CFP: Annual University of Essex Art History Graduate Conference

Posted: 26 February 2015 by Dr Sarah Demelo

Tagged: CFP   Essex Art History   Ferrari

Social Responsibility and Art Since the 1960s: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Annual Art History Graduate Conference

Dates: Friday 22 May 2015
Location: University of Essex, Colchester campus

Call for papers

This conference seeks to explore artistic and scholarly approaches to social responsibility and the arts since the 1960s. During the 1960s, social responsibility was a pivotal idea in political, social and artistic discussions. The decade was marked by social change. The Civil Rights movement, second-wave feminism, decolonisation, and much civil unrest culminated in the world-wide protests of May 1968, the largest of which occurred in France. In the following decades movements, groups, and artists addressed social responsibility in their practice.

Who is responsible for the content and reaction to art? The artist? The viewer? The sponsor? Social responsibility as an ethical term has routes into the recognition of the world as socially constituted. Aristotle claimed that man was not hermetic, human life is social, political and communication based (Politics, I. §1253a (Lord ed, 2013)). The development of social responsibility can be seen through the impact of ethics in the business world. As a business term, Corporate Social Responsibility is attributed to Howard Bowen who “defined the social responsibilities of ‘businessmen’ as their obligations to ‘pursue those policies, to make those decisions, or to follow those lines of action which are desirable in terms of the objectives and values of our society’” (Crane et al, 2008: 304; Bowen, 1953: 6).

This conference seeks to consider social responsibility within a wider discourse of art and its role in society. The intention is to challenge singular readings proposing to fix the meaning of social responsibility in art. We welcome papers that consider the following questions: does art need to be accountable to the public? Where does social responsibility for artistic practice lie, with corporations, institutions or artists?

We welcome papers from a wide range of disciplines exploring social responsibility and the arts. We would particularly encourage papers from both within and outside of the traditional canon of art history.

To submit a proposal for a 20-minute presentation, we require an abstract not exceeding 300 words and a brief professional biography of 100 words by 16 March 2015. All submissions should be sent to

Programme and registration

Full details about the programme and registration will be available after the call for papers deadline.

How to get here and accessibility

The conference takes place at our University's campus in Colchester. Colchester is an hour away from London by train. See our information pages for further details about how to get here and campus accessibility:

How to get to University of Essex Colchester campus
Accessible travel guide for University of Essex Colchester campus


For further information about the conference including access to Colchester campus, please email 


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