Category Archives: Call for Papers


Images left to right: Victorian Photograph of a Family with Deceased Infants (c. 1850), The Discovery of the Sutton Hoo Burial Ship (1938), J.M.W Turner The Slave Ship (1840).
Images left to right: Victorian Photograph of a Family with Deceased Infants (c. 1850), The Discovery of the Sutton Hoo Burial Ship (1938), J.M.W Turner The Slave Ship (1840).

Mourning and Morbidity: Death and British Art

Tuesday 10th March 2015

University of York

A one-day workshop investigating the relationship of Death and British art, to be held in the Treehouse of the Berrick Saul Humanities Research Centre at the University of York, on Tuesday 10th March 

Art in Britain has always been concerned with mourning and morbidity, and with death as a social, cultural and ritualistic process. This event will consider the extent to which death and its visual cultures have impacted the production and reception of art in Britain and beyond.

In light of recent work on the sculptural quality of the funerary monument, we ask how art in Britain might be seen in relation to longer histories of death and mourning. How has the complex religious landscape of the British Isles and its former colonies differently figured the cultural experience of death? Can the representation of death and the dead body be understood as integral or as an adjunct to personal or national self-definition? Can a nation mourn?

In collaboration with the University of York’s Death Studies Network, the British Art Research School will host an informal workshop which aims to facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration and new thought on the topic of death and British Art.  We invite short position papers or provocations (no longer than 15 minutes) that consider the visual and material manifestations of death in British culture, by researchers of all levels whose interests are connected with British Art.

Subjects may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • The depiction of death and chronic illness in works of sculpture, painting, print, photography and film.
  • Official, personal and dissident memorials to the dead and their relationships to national identity.
  • Spaces or sites of death within both the British landscape and elsewhere, including death as an imagined space.
  • Relics and the reification or appropriation of the dead by the living.
  • The dead or dying artist.
  • Material culture connected with funerary rituals and remembrance of the dead. The processes of mourning melancholia and haunting. .
  • Disputes over the cultural representation of death in light of global, international, post-colonial and multicultural histories.
  • The imagery of death in British popular cultures and youth cultures.

Participants are invited to send titles of their presentations to 

The deadline for submissions is January 20th, 2015.

Mourning and Morbidity CFP

Disseminating Dress: Britain and the Fashion World

Disseminating Dress: Britain and the Fashion World

28th-30th May 2015, University of York

Image Credit: Sarah Gooll Putnam’s Diary, Massachusetts Historical Society

Disseminating Dress is a three-day international and interdisciplinary conference that explores how ideas and knowledge about how dress have been shared, sought and communicated throughout history.

In bringing together academics, curators and industry professionals, this conference is an invitation for interdisciplinary discussion concerning methods of communicating concepts of what someone should, could, or would wear. Dress has been demonstrated to be central to the creation, expression, and subversion of cultural and national identity. However, what remains relatively unexplored is how these ideas were conveyed and perceived. If fashion is the result of a mixture of innovation and emulation, then we need to ask how these new ideas came to be circulated around and between societies.

From the London of the Blitz to Renaissance Italy, men and women have both sought out and been instructed in what to wear, forming personal, social and cultural aesthetics, while driving trade and mercantile success. This conference welcomes a broad interpretation of how dress has been disseminated throughout history, and will be an open forum for work undertaken from a variety of disciplinary and professional viewpoints.

Disseminating Dress invites proposals for 20-minute papers that explore the manifold media, methods, perceptions and motivations driving fashion dissemination across history.

Paper topics might include, but are certainly not limited to, the following methods and media for transferring fashion ideas and information:

  • Correspondence and social networks.
  • Global networks for trade and cultural exchange.
  • The written word – including novels, journals, and fashion magazines.
  • Costume books, home sewing patterns, and other instructional sources.
  • Visual and material culture, including both fine art and popular culture.
  • Advertising, the role of fashion designers, and branding.
  • Famous persons, from court culture to modern celebrities.
  • Film, television, the Internet, and modern social media including MMS-ography.
  • The history of taste, and the influence of outside cultural forces such as developments within architecture and the decorative arts on fashion.

Abstracts of 250 words in length, with an accompanying  100-word biography should be sent to no later than 15th January 2015.

