Upcoming Events

London, Asia, Art, Worlds

Call for Papers

  • 31 July to 18 September 2020
  • Deadline 12:00 am
  • Call for Contributions to a Series of Gatherings in June 2021

Proposal Deadline: 18 September 2020 at 11:59 pm (BST)

Date of gatherings: across June 2021

Location: online, and the possibility of some in-person events depending on the situation with Covid-19 and travel/event restrictions (although all events will be available to attend online)

London, Asia, Art, Worlds posits London as a key site in the construction of art historical narratives in Asia, and reflects on the ways in which the growing field of modern and contemporary art history in Asia intersects with and challenges existing histories of British art. By excavating historical entanglements and relational comparisons that link London and Asia, the conference questions the boundaries of national and regional histories, and explores new distributive and decolonial models of writing art histories.

This event marks the culmination of the Paul Mellon Centre’s London, Asia project. Through three research strands – exhibitions, institutions and art schools – the London, Asia research project works towards more expanded and diverse narratives of British art.

London, Asia, Art, Worlds seeks contributions that deepen and expand the vectors and platforms examined by the London, Asia project. To this end, the conference has defined the following propositions for consideration: Sociality and Affect; Potential Histories and Solidarities; Circulation and Encounter; Pedagogy and Learning; Bureaucracy and Agency; Aesthetics and Ways of Knowing; Thinking Asia Through Empire; Thinking from Asia. The conference will contribute to an edited, peer-reviewed volume.

0 Confirmed participants include: Naazish Ata-Ullah (artist, Professor and former Principal National College of Arts Pakistan), Tim Barringer (Paul Mellon Professor in the History of Art, Yale University), Patrick Flores (Professor of Art Studies, University of the Philippines, Curator of the Vargas Museum, Manila, and Adjunct Curator at the National Art Gallery, Singapore), Leela Gandhi (John Hawkes Professor of Humanities and English, and Associate Director, Center for Contemporary South Asia at Brown University), Hew Locke (artist, London), Rana Mitter (Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China, and Director of Oxford University China Centre), Shigemi Inaga (Professor, International Research Center for Japanese Studies) and Zainub Verjee (artist, curator, cultural leader and Executive Director of Ontario Association of Art Galleries, Toronto).

  • Sociality and Affect defines new vernacular modes of imagining transnational relationships and sites of engagement.
    • Relationships (friendships, affinities, networks…)
    • Sites (cafés, public spaces, alternative geographies…)
  • Potential Histories and Solidarities historicises collective actions of artists and social organisations towards shared aesthetic and political projects.
    • Artist groups & collectives
    • Political organisations
  • Circulation and Encounter considers the modes through which we are invited to look, and the cultural consequences of our encounters.
    • Vehicles (exhibitions, publications…)
    • Concepts and outcomes (‘travelling concepts,’ shared languages)
    • Market (galleries, transactions, careers)
  • Pedagogy and Learning examines the roles of art schools and universities in creating transnational historiographies of knowledge, methods and materials; as well as the tactics of learning against the grain practiced by students who become teachers for future generations.
    • Historiographies of knowledge production
    • Case studies of learning and unlearning
  • Bureaucracy and Agency reveals the overlooked role of cultural diplomacy (such as funding bodies and cultural centres) in defining transnational pathways, as well as the potential power of grass-roots infrastructures.
    • Geographic units of power
    • Alternative infrastructures
  • Aesthetics and Ways of Knowing acknowledges that the multiple frameworks of seeing, making, knowing, and telling fostered in different global sites pose particular problems of interpretation when viewed as intertwined. This section examines strategies of translation and incommensurability.
    • Translations, intertextualities
    • Incommensurabilities
  • Thinking through Empire: Imperial Histories, Object Lessons reframes the colonizer-colonized binary into a matrix of interconnected narratives that define new complex cultural formations.
    • Framing Asia
    • Re-imagining Britain
    • Inter-Asia connections and beyond
  • Thinking from Asia rejects the epistemological bias of Asian studies, which thinks about Asia, to think from Asia, using conceptual frames and tools that emerge out of Asia, often in dialogue with regions beyond Asia.
    • World-making
    • Methods and concepts

This conference – which is envisioned as a murmuration, a series of interconnected papers, conversations, performances, and interventions – is currently planned as a series of virtual events with the potential for some in-person meetings, if possible. The gatherings will take place across the month of June 2021 in a twice-weekly format consisting of events which are roughly 2.5 hours in length.

Contributions can take the form of papers or artistic interventions (max 20 minutes), and are encouraged to take advantage of digital capabilities. We anticipate that final papers will be delivered in English, but are open to other languages.

Please submit the following by 11.59pm (BST) on 18 September 2020 listing ‘London, Asia, Art, Worlds’ as the subject line to: [email protected]

  • A 200-word abstract written in English
  • Summary budget and explanation to support digital productions and artist commissions
  • Short, 1-page curriculum vitae with complete e-mail, phone, and mailing address
  • Incomplete or late submissions will not be considered

There will be some travel and accommodation funding for speakers, if travel is feasible.

Final entries will be reviewed by the symposium convenors:

Hammad Nasar, Senior Research Fellow, Paul Mellon Centre

Ming Tiampo, Professor, Art History, and Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada

Sarah Victoria Turner, Deputy Director for Research, Paul Mellon Centre