[Appel à communication] 2019 Annual conference of the British Association for Art History (Brighton, 4-6 avril 2019)

The Association for Art History’s 2019 Annual Conference in Brighton will explore how art history and visual culture are manifest in the everyday, as well as in scholarly and curatorial life. What is art history and visual culture in an expanded field?The 2019 Annual conference will be based in the city centre campus of the University of Brighton. The conference itself will also expand physically into the city of Brighton, known for its eccentric urban landscape, including the 200-year old Royal Pavilion, the Brighton Museum, the idiosyncratic shopping precincts, as well as Brighton Pier and beach.The conference presents sessions that think in expanded ways about the materials of art history and visual culture, and the diverse sites and circumstances of its production and circulation. Some connect art histories with pressing topics in humanities, such as the role of migration and its legacies in global histories, and the relation between image and planet. Other sessions encourage reflections on how our activities as writers, educators and theorists enrich and stimulate our professional practices. There will also be a fringe programme of parallel events, including talks, workshops, visits and performances, that will stimulate and enrich the discussions held in the academic panels and beyond. We hope this conference will provoke and share encounters with art histories and visual cultures in new, diverse dimensions.


Please email your paper proposals direct to the session convenor(s). Provide a title and abstract (250 words maximum) for a 25-minute paper (unless otherwise specified), your name and institutional affiliation (if any). Please make sure the title is concise and reflects the contents of the paper because it will appear online, in social media and in the printed programme. You should receive an acknowledgement of receipt of your submission within two weeks. Deadline for submissions: Monday 5 November 2018

Henry H. Stewart, The Royal Pavilion, Brighton, 1855-1875 (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

Rereading Photography Theory of the Eighties

Jean Baird (Nottingham Trent School of Art & Design) jean.baird@ntu.ac.uk Jonathan P Watts (Nottingham Trent School of Art & Design) : jonathan.watts@ntu.ac.uk

Two years ago, in an article titled ‘The World’s Most Amazing 100% Awesome Photography Theory’, published in the journal Photographies, the academic Sharon Harper identified how photography undergraduate courses had ‘not developed the scope of its subject matter or developed its theoretical horizons sufficiently’.
Harper argues that the legacies of photography theory’s engagement with semiotics, psychoanalysis and Marxist thought continue to be the critical credibility that higher education courses trade on today. This characterisation of photography theory is exemplified by the canonical 1982 anthology Thinking Photography, edited by Victor Burgin. In fact, Harper continues, its methods of analysis and ideological critique are now limitations to the development of academia and pedagogy. (Harper is not alone in critiquing photography theory of the 1980s.)
Burgin, however, cared deeply about developing an account of the production of meaning of a photograph within everyday social institutions located within specific histories, recognising the importance of identifying cultural context and its everyday uses, not just within fine art, but also advertising, journalism and domestic spaces.
Thinking Photography worked with some notion of the photograph’s specificity, which is now, as it has been for some time, more imprecisein an age of wild media convergence of the accelerated networked image (Daniel Rubinstein and Katrina Sluis). We might not need the specificity of the photograph Thinking Photography presumes, but we do need its rigorous critical thinking. What are its legacies? How can we reread it today in our supposedly post-ideological times? What are the implications for photography education, which increasingly emphasises ‘professionalisation’ –gearing one up as an agent of/for cultural production? In such a space, critical theory is deprived of its agenda.

Survey Style: Landscape photography across the globe

Erin Hyde Nolan (Maine College of Art) ehnolan@meca.edu
Sophie Junge (University of Zurich) sophieantonia.junge@uzh.ch

In the second half of the 19th century, photographic processes and the popularity of landscape representations evolved simultaneously. It is, therefore, not surprising that a shared pictorial language used for topographical views developed during this time period. Such practices not only shaped Euro-American territorial expansion, but also legitimated non-Western politics in the name of (proto-)national identity (Kelsey, 2007). As an international photographic survey movement, this trend gestured in many directions. It visualised the 19th-century desire to control, own, map as well as render and reproduce both the diversity and familiarity of the landscape (Edwards, 2012). Recent scholarship has treated survey images as cultural ‘portraits’, which embody political ideologies and act as agents of power (Smith, 2009; Mitchell 1994). In light of recent debates regarding travel bans, the tenets of citizenship and migration, and the context, content and collection of such projects warrants renewed attention, especially their status as relics of the colonial enterprise.
This session seeks to expand the field of landscape photography and understand how the temporal and historical dynamics of place materialise through survey documentation. How do photographic conceptualisations of landscape from different locations relate to one another? By what means were scientific discourses on geography and anthropology entwined with imperialist ideologies, and in what ways do they manifest in photographs, exhibitions and archives? How do land surveys relate to conventions of portraiture, and fashion both individual and collective selfhood? Panelists should offer a fresh approach to the material, applying transnational methodologiesto landscape photography from across the globe.

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