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Improvisation & Encounter: Festivals

Moderated by Ajay Heble, with Patricia Nicholson, Deanna Relyea and Rainbow Robert
Monday, October 25, 2021
7:00-8:30 PM
Off Campus Location
Center for World Performance Studies presents the first in a series of virtual roundtable discussion curated by Scholar-in-Residency Ajay Heble, exploring the theme of Improvisation & Encounter. Drawing its inspiration in part from The Fierce Urgency of Now: Improvisation, Rights, and the Ethics of Cocreation, a collaboratively-authored book by Daniel Fischlin, George Lipsitz, and Ajay Heble, this series of online roundtable conversations will explore Improvisation in the arts as a scene of encounter. What happens when artists come together to improvise, and what might this scene of encounter tell us about the staging and negotiation of difference: between artists, between artists and audiences, between the present moment and the varied histories and contexts that gave rise to it?

Moderated by Ajay Heble, and presented in association with Edgefest, the focus of the first panel is FESTIVALS, and brings together three leaders in the curatorial field. Vocalist Deanna Relyea was the founder of Kerrytown Concert House and is the current Artistic Director of Edgefest, Michigan’s long running avant-jazz festival. Dancer, poet and organizer of movement, music and causes Patricia Nicholson Parker has developed her work within the aesthetic of free jazz. Nicholson founded Arts For Art and the Vision Festival to promote and advocate for free jazz. Rainbow Robert is a relentless proponent of strange, beautiful, heavy music. She has been deeply involved with the jazz community in Canada for the past two decades through her work with Coastal Jazz, and as producer of the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, where she currently serves in the role of Managing Artistic Director.

Scholar-in-Residence Ajay Heble is Director of the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation and Professor of English in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. He is the author or editor of several books, and a founding co-editor of the journal Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation ( ). He was the Project Director for Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice, a large-scale Major Collaborative Research Initiative, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. As the Founder and Artistic Director of the Guelph Jazz Festival, Heble has jolted the citizens of Guelph into an appreciation of improvised and avant-garde music and delighted aficionados from around the world with his innovative and daring programming.

If you require accommodation to participate in CWPS events, please contact the Center for World Performance Studies, at 734-936-2777 or Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the University to arrange.
Building: Off Campus Location
Location: Virtual
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Art, Dance, Humanities, Interdisciplinary, Music, Theater
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for World Performance Studies, Residential College

The Center for World Performance Studies sponsors and cosponsors several special events throughout the year, including performances, public lectures, demonstrations, and roundtables. Our events are announced on our website, and through email and flyer distribution. Please contact us at if you would like to be on our mailing list or if you would like more information on any of the following events.