Understanding Displacement in Visual Art and Cultural History: 1945 to Now

  • Region: International
  • Type: Call for Papers
  • Cost: Free

Call for Papers

University of Manchester Conference
Understanding Displacement in Visual Art and Cultural History:
1945 to Now.
Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th, October, 2023.

Despite the political urgency surrounding refugeedom and statelessness, displacement has been under-discussed in art history, and the cultural history of war and conflict. Understanding Displacement in Visual Art and Cultural History aims to bring to light new research in this field of enquiry. This conference seeks to explore the impact that cultural representations, visual art and craft have had on displacement and refugees/asylum seekers, as well as the reverse: the impact that DPs, refugees, asylum seekers and stateless visual artists and craft artists have on the art industry, museum/gallery sector, as well as the UN/humanitarian and culture sectors.

The conference would ideally suit social and cultural historians, visual studies scholars, art historians, art theorists, museums and curatorial studies scholars, as well as practitioners (eg. artists and curators). Papers are welcome to focus on any period between 1945 and the present day.

The conference is part of an AHRC funded project, Understanding Displacement Aesthetics and Making Change in the Art Gallery with Refugees, Migrants and Host Communities, in partnership with the Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth Art Gallery.

The conference will showcase two collection projects with artists and curators: Rethinking the Grand Tour, at Manchester Art Gallery, and a temporary exhibition, Traces of Displacement at the Whitworth Art Gallery, where an artist-in-conversation will also be featured as part of the conference.

Confirmed keynotes:
Professor Anne Ring Petersen, Professor of Modern Culture and Contemporary Art, Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen. She is the author of Migration into Art: Transcultural Identities and Art-Making in a Globalised World (Manchester University Press, 2018), Installation Art: Between Image and Stage (Museum Tusculanum Press, 2015) and co-author of Reframing Migration, Diversity and the Arts: The Postmigrant Condition (Routledge, 2019), among other works.

Dr Heather Johnson, Senior Lecturer, Queens University Belfast, UK. Her works include Borders, Asylum and Global Non-Citizenship: The Other Side of the Fence (Cambridge University Press, 2014), and many influential articles on visual culture and humanitarian aesthetics eg ‘Lost in the Aftermath’, Security Dialogue (2019); ‘Refugees’, Visual Global Politics (2018); ‘To Make Live: Representing and Protesting Refugee Agency’, Localities (2016); ‘Click to donate: visual images, constructing victims and imagining the female refugee’, Third World Quarterly (2011).

This conference is organised by Prof Ana Carden Coyne, Dr Chrisoula Lionis, Dr Angeliki Roussou (University of Manchester), and Prof Charles Green (University of Melbourne).

We invite paper proposals based on the relationship between displacement and visual art, cultural history and museums and the following themes:

○ Historical and contemporary art and artists, and craft makers
○ Representations of and by DPs and refugees, asylum seekers, stateless people
○ Social and cultural histories of displacement and refugeedom
○ Aesthetics and Art Theory
○ Visuality, materiality, affective objects
○ Social practice art with forcibly displaced communities
○ Craft practitioners, Art Therapy and Useful Art
○ International art markets and exhibitions
○ Art Galleries and the Museum sector;
○ Curation; collections policies and practices
○ Collaborations with artists and communities from backgrounds of forced displacement
○ Community Arts
○ Hospitality; belonging; exclusion; co-existence
○ Decoloniality, racism and whiteness
○ Temporality, Futurity
○ Social structures: Gender, race, class, ethnicity, and religion
○ Displacement and disability
○ Cultural politics and ethics
○ Contemporary forms of slavery (forced labour, debt bondage)
○ United Nations, NGOs, humanitarianism and uses of artists
○ UNESCO, Tangible and Intangible Heritage

Deadline for submissions: July 7th, 2023

To apply, please provide a title and abstract (250 words maximum) for a 20-minute paper, alongside your name, institutional affiliation (if any) and short biography (150 words maximum).

Please email your paper proposals directly to You should receive the outcome of your submission within two weeks.

This is primarily an in-person conference taking place at the University of Manchester. However, to maximise participation we are exploring the possibility of some online panels to facilitate online participation.

There is no delegate fee for this conference.

Web Design SkiptonWeb Developer Skipton

Copyright 2024. All Rights Reserved