Date and time: September 28-29, 2017

Venue: Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonia pst 7, Tallinn, room 426 

Lecturer: Laura Gröndahl, PhD

28.9. Thursday
11.00 – 13.00 lecture
14.00 – 17.00 seminar

29.9. Friday
10.00 – 13.00 seminar

The course gives an introductory idea of the use of documentary materials in contemporary art and theatre. The aim is to increase the participants’ understanding about epistemic, political and ethical questions related to the documentary art. The major part of the course consists of joint discussions, and the students are encouraged to approach the subject through their own topics of interest.

Reading: Janelle Reinelt. (2009) “The Promise of Documentary” in Alison Forsyth – Chris Megson (eds.) Get Real. Documentary Theatre Past and Present. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. pp 6 – 23. The text will made electronically available to the registered participants.

Preparatory assignment:
Those who participate in the seminar, are asked to prepare a question they wish to be discussed together. The question may emerge from the student’s ongoing research or artistic project, or it may be of a more general nature. It is also possible to raise questions concerning the reading material. The aim of the assignment is to promote discussion and direct the seminar according to the students’ interests. It is possible (but not recommended) to participate in the seminar also without a prepared question and receive 1 ECTS.

Formulate the question and write a short argumentation (300-500 words), where you describe it more profoundly, for example by explaining:

– Why do you find your question relevant? What exactly is problematic there? – What viewpoints or theoretical tools might be useful in the discussion?

– Can you think of any concrete examples of the question?

– How do you personally think about the question?

Send the question + argumentation to by the 18.09.2017, and prepare also to present it shortly (3-5 minutes) in the seminar.

Lecture: (tentative plan)
Notions of documentary in contemporary art and theatre
– Introduction to the theme
– Why do so many contemporary artists take an interest in documentary? How do they artists understand the notion of documentary?
– What is specific for the contemporary notions of documentary art: how do they continue or differ from earlier notions (a short historical overview)
– Documentary art as a part of the public sphere: is it possible to participate in political debates by means of documentary art in the contemporary culture?
– Documentary art and performative epistemology: how is knowledge produced by art and theatre?
– Possibilities and critical problems of documentary art.

The seminar section will be based on the questions coming from students. The number of seminar places is limited (max 20 participants). Priority will be given to doctoral students.

Please register by 15.09.2017.

Registration form.

Laura Gröndahl, PhD (University of the Arts Helsinki) is a theatre researcher and educator who has specialized in documentary theatre. She has been the co-editor and contributing author of Journalistisen dokumenttiteatterin mahdollisuus (2017), Tekijä: teos, esitys ja yhteiskunta (2016) and the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles in international and Finnish journals. Before taking her doctoral degree in 2004 she worked for twenty years as a practicing stage and costume designer in various Finnish theatres. Her other research interests include artistic and technical practices of producing performances; scenography, philosophical discussions on space and place and the epistemology of arts. She currently acts as the editor-in-chief of Nordic Theatre Studies.

This event is organised by the Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts, supported by the ASTRA project of the Estonian Academy of Arts – EKA LOOVKÄRG (European Union, European Regional Development Fund).