Breaking the Fourth Wall: Live Performances at Museums and Other Cultural Institutions

Juilee Decker's picture
Call for Papers
February 15, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Area Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Dance and History of Dance, Film and Film History, Theatre & Performance History / Studies

Breaking the Fourth Wall: Live Performances at Museums and Other Cultural Institutions
A Focus Issue of the journal
Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals

In an age when technology and virtual experiences monopolized our attention, a conscious attempt has been made to reinstate the importance and success of ephemerality. For instance, in recent years, performance art has increased in popularity, particularly within the context of live exhibitions within museums. Internationally, museums have chosen to emphasize the nuanced resurgence of performance through exhibitions in on site concert halls or interactive displays. For this issue, we invite articles that discuss live performances, their meaning, and their effect in engaging communities within and around museum collections. Contributors are invited to investigate the broadest range of performance from dance, music, theatre, film to video, installation, and projection mapping.

Articles may address one or more of the following questions:

  • What are the affordances of performance in cultural institutions, such as museums, libraries, and archives?
  • How are stories shared across multiple audiences through performance?
  • How do performances correlate and create a dialogue with traditional exhibits and collections overall?
  • What responsibilities do museums have to preserve performances? How do museums preserve this fleeting medium?
  • How is performance measured by cultural organizations that take on such activities? What performance mediums have proven to be successful? Why/How?
  • How does performance contribute to community construction and identity?
  • How is performance understood and communicated to stakeholders?
  • How does performance fit into an organization’s mission to collect, conserve, exhibit and interpret collections?
  • What does it mean for performance, within the space of the museum, to break the “fourth wall”? 

For this issue, we are seeking articles and case studies of 15-25 pages, reviews, technical columns, and observations. See for more information about the journal. For more information, contact the journal editor, Juilee Decker, This issue will be guest-edited by Greg Lambousy, New Orleans Jazz Museum.

Authors should express their interest by submitting a 150-word abstract to the guest editors and the journal editor by February 15, 2018. The deadline for submission of final papers is April 1, 2018. Publication is anticipated for volume 14 with an issue date of 2018.

Contact Info: 

Juilee Decker, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Museum Studies
Rochester Institute of Technology
Editor, Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals

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