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Call for Papers - Understanding Displacement in Visual Art and Cultural History

University of Manchester Conference

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

Tuesday 24 and Wednesday 25, October 2023

Deadline for submissions: Friday, 7 July 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 (e.g. artists and curators). Papers are welcome to focus on any period between 1945 and the present day.

The conference is part of the 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.

Confirmed keynotes

Professor Anne Ring Petersen, Professor of Modern Culture and Contemporary Art, Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen. She is 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).

How to submit a paper

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 before Friday, 7 July 2023. 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.