Every two years, the Hemispheric Institute hosts an Encuentro—part academic conference, part performance festival—in a different site in the Americas. Fostering experimentation, dialogue, and collaboration, each Encuentro brings together approximately five hundred scholars, artists, activists and students to take part in a ten-day program of keynote lectures, work groups, performances, installations, roundtable discussions, visual arts exhibits, video screenings and hands-on performance workshops. As we explore the relationship between expressive culture and politics in the Americas, we build on the premise that the practices we study and participate in cannot be thought from any one place, no single vantage point or theory can account for them. Encuentro participants are encouraged to work across disciplines and share their work in English, Spanish or Portuguese. Past thematic topics of the Encuentros have been: “Performance and Politics in the Americas” (2000), “Memory, Atrocity, and Resistance” (2001), “Globalization, Migration and the Public Sphere” (2002), “Spectacles of Religiosities” (2003), “Performing 'Heritage': Contemporary Indigenous Performance and Community-Based Practices” (2005), and “Corpolíticas/Body Politics: Formations of Race, Class and Gender in the Americas” (2007). Our upcoming Encuentro (2009) will be on “Staging Citizenship: Performance and Politics of Cultural Rights” and will take place in Bogotá, Colombia.

Keynote Lectures

Leading scholars and practitioners are invited to each Encuentro to give keynote lectures that conceptually frame our discussions, situate the Encuentro topic within specific social contexts, and expand the theoretical debates in the field. Simultaneous translation is provided to the audience so that they can be available to participants in English, Spanish and Portuguese. These lectures have also been featured in special issues of our online journal, e-misférica.


During the first five days of the Encuentro, invited artists offer hands-on performance workshops to our participants for three hours each morning. Workshops cover a large range of performance practices and the visual arts, such as dance, mask-making, solo performance techniques, capoeira, digital photography, online 'hacktivism', mural painting, etc.

Round Tables

Round table discussions allow scholars, artists and activists to engage in diverse discussions with each other and with the Encuentro participants.

Work Groups

Work groups emerged as our alternative to traditional academic panels, providing a critical space for extended research collaboration and other modes of interdisciplinary exploration of shared areas of inquiry. Work groups may involve scholars, artists, and activists. Some groups may address interests specific to one of these constituencies; others explore dialogue and collaboration across them. Limited to no more than 20 participants, work groups meet several times during the Encuentro. The format is tailored to the specific aims of each group, and may include sharing essays, producing collective work, creating performance, or some combination of these.

Performances, Installations and Visual Arts

Encuentros feature a wide range of performances daily, as groups and solo artists from the Americas share their work in theater, music, dance, performance art, street interventions, spoken word, online actions, cabaret/bar acts, etc. Multimedia installations and visual arts are also presented, and many are exhibited for the duration of the Encuentro.

Video Screenings

Curated by experts in the field, our video program features films that are related to the Encuentro topic. Screenings are open to participants and to the public at large.

2009  |  Bogotá, Colombia

2007  |  Buenos Aires, Argentina

2005  |  Belo Horizonte, Brazil

2003  |  New York City, United States

2002  |  Lima, Peru

2001  |  Monterrey, Mexico

2000  |  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Marlène Ramírez-Cancio
Assistant Director of Arts & Media
Tel: 212.998.1631
Fax: 212.995.4844
Email: hemi.encuentro@nyu.edu

The Hemispheric Institute
of Performance and Politics
New York University
20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor
New York City, New York 10003