Indigeneity and the Arts: Visual Cultures and Communication - 6-8 July 2011

full name / name of organization: 
Native Studies Research Network UK (hosted by University of Kent)
contact email: 

Indigeneity and the Arts: Visual Cultures and Communication

Proposals are invited for the third Native Studies Research Network UK international conference, to be held at the University of Kent from July 6-8, 2011. Papers are welcome from all fields and on any topic, though priority will be given to those that intersect with the conference's key theme.

This year's conference will emphasise visual culture in the broadest terms, including historical and literary representations of the visual arts and political uses of and engagements with visual imagery. From the practice of continuous artistic traditions through contemporary modes of expression, from photography and film to television networks and digital media, this year's conference aims to investigate issues such as continuity and change, aesthetics and ethics, and cultural and political sovereignty.

How, for instance, are artists, museums, and art galleries responding to Jean Fisher's charge of a "Western tendency to position 'ethnic' artists outside the discourses of modern experience"? More importantly, how have indigenous art practices assisted in what Linda Tuhiwai Smith calls "The act [and art and science] of theorizing our own experiences and realities"? How have indigenous filmmakers and screenwriters throughout the world responded to the challenge posed by long histories of misrepresentation? How have indigenous communities contributed to the advancement of media ethics? And how have indigenous artists, photographers and filmmakers used such media to document narratives of survivance and sovereignty? Douglas Cardinal has said that "Elders remind us to face the future with a computer in one hand and a drum in the other." What role does technology, particularly digital media, play in contemporary indigenous arts practices? And what of the relationship between tradition and new media? These are just a few of the many questions this conference hopes to address. Proposals are welcome from all disciplines.

Keynote speakers to include Andrea Carlson ( and Prof. Stuart Murray (University of Leeds).

Topics to consider may include:

Museum culture and contemporary art
Traditional art and artistic traditions
Representations of indigeneity in the arts
The literary representation of art and artists
The visual/ocular in literature
Photography and photographic sovereignty
Indigenous TV and film production
Digital art and the World Wide Web
Performance art and political protest
Technology and the arts
Indigenous theatre
Text and typography
Funding in the arts
Cultural sovereignty
ta Moko and tribal tattoos
Cultural appropriation
Image texts/mnemonic writing systems
Native peoples in/and Western art
Border art

Please send proposals of no more than 400 words + brief CV to David Stirrup ( by January 31st 2011.