Journeys Across Media (JAM) 2017
Department of Film, Theatre and Television
University of Reading

Worldhood and World-Making

Call for papers

The JAM 2017 postgraduate conference will take place on Tuesday 11th April at the University of Reading with the theme of worldhood and world-making in film, theatre and television. In his essay ‘Where is the World?’ film critic V.F. Perkins (1936-2016) laments the lack of attention paid to the ‘fictional world’ and invites a new engagement by way of what he terms as worldhood — i.e. the qualities and aspects that make a fictional world a ‘world’, rather than what makes it ‘fictional’ (2005: 22). For Perkins, ‘understanding the events of a movie as taking place in a world is a prerequisite of the intelligibility not only of plot, but also of tone, viewpoint, rhetoric, style and meaning’ (39). Theatre critic Gay McAuley  asserts that, ‘the spatial organisation of the fictional world is always to be perceived in terms of ideology’. (Gay McAuley, Space in Performance, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 1999, p18) suggesting that the world of the stage or the performance, however realistic, is always negotiable and provisional.

In memory and honour of Perkins, but also in keeping with the interdisciplinary spirit of JAM, this conference invites investigation from both researchers and practitioners into the malleable concept of worldhood in works of film, theatre, television and other appropriate art forms. What are the strategies that govern the conjuring of fictional worlds? What are their devices and mechanical underpinnings, and how can we best understand them? Do their boundaries extend beyond the film frame and performance space? How do film and theatre makers and performance artists reconcile the challenges of instilling ‘suspension of disbelief’ in their audiences? What discrepancies are there between the fictional world of the artist and the real world of the spectator? And to what extent is the imagination of the spectator complicit in the completion of these ‘worlds’?

We welcome research presentations, practitioner talks, and practice as research performances/films that address the overall conference theme, which includes, but is not limited to, the following topic areas:

–       Methods for addressing and unpacking fictional worlds
–       The practical challenges and considerations of fabricating fictional worlds in film, theatre, television and beyond
–       Medium-specific and/or cross-media fictional worlds
–       Utopias, heterotopias and atopias
–       Phenomenology and audience participation
–       Realism and artifice
–       Style and meaning
–       Point of view, narrative and epistemology
–       The use of technology in building fictional worlds
–       Critical disruptions in fictional worlds
–       Space, site and location
–       Spatial dynamics and the formation of fictions
–       Artificiality and the fictional world

Presentations and live performances must adhere to a 20 minute time limit. To submit your proposal by email, please address your Word Document file to the JAM committee at

We welcome abstracts for a 20-minute paper or talk or live performance piece that should be no more than 300 words and accompanied by a short biographical note (no more than 100 words). Performance proposals should detail the title of your piece and a description of your performance, including space and technical requirements. If possible, performance proposals should also include a video recording of the performance proposed or video examples of your previous work.

The deadline for proposals is 9 January 2017 All submissions will be reviewed and decisions will be communicated by 30 January 2017.