Panel –  A sector in crisis: strategies for survival – Helena Grehan, Oscar Tantoco Serquiña Jr., Joanne Tompkins, Asher Warren

We cannot deny that things are currently in a state flux, or perhaps even disarray across the sector, not just in Australia but across the globe.  The  uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 has infected all facets of life and has made work within the academy incredibly difficult – for those at all career stages.  The  aim of this  panel is to provide  strategies for ADSA members on  coping with and surviving this difficult period. The panelists will each offer some ideas and suggestions from their different positions and perspectives but the main aim is to provide plenty of time to listen to the very real concerns of members and to provide – where possible – solutions and support in response.  As an organisation ADSA has always been collegial and supportive and this panel seeks to mobilise this collegiality for the common good of conference attendees.

Helena Grehan is Dean of Research for Arts, Business, Law, IT and Social Sciences at Murdoch University. She has published widely on performance studies and creative arts more broadly. Her current work focusses on listening as both a political and ethical act both within and beyond the borders of the performance space. She is a member of AusStage, a founding member of the Digitisation Centre of WA and is the Deputy Editor of Performance Research.

Oscar Tantoco Serquiña Jr. is a PhD candidate in Theatre Studies at the University of Melbourne, where he is working on a dissertation that explores sites of speech study, training, and performance in the Philippines from the 20th to the 21st centuries. He is also a faculty member in the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts at the University of the Philippines. His essays have appeared in Theatre Research InternationalHumanities DilimanKritika Kultura, the Philippine Political Science Journal, and the Philippine Humanities Review

Joanne Tompkins has just completed a three-year term as Executive Director for Humanities and Creative Arts at the Australian Research Council. She has returned to the University of Queensland where she is a professor of theatre. She has published widely on theatre. Her recent work visualises theatres that no longer exist. She is a founding member of AusStage, and is Chair of its Management Committee.

Dr Asher Warren is a Lecturer in Theatre at the University of Tasmania. His research explores intermedial, networked, participatory and collaborative practices, and the sites of contemporary artistic practice. He is a member of Performance Studies international, the IFTR intermediality working group, ADSA, and currently sits on the PSi Future Advisory Board.

Tuesday 1 December

Postgraduate Day


08:00 WA PH | 10:00 QLD | 10:30 SA | 11:00 NSW TAS VIC | 13:00 NZ
duration: 40 minutes | Join this session…

Welcome: Coffee Conversations

With a hot beverage in hand, join us in acknowledging the land on which we gather and find out who else is in the virtual ‘room’.

Be sure to look at the ‘provocations to postgrads’, intended to keep us thinking, dreaming and questioning throughout the day.


09:00 WA PH | 11:00 QLD | 11:30 SA | 12:00 NSW TAS VIC | 14:00 NZ
duration: 1 hour | Join this session…

Keynote: Associate Professor Sandy O’Sullivan – ‘Shattering the colonial project of performance

Sandy is an artist, educator and researcher who speaks truth to power. Given their inspiring leadership in mapping creative practices, we invited Sandy to respond to the questions of what to keep and what to leave behind in order for critical thinking to occur within the Australian context.

Associate Professor Sandy O’Sullivan is a Wiradjuri (Aboriginal) academic, researcher and creative practitioner. Their research and teaching include queer studies, art and design, built environment, music, performance, and cultural representation, with a particular focus on First Nations’ agency and aspiration.


10:30 WA PH | 12:30 QLD | 13:00 SA | 13:30 NSW TAS VIC | 15:30 NZ
duration: 1 hour 30 minutes | Join this session…

Panel: What’s Next?: Future Wayfinding

In this panel we invite Professor Joanne Tompkins (previously Executive Director of the Humanities and Creative Arts panel of ARC), Associate Professor Sigi Jöttkandt (Director, Open Humanities Press) and Dr Will Grant (Co-founder, PostAc) to provide insight on ways to fund your research, ways to publish your research and employment trends in a post-covid world.

They will be taking questions, so this will be your chance to Ask Them Anything.


12:15 WA PH | 14:15 QLD | 14:45 SA | 15:15 NSW TAS VIC | 17:15 NZ | Join this session…

Closing: Cocktail Hour

It’s 5pm somewhere! In this closing moment we’ll be keeping the conversation going, debriefing the juiciest ideas and unpacking our burning questions.

Stay for the duration or drop in to swap emails with a new ally. Pets welcome.

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Joanne Tompkins and Julie Holledge – Reconstructing the ‘art of assembling’ in Adelaide in 1841


Joanne Tompkins and Julie Holledge

University of Queensland and Flinders University

Reconstructing the ‘art of assembling’ in Adelaide in 1841

This paper reports on an experimental research process that aims to reconstruct the culture of spectatorship at the Queen’s Theatre in Adelaide on the opening night of the theatre in January 1841. The premise behind the research is that it is impossible to reproduce the audience-performer relationship in any lost performance without an understanding of the spatial dynamics of the performance venue. The Visualizing Lost Theatres project creates VR models of lost venues to offer immersive laboratories to explore performances from the past. The scholars and artists working inside the VR Queens have embodied elements from the textual archives on the opening performances of Othello within this 3D spatial environment. The paper will introduce the VR model, outline the contextual framework for the performance, explore the probable interpretation of Othello by the cast, all of whom had performed in the play in Hobart and Sydney before moving to Adelaide, and encapsulate what is known about the spectators who attended the opening night performance. Recordings will be presented of the actor-researchers exploring the possible responses of this audience to the performance of the death of Desdemona. Finally, the possibilities for new knowledge to be generated through this experimental methodology will be assessed, particularly about the history of human gatherings consuming fictional material.

Joanne Tompkins, Professor of Theatre at the University of Queensland, was until June Executive Director for Humanities and Creative Arts at the Australian Research Council. She has published numerous books and essays on contemporary and historical theatre research. She is a foundation member of AusStage and is currently researches the possibilities of recreating theatres that no longer exist by means of virtual theatre, through the cultural heritage development company, Ortelia. Her book, Visualising Lost Theatres, co-written with Jonathan Bollen, Julie Holledge and Liyang Xia, is forthcoming in 2021

Julie Holledge, Emeritus Professor, Flinders University. Julie Holledge began her career as an actor and director in the British alternative theatre movement in the 1970s. and moved to Australia in the early 1980s. Major publications include Innocent Flowers: Women in Edwardian Theatre (1981); Women’s Intercultural Performance (2000) with Joanne Tompkins; and A Global Doll’s House (2016) with Jonathan Bollen, Frode Helland, and Joanne Tompkins.