Upcoming Events



SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2024 | 5:00 PM | FREE

The Institute of Performance Studies is partnering with SFU's School for the Contemporary Arts and Dance West Network to present a live performance of the talking dance work i am black (you have to be willing to not know), by thomas f. defrantz, Artistic Director of SLIPPAGE.

i am black addresses the experience of being one-of-few people of color in the context of experimental performance. Too often, well-meaning white people fail to recognize how they are entirely complicit in the disavowals that craft Black rage. They imagine social circumstance as a somehow “natural occurrence” and become satisfied by witnessing Black creativity as difference. The terms of white privilege allow for this detachment, as if we were not all incredibly traumatized by the deeds of racist and greedy ancestors.

The performance will be followed by an artist talkback with the audience.  

During his visit to the SCA, defrantz will also be visiting with students in CA 421: Choreographic Lab, and holding a conversation with emerging dance artists in Vancouver.


thomas f. defrantz is Professor of Dance and Performance Studies at Northwestern University and the author of Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance (2002), and Dancing Revelations: Alvin Ailey’s Embodiment of African American Culture (2004), among many other books. As the director of SLIPPAGE: Performance|Culture|Technology, defrantz works to explore emerging technology in live performance applications. He believes in our shared capacity to do better and engage creative spirit for a collective good that is anti-racist, proto-feminist, and queer affirming.

Past Events

The New Daydream Imaginary: On the Ethico-Aesthetics of Spontaneous and Non-productive Thought

The Institute for Performance Studies was pleased to be a partner on the conference, “The New Daydream Imaginary: On the Ethico-Aesthetics of Spontaneous and Non-productive Thought,” held June 16-17, 2023 in the School for the Contemporary Arts at SFU Woodward’s.

Organized the SCA’s Eldritch Priest, in conjunction with IdleLab, the event considered the recent philosophical and scientific rehabilitation of daydreaming as a healthy and creative activity. Largely driven by a rhetoric that takes the figure of the “brain at rest” not only as an evolutionary adaptation but as evidence of our essentially creative nature, this new imaginary comes at a moment in our history when we appear to have less time to indulge its refrains, and strangely, at the same moment that a pathological form of daydreaming is being diagnosed as “maladaptive.” Yet as daydreaming acquires a new imaginary so, too, does reality. This suggests that the study of daydreaming might be usefully conducted in a mode of thought less concerned with the facticity of its expressions than the efficacy of its fabulations. As such, current research into daydreaming might be productively linked to a growing trend in the (post)humanities to explore fiction as a method for conducting scholarly research. A consequence, albeit an oblique one, of daydreaming becoming integral to daily life is that the act of imagining alternative realities is beginning to overlap with contemporary media’s way of playing fast and loose with the categories of reality, truth, and reason. Thus, as we indulge our reveries we also experience an anxiety concerning our ability to distinguish news from fiction, conspiracy from criticism, a joke from an offense. Gathering a variety of non-productive modes of thought—from doodling to tripping to doom scrolling—within the genus of “daydreaming,” we might then ask: What role does the wandering mind play in the operations of cognitive capitalism, and what remains of its potential for resistance? How does distracted fantasizing figure in the current marketplace of meaning? Is there any hope left for the safeguarding of unruly and non-commodifiable forms of intelligence? What does daydreaming mean for the neurodivergent? Is daydreaming an art? If so, then what are its aesthetic contours? How is daydreaming conceptualized by different cultures?

Speakers included: Felicity Callard, Kalina Christoff, Zachary C. Irving, Ania Malinowska, Erin Manning, and Sharon Sliwinski.

More details on the conference can be found here.

Dancing Resilience: Dance Studies and Activism in a Global Age
2022 Annual Conference of the Dance Studies Association
October 12 – 16, 2022
Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront (1133 West Hastings) and SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (149 West Hastings)

The 2022 conference of the Dance Studies Association, an international organization of dance scholars, educators, and artists, was held in Vancouver, with SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts serving as host, and with the Institute for Performance Studies serving as an institutional partner. Postponed from 2020, this first DSA gathering in Canada aimed to explore dance and activism in localized and transcultural settings, and to share strategies for productive change on the stage, street, screen and within the academy. Vancouver has long been a site of occupation, exchange, defiance, and resilience. From time immemorial, it has been a location of trade and traversal across coastal Indigenous communities of the Pacific and, in more recent centuries, a place where diverse cultures from across the world have encountered each other and interacted through colonial pathways and settlement. In the same way that Vancouver serves as a powerful and complex example of both vexing histories and determined hope, participants at the conference demonstrated how dance can intervene in a range of issues, including race relations, gender-related rights, and land disputes. We will share the frameworks of dancing and dance scholarship that provide space for optimism, activism, and social movement.