Please see for more details.

CFP: ‘Artists’ Moving Image Practice in Britain: From 1990 to Today.’

The Paul Mellon Centre in association with Whitechapel Gallery and Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network

5-7 November 2015

Artists’ moving image practice is activated by the context of the gallery, by temporary architectural environments, the cinema and the internet, and by social and political performance. Over the last few decades, this kind of artistic practice – which has its roots in film, performance and installation art – has become a phenomenon in its own right and begun developing a deep and rich history.

British artists and institutions have played a pioneering role in this history. From the roots of the filmmaking co-ops of the 1970s to recent exercises in digital manipulation, UK-based artists have been at the forefront of artistic experimentation, distribution, and exhibition within the field of moving image practice This has particularly been the case since the 1990s, when a mixture of artist support agencies and galleries such as LUX, Film and Video Umbrella, FACT, Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network and Channel 4 began re-aligning funding interests and developing a particular remit for supporting moving image practice by artists.

Yet, despite being showcased and discussed by arts institutions, academics and cultural organizations, this dynamic strand of artistic practice in Britain has not been fully explored or historicized. Artists’ Moving Image Practice in Britain: from 1990 to today aims to begin redressing this shortfall. It will bring together artists, curators, film-historians, art-historians and critics in order to discuss the recent history of this dynamic and ambitious strand of visual culture within a British context.

The purpose of this major conference is to:

  • Map the recent history and practice of artists’ moving image practice in Britain from 1990 to the present day.
  • Broaden the discussion on artists’ moving image practice in Britain and help develop new scholarly research in the field.
  • Present exciting close readings of particular works and artists.
  • Provide an interdisciplinary think-tank for dialogue on this topic
  • Stimulate a discussion about the most productive methodological approaches to artists’ moving image work.

Alongside a full programme of papers, the conference will feature keynote lectures from world-leading specialists in the field, panel discussions and screenings.

The call for papers is an opportunity for artists, curators and academics to submit proposals for papers to be presented at this conference. The proposals will be jointly selected by Paul Mellon Centre and the Whitechapel Gallery in association with Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network.

We hope that one outcome of this conference will be a major publication on this topic.

Original contributions are invited on the following key research questions (but not limited to):

  • What have been the dominant visual, ideological and narrative characteristics of this kind of artistic practice?
  • How has artists’ moving image practice in Britain been written about?
  • What kinds of writing has it stimulated?
  • What methodologies have been employed to talk and write about artists’ moving image work?
  • How do we understand artists’ moving image work within a British context?
  • How does artists’ moving image practice relate to other kinds of artistic activity in contemporary visual culture?
  • How does artists’ moving image practice engage with earlier artistic traditions and activities?
  • How has the notion of medium shifted since the rise of digital technology?
  • Does it still make sense to think in formal, media-related categories or have we moved beyond the medium as a recognizable entity?
  • How have political, pedagogical, and collective forms of artistic practice affected recent work in this field?
  • How is moving image work defined by local context and what tensions exist when the local is represented globally?
  • What have previous discussions overlooked or ignored?

We are also interested in papers that address a specific work, or the work of specific artists. These papers might address formal and aesthetic concerns; representational conventions and strategies; the biography of a work; or strategies of interpretation.

Please submit abstracts of up to 300 words, together with a 100-word biography, by 15th December 2014 to the following email (CALL for Papers in the subject):
Any general queries should also be directed to this address.

Presentations in the conference will last 20 to 30 minutes. Successful proposals will be announced by the end of January 2015.

‘Portraiture as Interaction: The Spaces and Interfaces of the British Portrait’

December 11-12, 2015

The Huntington, San Marino, California

This symposium has been inspired by the important collections of British portraits at the Huntington Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art, and by an upsurge of scholarly interest in the interactive nature of portraiture – both in its intrinsic character and as a curatorial construct.

Portraiture implies an interaction between the sitter and the spectator. It often rehearses an interaction between two or more protagonists and regularly focuses on the interaction between the person(s) represented and his, her, or their surroundings. Portraits – of husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, friends, and colleagues – are often depicted by artists and arranged by curators so as to interact with each other in meaningful ways. As they are created, and once they are completed, portraits (and the figures they represent) interact with their settings: with the studio, the exhibition space, the domestic interior, the public building or square; and with the objects, people, and spaces found in those settings. The same portrait, or portraits of the same sitter, can also find themselves interacting with each other across different media – paint, print, sculpture, and more.

