Island Dynamics | Lillegrund 39 | 2300 Copenhagen S | Denmark | Tel.: +45 5340 1982 | E-mail: | Terms & Conditions | © 2016 Island Dynamics

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Island Dynamics | Lillegrund 39 | 2300 Copenhagen S | Denmark | Tel.: +45 5340 1982 | E-mail: | Terms & Conditions | © 2016 Island Dynamics

About the conference.

Performance Traditions allows delegates to contextualise knowledge and engage with the local community. On 22-23 October, Mark Lawson (a local storyteller, singer, and dancer) will lead delegates on fieldtrips that  explore the narratives and traditions of Whitstable (a town with strong maritime heritage that is now dependent on seaside tourism) and Canterbury (one of England’s ancient towns and major religious centres, now a UNESCO World Heritage site). Delegates will engage with local performers of morris dancing, shanty singing, and other traditions. Conference presentations will be held in Whitstable on 24-25 October.

We recommend that delegates book their accommodation in Whitstable. Although Whitstable does have a small amount of hotel accommodation (for instance, at Hotel Continental and the Duke of Cumberland pub), there is a large amount of centrally located and inexpensive accommodation available through B&Bs and apartment-rental services.

If you have any questions, send an e-mail to conference assistant Sigurd Grydehøj (

Convenor: Adam Grydehøj

Host: Mark Lawson

With performances by: Dead Horse Morris, Shipwright Shanty Crew, and others.

Performance Traditions

Narrative, Ritual, and Meaning in Folk Song, Dance, Theatre, and Storytelling

22-25 October 2019, Whitstable & Canterbury, UK

Performance traditions are often significant markers of community and identification. In our globalised world, ‘folk’ song, dance, theatre, and storytelling have the potential to create a sense of national or ethnic cohesion, whether within a homeland and within a diaspora. They can just as significantly be used to signal difference and separation. Pride in traditional singing and music, engagement in calendar customs, and other performance traditions can persist long after the vernacular religions and social contexts in which they arose have transformed into something else entirely. Nevertheless, just as there are many communities in which performance traditions are a point of pride, there are others in which performance traditions – even when they ostensibly represent the majority population – are sometimes viewed with suspicion, subjected to ridicule, or seen as outdated customs. Some performance traditions flourish while others wither and are lost to memory. New traditions are created, old ones traditions are revived, and innovations take on the mantle of history and authenticity.

This conference considers performance traditions from around the world, including their meanings for audiences and performers; their roles in creating and sustaining communities; the relationship between their narrative and social function; the ways in which traditions adapt to new media and technologies; the interaction between tourism and performance; the connections and disconnections between performance, nation, and ethnicity; and competing efforts to define, justify, or explain particular traditions.

How to make a presentation.

This interdisciplinary conference welcomes presentations addressing performance traditions from any region of the world as well as comparative research.

Presentations last 20 minutes and will be followed by around 10 minutes’ question time. The deadline for abstracts is 31 March 2019. Presenters will be able to make use of basic audio equipment and an overhead projector. The deadline for early registration is 31 May, and the final deadline registration 31 July.

To propose a presentation, please fill out this presentation proposal form, and e-mail it to Write ‘Abstract for Performance Traditions’ in the subject line of the e-mail.


The deadline for early registration is 31 May, after which registration rates will rise by 500 Danish kroner. The final deadline registration is 31 July.

Categories of registration.

Full Conference: Covers all conference activities (including explorations of Whitstable and Canterbury) on 22-25 October, dinner on 22-25 October, and lunch on 22-23 October. Early registration fee: 3500 Danish kroner.

Short Conference: Covers conference activities and dinner on 24-25 October. Does not include explorations of Whitstable and Canterbury. Early registration fee: 2000 Danish kroner.

Basic Conference: Covers conference presentations. Does not include meals or explorations of Whitstable and Canterbury. Early registration fee: 1500 Danish kroner.

If you have any questions regarding payment or are unable to pay the registration fee using PayPal, please write to

Register for Performance Traditions.

Prices are in Danish kroner: 10 kroner = approx. 1.3 euro.

Full Conference


Short Conference


Basic Conference