Performing the World (PTW) came into being at the end of 2000 when Kenneth Gergen, Mary Gergen, Lois Holzman, Sheila McNamee and Fred Newman finalized plans for a multi-disciplinary conference, entitled Performing the World: Communication, Improvisation and Societal Practice. The conference took place in October, 2001 in Montauk NY. Nearly 250 participants from 27 states and 8 countries enthusiastically and creatively produced the performance of a conference, the “topic” of which was performance.

Conversations, panels, workshops and performances explored the rich potential of performance for personal, organizational and social change:

  • The liberating and developmental potential of performance — both on stage and off.
  • The study of performance as the means by which people create themselves and their culture.
  • The opportunities performance presents for new understandings of human life and culture.
  • Utilizing performance to help create new forms of relationship in families, organizations and communities.
  • The emerging synthesis of theater and social science and its challenges to the methodological-philosophical foundations of knowledge.

Performing the World 2001 was sponsored by Performance of a Lifetime, a training and consulting firm with a unique performance approach to personal, professional and organizational development, and The Taos Institute, a non-profit community of scholars and practitioners who use social constructionist ideas to design and promote creative, appreciative and relational practices in families, communities and organizations around the world.


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