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Call for Papers: Conference on the intersections of art and crime, Queen’s University, January 22-23, 2020

January 22 - January 23

Extended submission deadline – November 1, 2020

The Graduate Visual Culture Association (GVCA) at Queen’s University is seeking submissions for a graduate research conference exploring the intersections of art and crime.  Hosted by the Department of Art History and Art Conservation and the GVCA, this year’s conference will take place from January 22, 2021 to January 23, 2021. Details about format and keynote speaker will be announced in the coming weeks. 

Please see the attached call for papers for further details about the conference themes and submission guidelines. The extended deadline for submission is November 1, 2020.

Questions: contextandmeaning@queensu.ca


The Graduate Visual Culture Association of Queen’s University

Context and Meaning XX: Art and Crime

We are pleased to announce the 20th annual Context & Meaning Graduate Student Conference, hosted by the Department of Art History and Art Conservation at Queen’s University from Friday, January 22nd to Saturday, January 23rd, 2021. We invite proposals for research papers, artworks, and/or participatory projects that address this year’s theme, Art and Crime. This year’s conference will engage broadly with issues of crime and criminality in visual and material culture, Context & Meaning XX considers the complex inter-relationship between art and crime. From forgeries to representations of criminality, to artists who were murderers, marauders, mobsters and misogynists, crime has long been a subject of art. Art and Crime will include projects that relate to issues of crime and criminality in visual and material culture.

Context & Meaning is an inclusive forum for multi-disciplinary discussions about visual and material culture. We encourage applications from current and recent graduate students working in Art History, Art Conservation, Architectural Studies, Studio Art, Digital Humanities, Cultural Studies, Museum Studies, Religious Studies, Gender Studies, and beyond. This conference is open to both historical and contemporary topics. We seek to assemble a diverse group of scholars in order to foster interdisciplinary discussions that consider art and crime as it intersects with race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, Indigeneity, and disability.

Presentations will be 20 minutes, followed by a 10-minute discussion period. All presenters will have the option to present remotely. While we hope that the conference can be held in-person, we will be following public health guidelines and will not require any presenter to travel for the conference.

Potential themes and topics for consideration:

  • Art and visual culture as cultural property. The destruction of cultural property as a crime against humanity
  • Can art be considered separately from an artist? Does an artist’s criminal behavior affect the interpretation of an artwork?
  • War looting and restitution efforts
  • Colonialism and the destruction of Indigenous cultural property
  • Intentional destruction and seizure of works of art and monuments as International War Crimes and their prosecution
    • Stolen works of art and museum heists
    • Ethical art practices, including art activism
    • Mishandling and damage to works of art through improper conservation
    • Public and private collecting practices. Issues around provenance
    • Visual representations of criminal behavior and criminalized individuals
    • Illegal, subversive art practices, such as graffiti & street art
    • Fakes and forgeries

    If you are interested in participating in Context and Meaning XX, please submit a 300 word abstract for a 20-minute presentation along with a 2-3 sentence bio to contextandmeaning@queensu.ca. by Sunday, November 1st, 2020. Please ensure that your name and the title of your paper are included.

    Thank you to all who apply! Successful candidates will be contacted via email in December.

    Context and Meaning Conference Committee

    Maddi Andrews, Madeleine Dempster, Katherine Marshall, Briana Pellizzari-Lento, Ben Pulver, Julia Ranney, Laura Ryan, and Jordan Thompson

    Conference Co-Chairs

    Natalie Hume, Madeline Legg


    Graduate Visual Culture Association

    Department of Art History and Art Conservation Ontario Hall, Queen’s University
    Kingston, ON K7L 3N6


January 22
January 23
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