Theatre and Citizenship: Writer, Actor, Spectator, Activist
Igor Štiks is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. Igor joined the Edinburgh College of Art in April 2014 to work on his research project “Citizen-Artist: Creative Citizenship in Occupied Spaces” in which he explores the interaction between occupations of public spaces, inventive forms of self-rule and artistic expression. Drawing inspiration from critical political theory, his research contributes to the fields of citizenship and urban cultural studies, as well as to scholarship on social movements and engaged art.
He gained his PhD at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) and Northwestern University (USA) in 2009. Before joining the ECA, he was a senior research fellow at the CITSEE project (School of Law, University of Edinburgh, 2009-2014).
His publications have appeared in the leading academic journals such as Citizenship Studies, Europe-Asia Studies, Global Studies, Southeast Europe and Black Sea Studies, and Monthly Review. Together with Jo Shaw he edited the collections Citizenship after Yugoslavia (Routledge, 2013) and Citizenship Rights (Ashgate, 2013), and, with Srecko Horvat, Welcome to the Desert of Post-Socialism: Radical Politics after Yugoslavia (Verso, 2015).
As CITSEE senior research fellow, he initiated and edited the CITSEE web magazine Citizenship in Southeast Europe. He also produced 4 animation films (in collaboration with the ECA’s students) and 8 short documentary films based on the project’s research outputs. The films can be viewed here (https://vimeo.com/citsee).
Igor is also the author of two novels, A Castle in Romagna and Elijah’s Chair, which have won numerous awards and have been translated into a dozen European languages. The theatre play based on his novel ‘Elijah’s Chair’ won the Grand Prix of the 2011 Belgrade International Theatre Festival (BITEF).For his literary and public work he won the French title of "Knight of Arts and Letters". "Flour in the veins" is his first dramatic text.
Flour in the veins is a piece about a family shattered around the world by war, and members of this family after more than 20 years meet one another again in one city, one flat, one night. Everything has changed: city, state, population, ethnic makeup, streets, faces, but traumas remained that could not be cured by the passage of time or change of the environment. The traumas became their attitude, their way of thinking and behavior pattern. Over time, these traumas become familiar and pleasant to them, so they find that abandoning the traumas is both painful and unfamiliar. Individual remains trapped in his trauma. In the Balkans, where wars create history, geography, economy, culture, politics, education, trauma becomes a national treasure, identity, political tool, tradition, education. This is the drama that her heroes have been awaiting for decades. Drama of return, meetings, negotiation, injustice, unraveling and ultimately reconciliation. Reconciliation becomes a threat because it requires confrontation, acceptance and opening of the new and unknown sites. Reconciliation turns out to be a long-term process that requires time, maturity and courage.
photo by: Velija Hasanbegovic