CONF: Bridge-Building through Art Exhibitions during the Cold War Divide, the Fall of the Wall, and Beyond (Södertörn University, 21-22 Mar 24)

The focus for this workshop is to discuss and problematize two contrary perspectives on art: as a pivotal force in societal change, or as a tool for political regimes. Research on processes of democratization and setbacks are instrumental for understanding societal transformations. Arts and culture play an intrinsic role in those larger changes and need to be studied accordingly, situated in their historical context and as phenomena where different interests intersect. Art exhibitions are here understood as public activities where art meets an audience and/or artists meet each other, e.g. large-scale international biennials, state-run travelling exhibitions as official cultural diplomacy, exhibitions in national, regional, or local museums and kunsthalles, commercial as well as independent artist-run galleries, artists’ books, symposium, etc.

The purpose of the workshop is to offer a multidisciplinary gathering and sharing of conceptual and methodological tools between scholars engaged in studies of art history, history, and international affairs respectively. The aim is to discuss how one can understand the relation between art exhibitions and their surrounding social and political context, with an emphasis on how different events interact in larger cultural ecologies with shared or conflicting goals. The workshop focuses on the different political processes connected to the long “transition” from communist rule to democracy, in the Baltic Sea region and Eastern Europe. However, participants with cases from other historical and geographical contexts are welcome.

The workshop runs for one and a half days, and participants will share drafts of their work (articles, chapters, applications, synopses, etc.) relating to the themes of art exhibitions, cross-border exchanges, and social and political transformations. The workshop will provide selected readings as a starting point for discussions on the topic and keynote lectures.

Keynote speakers:
Katalin Cseh-Varga, PhD, Hertha Firnberg Fellow at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna
Louis Clerc, Professor in Contemporary History, University of Turku

The workshop is organized by: Camilla Larsson, postdoc-researcher funded by the Baltic Sea Foundation, with Moa Höglund, BEEGS doctoral student, coordination Benjamin Wagner, BEEGS doctoral student

Interested participants are asked to send a short CV and description of your research and its relation to art as bridge-builder to:
Deadline: February 19, 2024

Lunches and coffee during the workshop will be provided.

Workshop funded by CBEES Centre for Baltic and East European Studies

For further questions don’t hesitate to contact us!
Camilla Larsson:
Moa Höglund: