Space, Place, and Abyss

deadline for submissions: 
January 15, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Free Exchange Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference
contact email: 


EXTENDED CFP Deadline: January 15, 2020.

Sometimes, when you look into the Abyss, the Abyss looks back and says Hello! 

So, hello!

The University of Calgary, English Department Graduate Association’s Free-Exchange Committee cordially invites you to join Free Exchange, our annual interdisciplinary graduate conference.

This year, our topic is Space, Place, and Abyss.

The Free Exchange Graduate Conference is hosted in the spirit of interdisciplinarity and we welcome proposals that explore this topic through literature, media, pedagogy, pop culture, history, science, and other disciplines. Presentations of 15-20 minutes may range from more conventional critical papers to more creative works of prose, poetry, film, etc. 

We are interested in proposals that engage with, but are not limited to, 

  • Physical, metaphorical, embodied ways to explore the concepts of Space, Place, and/or Abyss.
  • Critical and creative approaches to the connection between language and literature in regards to space, place, and/or abyss. 
  • Radical potentialities of Space, Place, and/or Abyss:
    • The abyss as a space of othering and a space of potential
    • BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of colour) understandings and experiences of space and place (i.e. the racialization of space, black geographies, etc.) 
    • Queering space and/or Trans approaches to place
    • Ecocritical, geocritical, relational, and more-than-human engagement with the abyss
  • Space as a place to fill or to inhabit or to experience: 
    • Outer space, inner spaces 
    • Public space, private spaces 
    • Physical spaces, virtual spaces (the spatial vs. the virtual)
    • Expansion of Space; Erasure of Place
    • Affect theories and 
  • Abyss as the Place that is not and the Space where we don’t go:
    • In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche suggests that “if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee” (146)
    • Philosophical and ontological understanding of space, place, and abyss

For academic papers please submit a 250-300 word abstract, and a 100 word biography.
For creative projects, please submit a 100-200 word artist’s statement as well as a sample of your proposed project, a 100 word biography, and a list of publications, if applicable.
If you are interested in doing a hybrid critical-creative project, please note it on the submission.
(Please note: for panel proposals, all three of the panel members must submit a proposal that adheres to the above guidelines, and the Free-Exchange Committee retains the right to accept any panel proposal in full or in part.)

All submissions are to be sent in an electronic e-mail attachment (.doc, .docx, or .pdf files) to and are due no later than January 15, 2020. 

We are incredibly excited to announce we will be partnering with the Calgary Distinguished Writers’ Program and offering tickets to the Distinguished Visiting Writers event on February 28 and spots in the concurrent masterclasses on February 29 as part of our programming. 

For more information: Please visit our website [] and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @uofcfreeex and Facebook @UofCFreeExchange. Follow the Calgary Distinguished Writers’ Program on twitter @CDWP_UCalgary

The Free Exchange Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference is generously funded by the University of Calgary Graduate Students Union Quality Money Fund, the University of Calgary Department of English, and the University of Calgary Department of English Graduate Studies. 

The University of Calgary is situated on the territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region, which includes the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Piikani, and Kainai First Nations), the Tsuut’ina First Nation, and the Stoney Nakoda Nation (Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley First Nations). The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.

The Blackfoot name for the land adjacent to where the Bow River meets the Elbow River is “Mohkinstsis”, colonially known as “Calgary”, and is home to Métis, Inuit, and First Nations peoples, as well as Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island.