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PERFORM Colloquium: Engaging performance audiences as listeners of a restorative justice process in the context of sexual abuse


For those of you who were unable to join the webinar live, the stream is now available for everyone to watch here or on YouTube.


The main objective of this research-creation project is to develop insights into how to safely engage both specific target audiences and a wider general public as reflective listeners of personal narratives by both a victim and an offender of sexual violence who have undergone a successful restorative justice process.

To achieve its objective, the project uses the pre-recorded narratives by a man, “Jeremy”—who committed serious sexual crimes and second-degree murder in the past—who has been a law-abiding citizen on parole for more than ten years. The project also uses the narrative of a woman, Julie Ann Carpini —a victim of multiple forms of sexual violence including incest, rape and conjugal violence—who has gone a long way in terms of coping with the wounds that sexual violence has left on her.

Julie Ann is a collaborator in the project and works along theatre students in the search for ways to re-perform her narratives. Both narratives will be used as material to create an oral history performance. In this talk, I reflect on the process and the insights gained so far.

Speaker Bio:

Luis C. Sotelo Castro is Canada Research Chair in Oral History Performance at Concordia University. In his current research-creation, he investigates modes of listening in the context of performances of memory. His creative work has been commissioned by civil society and academic organizations such as the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration. In 2018 he founded at Concordia the Acts of Listening Lab, a hub for research-creation on the transformative power of listening to painful narratives, with particular reference to testimonies by exiles from sites of conflict.

His latest publications explore listening in the context of post-conflict performances of memory. For instance, see his article ‘Not being able to speak is torture: performing listening to painful narratives’. International Journal of Transitional Justice, Special Issue Creative Approaches to Transitional Justice: Contributions of Arts and Culture. (March, 2020)

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