On Friday 17 April 2015 [and Thursday 16 April!], Northumbria University will hold its fourth annual poetry symposium. This year’s event explores work in all its forms, especially in relation to performance and poetry. Submissions are now closed. The symposium’s focus will be on contemporary poetry and performance, but we are also open to contributions relating to earlier periods. Topics could include:

  • Working on a poem vs. the work of a poem
  • The poetry/performance workshop
  • Overworking
  • Art and class: working class writing, the non-poetic work of poets, employment and unemployment
  • The work of the avant-garde: negation, recuperation, institutionalisation
  • The work of style, sprezzatura, queer labour
  • Work, migration, transnational labour
  • Contract and consent
  • Iterations and rhythms: workflow, shift-work, casualisation, precarity, churn
  • Post-Fordism and the periodisation of the economic
  • Performance studies perspectives on the gamification of work
  • Writing the systemic: global political economy, market performance, finance capital
  • Capital, patriarchy, recuperation: differential labour of rendering experience legible
  • Intertheoretical approaches to labour: queer, feminist, Marxist, anthropological/sociological, other
  • Vibrant matter and non-human work: materiality, thingliness
  • Performance, bodily mimesis, ability and disability
  • The creation and destruction of the body
  • The work of pregnancy and childbearing
  • The autonomy of artworks / artworks as social fact
  • The relation between paid work and art practice
  • Sexual division of labour, other divisions of labour
  • Dreamwork, dreaming about work, dreaming against work
  • The work of the body, sex work, medical research, art work
  • Productivity, nonproductivity, reproductivity
  • Pressing work: the work of small press production and circulation
  • Political performance and agency
  • Resistance: the role of poetry & performance in grassroots politics, activism, unionism
  • Work and freedom: slavery, debt, the prison-industrial complex
  • Utopia/pragmatism/dystopia: work and its alternatives

The full programme will be available on this site closer to the time. Attendance to both the symposium and the evening event will be free, although places will be limited, so get in touch – – if you’d like to reserve a place. Symposium participants will be expected to fund their travel and accommodation through their own institutions, but there may be a small amount of financial assistance available for participants who are not academically affiliated.


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