University of St Andrews
June 3 - 4, 2019
This Association for Art History Summer Symposium is a two-day annual conference which will highlight current doctoral and early career research in the field of photography and other forms of printed matter. Held at the School of Art History at the University of St Andrews, the conference aims to explore the links between process and product, as well as drawing attention to the variety of different practices and techniques often categorised under the rubric of ‘prints’.
The place of photography at St Andrews is well established. Early practitioners of the medium such as John and Robert Adamson made this small Scottish seaside town the subject of their first experimentations, and the legacy of their work continues to inspire those living and working in St Andrews today. Every year the St Andrews Photography Festival attracts a wide range of contemporary photographers and visitors, while the School of Art History offers a unique MLitt in the History of Photography that focuses specifically on the evolution of the medium, highlighting the University’s extensive collections.
Inspired by these institutional connections, this conference asks instead how the influence of photography and print making technologies may connect the local, the national and the international, as well as the historical and the contemporary. Writing on cameraless photography, Jonathan Griffin states that ‘photograms have more in common with print-making, or even with the world’s oldest known paintings: outlines of hands silhouetted by pigment blown on to cave walls in Indonesia and northern Spain, dating from around 40,000 BCE’. Acknowledging this extended genealogy allows us to re-assess the dominant role that prints and photographic images have played across the arts.
Since the invention of the printing press, the potential for the widespread circulation of words and images has increased exponentially. The second main theme of this conference, then, invites reflection on the way we mediate, contextualise and interpret images through printed matter. From captions to contextualisations, illuminated manuscripts to light-sensitive papers, printed matter encompasses a variety of different artefacts including artist’s books, illustrations, engravings, and even art historical texts themselves. Indeed, the photographing or engraving of artworks has enjoyed a crucial role in the reception and the pedagogy of art history regardless of the time period or the geographical location under study.
Considering these strong links between prints and practice, how might the development of new technologies help us think differently about past practices and mechanisms? How might the pervasiveness of photographs and prints, and their potential for replication, lead us to ignore their effects and sociological impact? What, for example, might we learn from the way these technologies are used to create norms or influence how we interpret artworks? Alternatively, to what extent might photography still be considered as ‘other’ in relation to the fine arts, or be involved in processes of ‘othering’ itself? This conference aims to prompt discussion regarding the transhistorical and transnational use of photographs and prints in art history, and the various purposes, projects and contexts in which they are deployed.
Topics can include but are not limited to:
- The significance and legacy of St Andrews in the history of photography
- The impact of the replication and reproducibility of images in art history
- The importance of process on final product e.g. the collaborative nature of printmaking, the role of technology in the creation of art, the different types of printmaking mechanisms (lithography, screenprints, or printing in wax through the medium of sealing)
- Histories of collecting and curating ephemeral objects, including the role of photography in the museum as a means of conservation or display
- Practice-led or practice-based approaches to photography and print-making
- Printed matter in the widest possible remit, including the use of images, captions and illustrations in manuscripts, books, and comics
- The various purposes and contexts in which photography and prints are deployed e.g. medical, anthropology, scientific, microscopic
- The role of print making technologies in reception and art history e.g. the photographing of artworks
- Cameraless photography and the intersection of photography and printmaking
- Writing the histories and theories of photography
- Dr Patrizia di Bello, Senior Lecturer, History and Theory of Photography | Co-Director, History and Theory of Photography Research Centre, Birkbeck, University of London| Editor-in-Chief, History of Photography
- Dr Dana MacFarlane, Honorary Fellow, School of Art History, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh
We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers which explore these themes or which address any other aspect of legacies of photography and printed matter across history. The Summer Symposium is organised by the Association for Art History’s Doctoral and Early Career Research Network. The 2019 organisers are Clare Fisher (University of St Andrews) and Clare Nadal (University of Huddersfield/ The Hepworth Wakefield).
To propose a paper:
Please send a Word document with your contact information, paper title, an abstract of no more than 300 words, and a short biographical note. The submission of abstracts is open to current doctoral researchers and early career researchers within 5 years of receiving their doctorate.
Proposals should be sent to DECR@forarthistory.org.uk by 29 March 2019.
For further information, please see: https://forarthistory.org.uk/latest-news/call-for-papers-summer-symposium/