Furthermore, curators are continually thinking about the ways in which the portraits they display – and the individuals these pictures portray – will relate with each other across and around a gallery. The Thornton Portrait Gallery at the Huntington and the galleries at the Yale Center for British Art exemplify portraiture’s continuing forms of interaction: implied and actual, pictorial and physical, and formal and figural.

This two-day international symposium will use the rich collections at the Center and the Huntington Art Gallery and the different concepts of interaction outlined above as points of departure and return, in order to open up new approaches to the history and workings of British portraiture up to the present. Participants will be encouraged to offer original and innovative readings of individual portraits, groups of portraits, portrait galleries, and portraiture as a genre. Talks that respond explicitly to works in the collections of the Huntington and the Center are particularly encouraged.

We invite proposals for thirty-five to forty-minute papers on this theme from scholars working in any discipline. Cross-disciplinary and comparative studies are particularly welcome.

Please e-mail abstracts of no more than 300 words, along with a short CV, to

The deadline for proposals is November 7, 2014

Travel and accommodations will be provided for speakers arriving from outside the Los Angeles area, and meals will be provided for all.

Irish Fine Art in the Early Modern Period

Deadline for submissions: Monday 12 January 2015

Papers are invited for a forthcoming book which will showcase new scholarship focused on the history of fine art in Ireland in the early modern period (c.1600-c.1815). Publication by Irish Academic Press is due in 2016.

Dedicated research in the past decade into Irish fine art of this period has produced some excellent – though isolated – examples in the form of displays, publications and articles. In notable contrast are coeval fine art studies in Britain which currently enjoy a revival in research funding, museum partnerships, publishing opportunities, exhibitions, and active expertise networks, all of which provide vital scholarly momentum to the field.

While a more sustained format for focused scholarly output in this area remains a desideratum, this project provides an opportunity to draw together and highlight substantial new work on the production and reception of fine art in Ireland in this period, and its contemporary discourse.

Contributions are warmly welcomed from academics and graduate students working in art history and associated humanities disciplines, curators and independent scholars actively engaged in related research. Papers should engage with fine art media – painting, drawing, miniatures, sculpture, and print culture – and demonstrate original and previously unpublished research.

Possible topics for papers include, but are not confined to, the following themes as considered in an Irish context:

  • Artistic patrons, patronage and collecting
  • Modes of acquisition and display
  • The impact of contemporary politics and ethnographic change on artistic production and consumption
  • Artistic networks
  • Artistic genres
  • Artist biographies
  • Artistic training and education
  • Foreign travel for formal or informal artistic education
  • Amateur artists and artistic production
  • Fashioning an artistic career; artists’ means of self-promotion and engagement with patrons and the art market
  • Art writing, published or otherwise
  • Art historiography of the early modern period

Please send an abstract of your proposed paper (approx. 400 words) and a brief biographical note (max. 200 words) to by Monday 12 January 2015. If you have any queries please address them to the same email. Final papers will be in the region of 9,000 words, but abstracts for shorter papers are also welcome (please indicate if possible when submitting your abstract). Authors are welcome to submit more than one abstract for consideration by the editorial committee, which comprises Dr Jane Fenlon, Dr Ruth Kenny, Caroline Pegum, and Dr Brendan Rooney. Final papers will be peer-reviewed.

George Scharf and the museum professional

George Scharf and the emergence of the museum professional in nineteenth-century Britain

A one-day participatory workshop concerning the emergence of the museum professional in the nineteenth-century, to be held at the National Portrait Gallery, London, on Tuesday the 21st April 2015.

Current research focusing on the career of Sir George Scharf, the Gallery’s first Secretary and Director (1857-95), aims to establish his approach museum practice, the nature of his professional networks and the extent to which he collaborated with figures in the museum and wider art world. As custodian of the national portraits, Scharf oversaw the acquisition, display, interpretation and conservation of the early collection. He was also responsible for the establishment of a research library of engraved portraits, periodicals, books and documents. This, coupled with his diligent research into works in numerous private collections, served as a vital resource for authenticating potential portrait acquisitions for the Gallery. In recording what he saw by means of densely annotated sketches and detailed tracings, Scharf developed a procedure for the documentation, identification and authentication of portraiture, which continues to inform the research practice of the institution.

