CFP: Collecting and Identity (Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava, 16-17 May 2024)

The Department of Art History at Masaryk University in cooperation with the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava announces a Call for Papers for the forthcoming conference entitled “Collecting and Identity: Definitions and Interpretations“.

In recent years, the concept of identity in collecting has become such a commonplace that the theoretical foundations of this concept have been marginalised and often reduced to defining only the topic of a specific discussion. To an even lesser extent is the term used as a proper theoretical foundation that would help understand the topic using research methods linked to the concept of identity. Current academic debates about identity already look beyond the limited understanding of identity as the changeless essence of an object or as the maintaining sameness over time. New approaches that reduce identity to a specific view of an object determined by society, or to a search for one’s own uniqueness based on difference, represent only some of the current debates. The main goal of the conference is therefore to focus on a diverse range of examples and views on how the concept of identity is applied in the field of collecting. They can include considerations of specific collections, collectors or individual works of art, which allow deeper engagement with this concept in relation to collecting.

The conference will draw attention to the convergence between diverse areas of collecting. Contributions on collecting in the private and public sphere, the theory and practice of collecting, and those focused on the past and present of the practices will examine similarities and differences in the research of collecting and emphasize the diversity of ways the concept of identity in collecting can be interpreted. The conference focuses on art collecting, but it also welcomes contributions from other areas, such as sociology, anthropology, psychology, museology… The goal is to offer a platform for different approaches, methods and queries that could be used for interrogating the concept of identity and its meaning in the field of collecting.

The conference asks the following questions:
1. In what possible ways and forms is the concept of identity applied in collecting?
2. What influences the views of how identity in collecting is interpreted?
3. What are the similarities and differences between the various types of collecting?
4. Is it possible to come up with a single definition of the concept of identity in collecting?

20-minute-long contributions will be presented in English or Slovak/Czech. Please send an abstract of your proposed contribution of around 250 words together with a short biography of the author to:, by 12 January 2024. If you have any queries about the CFP, direct them to this email address.