Prof. Helen Brooks
02 December 2016, 14:00-17:00 | K.U. Leuven | Faculty of Social Sciences, Parkstraat 45, 3000 Leuven | Entrance is free, but it is required to register in advance here | For additional information, please contact prof. Roel Vande Winkel and/or dr. Leen Engelen |

On Friday December 2, 2016, the Scientific Research Community “Cultures of Spectacle” invites Prof. Helen Brooks (University of Kent) for a research seminar. “Cultures of Spectacle” is an interdisciplinary platform for historical research on film, theatre, dance and musical performance.

Building on her experience of undertaking ‘public engagement’ projects and activities, both with volunteers and partner organisations, prof. Helen Brooks will discuss the benefits and challenges of such collaborations in this seminar. She will explore how she has worked with volunteers on an archival research project into theatre during the First World War, explaining how it was designed and then adapted as it developed, and how she is intending to develop it further, and offering it as one model for ‘citizen history’. She will also discuss her experiences of working with partner organisations such as theatres, archives. Whilst her work as a theatre historian means much of this work is theatre-history focussed, the focus of her seminar will be on methodologies and approaches, and the examples she will discuss will therefore be applicable as models to a range of other historical projects.

The THEA Research Group is part of the Scientific Research Network “Cultures of Spectacle” (WOG “Spektakelcultuur”), that is funded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). The Institute for Media Studies (prof. Roel Vande Winkel and dr. Leen Engelen, KU Leuven) will function as the core group.


Call for papers for workshop on 8 December 2016. A selection of papers will be published as an edited volume.

In the last decade, the cultural and creative sector has been a central topic on the agenda of researchers and policy makers alike. Undoubtedly, this sector has undergone significant changes under the influence of new economic realities, globalization and technological (r)evolutions. The creative workforce has changed with it and has arguably become more hybrid, flexible and easily adaptable to the current economic conditions. The evaluation of the outcomes of these changes, however, are much more debated. Some argue that the sector has responded exceptionally well to the opportunities and challenges of recent changes in our society, resulting in a growing creative workforce, in the development of innovative start-ups and in the creation of cultural and artistic infrastructures that facilitate urban regeneration, increase the attractiveness of cities and improves the social mobility of its residents. Others take a more critical position and point to the precarious working conditions, to the growing inequalities in terms of ethnicity, gender and class, to gentrification issues that such a development model might generate and to other potential harmful social, economic and political consequences of the ongoing process of neoliberalization.

Brussels is a particularly interesting case study in this regard because the city seems to have become an attraction pole for international artists and ‘creative’ people. The New York Times recently stated that “there’s a huge drive to make Brussels the new Berlin” and numerous cultural and creative projects emerge on a daily basis in different neighborhoods around the city. Also, the divided institutional structure of the Brussels-Capital Region makes that municipalities, communities, regions and the federal government all have some sort of competence relevant for the cultural and creative sector. This creates a complex landscape of cultural policy actors that is almost impossible to navigate. Nevertheless, local policy makers do not hesitate to announce publicly the importance of a blooming cultural and creative sector for Brussels.

In this workshop, we want to bring together academics and other professionals that do research on the cultural and/or creative sector of Brussels and who use a variety of quantitative (survey, secondary data analysis, network analysis, …) and qualitative (ethnography, archival research, (biographical) interviewing, …) methods. Broadly speaking, we are interested in state of the art research that covers culture and/or creativity. The empirical data should at least partly deal with Brussels. The main goal of this  workshop is to give the opportunity to researchers in a wide range of scientific disciplines to present their research on the cultural and creative sector of the Brussels-Capital Region and to give them the opportunity to interact with colleagues involved in similar research projects in Brussels.

Please see the full Call for Papers (Call research seminar – v8 and Call research seminar – v8 FRENCH) attached for more information.

More information on our INNOVIRIS Project The diversity of work in the cultural and creative industries: making it work for Brussels is here:

7/05 KFDA Reflection Day #1: “Protection”


7/05 – 13:30  > 17:15, Les Brigittines

With a source of inspiration by Toshiki Okada, an interview with Cathy Blisson, a performance and a workhop by  Rodrigo Sobarzo, a lecture by Shahram Khosravi, and an artistic presentation by Arkadi Zaides.

In collaboration with SNDO (School for New Dance Development at de Theaterschool / Amsterdam University of Arts) & Research Group THEA – Theatricality & the Real (ULB, VUB, RITCS)

Admission free

When the man entered the cave for shelter, he suddenly turned this place into an emblem of the search for protection. Since then, the cave has become above all a place of concealment, but also a visible emblem of today’s search of invisibility.
If the cave reminds us that every protection marks a line between an inside and an outside, between what is protected and that from which it protects, this encounter invites us to think together about the notion of protection. What about going in the cave not to find protection, but rather to question protection?

