Call for Papers: Valuing Sculpture: Contemporary Perspectives on Art, Craft and Industry, 1660-1860

Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 July 2021

Henry Moore Institute, Leeds

Keynote Speakers

Dr Greg Sullivan (University of York/ St. Paul’s Cathedral)

Dr Rebecca Wade (Independent)

The indeterminate position of sculpture within the arts is a malleable concept which continues to challenge researchers. Categorisations such as art, craft, or industry contrive barriers, separating works from one another and disavowing the cross-fertilisations between sculptors, makers and artisans involved in the formal practices and aesthetics of art production. The conference Valuing Sculpture: Contemporary Perspectives on Art, Craft and Industry, 1660-1860, held as part of the Henry Moore Institute’s 2021 Fabrication Research Season, will refocus attention on how links have been consistently made between media and making processes to categorise and subsequently value sculpture.

How and why has sculpture been continually explored and defined as part of art, craft and industry? Are these classifications still useful for discussing a medium that reaches across so many medial and dimensional boundaries, and what might be excluded or lost through such categorisations? How might we more fully address the processes of collaboration and exchange between sculptors and makers involved in sculptural production?

We invite proposals to foster an interdisciplinary dialogue between researchers and sculpture practitioners, considering how value judgements of sculpture were formed in the period 1660-1860 and their impact on the development of modern sculptural practices. We are viewing sculpture in its widest definition and across a broad geography and history. As such, we particularly welcome proposals about less widely studied media, such as bone, textile and plasterwork.

Possible topics could include but are not limited to:

  • Individual vs collaborative making processes
  • Relationships between sculptors, artisans, manufacturers and fabricators
  • Commercialisation of manufacture
  • Perceived vs actual value of materials
  • Hierarchies of subject matter in sculpture
  • Value of sculpture as determined by context
  • Aesthetic vs commercial value of functional objects
  • Definitions of decorative vs fine arts

The conference is organised by Sammi Scott and Charlotte Davis (University of York), Caitlin Scott (University of Sheffield), and Hannah Kaspar (University of Leeds) in collaboration with the Henry Moore Institute. Sessions will be held online over two consecutive afternoons.

To propose a paper:

The conference is open to researchers and sculpture practitioners from all backgrounds and will be a supportive environment for postgraduate students and early career researchers. Abstracts should be no more than 300 words and need to be accompanied by a brief biographical note. If you have prior recordings of other papers that you have presented online, then please also include links in your email. Please send your abstract and biography in an email with the subject heading ‘Valuing Sculpture’ to research@henry-moore.org by Friday 7 May 2021.