‘Queer’ ‘British’ ‘Art’? – Theory and practice since 1970

Session Convenor:

Theo Gordon (University of Sussex) theogordon2@gmail.com

Please email your paper proposal to the session convenor using the Paper Proposal Form


How can the history of art and fine-art practice in Britain trouble our understanding of the development of queer theory? The significance of disciplines such as literature, philosophy or sociology to the place of ‘queer’ in the academy appear unequivocal; that of art and art history, less so. Similarly, the contributions of cultural producers in France and the United States appear foundational to ‘queer theory’, whilst that of those in Britain seems under-articulated.

This panel invites papers exploring the synergies, overlaps and influences between art produced in Britain and the emergence of queer theory since 1970. Attention to the socio-cultural circumstances of ‘queer’ artistic production in Britain, the porosity and particularity of national boundaries, and the transnational movement of artists and writers, will be welcome. Papers may touch on:

  • national, regional, local and community funding sources
  • polytechnic and university art departments
  • cultural studies and centres of radical critique
  • migration and black diaspora
  • post-coloniality
  • regional and national trade union movements and strikes
  • Marxist and socialist movements
  • radical feminism
  • urban and rural networks of fags and dykes
  • underground radio and music scenes
  • leather and S/M cultures
  • responses to HIV/AIDS
  • activist groups
  • ephemera and print cultures
  • transgender and intersex identities
  • communes and sectarian communities
  • artist collectives, and exhibition histories.

Not content with any hegemonic or hermetic national narrative, this panel asks how to queer the historiography of queer theory by practising what Briony Fer has recently called ‘a history of detail’, that attends to the circumstances of how art and artists in Britain have contributed to a transnational discourse of queerness.

Submit a paper

Please email your paper proposals direct to the session convenor above, using the Paper Proposal Form

You need to provide a title and abstract (250 words maximum) for a 25-minute paper (unless otherwise specified), your name and institutional affiliation (if any).

Please make sure the title is concise and reflects the contents of the paper because the title is what appears online, in social media and in the printed programme.

You should receive an acknowledgement receipt of your submission within two weeks from the session convenor.

Deadline for submissions: Monday 21 October 2019

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