Hour: 09.00 - 20.00

Duration:  11h

Location: Via Santa Chiara 1, Gorizia

Email: workandplayuniud@gmail.com


Conference call for papers


Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici e del Patrimonio Culturale

Università degli Studi di Udine, Italy, 17-18 July 2024

Scholarship addressing actors and actresses has traditionally focused on theories and issues of stardom. The centrality of the star as a prominent signifier in film texts, as well as a major asset in the production and commercialisation of film products, has been variously and fruitfully investigated by star and celebrity studies. Stars’ performances and personas have been analysed as the epitome of their actual or perceived national identities, as the expression of their coeval cultural and political context, as well as marketing mainstays for their respective national film industries (e.g., Gundle 1995; Leahy 2003; Reich 2004; Spicer 2022). Less explored has instead been the labour of and around acting. This conference, which originates from the research project funded by the Italian Ministry of University and Research titled F-ACTOR. Forms of Contemporary Media Professional Acting. Training, Recruitment and Management, Social Discourses in Italy (2000-2020), therefore wishes to study labour issues in connection not just to stardom, but to screen acting in Europe. In the Old Continent, the ‘fluidity of identities’ (Bergfelder 2005: 329) that characterises the region from a cultural and geo-political standpoint is echoed in the transnationality of many film actors, such as the French Juliette Binoche (Vincendeau 2015), the Italian Ksenia Rappoport (Faleschini Lerner 2012), or the Spanish Daniel Brühl (Vidal 2016). Transnationality is regarded as one the distinctive features of Europe’s predominant mode of film production (Jäckel 2003), as it relies to a great extent on international co-productions, funded through bi- and multi-lateral agreements, supranational schemes like Creative Europe and Eurimages, as well as dedicated film festivals’ initiatives (Iordanova 2015). How does the relationship between film actors, (trans)national identity, policy framework, and production system play out in labour practices and individual decision-making within Europe? If, as Richard Dyer (1986) observes quoting Marx, the star image is an example of ‘“congealed labour”, something that is used with further labour (scripting, acting, directing, managing, filming, editing) to produce another commodity, a film, what are the material and symbolic conditions in which such labour is performed, and by whom? How is the labour of and around screen acting performed within the framework of European cinema produced over the last two decades? How are digital technologies impacting on acting and acting-related practices and labour within Europe? What part, if any, does transnationality play in shaping the values and practices of actors and non-acting professionals in European film industries? This conference aims to explore the multiple forms of labour that constitute, inform, and surround contemporary screen acting. In this sense, we are not only interested in the labour of contemporary European screen actors, and how it intersects with individual traits such as gender and age. We also wish to examine the varied forms of labour that prepare, accompany, manage, circulate, manipulate, consume, and evaluate the screen actor’s performance against the backdrop of an increasingly globalized and corporatized European film industry.

The conference invites proposals for presentations that explore symbolic, social, organizational, economic and/or juridical dimensions of labour performed by and around screen actors in the context of contemporary European film industries (ca 2000-present time). The list of possible topics includes, but is not limited to:

  • The labour of acting across national and trans-national production cultures;
  • Intersectional approaches to screen acting;
  • Actors and promotional labour: (self-)branding, transmedia persona, digital intimacy;
  • Actors and the law: labour rights, welfare, contracts;
  • Labour organizations, unions, and industry associations;
  • The labour around acting: coaches, casting directors, talent agents, PR professionals;
  • Training actors: schools and institutions, professions, methods;
  • Making up actors: make-up and hairstyling artists, fashion stylists, image consultants;
  • Voice acting: dubbing professions, cultures and practices across Europe;
  • Acting and digital technologies;
  • Acting and film criticism;
  • Actors and the economy of prestige: Festivals, awards, accolades;
  • Actors and fandom.

We invite proposals for individual papers and pre-constituted panels. All proposals should be written in English. Abstracts for 20-minutes individual papers should be of 300 words (max). Panel proposals should include a 300-word (max) description of the panel, including a title, plus a 200-word (max) description of each individual paper (min 3, max 4 papers of 20 minutes each per panel). All proposals should include also a 100-word bio of the presenter(s), 5 keywords descriptive of the proposal, and 3 to 5 key bibliographic references.

The conference will be held in person.

Further details about the conference program and keynote speakers will follow.

Proposals should be submitted to workandplayuniud@gmail.com no later than 11:59 PM (CET) on January 31, 2024.

Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by March 31, 2024.

For any questions, do not hesitate to contact the conference organizing committee: workandplayuniud@gmail.com