Breakout Topics

 Kaumakaiwa Kanaka'ole, photo courtesy of Pasifika Artists Network

Come prepared to participate!

The Indigenous Performance Symposium will include six concurrent breakout sessions each focusing on a critical issue. These highly interactive sessions will include a moderator to facilitate the conversation and a recorder to capture the key points. Following the breakouts, the recorders will report back to the full group.

Sharing Culture (when and how to share/when not to)

Deciding whether, when, and how to share one’s culture outside the community is never simple. Beyond the typical concerns of aesthetic, production, budget, promotion, and licensing, Indigenous artists grapple with complex matters of protocol, custom, and tribal law when creating new work. It starts with understanding what is public and private within one’s culture. This breakout explores how artists, tradition bearers, and communities balance the need to protect cultural treasures while sharing culture more broadly. We’ll look at how artists and presenters can work together to address matters of custom and protocol in commissioning, booking, and presenting. Finally, we will consider how opportunities offered by the touring and presentation of Indigenous artists can be leveraged to benefit audience engagement, education, and development.

Dynamic Models for Activating Space—Working in Unconventional Venues & Sites

For many arts professionals, the old model of presenting in traditional theatres —load-in, residency activity, performance, and strike—is growing tired. For indigenous artists whose work is so connected to place, history, and identity, the performance space can be both literal and spiritual. How do artists, producers, agents/managers, and programmers work together to create dynamic, new models for presenting that break down the proscenium, open the circle, activate audiences, and create a meaningful space for Indigenous performance?

Traditional – Contemporary: Perceptions & Language 

Indigenous artists are frequently asked: Is your work traditional or contemporary? Yes, may be the only appropriate answer, highlighting how far we have to go with regards to perceptions and language. How can we reframe performance categories to better support Indigenous performance as an embodiment of a living, evolving culture? In this breakout we’ll explore ways to talk about Indigenous work, artistic practices, and cultures amidst the business of artist representation, touring, and presenting. 

Collaboration: Creation & Control

Collaborative work is one of hot trends in the performing arts. At their very best, collaborative projects bridge the creativity, practice, voice, and audience of one artist or ensemble with those of another. But collaborative projects can also be a study in frustration and conflict as the parties negotiate creation and control. Understanding power dynamics and vesting authority are essential elements of any collaboration but are especially important with intercultural projects. This breakout investigates collaboration models between artists and presenters, whether they happen within a single culture, between Aboriginal artists/presenters, or with Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists/presenters. 

Coming to a venue near you – opportunities for engaging your communities in excellent Indigenous work

There’s a great big world of high-quality Indigenous performance from across the globe ready to tour to communities across North America. This breakout will begin to identify opportunities, strategies, and resources for advancing Indigenous performance throughout the region. Let’s find new opportunities to present Aboriginal artists that excite audiences and engage your communities.

Getting connected – creating an international First Nations touring network 

Around the Pacific Rim, there are a growing number of initiatives supporting First Nation’s touring, but most of these efforts are focused on a particular country or region. How to do we leverage these endeavors to create an international First Nations Network? In this breakout we’ll strategize ways to build a network of networks that advance Indigenous touring, dissolve borders, and shrink the distances between us.