CFP: Otherwise Engaged @ University of Leeds

An interdisciplinary postgraduate symposium

3 December 2011

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds.

Keynote Speaker, Prof. Lubaina Himid, International artist and curator, University of Central Lancashire

Call for Papers Deadline 15th September 2011

In 1995 Kobena Mercer published the first in his Annotating Art’s Histories edited series, Cosmopolitan Modernisms.  In his introduction, Mercer stated that the series would offer:

‘[A] fresh approach [to art history] by showing how a shared history of art and ideas was experienced differently around the globe … In a situation where the aspiration to be all inclusive has become the official watchword of institutional policy, has the very idea of ‘inclusion’ now become a double-edged sword?’

In 2011, as a developing generation of artists, curators, art historians and academics enter the field of visual arts, this symposium at the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds, seeks to investigate how we are to engage with the challenges of a shared and plural art history that Mercer, and so many others, speak of.   What is the meaning of ‘inclusion’ today, sixteen years after Mercer’s publication? The symposium hopes to explore the numerous ways in which issues of race, culture, class, sex and gender have been considered across the various arenas of visual art, and how this emerging generation of those operating in the visual arts engage with the existing challenges of the past, present and future.

Otherwise Engaged is a one-day symposium that invites postgraduate students to submit proposals that consider the challenges of intervention, integration, separatism, confrontation, assimilation, ghettoisation and accommodation.  How have marginalised spaces and mainstream institutions engaged with these challenges?  We are interested in exploring the processes, relationships and pluralities of the various sites of the marginal and the mainstream.  What are the experiences and examples of specific interventions, theoretical strategic models, and tactical approaches from contemporary art practice and writing, culture, education and curating?

Otherwise Engaged is an interdisciplinary event that crosshatches experiences, perspectives and analyses from art history, fine art, cultural studies, museum and curatorial studies, feminist studies, gender studies, sociology and post/colonial studies, although papers from other disciplines are also welcome. While the symposium is situated in contemporary Britain and the complexities of representation and identity internal to Britain, we strongly encourage the exploration of relationships with other sites, both geographically and generationally.

We invite abstracts of a maximum length of 300 words by 15 September 2011 (20 minute papers). You will receive confirmation of acceptance of the proposed presentation by October 1, 2011.  You will need to submit your proposal together with a completed form available from the conference organisers – contact


Author: Camara Dia Holloway

I am an art historian specializing in early twentieth century American art with particular focus on the history of photography, race and representation, and transatlantic modernist networks. I earned my PhD at Yale University in the History of Art Department. Besides my leadership role as the Founding Co-Director of the Association for Critical Race Art History (ACRAH), I am recognized for my expertise on African American Art, particularly African American Photography, and as a seasoned consultant for exhibitions, museum collections, and symposia/lectures planning.

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