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Luis Carlos Sotelo Castro, LLM, MA, PhD

Canada Research Chair in Oral History Performance, Theatre

Luis Carlos Sotelo Castro, LLM, MA, PhD
Office: S-GM 500-61 
Guy-De Maisonneuve Building,
1550 De Maisonneuve W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 4784
Website(s): Canada Research Chairs
Archive of Performance Work
Explore Concordia
Availability: Wednesday 10.a.m. - 12noon

Luis Carlos Sotelo-Castro (PhD) is a Colombian artist-researcher. His practice is performance-based. He creates live environments of memory in collaboration with other artists and participants from specific communities and locations. Since 2002, he has done work with and for internally displaced people, Indigenous communities, migrants, and elderly people both in Latin America, in the United Kingdom, and in Canada.

His vision as Concordia’s Canada Research Chair in Oral History Performance (OHP) is to position listening as a subject of study in the context of oral history performance.

His latest work, The Most Convenient Way Out, an ongoing project on listening, performance, and audio-walks in zones of armed conflict was commissioned by the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration and premiered in Colombia in July 2014. A second version was featured as part of the Why? What's Happening for the Young festival at London's Southbank Centre in October 2014. More recently, it has been adapted to Mexico and presented during the 39th Annual Conference in Local and Regional Anthropology of the Colegio de Michoacan, Zamora (October 2017).

His creation-research of the last seven years has focused on exploring creative ways by which to set audiences/participants in motion/action within specific spaces. He frames their actions in space as integral to a remembrance activity. He is interested in what such activities and uses of personal memory might do for the different participants, both individually and collectively. He welcomes graduate students in the following areas: oral history performance and performances of memory, socially engaged art and performance, performance and activism, performance in zones of conflict and in post conflict contexts, performance and migration, performance and Indigenous Peoples in the context of truth and reconciliation efforts, listening research in the context of performance studies, applied performance and theatre, political performance, walking art, participatory performance, site-specific performance, documentary theatre, verbatim theatre, performance and space, performance and cartography and, more broadly, performance studies.     

In the articles following his PhD monograph Participation Cartography: Performance, Space, and Subjectivity (2009), he explores more specifically the interconnections between cartography, presentation of self, memory, and performance.

Participation activities

Mediating listening, performing living connections: the art of being guided through someone else’s life story…in her absence

Paper for the Annual Meeting of the Oral History Association. Minneapolis. October. 2017   

Participatory walking as aesthetic strategy for transforming a hostage space

Paper for Unstable Geographies: Multiple Theatricalities. International Federation for Theatre Research. Sao Paulo, Brazil. 10 - 14 July 2017.    

‘It’s ok not to hear all the story, it’s the experience of it’. On the performative functions of listening in the context of audio-walks.

Paper for the Annual Meeting of the International Listening Association. Nebraska.June. 2017   

Vocabulario Crítico para el análisis de Puestas en escena de Historia Oral

Paper in Spanish for the National Meeting of the Oral History Association (Colectivo de History Oral). Colombia. May 2017.   

The aesthetics of intercultural listening within a theatrical frame

Paper for Migration/Representation/Stereotypes Conference. Univ. of Ottawa. April 2017.

Teaching activities

Oral History Performance

Students in Oral History Performance will study a range of approaches to combining oral history interviewing techniques with socially engaged performance strategies within the context of the ethics and politics of this emerging practice. Students will develop skills in acting, researching, and devising within a range of memory-based performance practices including oral history performance, documentary and verbatim theatre. The course will culminate with a final public demonstration of student-devised work, and with a portfolio documenting each student’s learning process.

Politics of Performance and Memory

This course explores performance projects, ceremonies, and live art installations that bring about ways of engaging publics with processes of collective remembrance. It pays attention to the question of how politics, collective memory, identity, performance and activism are intertwined. It is open for theatre students and for anyone interested in this subject, particularly from a creation-research perspective. I take both undergraduate and graduate students. 

Research activities

Listening in the context of Oral History Performance for Social Change

In 2016,  I applied for and was granted a major Canada Foundation for Innovation infrastructure grant worth CAN$526,000 to establish what I call a Performing Listening Lab at Concordia's Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling ( This grant offers infrastructure for my Canada Research Chair-ten years research program, which I was awarded in 2016, and which aims at positioning listening as a subject of study in the context of oral history performance for social change. 

The Performing Listening Lab will be launched in the Fall 2018 and will become a hub for creation research and for university-community collaborations bringing together theatre and performance studies, public and oral history, sound studies, listening research, and social innovation.

I welcome enquiries from potential doctoral and postdoctoral students interested in joining my research team in the following areas:

  • Performance of memory and oral history performance

  • Performance and activism in zones of conflict, terrorism, and post-conflict contexts (for instance Colombia, Mexico, Canada, United States, El Salvador)

  • Participation Performance and Collaborative Performance Practices

  • Performance for social change – socially engaged and applied performance

  • Performance and migration

  • Orality and oral history performance

  • Walking Art

  • Performance and Indigenous Peoples in the context of truth and reconciliation efforts

  • Listening research in the context of performance studies

  • Creation research


‘Mr. President, open the door please, I want to be free’: participatory walking as aesthetic strategy for transforming a hostage space.’

forthcoming, 2017 In: (Breed,A. and Prentki, T.Eds) Performative Landscapes. London: Palgrave.    

Looking backwards in order to walk forwards: walking, collective memory, and the site of the inter-cultural in site-specific performance

Performance Research,Vol. 15 No. 4 (Dec. 2010)

Participation Cartography: blurring the boundaries of space and autobiography by means of performance

Ride: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance. 15.4, November 2010

Participation Cartography: the presentation of Self in spatio-temporal terms

CFP: 'Disclose', M/C Journal Vol. 12 No. 6, 2009

Current Creation Research Projects

Being heard may prove fatal

Sound installation in collaboration with sound artist Barry Prophet and a Colombian family of refugees in Quebec. It will be launched in April 2018. 

The Most Convenient Way Out (and audio-walk for two)

Commissioned by International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (2014)

Adapted for Mexico and presented at the 39th Annual Conference in Local and Regional Anthropology of the Colegio de Michoacan, Zamora (October 2017)

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