Keynotes and Plenaries

We are welcoming two keynote speakers, Émilie Monnet and Julie Sermon with a talk titled Partitional Regions and the Distribution of the Sensible. We are also hosting two plenaries. The first of these dialogues with artists is Partition/Score and the Creative Process, a series of interviews with L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres, The Bakery, and Dana Michel. The second is on Signed Music, featuring Dr. Jody H. Cripps, Pamela E. Witcher, and Hodan Youssouf.

Keynote 1: Émilie Monnet

“I was born free”: Some Thoughts around the Creation of the Performance Marguerite and Indigenous Slavery in New France

Presented by the Mcgill institute for the study of canada

The keynote is available on the page linked here.

This talk is about the writing and on-going creation of Marguerite, the next performance by interdisciplinary artist Émilie Monnet. The performance focuses on the trial of Marguerite Duplessis in 1740. At a time when slavery was an everyday occurrence in Montreal, Marguerite Duplessis stood trial before the Superior Council of New France to request her freedom. This made her the first Indigenous person to challenge the judicial apparatus here. Her freedom was not recognized, and she ended up being deported to the Caribbean, as was the case with many Indigenous slaves at the time.

Marguerite Duplessis is a hero that History does not mention, just like murdered and missing Indigenous women are often ignored today. By following in the traces of Marguerite, Monnet explores the themes of justice, memory and collective amnesia, revealing many convergences between past and present, between the territories of Québec and Martinique.

Marguerite is imagined through two distinct aesthetics: on one hand, a choral text staged by three actors; on the other, a documentary form revealed by audio and digital means. In both cases, sound dramaturgy plays a major role in the artistic process developed by Émilie Monnet, who seeks to create immersive spaces appropriate for a different way of listening to, and of receiving stories that are not readily accessible.

Emilie Monnet

Emilie Monnet. Crédit photo: Scott Benesiinaabandan

Émilie Monnet’s heritage is Anishnaabe and French, and she lives in Tiohtià:ke / Mooniyaang / Montréal. At the intersection of theatre, performance and media arts, her practice centres on questions of identity, memory, history and transformation. Her works privilege collaborative processes of creation, and are typically presented as interdisciplinary theatre or immersive performance experiences. As a playwright and director, she is the artist in residence at Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui until 2021. This Time Will Be Different, her most recent installation performance co-created together with choreographer Lara Kramer, was presented at FTA in June 2019. Since 2016, she has been producing Indigenous Contemporary Scene (ICS), a nomadic platform for the presentation of live arts and creative exchanges between Indigenous artists and communities. ICS’s latest edition took place in Edinburgh, Scotland, this past August. Find out about her company ONISHKA.

Keynote 2: Julie Sermon

Partitional Regions and the Distribution of the Sensible

presented by university of toronto press journals (UTPJ)

The keynote is available on the page linked here.

The term “partition,” which was long reserved for the field of music, was taken up at the end of the nineteenth century, and increasingly in the 1960s, by other artistic disciplines, notably poetry, theatre, dance, and the performing arts. After more than a century of usage in a range of artistic disciplines, one notes that: the diversity of forms that partitions can take is matched only by the plurality of the discourses and functions that are associated with them. If it isn’t possible, or even desirable, to reduce this heterogeneity to a general theoretical formula, we can nevertheless begin to categorize some of the ways “partition” has been mobilized across artistic disciplines by paying particular attention to:

  • the distinguishing traits of partitions (their degree of openness or closedness, of simplicity or complexity, of stability or variability, of homogeneity or heterogeneity);
  • the moment in which they intervene in the creative process (before, after, during) and the role they play vis-à-vis the work (conceptualizing, planning, archiving…);
  • and finally, the way in which they define roles and organize relations between the people (writers, directors/choreographers, performers/actors) engaged in these processes.

