

9:00– “Come Play With Our Merry Band of Improv’rs” John McCallum and local recreational
improvisation group
10:00 10:30– Opening Address: George Lipsitz “The Creative, Political, and Academic Potential for Improv to Mobilize Communities”
Break: Community partner meet and greet over coffee
10:45-11:45– Roundtable “Exploring different methods for community-engaged improvisation projects” Rick Kotowich, Amanda Schenstead (Wascana Rehabilitation Centre), Jayden Pfeifer
and Johanna Bundon (independent artists)
Lunch provided: Mentorship lunch for IICSI graduate students from partners and researchers (all welcome)
12:45-1:30– Workshop Forum Theatre and Indigenous Games- Dustin Brass and Erin Goodpipe (Indigenous People’s Health Research Centre)
1:30-2:30– Roundtable “Improvisation and Mentorship”- Risa Payant (Common Weal Community Arts), Charity Marsh (Canada Research Chair and IMP Labs), Cat Abenstein (Creative City
2:30-3:15– Research project workshop: “Addressing social isolation through applied research and arts practice” Rebecca Caines and Michelle Stewart (University of Regina)
3:15 – 4:00 – Performer talks: Isabella Stefanescu, Norman Adams
4:00-4:45George Lipsitz and Ajay Heble “An Interview with Two Leading Improvisation Scholars”
5:00WL Altman Multi-channel Installation and Artist Talk– Sound Studio
Break for Dinner
– Mainstage Performance – The Artesian
MIRROR with Isabella Stefanescu and Helen Pridmore
Norman Adams with WL Altman and Helen Pridmore

Sunday May 14

Main conference talks held in RiC208 and RiC 209 (unless indicated)

10:00 – 12:00 – Papers:

Break for Lunch
1:00 – 3:30
– Papers:

3:30-4:00 – Closing Round-table: Where can we move to now?
4:00 onwards – Please stay if you can, as there will be social events this afternoon and evening

Throughout the Conference
Research videos will be available in the Media Room