IPS Director Peter Dickinson was one of the co-organizers of the conference, working alongside Allana Lindgren (University of Victoria) and Hari Krishnan (Wesleyan University) to program a range of plenary lectures, paper presentations, roundtable gatherings, workshops, and lecture-demonstrations. In addition, there was an opening symposium on “Decolonizing Dance Pedagogy in Canada,” two evening performances of Matriarchs Uprising in the Wong Theatre featuring works by Indigenous women choreographers (Margaret Grenier of Dancers of Damelahamid and Starr Muranko of Raven Spirit Dance), screenings of dance films, and an award-winning exhibition on Black dance in Canada that was held in the Audain Gallery.

Photo and video documentation of the conference events are forthcoming.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the Cultural Sector: The Role of Cultural Organizations
Pan-Canadian Virtual Conference
June 15 – 16, 2022

IPS was pleased to partner with the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance and researchers at the Université du Québec à Montréal to host this event, which aimed to bring together researchers, artists, practitioners, and cultural workers interested in EDI in cultural environments throughout Canada.

From the conference website: “The overall objective of this project is to foster communication between researchers and practitioners in order to generate new knowledge about and actions toward improving EDI in cultural settings, and specifically within cultural organizations. This dialogue is intended to provide cultural organizations with tools and to offer researchers a better understanding of experiences in the field. This compendium of experiences and research results will contribute to the development of new knowledge rooted in the practice of the target audiences.”

Thursdays, Oct 29, Nov 5 & Nov 12, 2020

As a temporary respite from the stasis of COVID-19 lockdown, and as a way of moving in solidarity with the BLM protests of 2020 following the murder of George Floyd, IPS was pleased to sponsor these three Zoom workshops on Oct 29, Nov 5, and Nov 12, 2020.

Led by Caridad De La Luz (aka La Bruja) and Ana Garcia (aka Rokafella), two professional Hip-Hop artists/activists/teachers from the birthplace of the form, The Bronx, New York, these three master classes offered personal insights into the impact the borough has had on their artistry. De La Luz and Garcia also talked bout he trajectory of their creative works, and how they have developed projects that further support historically invisible communities. Producer and curator Dr. Jane Gabriels also spoke about her work to support the artists and create opportunities for them to engage with audiences.

Q2Q: A Symposium on Queer Theatre and Performance in Canada

Q2Q: A Symposium on Queer Theatre and Performance in Canada was held at SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts from July 20-24, 2016. Co-sponsored by IPS, the event brought scholars of queer Canadian theatre and performance together with the artists, producers, curators and administrators contributing to the vibrancy and diversity of LGBT2Q live arts scenes and cultures across the country. Combining roundtable discussions, networking events, and an evening reading series of new plays, Q2Q asks what a comparative analysis of contemporary queer performance practices can tell us about current trends and future directions, as well as the importance of documenting the larger historical narrative of Canadian queer theatrical production and reception. Visit and our Video Archive or YouTube channel for documentation.

ACME 2014 Conference

The Life and Death of the Arts in Cities after Mega-Events was a research conference and public outreach event co-organized by Simon Fraser University’s Department of English and Institute for Performance Studies, the University of British Columbia’s Department of Theatre and Film, and the Queen Mary Drama Department, University of London. Please see the ACME 2014 Conference site for more information, as well as our Projects + Publications page to read more about two special journal issues that came out of the event, and our Video Archive page or YouTube channel for documentation.

Lecture and Seminar by Rebecca Schneider (Brown University)
October 21 – 22, 2014

To mark the official launch of IPS, Brown University’s Rebecca Schneider gave a public lecture and seminar for graduate students at SFU Harbour Centre on October 21 and 22, 2014. View video documentation of the lecture here.