Art, Activism and Political Violence. Call for Papers

833216-05-calaisWorkshop at Loughborough University, September 20-21, 2016
Sponsored by the Independent Social Research Foundation
This workshop is the result of a collaboration between colleagues in the Anarchism Research Group and the Politicised Practice Research Group at Loughborough University and is designed to build new relationships between artists and political theorists and to explore questions of political violence and art activism.
The intuition informing this workshop is that art activists not only contest prevailing norms about political violence but also engage consciously and overtly with publics in debates through their activism. By looking at the ways that violence is constructed, reconstructed and iterated through art we invite participants to explore the potential of art activism to offer an accessible, albeit challenging platform to open up complex, abstract concepts of legitimacy, provocation, domination and social responsibility in the public realm.
The workshop has been conceived as a dialogue between art activists and scholars working in radical art practice and political theory. The aim is to employ art activism as a lens to analyse/re-examine concepts in political theory which seek to explain violence. We are seeking to develop a theoretically-informed but non-philosophical approach to political violence and to explore its fluidity. We want to consider how art activists situate and depict violence, how (if at all) they attempt to communicate to wider publics, how the contexts in which art activism operates influence the types of action artists take and how questions about the use of violence are addressed through interventions. Specifically, we are asking participants to address four questions:
(i) how is art activism defined or described
(ii) how can political violence be understood or interpreted through art activism
(iii) how are publics understood or identified
(iv) how are art interventions designed to shift, challenge or respond to public perceptions of political violence and/or are constrained by them.
We will be asking participants to present 10-15 minute opening reflections on these questions in order to open up lines of inquiry. We would like to circulate texts and/or descriptions of visual presentations in advance of the sessions. We are planning to use examples of performance and film to stimulate and structure further debate.
The workshop will take place over two days, starting after lunch on Wednesday 20 September and ending at 16.00 on Thursday 21st. We are able to fund UK travel, dinner on Wednesday 20th, lunch on the 21st and overnight accommodation.
If you would like to contribute to the workshop please send a 200-300 word abstract of your contribution together with a short biography outlining your work and experience. Please send to by Friday 6 May.
Image: ‘Marche pour Youssef, mort à Calais’ by Marie Magnin, December 5th, 2015

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