By analyzing the different forms that partitions can take (their modes of production as well as the functions—theoretical and practical, poetic and symbolic—that are attached to them) I identify three main partitional “regions.” I use the term “region” to evoke the notion of an artistic territory, which can be characterized by a set of aesthetic and political tendencies and geographic, historic, material, and intellectual conditions. This paper seeks to trace the contours of these territories. Ultimately, I will show how partition has emerged as a major artistic object/concept that is connected to the predominant revivals and aesthetic and political questions that have shaped the performing arts from the turn of the twentieth century to the present.

Dr. Julie Sermon

Julie Sermon. Source:

Dr. Julie Sermon is a Senior Lecturer at Université Lyon 2, a playwright and an assistant director. In recent years, her research on modern and contemporary writings, on the dramaturgical and scenic renewal that these forms imply, and on the transformation of the character into a “figure” have led her to look into history, poetics and aesthetics of puppet theaters. She is a member of the research team “Passage XX-XXI” (Lyon 2), and a researcher associated with the groups “Poetics of Modern and Contemporary Drama” and “Political Theaters” (Paris X). She co-authored, with Jean-Pierre Ryngaert, Le personnage théâtral contemporain : décomposition, recomposition [The Contemporary Theatrical Character: Décomposition, Recomposition] (Éditions Théâtrales, 2006). As we wrote in the conference call, she also published, with Yvane Chapuis, Partition(s) – Objets et concepts des pratiques scéniques (20 e et 21 e siècles) [Partition (s) – Objects and Concepts of Stage Practices (20 th and 21 st Centuries)] which draws the history of the emergence and appropriation of the “score” in extra-musical domains (theatre, dance, performance).

Plenary 1: The Score in the Creative Process: Interviews with L’Orchestre d’hommes-orchestres (Québec City), The Bakery (Montréal), and Dana Michel (Montréal)

The plenary is available on the page linked here.

Members of the PRint research group (UQAM) interview members of two theatre companies and a choreographer and live artist about the relation between their creative processes and ideas of “partition”. These wide ranging conversations on modes of composition, the coming together of artistic languages, collective creation and more are complemented with visual and audio material from productions.

L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres

Photo of L'orchestre d'hommes-orchestres
L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres

In 2002, when L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres was founded in Quebec City, the group’s members had no idea they were preparing a veritable building site for the performing arts. Chameleon-like and undisciplined, the group began numerous collaborations with artists from various horizons (visual arts, music, theatre, dance, performance art…) under the banner of versatility and vocabulary renewal. Always striving to see what lies behind objects, and to pull the invisible strings, LODHO and its collaborators crossbred diverse languages to generate new art objects. In 2013, L’ODHO received The City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize and The City of Quebec Prize 2015.

Dana Michel

Dana Michel (b. Ottawa, Canada) is a choreographer and live artist based in Montreal. Michel breaks through conventions with her daring choreographies, rejecting stereotypical physicality and identity, and creating a liberated world of shape-shifting metamorphosis, incorporating elements ranging from sculpture and comedy, to psychology and social commentary. In 2006, she graduated from the BFA program in Contemporary Dance at Concordia University in her late twenties. Prior to this, she was a marketing executive, competitive runner and football player. She is a 2011 danceWEB scholar (Vienna, Austria) and is currently an artist-in-residence at Usine C (Montreal, Canada) and a Visiting Dance Artist at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

The Bakery

The Bakery is a recently formed theatrical laboratory that formalizes a 15-year period of collaboration and creation of devised work that is interdisciplinary in concept. Heightened corporal expression, image, sound, and text are blended into a conceptual performance event that emphasizes the pleasure of live art. We are devoted to exploring performance in theatrical and interventionist experiences. The structure of the work is affixed in physical, visual and aural musicality and does not necessarily follow traditional theatrical structures. We aim to speak to the 21st century audience about contemporary concerns. Each performance is developed through an extended, ensemble driven, period of research. The aesthetic form and creation process is performance specific. Our artistic process is experimental and interdisciplinary. Ongoing collaborations and ensemble training are at the core of our process. We conduct weekly training in the Six Viewpoints and a physical approach to acting in an improvisational laboratory.

