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June 9-10 and July 9-16, 2021


The Dramaturgy of Research-Creation: Research-creation methods and applied methodologies in embodied live performance is an interdisciplinary, international seminar that provides an opportunity to learn, explore and refine research and research-creation methods in the performing arts with a focus on contemporary circus, theatre and other embodied live performance.

With the growing number of practitioners returning to the university after productive careers in the arts and the increasing value of experiential learning, a clear need to define, theorize and understand the practice of research-creation has emerged. The seminar will offer a space to refine both the theory and practice of research-creation while also exploring the complexity, volume and effective use of research data produced by artistic research.

The seminar will also offer tools for managing and engaging with research design and data in the context of research-creation.

The main principle on which the seminar is constructed is that of experiential learning and self-reflexivity concerning the creative process. To this we add a thorough review and exploration of dramaturgical and documentation strategies.

2021 Collaborators include Concordia’s 4TH SPACE, Montréal Complètement Cirque’s International Market of Contemporary Circus and national and international partners to be confirmed.

Following three successful intensive summer seminars (and one cancelled because of COVID last summer) coinciding with Montréal Complètement Cirque, professor Louis Patrick Leroux and his team are pleased to reprise the intensive intellectual and artistic “boot camp” experience for its fourth installation.

The seminar will be offered remotely (online) in synchronous format because of the pandemic and its international reach. However, there will be some limited places for in-person participation, in Montreal, if conditions allow this and public health and Concordia university permit us to offer that option. We will be partnering with institutions abroad to propose small in-person clusters, following local health advisories, to ensure a sense of collaboration, where possible.

Target audience

The seminar is open to and intended for graduate students (MA, PhD) in postsecondary institutions. Professional performing arts practitioners with experience in creation and a desire to deepen their work will also find this seminar useful and stimulating.

Successful candidates will possess a fascinating variety of experiences, both artistic and intellectual, and for the most part have experience in circus, theatre, music, video art or dance.

Given the diversity of experiences and academic backgrounds, we encourage an environment of respectful debate and discussion. Students are expected to attend all lectures and workshops. They are also expected to contribute to their blog and experiential research project.

The 2019 seminar attracted 25 students from 12 countries: one third were performers, one third graduate students, one third teachers/coaches/professors and most of them were an interesting cross-section of all of those categories.
This seminar is for thinker-doers, for artists and scholars who are open to experiential learning and interested in process.

The language of instruction will be English. Written assignments can be submitted in either English or French.

Spaces are limited and candidates are required to send in a letter of motivation and a CV by March 1st. Accepted students will be notified by March 10th.

Learning outcomes

Course objectives

  • Offer a space for sustained discussion on research-creation, practice-as-research and experiential modes of research into the performing arts.
  • Collaboratively explore successful and more challenging examples of research-creation of live, embodied, artforms such as theatre, dance, and contemporary circus, their practices and their documentation and dissemination. 
  • Share experiences, expertise and insights into a variety of international and interdisciplinary practices in the context of the current pandemic and beyond. Understanding how we are all affected by the current situation. 
  • Create an environment that fosters embedded research and creation.
  • Offer clear methods for research-creation and its analysis, meaning-making and data management of artistic research output. 
  • Create an environment of intellectual and artistic exchange and possibilities that will run alongside a major festival and hopefully contribute to further projects and exchanges, through a unique, selective online group.

Blog and/or Podcast - 20% of final grade

You will be expected to write at least two blog entries between June 9th and July 17th but are not limited to any number. These blogs will appear on our class site and will be accessible to the seminar participants. Some (but not all) blogs could be selected for online publication. In the past, we have selected blogs for publication in Circus Talk.

We will also have access to equipment to record and broadcast podcasts. These could be part of the final artistic or academic presentation or even replace the blogs for students who prefer talking to writing.

Students could also produce mood boards and creative journals through Instagram presenting their process through image. A short descriptive essay would accompany this format.

Presentations - 30% of final grade

Students will have worked individually or in small teams (remotely or in-person, depending on conditions) and will give a presentation on the research-creation question they have been developing. This presentation can be a performance, a performative talk or a formal academic talk. Time has been set aside every afternoon of the seminar to work on the project, with some mentoring from Prof. Leroux and his team.

