Intercultural Dialogue as ‘New’ Interculturalism: Terra Nova Productions, the Arrivals Project and the Intercultural Performative
This chapter investigates new interculturalism’s pronounced focus on the performative as a site of identity creation and contestation following Ric Knowles and Leo Cabranes-Grant. I use the concept of an “intercultural performative” to theorize how the European Union’s vision for intercultural dialogue as the key process through which to integrate majority and minority ethnic communities (particularly those with backgrounds of migration) by meeting on supposedly equal ground is actually supposed to function in practical terms. I turn to Northern Irish theatre company Terra Nova Productions’ series, The Arrivals Project (2013–2018). Through this project, the company initiates a multicultural process of dialogue shared between writers, actors and community members in Northern Ireland in order to produce together new theatrical works whose representations adequately reflect the region’s intercultural identity, as characterized by a recent marked increased in racial and ethnic diversity in addition to the supposed end of sectarian conflict between Catholic/Nationalist and Protestant/Loyalist communities. The Arrivals Project therefore both practices and stages intercultural dialogue in and for the theatre, making it a vital case study through which to interrogate what I argue is intercultural dialogue’s desired use of the performative as an engine of identity transformation whose after-effects are desired to lead concretely to structural social change.
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