Plenary 2: Signed Music and the Deaf Musicians

The plenary is available on the page linked here.

Signed music is an emerging inter-performative art that includes lyrical and/or non-lyrical musical performances that has strong ties to the culture of Deaf people who use signed language (American Sign Language – ASL and langue de signes québécoise – LSQ). Canadian Deaf musicians were gathered to discuss their experience in creating signed music pieces through their creativity, research, and scholarship. During the discussion, two questions: 1) What inspired us to be musicians? and 2) How did we create our works? were asked to the musicians then the open discussion followed. ‘Masque” (LSQ), “I Honour You” (ASL), and “Rain” (ASL) were three musical performances subjected to discussion. In the end, the musicians and researchers provided their insights on the future directions in the area of performances, training/mentorships, and research. 

Dr. Jody H. Cripps

Dr. Jody H. Cripps

Dr. Jody H. Cripps is an Assistant Professor of American Sign Language in the Department of Languages at Clemson University. Dr. Cripps obtained his doctorate in the Second Language Acquisition and Teaching program from the University of Arizona. Dr. Cripps’ research interests primarily focus on universal design, signed music, signed language pathology, ASL-English literacy, and pedagogical methods. Dr. Cripps’ latest grant allows for conducting ground-breaking ethnomusicological research in Canada on the creative process and production of a signed music showcase titled, “THE BLACK DRUM”, performed by a signing musical theater troupe, the sponsorship funded on the behalf of the Canadian Council of the Arts via Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf. This first of its kind musical incorporates Dr. Cripps’ signed music theories and was selected as one of ten acts entries chosen from more than 100 countries featured in a showcase at Clin d’Oeil Festival in Reims, France in July 2019. In addition to his teaching and research, he also serves as the Editor-in-Chief for the Society for American Sign Language Journal and the Vice President of The Gloss Institute, a non-profit organization providing educators and parents the necessary tools and resources to overcome the habitually low literacy (English) rates in deaf children.

Pamela E. Witcher

Pamela E. Witcher

Pamela E. Witcher – Interpreter, translator, cultural mediator, museum curatorship and multidisclipinary artist, Pamela finds it necessary to overlap old and new discoveries that have the power to change views and ideas. When the Deaf communities create information through art and documentation, our existence become concrete, known and valued. Pamela’s works have been featured in Edinburgh International Book Festival, Ecomusée du fier monde, Quebec on the Move!, À Bâbord and Signed Music: A Symphonious Odyssey. Her most recent signed music performances were portrayed at Phenomena Festival 2019; VIBE Symposium 2018: Challenging ableism and audism through the arts; Celebration of Sign Language 2015: Revisiting Language, Literacy, and Performing Arts symposium at Towson University, and Les Drags te font signe at Chez Mado cabaret. Parallelly, Pamela works as a Community Relations Manager with Canada’s Video Relay Service.

Hodan Youssouf

Hodan Youssouf

A poet, actress, and researcher who has been deaf since childhood, Hodan Youssouf has participated in a multitude of artistic projects in both hearing and deaf circles in Quebec and abroad. Born in Somalia, which does not have services adapted to deaf people, Youssouf and her hearing siblings were sent by their parents as refugees to France before they immigrated to Canada in 1989. Today, she is active within the deaf community of Montreal, having worked for nine years as an attendant to deaf students at the Gadbois school. Also active in the theatre community, Youssouf worked at The Tempest Citadel Theater in Edmonton and has recently participated in an adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet” in American Sign Language in Toronto and the making of the film Un homme fou s’aspire and Souviens-toi… un dormoir. As a research manager for deaf music, Youssouf has worked on the play “The Devil’s Part.” She currently collaborates with Cinéall, an organization focused on innovative communication solutions to facilitate exchange between the world of the deaf and that of the hearing. She can currently be seen in “La Traversée,” a bilingual LSQ / French play on tour with Voyageurs Immobiles, Cie de création.

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