Final paper - 35% of final grade

You will submit a final paper of no more than 10 pages (double spaced) by Friday July 31st, 11:59 p.m. This paper will address a specific issue, theme or production linked to the seminar and draw into its argument appropriate theory and references. The paper can draw upon the in-class presentations, refer to them or be conceived as written extension of the oral performative presentation. Paper topics will be discussed with the professor during the seminar.

This final paper could also be a data management plan for ongoing or forthcoming research-creation by students.

Participation, attendance and observation reports - 10% of final grade

An active participation is one based on presence and respectful relationship to others in the seminar. People will be presenting works-in-progress and ideas-in-progress so we want our space to be a safe one for sharing. We will expect active participation whether online or in-person in Montreal or abroad.

Morning seminars: 10 am to 11:30 am (4 pm, Europe; 7 am, Pacific)

Conversations, group work: 11:30 to noon. (5:30 pm, Europe; 8:30 am, Pacific)

Afternoon creative challenge and exchange: 3 pm-4 pm (9 pm, Europe; 12 pm, Pacific)

Conferences and round-table discussions with MICC, one or two afternoons to t.b.a.

During the July intensive, the professor and his team will be available all afternoon for check-ins and consultation.

Additional, optional, in-person activities for those who are in or can come to Montreal: evening performances at Montréal Complètement Cirque (pay your own way).

June intensive, Wednesday 9th and Thursday 10th, 2 days (remotely)

  1. What place for live performing arts in a pandemic?
  2. What is the creative impulse? How to hone creativity through liveness and risk
  3. What is research-creation? An overview of practice-led, practice-based and experiential research.
  4. Project planning and proposed documentation strategy

July intensive, Friday 9th, Monday 12th to Friday 16th, 6 days over two weeks (remotely with some in-person presence, if possible)

  1. Balancing and reconciling artistic and scientific research
  2. Data and Creation. What data does creation generate and what to do with it
  3. Data management and its possible dramaturgies
  4. Meaning-Making; Creative Discourse and Analysis
  5. Presentations of artistic projects and documentation deployments
  6. MICC-Seminar talks, round table discussions and exchanges to be confirmed.
  7. Conservation, Dissemination and Maintaining the Creative Impulse

The professor and small his team will physically be in Concordia’s 4th Space. He will address on-site and online participants broadcast-style, in the sense that there will be someone filming each session.

Remote, online participants’ windows will be projected in the studio space, so that their presence will be felt. Any student based in Montreal or who has cleared customs and quarantined for the appropriate 14 days upon arrival should be able to assist the seminar in person in July.

It is the students’ responsibility to ensure they have the proper visas, travel documents and housing. We do not yet know how many people we will be allowed to have in the space, so a rotation of participants might have to be envisaged. In any case, remote participants will not miss anything from the seminar.

Depending on the number of students and their geographical concentration, we’ll propose and facilitate clusters of participants in a few cities internationally, following local public health guidelines to allow small groups of students to follow the seminar online, together, and to facilitate artistic and intellectual collaboration. Depending on partners, perhaps this could allow for some form of simultaneous or whispered translation.

We are currently in conversation with institutions in France, Brazil, Chile, the US, Sweden, and Britain to explore the possibility of such clusters, if they are possible and permissible.

Seminar team


  • Dr. Louis Patrick Leroux
    Professor in the Department of English and Départment d'études françaises, Associate Dean of Research in the Faculty of Arts and Science and Associate Researcher at the National Circus School of Montreal. 

Website and online support

  • Alison Bowie, PhD Candidate, Humanities, Concordia University

How to apply

Deadline: March 1, 2021

Prospective participants should supply:

  • A CV and cover letter explaining their interest in the seminar, past experiences and how this seminar could be of importance to their academic, creative life or both.

Application packages and queries should be directed to Patrick Leroux. Accepted students will be notified March 10, 2021.

The course is taught by Dr. Louis Patrick Leroux, a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada.

Photos from past seminars

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