CFP: Sculpture & Literature, 2021 New Voices Conference

20 – 21 October 2021, proposal deadline 3 Sept

Sculpture + Literature

New Voices Annual Conference for Postgraduate and Early Doctoral Researchers Organised by the DECR Committee in partnership with the Henry Moore Institute and University of Leeds
20 – 21 October 202, online


Keynote speaker:
Hannah Black, artist, writer and critic

Early Career Keynote speaker:
Eleanor Dobson, University of Birmingham

Sculpture and literature are often separated by a disciplinary divide but have also come together in works and ideas as wide ranging as monuments, poetry and performances. This conference will build on a growing body of scholarship exploring what can be gained from working at the intersection of sculpture and literature. Is it possible to think or write ‘sculpturally’? Can sculpture be considered ‘literary’ in terms of theory or theme?

In 2010, Jas Elsner charged that Art History was ‘nothing other than ekphrasis’, a detailed description of objects found in text. If this is true, how do we distinguish between the narratives we tell about sculpture and its existence as a material object? How might insights from literary studies offer different or similar ways of approach— can we ever go beyond description? These questions and more inspire this call to engage with the proximity of our mediums and learn from alternative perspectives.

We welcome contributions from all postgraduate and doctoral researchers who are engaged with research around art, art history, visual culture and literary studies and work on any aspect of the wide-ranging and interdisciplinary themes of sculpture and literature. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • The relationship between sculpture and poetry/drama/fiction/non-fiction
  • Sculpture and art criticism/art historical writing
  • Depictions of sculpture in literature (ekphrasis)
  • Sculptors who also work/worked as writers
  • The influence of literature on sculptors/the influence on sculpture on writers
  • The written and visual language of sculpture
  • Literature as a sculptural form/sculpture as a literary form
  • Relationships between sculpture and literature as impacting receptions or inciting reactions
  • Sculpture made from literary materials
  • Sculpture reflecting literary forms
  • Translation practices between sculpture and literature
  • Collaborations between writers and sculptors
  • Monuments to literary figures
  • Growing significance of libraries/books in artistic practices
  • Citational practices (postmodernism)

The Association for Art History’s New Voices is a two-day annual conference that highlights current postgraduate and early doctoral research from around the world. Organised by the Association for Art History’s Doctoral and Early Career Research Committee (DECR) in partnership with the Henry Moore Institute and the University of Leeds, we invite papers that reflect the broad interests of our cross-disciplinary research community. As such, the conference will address the topic of the relationship between sculpture and literature across all time periods and without geographic boundaries.

The conference forms the inaugural event of the Sculpture + Poetry research season to be held in Leeds between October 2021 and February 2022.  The conference is due to be held online on 20 and 21 October 2021. Speakers will have the opportunity for their presentations to be included in a digital archive to celebrate the research season.

Full details of the conference and how to submit can be found here:

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