Monday, 8 March 2010

Thing in Bristol

Hi all,

Saw this call for papers and wondered if anyone might be interested.... Also made me wonder if it shouldn't be one of our intended outcomes to talk about our stuff on this sort of platform - if not here then I'm sure another suitable conference / symposium / etc will come up.



‘Beauty will save the world’: An Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Workshop on Art and Social Change, University of Bristol, 7-8 September 2010

Hosted by the Department of Politics and sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Studies and the Global Insecurities Centre, University of Bristol

How does art construct, resist and contest dominant identities and social practices? How does art open up possibilities for (re)creating the world? What are the relationships between art, aesthetics, and politics? What are the power relations involved in art? Whose art, and whose values are best placed to change the world? Can engaging with art help us develop new epistemologies and research methodologies? Can beauty ‘save’ the world?

This two-day interdisciplinary postgraduate workshop is premised on the assumption that art actively constructs social ‘reality’, as opposed to merely reflecting it. Against dominant pronouncements privileging the centrality of rationalism and science as the legitimate avenues towards knowledge and social change, this workshop poses the question: what does
the ‘serious’ pursuit of ‘progress’ miss out on when it disqualifies the artist’s imaginary as superfluous, lacking impact, unimportant?

The workshop aims to bring together postgraduate students working in and across various disciplines to share research which looks at the contested meanings of art and aesthetics, explores art in different cultural and historical settings, and examines the ways in which art and its constructions of beauty, society, politics can help in understanding, and changing, the social world. The workshop will also enable postgraduate students to engage and network with more established scholars, who will be present at the workshop as keynote speakers, panel chairs and roundtable discussants.

We welcome paper and panel proposals (2-3 presenters per panel) which engage specifically with the theme of art and social change, from various disciplines, including but not limited to: Archaeology, Anthropology, Classics, English, Modern Languages, History, History of Art, Visual and Performing Arts, Cultural Studies, Geography, Philosophy, Sociology and Politics.

Papers can include think pieces or works in progress. We encourage a diversity of presentation styles, from ‘traditional’ papers to interactive sessions, involving short film screenings, musical and dramatic performances, and the display of paintings, sculpture, photographs, and installation art. Presenters will be assigned a 30-minute slot for their presentation, which can be used by the presenter as they wish, but must include at least 5 minutes for audience questions.


Please email abstracts (maximum 300 words) of proposed presentations to
both Cerelia Athanasiou ( and Shaira
Kadir ( by 31 May 2010.
Cerelia Athanasiou
Department of Politics
University of Bristol
10 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TU


  1. sounds good. might be interesting to do a collective paper - 20 - 30 speakers in 10 mins! maybe we can sing a song?

  2. Ooh, could be good. I'd be up for discussing this with a view to being involved. Maybe we could bring it up at the next meeting and see who is interested. xm


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