CFP | GLOBAL NEW VOICES 2023: Resistance, Art and Visual Thinking

Global New Voices 20232
9 November 2023
Call for Papers – Online conference for Masters’ and early-stage PhD students
Deadline: 15 August 2023

Resistance, Art and Visual Thinking

Writing in 1947, André Gide, the French existential author wrote, “Art begins with resistance – at the point where resistance is overcome” (Poétique). If art begins at resistance, where does it end, and indeed, can it? The context of this conference, taking place against the backdrop of global conflict and socio-political struggle, along with the inflammatory and divisive rhetoric of the so called ‘culture wars’, make this an important and timely platform for ideas of resistance. Artworks, as physical objects, could be said to privilege the visual, and it is in this re-orientation of the visual and verbal that resistance can so effectively become manifest. W. J. T. Mitchell reminds us that the
‘pictorial’ or visual should be viewed as a ‘postlinguistic, postsemiotic rediscovery … a complex interplay between visuality, apparatus, institutions, discourse, bodies, and figurality.’ (1994: 16) This nexus of sensory, cultural, and political interactions forms the basis for our explorations of art, resistance, and visual thinking.

Resistance in art can take many forms. Whilst the most obvious form of resistance might be said to be political, resistance can also manifest in a deeply personal or abstract aesthetic sense. We are interested in exploring the multifaceted ways in which visual thinking in/as art can articulate resistance in some shape or form.

The key questions addressed by this conference include:

  • How can art embody resistance in its form and/or creation?
  • How do narratives of resistance inform the art object’s cultural, social, and political histories?
  • How can ‘visual thinking’ subvert and unsettle hegemonic power structures in local, national, and
    international contexts? Is it an act of resistance itself to usurp language in favour of the visual?
  • How can artists and artworks form international and intersectional networks of resistance across
    place and time?


We are delighted to announce our keynote speakers for the Global New Voices 2023:

Ekow Eshun (Creative Director, Writer, Broadcaster and winner of the AAH Curatorial Prize 2023 for ‘In the Black Fantastic’ at the Hayward Gallery)

Rachel Winter (Curator and Innovative Museum Educator, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University)

Mira Xenia Schwerda (Art Historian, Curator and Managing Director of Khamseen)

Who is this for?
This year’s Global New Voices invites proposals from Masters’ and early-stage PhD students (1st/2nd year), exploring the theme over any historical period or geographic region. We welcome submissions from international researchers, makers, and practice-researchers to open a dynamic discussion about the similarities, divergences and interconnectivity of Resistance, Art and Visual Thinking taking place around the world.

We invite proposals in any of the following three formats:

  • 15-minute paper presentations focussing on the idea of resistance, art, or visual thinking in a
    wide variety of contexts.
  • Pecha Kucha presentations of 20 images with a limited time (20 seconds) commentary on
    each slide. The aim is a swift, visually-led presentation that is succinct and powerful. Learn more about the Pecha Kucha format.
  • Artists Showcase. A new addition to Global New Voices 2023 is the option for artists and practice-
    researchers to share their creative work in an ‘artist showcase’ – this consists of approximately
    5-10 minutes of viewing the artwork (shared online) followed by discussion and constructive feedback.
    We welcome submission from artists working in any medium which contains a visual element,
    including but not limited to those working with sound/image, light, and film.

Potential themes are outlined below, but we encourage experimental and novel approaches:

  • Postcolonial artworks and their readings
  • The role of visual culture, and visual literacy, in affecting frameworks of resistance (in artistic
    communities, and/or wider society)
  • Case studies of artists whose work engages with political and/or social critiques
  • The idea of ‘resistance’ in the broader study of art history as an academic discipline
  • The changing significance of art objects across time, or across place (reception history, criticism,
  • The subversive use of exhibition spaces
  • The responses of institutions to specific narratives of resistance (e.g., decoloniality, sexuality,
  • The role of different artistic media (painting, photography, print etc.) in producing concepts of
    resistance in artworks.
  • The function of art amongst oppressed or marginalised communities in any geographic area or
    time period.

When and where will this conference take place?
Online, ensuring an international platform for inclusive, enriching, and creative discussion.
This year, the conference will take place over a day, Thursday 9 November 2023, with coffee and
lunch breaks for down-time.

How to apply and when is the deadline?
Proposals or artist statements of no more than 250 words, along with a 100-word biography, should be sent to by 11:59am GMT on Tuesday 15 August 2023. Please let us know in the email subject if you are proposing a paper, a Pecha Kucha, or artist showcase. We aim to create a balance of formats. Finally, please indicate whether you agree for your session to be recorded. We will be uploading the conference (or as much as is feasible), for the AAH YouTube channel.


For more information, contact the organisers: Sophie Kazan and Thomas Metcalf at

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