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Make it Work/ The Theater of Negotiations

26 May 2015
filed under: events

An experience never done before will take place on May 29th, 30th and 31st at Nanterre-Amandiers. A political, diplomatic, scientific, pedagogical and artistic experience.

200 students from all over the world will take part in a simulation of the international conference on climate change, the COP21 in front of an audience for 3 days. The real COP21 will take place in Paris, at the end of November and beginning of December. It will be a major deadline in our race against the clock to counter the increasingly rapid changes that our planet is now facing.

Implemented within the framework of “Make It Work”, a set of initiatives taken by Sciences Po in relation to the preparation of COP21, this project is set between the boundaries of political action and artistic creation. This won’t be about faking, even less about mocking what such a conference could be. This will really be about acting: acting in order to understand, to take action and to transform.

These conferences on climate change have accumulated a terrible delay for the past 20 years, in regards to the urgency of climate deterioration caused partly by our CO2 emissions. This lethal ineffectiveness is a consequence of the enormous complexity of issues in play, as well as the formats of such international negotiations meant to deal with these issues. The “Théâtre des Négociations” considers the multiple aspects of these two obstacles, basing itself on real topics and modalities of negotiations. However it chooses to experiment transfers and transformations leading towards an exit strategy from the current deadlock we have come to. In our days, every big university in the world uses a pre-enactment device where students reenact real situations in order to highlight what is at stake and the meaning behind them. With this “pre-enactment” in mind, Make It Work/ Le Théâtre des Négociations renews this new practice in a clearly interrogative and transformative goal. However, contrary to what happens in real climate conferences (and in university reenactments), the “Théatre des Négociations” will be open to the public, offering several modalities of interactions with the negotiators, as well as access to numerous informative documentation on the topic.

This project takes its origin in the belief that the failure and procrastination of these conferences on climate change are the consequence of representation issues: representations of the problems at stake and representations of the differents communities of people and beings on earth involved in such UN conferences. To represent is also at the base of theater, and it seemed appropriate to work with and within a theater, its structure as well as its environment, to rethink the machinery of a procedure in charge of no less than every life form on earth. A tragedy is at play, and what better place to address it?

Make it Work/ Théâtre des Négociations was conceived by SPEAP (Programme d’expérimentation en art politique de Sciences Po), around Bruno Latour and Frédérique Aït-Touati, around Laurence Tubiana and Mathilde Imer, in relation to the Make It Work group of Science Po. It is implemented by Philippe Quesne and the entire team of Nanterre-Amandiers and the architect collective Raumlaborberlin, with the help of Parsons School of Design and the Ecole nationale d’architecture de Paris-Malaquais, IDDRI (Institut du Développement Durable et des Relations Internationales) and CliMates.

The opening an closing ceremonies will be in French with English subtitles. The conferences will be held in French with no subtitles.
The language chosen for the negociations is English.



5pm Doors open

5:30pm-7pm Conference by Jean-Baptiste Fressoz, historian - A political hisory of CO2

8:30pm Opening ceremony

00pm Doors close


1pm Doors open

2pm-3:30pm Conference by Violaine Sautter, geologist - In the secrets of the rocks

4pm-5:30pm Conference by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, artist and cineast - Anticipation garden and cinema

6pm-7:30pm Discussion between Tobie Nathan, psychologist, and Francois Deck, artist. - Displacement experience, changing place, changing destiny.

8pm-9:30pm Discussion between Eduardo Viveiros De Castro, anthropologist,and Vinciane Despret, philosopher - Co existing in a plural world

10pm Open air cinema

00pm Doors closed

The negotiations carry on all night long


1pm Doors open

2pm-4pm Ratification of the agreement and speeches by delegations and Presidency

4:30pm-6pm Conference by Bruno Latour, philosopher - How to represent competing territories?

6pm Closing ceremony

10pm Doors close definitively


Library with many books on environmental issues

Installations made by the ENSAD students in André Malraux Park

Bar and Restaurant

Garden, picnic area...

External resources:

Make It Work.

Schedule (pdf)

Théâtre des Amandiers, Nanterre. URL:

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