While we are storing our nuclear waste into the depths of our earth, trying to allow it to transgress time itself, we have allowed the nuclear to challenge human discourses on protection as long as mankind will live, and to define our image of threat: invisible, irreversible and out of control. But what if these threatening categories of natural and nuclear catastrophes, are also used to describe political situations? Does this fatalism of a disaster – invisible, irreversible and out of control – move elsewhere and contribute in constructing other narratives, such as the current one on migration movements?
After letting emerge the spectre of the nuclear with Toshiki Okada, Rodrigo Sobarzo, Cathy Blisson and the work of Berlin, the core of the afternoon questions the narrative of protection of a continent. Within different formats, Iranian scholar Shahram Khosravi and artist Arkadi Zaides investigate the relationship between borders and movement, to eventually open a reflection on the interstices where Europe is not simply seen as a place that protects its borders, but a place in which a protection is possible.

13:30-13:45 (Chapel)         Introduction: The Chance to Recover Our Humanity

13:45-14:15 (Chapel)         Fragments of BERLIN’s Zvizdal [Chernobyl – So Far So                     Close]     and a conversation with dramaturg Cathy                         Blisson

14:15-14:45 (Chapel)         SHIELD), a performance by Rodrigo Sobarzo

14:45-15:00    Break

15:00-15:45 (Foyer)         Shahram Khosravi, Before the Border: Visibility and                     Invisiblizing

After a Q&A the audience can choose between an artistic presentation by Arkadi Zaides, including a dialogue with Shahram Khosravi, and a workshop given by Rodrigo Sobarzo.

15:45-17:15 (Foyer)            TALOS in progress  #1 Movement & Limitation
By Arkadi Zaides in collaboration with Frédérique Vansteenwegen, Nienke Scholts, Claire Bisson, Simge Gücük, Culture Crew and Key Performance. The                         presentation is followed by a conversation between Arkadi Zaides and Shahram Khosravi.

15:45-17:15 (Chapel)         SHIELD)S, a workshop by Rodrigo Sobarzo

13.05: Débat “Le spectacle de la justice pénale en Belgique”

DEBAT LE 13 mai 2016 au Théâtre National (Bruxelles), à l’issue du spectacle Tribuna(a)l

Existe-t-il une justice ce classe? Qui détermine ce qui est juste? Peut-on à la fois être délinquant et victime du système judiciaire? Quels seraient les grands défis du futur?

Intervenants : Manuella Cadelli, juge au tribunal de première instance de Namur et présidente de l’Association syndicale des magistrats, François Troukens, ancien détenu et présentateur à RTL-TVI, Alexis Deswaef, avocat au barreau de Bruxelles et président de la Ligue des Droits de l’homme et Jos Verbist, metteur en scène du spectacle, interviendront dans ce débat.

Modératrice : Christine Guillain, professeur en droit pénal à l’Université Saint-Louis

Org.: Ligue des Droits de l’homme, THEA Joint Research Group & GREPEC (Groupe de Recherche en matière pénale et criminelle, USL)

Iranian Theatre Today: another look

La Bellone, 12/05 | 14:00 – 19:00

EN (sans traduction)

Six chercheurs et artistes de renom brossent un tableau inédit et hybride de la réalité de la scène théâtrale en Iran, qu’une négociation permanente avec le pouvoir d’une part et la cité d’autre part rend à la fois effervescente et complexe. Les théorisations des fonctionnements socio-politiques des espaces de théâtre de la première partie de la journée seront complétées dans la seconde partie par les expériences concrètes des artistes.

En collaboration avec La Bellone, CIFAS, Research Group THEA (ULB, VUB, RITCS)
Avec les contributions de Amir Reza Koohestani, Naghmeh Samini, Azadeh Shahmiri, Farzan Sojoodi, Missagh Nemat Gorgani & Amin Zamani

New publication: Théâtre et réconciliation. Pratique théâtrale dans les zones de conflit

Pratique théâtrale dans les zones de conflit
Frédérique Lecomte (s.l.d.)

Ce livre retrace le projet de Théâtre & réconciliation mené depuis plus d’une décennie par la metteuse en scène belge Frédérique Lecomte. Elle y présente, sur base de journaux et de carnets de voyage, de correspondances et de témoignages, la méthode qu’elle a imaginée et mise au point pour faire du théâtre un instrument de réconciliation — pour autant que la chose soit possible — dans les zones de conflit (au Burundi avec les victimes de torture comme avec les tortionnaires ou au Congo avec les enfants soldats notamment) et, plus généralement, venir en aide aux personnes fragilisées (prisonniers, demandeurs d’asile, malades du sida, rapatriés ou déplacés, victimes de violences sexuelles, etc.). Soucieuse de communiquer son expérience et de rendre sa méthode accessible à toute personne ou association désireuse d’élargir les potentialités curatives du théâtre dans des contextes de crise et de conflit, Frédérique Lecomte a demandé à Karel Vanhaesebrouck et à Marie Soleil-Frère, tous deux chargés de cours à l’université libre de Bruxelles, ainsi qu’à son collaborateur Ewoud Dhoore, de resituer le contexte historique, culturel et politique de ce type d’intervention théâtrale qui requiert une grande intelligence du terrain.

