Call for papers: The art of recreation: practice, performance and formation

The art of recreation: practice, performance and formation

Conference under the direction of Peggy Roquigny and Laurent Turcot Chaire de recherche du Canada en histoire des loisirs et des divertissements, UQTRTrois-Rivières Qc, November 24 and 25, 2016

This interdisciplinary conference is directed at researchers, experts and professionals from private and public organizations who are interested in the history of recreation in Canada from the 18th to the 20th centuries. Proposals outside this spatial-temporal field will also be considered.

In recent years, output of historical production on the subject of recreation has boomed, yet does not convey the importance (real and symbolic) that recreation holds in people’s lives. At the heart of every-day activities, discussions, debates, expenditures and social interactions, the important political, economic, social and cultural trends of every era are revealed. In this way, the study of recreation can make use of categories which constitute frames of reference which either singly or jointly demonstrate the characteristics or nuances of, or connections between, for example, traditional and commercial, erudite or popular, working class and bourgeois, rural and urban, professional and amateur practices.

Each in its own fashion, these contrasts explore the question of the relationship between recreation and work. Certainly, as emphasized by Blaise Pascal, work and recreation contribute in different ways to fill man’s time making him progress unwittingly toward death. Work, whether lucrative or not, becomes synonymous with effort and constraint because it is associated with necessity whereas recreation is supposed to be agreeable and therefore not restrictive. But recreation is linked to work and dependent upon it, not only in its temporality (recreational and work time being segmented, alternating, layered or mixed depending on the context) but also in its practice, intimately joined to the performance and the formation of those components which cross the classic binomials and which imply differentiated positioning of recreation in relation to work.

This conference proposes a reflection on three components of recreation (practice, performance, formation) to promote a dynamic history of recreation, contributing to a complex portrait of society, composed of relationships, transferences and pathways. Whether within the framework of theoretical works or case studies, whether one lingers over the issues linked to sources or to the advancement of knowledge, these three components may be considered individually or together.

Theme 1: Practice

This first theme explores recreation through its enthusiasts, whether they be active participants, live spectators either in person or from a distance (through media platforms), indirect spectators (pre- recorded), active or passive. What are the means, places and contexts of practice? What function and social, cultural, or economic values are attributed to them?

How is a recreation perceived, represented? Leisure or obligation? What are the connections to work, to effort, brought about by the practice of a recreation which demands the mastery of a skill in order to be fully enjoyed, or which contemplates the skill of another?

Theme 2: Performance

This second theme takes as its starting point the experience of the professional who, through performance, offers entertainment to others. What are the forms, places and contexts of entertainment offered by professionals for consumption? In what way are they distinct from other recreations? How does the professional construct a practice from an activity, which may be at once a job, a performance, an art and a personal entertainment? Is the stage performer an artist? What relationship does he have with his own performance when it can be just as easily perceived as an art or an entertainment depending on the spectators, on the context?

Theme 3: Formation

This third theme considers training in regards to both the amateur and the professional. What learning is undertaken with the perspective of entertainment? With what goals and in what conditions is learning undertaken when it becomes, in itself a recreation, or when it becomes a means of acquiring the know- how required for the practice of a leisure activity? How do professionals relate to training, their own, but also the offer of lessons for recreational ends?



The scientific organising committee invites you to submit an abstract for a paper before March, 31st 2016. Abstracts should be limited to 250 words and should include a title, authors and their credentials and affiliations, 4-5 key words and a short bibliography.

Proposals should be sent by e-mail (PDF or word format) to the following address: Participants will be contacted by mid-June.


Peggy Roquigny and the organising committee