Children, Youth, and Performance Conference 2023 

The Children, Youth, and Performance Conference is accepting proposals for our fifth conference, held in partnership with York University and Young People’s Theatre. The conference will take place in June of 2023 in Toronto, Canada.

After two years of successful online conferences, we are planning to return to Toronto for an in-person conference this year, taking changing circumstances and guidance from public health officials seriously in our continued planning. Please note that for the safety of our participants, the conference may include some outdoor components and may include a mask-wearing policy for indoor spaces. More scheduling details and safety guidelines will be available in 2023, following acceptances. While this particular conference is planned to take place in-person, we deeply value our very active online following, and hope to hold related digital events as well (please follow @CYPConference for updates on this).

This international, peer-reviewed conference is an exchange of knowledge between researchers, performers, educators, practitioners, and community organizers, putting performance research to work and examining its impact on the lives of young people. Through a range of informative and interactive sessions, participants will discuss the future applications and implications of performance work with, by, for, and about children and youth. We were thrilled to have more than 300 attendees from more than 20 countries participate in our highly interactive online conference in June 2022 and look forward to continuing the robust and fruitful conversations in 2023!

Our conference is open to a variety of presentation topics and styles focusing on children, youth, and the performing arts. We invite presenters from a variety of disciplines and sectors, including, but not limited to child and youth studies, performing arts, Indigenous studies, social sciences, humanities, education, human rights, and public policy.


We welcome proposals based on cutting-edge research, theories, and creative practices that are aligned with one or more of this year’s five themes:

1. Devising Performances with/for/about Children and Youth

2. Strengthening Equity in Performing Arts Initiatives and Spaces

3. Puppets, Props, and Performance Objects by/with/for Children

4. Advocacy and Activism through Performance

5. Exploring Culture through Performances by/with/for Children and Youth


Each proposal should outline the presentation’s purpose, method(s), outcomes, or reflections, and what will take place during the session. Please clearly indicate which of the five conference themes (listed above) your proposal best aligns with, and your preferred presentation format (listed below):

Project Snapshots (5 minutes): These are fast-paced, audience driven sessions. Presenters give very short presentations followed by a longer, interactive, audience-driven question and answer period. For project snapshots, each presenter has the opportunity to present for five minutes (a total of three slides). Following a series of several presenters’ snapshots, the audience asks questions for the remaining time in the session. These sessions have been a hit at past conferences as they are a great way to share key aspects of your work while having audience interests provoke further discussion. Snapshots should be presented by 1-2 people (if you have a larger group, please propose a ‘panel’).

Case Studies (10 minutes): These presentations should discuss particular projects or case studies relevant to one of the above conference themes. Each session will have a moderator and each presentation will have a limited amount of time (~10 minutes per case study presentation), with additional time for audience questions. Case Studies should be presented by 1-2 people (if you have a larger group, please propose a ‘panel’).

Panels (20 or 45 minutes, depending on panel size): We welcome panel proposals of three or more participants, showcasing initiatives and projects relevant to one of the conference themes. Panels may include any combination of researchers, practitioners, performers, and/or young people, in a collaborative, discussion-style format.

Interactive Workshops (45 minutes): Workshops should be directly relevant to at least one of the conferences themes, and welcoming to participants with varying levels of performance or research experience (participants will be a mixture of artists, researchers, practitioners, educators, community organizers, and others who engage in child/youth-focused work). Please ensure your workshop carefully adheres to the allotted timeframe (including all required set-up and/or take-down), as sessions will be back-to-back. Workshop presenters are responsible for their own materials and set-up. In-person workshops often take place in performance studios or theatre spaces, are highly interactive, and should not be presentation heavy: please clearly state the specific activity/activities that will take place. If your proposed workshop is presentation-heavy (rather than interactive) and/or space flexibility is not possible for your workshop, we ask that you select a different presentation format.

Original Performance Excerpts (up to 15 minutes): We welcome short performances, derived from research projects, new works, or advocacy initiatives, addressing one of the conference themes. Within the allotted timeframe, each presentation should include a short performance (such as a monologue, song, movement piece, scene, etc.) followed by a brief talk-back with the audience. We welcome proposals that include child and youth presenters. All presentations of this type must fit within the allotted timeframe (including any required set-up and/or take-down).

How to Submit Proposals 

Your proposal should be submitted as the text body of an email (not an attachment), with all listed co-presenters cc’d.  The email should include:

[1] a succinct presentation title (10 words max.);

[2] presenter name(s), affiliations, contact information, and bio(s) (100 words max. for each bio);

[3] which conference theme your proposal aligns with;

[4] your preferred presentation format (snapshot, workshop, panel etc.); and

[5] a presentation summary (300 words max.).

There are two options to submit proposals: To be considered for early acceptance, please submit proposals by October 23rd, 2022. The regular deadline is January 9th, 2023. Any presenters not accepted during the ‘early acceptance’ deadline are welcome to use provided feedback to revise and re-submit their proposal (or propose something new) during the regular deadline. Proposals must be sent directly to Dr. Abigail Shabtay, Conference Chair, at, who will share them with the review committee. Applicants may be part of multiple proposals given that co-presenters are different for each.

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