Frédérique Lecomte (1958), sociologue, metteur en scène et auteur, a créé et applique sa méthode de Théâtre & réconciliation auprès de publics vulnérables. elle organise aussi des formations en théâtre et réconciliation pour des ONG, des associations ou des particuliers.

286 pages, 15 x 21 cm, 50 illustrations noir et blanc, cousu
ISBN 978-2-87317-457-6
25 €, 2015

THEA is part of FWO Research Network “Spektakelcultuur”

The THEA Joint Research Group is now part of the Scientific Research Network (WOG) “Spektakelcultuur” (Culture of spectacle), with the support of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). The Institute for Media Studies (Roel van de Winkel and Leen Engelen, KU Leuven) will function as the core group. THEA is also involved as centre of expertise and research unit.

Screenings of Stuart Hall (I): Personally Speaking, Mike Dibb and Stuart Hall

!!! Unfortunately enough, the seminar on Stuart Hall scheduled for December 15 is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances (Mike Dibb will not be able to join us). We will come back to you once a new date has been set. !!!

THEA, the joint research group of ULB, VUB and RITCS School of Arts, and the Master program of Cultural Studies (Faculty of Arts, KU Leuven) organizes, from 2015 a cycle of academic events about Stuart Hall, a ‘Stuart Hall track’. The first of these events will take place on December 15, 2015 at 2 p.m. in the cinema of RITCS, Antoine Dansaertstraat 70, Brussels.  Our first guest will be documentary film maker Mike Dibb, who made Personally Speaking: A Long Conversation with Stuart Hall (2009). Mike Dibb selected one hour of fragments from this 4-hour movie, this selection will be screened and followed by a panel discussion with Filip De Boeck (KU Leuven) (t.b.c.), Anneleen Masschelein (KU Leuven) and Klaas Tindemans (VUB & RITCS).

stuart-hallCultural sociologist Stuart Hall (1932-2014) was probably the most influential theorist of the ‘Birmingham School of Cultural Studies’, founded by Richard Hoggart, with Raymond Williams one of his primary sources of intellectual inspiration. Both Williams and Hoggart were professors of literature, who used elements of literary scholarship in their study of culture as a broad, social concept. Stuart Hall and his colleagues did research and published about youth (sub)cultures, framing processes in the media, the handling of the of ‘crisis’, both as a phenomenon and as a concept, the political culture of ‘new ethnicities’. Since then, the idea of ‘cultural studies’ as a new and relevant paradigm has got firm ground. Hall’s research peels the layers from supposedly ‘superficial’ societal and cultural phenomena – the construction of consensus on law-and-order, but also the popularity of a homegrown ‘black’ cinema in the United Kingdom – to reveal the way the modern state succeeds (or fails) to embody and to impose hegemonic power structures. The profound transformation of British society, in the aftermath of decolonization and subsequent immigration, and during the era of Thatcherism, followed by New Labour, is the red thread in Hall’s scholarship and in his presence as one of the last ‘public intellectuals’. Hall combined political outspokenness, profound social-scientific thinking and clear speech.

New Publication: Spectacle et Justice

Spectacle et justice: Regards croisés sur la justice pénale en belgique

Le tribunal correctionnel vu du premier rang

Existe-t-il une justice de classes ?
Qui détermine ce qui est juste ?
Peut-on à la fois être délinquant et victime du système judiciaire ?

C’est avec ces diverses questions en tête que le dramaturge Karel Vanhaesebrouck s’est plongé pendant un an dans le monde des tribunaux correctionnels tant en Belgique néerlandophone que francophone. Non pas pour suivre des affaires hautement médiatiques, mais bien des affaires subalternes de drogue, de vol, d’escroquerie… Spectacle et Justice est le résultat de cette immersion.

Mais pour être éclairant sur le fonctionnement de la justice pénale, le matériau brut a été mis en contexte à l’aide de commentaires de professionnels de la justice. Ce regard critique contribue à la double fonction de Spectacle et Justice : alimenter diverses disciplines à l’aide d’un matériel empirique, mais également, participer au débat social.

Pour l’édition néerlandophone de l’ouvrage: