The Art of Improvisation – Call for Papers ASA 2012

Calendar Variations - Experiment at Woodend Barn, 2010, Photo: Chris Fremantle

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The call for papers for the ASA Conference 2012, which will be held in Delhi on 3-6th April, is now open.

The deadline is the 6th of December, 2012.

We would like to invite you to submit an abstract for our panel ‘The Art of Improvisation’.

We are interested in securing contributions from a broad range of perspectives, e.g. anthropology, the visual arts, music and performance. We are hoping to develop a dedicated journal issue as a result.

Full details can be found here.  Queries should be directed to Amanda Ravetz.


  • Amanda Ravetz (Manchester Metropolitan University);
  • Kathleen Coessens (Vrije Universiteit, Brussel);
  • Anne Douglas (Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen).

The panel is driven by an interest in understanding embodied, experiential knowledge through the lens of experimental arts practice. Taking an expanded notion of improvisation as a state of ‘being alive’ (Ingold 2011), the panel will explore trajectories between improvisation in life and improvisation in art as follows:

In life, asserts Tim Ingold, there exists no script. The primacy of experience is a form of ‘trying out’. We might think of this then as a movement from an indefinable and undifferentiated state to one of feeling our way through creating direction.

In art we cast a critical eye on the ‘givens’, the predetermined structures of social, cultural, material experience while recognising that freedom and constraint are profoundly interrelated. Improvisation in art across cultures is a specific approach to form making that centres the imagination (of the creator/ performer/spectator) precisely on managing the interplay between freedom and constraint.

In artistic research, the artist/researcher places him/herself at the sharp point of the inquiry, re-imagining, re-configuring, intensifying and scrutinising practice to create insights within and beyond the arts.

  • How might a revisiting of improvisation as a condition of life open up approaches to improvisation in art, challenging its current formulation as a specific formal approach?
  • In what ways might such an inquiry inform new understandings of embodied knowledge within and beyond artistic practice?
  • How might such knowledge sit beside anthropological formulations of improvisation and creativity?

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge Research, Gray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
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2 thoughts on “The Art of Improvisation – Call for Papers ASA 2012

  1. Hello,
    I have just recieved notice regarding “The Art of Improvisation”. I work with improvisation on a regular basis in my theatre related work. I have created template for improvisation based on the anatomy and theoretically or metaphorically claim taps the ever changing flow in the physiology. The template is “The Four Articulations” for acting, clowning, improvisation. My graduate degrees have dealt with this: M.A. in Visual & Performing Arts “The Actor’s Body in the Space of the Theatre”; and, PhD in Education “From the Liminal to the Visceral”. The PhD presents a new basic trilogy for learning – Embodied Practices, Creativity, Integral Learning. That thesis made use of Pierre Bourdieu’s ideas stemming from habitus (the body, Embodied Practices).

    I would be happy to present a workshop and talk at the 2012 conference.


  2. Ian Garrett says:

    Hi Ira, be sure to send all your queries toAmanda Ravetz at . There is also much more info here (, regarding submissions.

    Sounds great!

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