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Atlantic Worlds: Visual Cultures of Colonialism, Slavery, and Racism

Call for Papers

  • Until 30 June 2021

Open Call for Participation

A Remote Residency Programme by British Art Studies and the Terra Foundation for American Art

We invite proposals from researchers, curators, and artists in any country to participate in a new digital publishing initiative supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the peer-reviewed, open-access journal British Art Studies (BAS). Proposals for articles, features, or other projects for future issues of the journal should centre on the broad theme of “Atlantic Worlds”. This opportunity is entirely digital and all interaction and outputs will be conducted online. Four awards will be made, beginning in October 2021. The awardees will work as a cohort who will each be supported by: a research grant of $3,000; engagement through a series of online workshops; feedback from invited interlocutors with expertise in the field; a digital publishing workshop given by Dr Pamela Fletcher; and editorial assistance from the BAS team. 

“Atlantic Worlds” encourages transhistorical thinking, posing questions about histories of empire, networks of trade, transatlantic slavery, and creolisations. Art and aesthetics have been tools for empire and enslavement. At the same time, they have also been powerful tools for resistance and emancipation. We seek proposals that consider the dispersed and difficult histories of “Atlantic Worlds” focusing on any aspect of visual and material culture that intersects broadly with both Britain and the United States, the latter from its colonial beginnings until 1980. We are also interested in the legacy of these histories and their impact on contemporary art and imagery. The project will stimulate and support new research on visual cultures of colonialism, slavery, and racism. 

The BAS–Terra partnership offers an opportunity to re-examine the formation of the nation state, and focus on the networks of oppression driven by imperial, economic, and settler colonial pursuits. Rather than examining American and British art as separate entities, the oceanic space of the Atlantic facilitates new models of art historical analysis and writing. Putting pressure on established structures of art history, this approach necessitates new methodologies and practices of research, writing, and publication. 

This project will take the form of a virtual residency programme, to initiate conversations and collaborations beginning October 2021. The awardees will take part in a series of half-day workshops over the course of a year, designed to share scholarly ideas and explore digital methods during the research phase of each participant’s project. Over the following year, with close support of the editorial team and ongoing feedback from the residency’s expert interlocutors, participants will develop original research presented in innovative digital articles and features for BAS. Alongside their individual projects, the residents will also have a budget to collectively commission a “Cover Collaboration” feature for the journal, working with contemporary artists to respond to the “Atlantic Worlds” theme.

Proposals should include the following:

  • A description of no more than 600 words that outlines the intellectual premise of the project and how it speaks to the theme of “Atlantic Worlds”.
  • The description must include details of how the project will take advantage of the digital platform. We are not looking for technical specifications but for a vision statement of how the digital platform will support or enhance the development and/or presentation of the project.
  • Name(s) and short CV(s) (no more than two pages) for all contributors and co-authors.

Inquiries and completed application materials in the form of PDFs should be sent to Baillie Card at journal@paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk. The deadline for applications is 11:59 pm BST on Wednesday, 30 June 2021.

Image: Nadia Huggins, Disappearing people, 2018-ongoing, photograph. Digital image courtesy of Nadia Huggins (all rights reserved).

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