Forgotten Voices of the Avant-garde, 20th-21st January 2011, University of Leeds, UK

full name / name of organization: 
School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Leeds; School of Language and Literature, University of Aberdeen; Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies, Queen's University Belfast

Call for Papers

The Forgotten Voices of the Avant-Garde

20th-21st January 2011
University of Leeds

A postgraduate conference co-organised and supported by the University of Leeds (School of Modern Languages and Cultures), the University of Aberdeen (School of Language and Literature), and Queen's University Belfast (Spanish and Portuguese Studies).

Part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council's Beyond Text Initiative, with funding from the Society for French Studies and Leeds Humanities Research Institute.

Keynote speakers:
- Dr. Ruth Hemus, School of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Royal Holloway, University of London.
- Dr. John McCulloch, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Hispanic Studies, University of Glasgow.

Despite repeated challenges to the notion of art as an institution, prompting questions about the criteria and norms that establish the legitimacy of a work of art, the artistic production of the avant-garde has, with the passing of time, been mediated and transmitted by means of the very structures it sought to deconstruct. Bound up with cultural, social, economic and political issues, these structures specifically concern:

o the application of restrictive binary divisions (text/image, script/performance) in the categorisation of artworks;
o the means and forms by and in which artistic production is (re)distributed;
o the primacy of the written word, and consequent misrepresentation and devaluation of the non-textual (visual, oral, aural, performative) artwork.

Within the context of the avant-garde, this inter-disciplinary conference considers the work of artists and writers whose work has been forgotten, ignored, or undervalued. In so doing, it also invites a critical rethinking of the means by which we preserve, communicate, and transmit cultural production across time and space. Ultimately what we seek to determine, is how these structures of preservation, communication, and transmission have shaped and defined the avant-garde itself.

Contributions from both postgraduate students working (for example) in the fields of literature, theatre, film and visual culture, art history, text/image, music, and performance studies, and from those working as curators in museums or art galleries, are welcomed and encouraged.

Speakers may wish to consider – but are not limited to – the following topics:

o women writers, artists and the avant-garde;
o non-normative sexualities;
o the hierarchy of avant-garde groups: the supremacy of avant-garde groups' leaders;
o marginalised artists and avant-garde groups;
o museum strategy and the avant-garde, in particular the preservation and dissemination of artworks encompassing text, image, sound, object;
o visual and artistic techniques of the avant-garde;
o interplay between visual (including performance and oral communication) and textual communication, and its potential for transmission;
o avant-garde and cultural institutions.

We invite proposals for twenty-minute papers from postgraduate students. Papers should be in English. Abstracts (maximum 300 words), together with a short biography indicating your academic background and research interests, should be submitted via e-mail (to by 1st October 2010. Please include your name, academic affiliation, and contact details. A limited number of travel bursaries will be available; please indicate if you are interested.

For further information, please consult our blog:


Rebecca Ferreboeuf (Department of French, University of Leeds)
Fiona Noble (Department of Hispanic Studies, University of Aberdeen)
Tara Plunkett (Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies, Queen's University, Belfast)