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 between 500 and 700 scholars, artists, activists and students to take part in a week-long program of keynote lectures, work groups, teach-ins, performances, installations, roundtable and long table discussions, urban interventions, visual arts exhibits, and hands-on performance workshops. 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), “Corpolíticas/Body Politics: Formations of Race, Class and Gender in the Americas” (2007), “Staging Citizenship: Performance and Politics of Cultural Rights” (2009), "Cities | Bodies | Action: The Politics of Passion in the Americas" (2013), and "Manifest!: Choreographing Social Movements in the Americas" (2014) and "eXcéntrico: dissidence, sovereignties, performance" (2016).  

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. These lectures have also been featured in special issues of our online journal, e-misférica.

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.


The Trasnocheo series offers a late night performance venue for emerging and established artists to present short works or works in progress. The cabaret style creates a more relaxed atmosphere that encourages participation and experimentation.


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.

Long Tables

Conceived by Lois Weaver, the Long Table experiments with participation and public engagement by reappropriating a dinner table atmosphere as a public forum, and encouraging informal conversations on serious topics. Anyone and everyone is welcome to come to the table, ask questions, make statements, leave comments on the paper table cloth, or simply sit, watch, and listen.  
Download the Long Table Etiquette here.

Work Groups

Our work groups emerged as an alternative to traditional academic panels, providing a critical space for in-depth exploration of a topic related to the Encuentro theme. Instead of presenting individual papers, members of each work group use their face-to-face time together to approach the group topic through discussions and/or alternative performative methods.