Journal Special Issue

The following call went out in May 2019 for a special issue of Studies in Theatre and Performance. The call has now closed.

Further details will be shared when the issue is published. The special issue is planned to be published in the first half of 2020.


Artist Development: Class, Diversity and Exclusion

Studies in Theatre and Performance, Vol. 40, 2020.

Guest edited by Liz Tomlin (University of Glasgow), Joslin McKinney (University of Leeds), Jessica Bowles (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama), Paul Geary (Independent Scholar)

Call Outline

This special issue of Studies in Theatre and Performancegrows out of the AHRC research network, Incubate-Propagate, which brought together academics, practitioners, producers and arts funders to address the lack of access to professional development support available to emerging theatre artists from less privileged socio-economic backgrounds and unable to take advantage of career progression opportunities accessed through HE.

The network has facilitated in-depth discussions between constituencies who are rarely brought into conversation: independent producers, who are key players in the selection, development and profiling of early career theatre artists;  funding bodies; and academics in theatre and cultural industries disciplines whose work addresses social exclusion, inequality and applied or participatory art and theatre practice in the context of socio-economic disadvantage. The discussions have seeded the development of strategies, platforms and networks that participants emerging from community, applied or activist projects (or beyond) may access to embark on a professional theatre-making career.

The special issue seeks to further engage with two broad thematic strands that arose from these discussions:

RISK AND EXCLUSION including but not limited to the following issues:

  • Unconscious bias in those who are gate-keepers to professional opportunities and platforms can result in definitions of risk, success and excellence being made by those with existing cultural power to shore up a hierarchy that supports certain. aesthetic practices (and the artists/audiences who engage with them) over others
  • The outsourcing of questions of access to secondary operations of theatre institutions – (e.g. outreach) – and the compartmentalising of such concerns within academic curricula – (e.g. applied/community theatre).
  • The difficulty of defining class/socio-economic background in equivalence to protected characteristics of gender, race etc.

FORM AND PROGRESSION including but not limited to the following issues:

  • Projects focused on engagement and participation are insufficiently joined up to pathways to professional practice and/or insufficiently resourced to support participants onto such pathways
  • The distinctions made between amateur / community / applied / youth and professional / contemporary / experimental practice too often implies a lack of ‘quality’ in the work of those who are seeking to move from participation to professional progression
  • A hierarchy of taste is often in place in the context of professional theatre that privileges familiar aesthetics over culturally diverse forms of practice


This call for contributions welcomes proposals from those already engaged with the network, as well as those who would like to participate in this final stage of the research project.

Contributions could take the form of
Provocations (1,000 – 2,000 words)
Short Articles (3,000 – 5,000 words)
Case Studies / Photo Essays / Interview transcripts of artist development schemes (1,000 – 5,000 words) that are already developing ways to:

  • Build in expectations of progression, network mentoring and resources to support participants into progression routes, into participation and engagement projects
  • Ensure that agency and authorship are at the heart of participatory and engagement projects
  • Foster and generate academic discourses that challenge hierarchies of taste and encourage critical questioning of how (and by who) cultural value is assigned to different practices and constituencies of making
  • Design ways in which tastes can be broadened and new forms experienced by emerging artists and audiences
  • Embed / grow producers at the heart of communities of socio-economic under-privilege

We are keen to enable a wide range of contributions, and a diversity of formats, so also welcome proposals that don’t necessarily ‘fit’ with the above.

Issue Schedule:

7 June 2019
Proposals to be submitted

By 14 June 2019
Response from editors and, if successful, invitation to submit contribution

14 June to 31 August 2019
Writing period

1 September to 30 October 2019
Editorial review period

1 November 2019 – 31 December 2019
Author revisions

January – July 2020
Peer review/publication