Short papers are invited from scholars on nineteenth-century practitioners centrally engaged in research, conservation, management or curatorship, within national or regional public galleries and museums. Participants should consider one or both of the following:

  • Evidence of the development of professional standards within individual careers.
  • Evidence of a collective contribution to the professionalization of museum practice during a period which saw the development of a range of clearly defined, independent, professions.

Whilst the careers of figures, including Sir Henry Cole, Sir Charles Eastlake and Sir Augustus Wollaston Franks, have been examined in relation to wider institutional histories and studies of the public art museum in the Victorian era, little scholarly attention has been directed towards the identity of such individuals as a discrete group of professionals or the manner in which they interacted. To this end, presentations will be followed by a round-table discussion with reference to both the potential for collaboration between employees of different institutions, and the consolidation of museum roles throughout the 1800s. Participants might also consider the following questions:

Did potential networks extend beyond national boundaries to include contemporaries working in European museums and galleries, and what influence did this bring to bear upon British museum practice?

What were the differing needs of individuals working in various arts institutions, and how were these met within a circle of professional contacts?

How did the role of the curator develop in the nineteenth-century and how did this job specification vary between institutions?

Considering the backgrounds, or ‘skill-sets’ of these individuals, can we pinpoint a shift from connoisseurship towards an emerging curatorship?

Please direct abstracts for a 20-minute paper (approx. 250 words) and a biographical statement (100 words) to Elizabeth Heath at, no later than Monday 15th December 2014. Speakers will be notified in early January 2015.

CFP: Animating the Eighteenth-Century Country House

Organised by the Paul Mellon Centre, the National Gallery, and Birkbeck, University of London

5-6 March 2015

When we visit a Georgian country house, wander through its interiors, and stop to look across a rope at a particular arrangement of pictures and furniture, it is common to experience the sense we are looking at a snapshot of the past, a frozen moment of time. This impression of the country house as a static, unchanging environment belies a crucial aspect of such properties: the fact that, during the eighteenth century itself, they were continually in flux and being fashioned and experienced anew. Recent research encourages us to think afresh about such issues. Sources such as diaries, letters, inventories, catalogues and account books show country-house objects being inherited, gifted, purchased, removed and relocated, and provide evidence that the spaces in which such objects were located were subject to constant development and reconceptualization. Accordingly, this conference will focus on the Georgian country house as an environment that was always evolving, and that was animated by the interaction between objects and people.

This conference will look at the ways in which objects, when placed on display within a particular space – a room, a corridor, a garden – entered into different kinds of dialogue with the contents, decoration and associations of that environment, all of which were subject to change and adaptation. It will also explore the ways in which the evolving spaces of the country house, and the forms of display found within them, were experienced – by those who lived in the house, by those who visited as tourists or invited guests, and by those who engaged vicariously through the process of ‘armchair travel’, reading guidebooks and other contemporary accounts.

This two-day event, which will include a half-day visit to a local property, aims to bring together scholars from a variety of fields with the objective of animating the eighteenth-century country house. Proposals for contributions are welcomed from art historians and historians working on all aspects of the eighteenth-century country house, including architecture, painting, sculpture, the decorative arts and garden history.

We particularly welcome proposals for papers exploring the following topics:

  • Acquisition: the purchase, commissioning, inheritance, gifting of works of art, furniture, books and other materials.
  • Display: picture hangs; room arrangements and decorative schemes; the organisation of art collections within and between different properties owned by the same family; garden design and layout.
  • The country house as lived environment: the lived experience of the country house as a family home; as a site of hospitality; as a space in which artists may have worked.
  • The country house as tourist destination: country house tourism; visitor experience; the multifarious literature related to country houses, including guidebooks, regional guidebooks, and periodical articles.

Abstracts for 25 minute conference papers should be no longer than 300 words in length, and should be accompanied by a short biography (of no more than 100 words) detailing any work or recent publications of particular relevance. Please send abstracts and biographies by Monday 14 July to:
Amelia Smith, The National Gallery/Birkbeck, University of London