Art - What is it good for? Education, mediation, criticism
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Art - What is it good for? Education, mediation, criticism

An international conference arranged at Linnaeus University, in Växjö, Sweden, August 19-20, 2020

In this age of turbulence, the value of art is challenged. Why occupy oneself with art, or with teaching art and heritage, when the world is on fire? On the other hand: in critical times, art becomes more important than ever. When human rights are under attack, an awareness of history, of its traditions, symbols and experiences, provides arguments in support of fundamental democratic values. The history of art and culture sheds light on the present.

In the present Anthropocene period, we are exhausting the Earth’s resources. For the last three hundred years, humanity’s relation to nature has been determined by an industrially based, consumerist approach that keeps escalating. How can art help us to identify the driving forces and understand the effects? When the climate change becomes ever more alarming and global collaboration is threatened by nationalistic politics, we must rely on the capacity of art to communicate knowledge, understanding and insight beyond politically polarized arenas.

The aim of the “Art – what is it good for?” conference is to throw light on the function of art in times of crisis by bringing together participants from a range of academic disciplines and professions: researchers, art educators, art critics and artists. Our expectation is that the debates will bring about a recognition of art as fundamental prerequisite for freedom of speech in any society. The conference will provide a scene for exchanges across disciplinary boundaries that may prompt interaction between academia and society and stimulate interdisciplinary research collaboration between theoretical and artistic disciplines.

Important dates

  • Now: it's already now possible to submit your paper proposal (see below)
  • March 1: registration opens - register before June 10 and become an "early bird"!
  • March 15: last day for sending in your proposal
  • April 1: notice of acceptance (or not) for your paper
  • August 19: 1st day of the conference

Call for papers

We welcome proposals for papers on themes such as the following:

  • Art, populism and nationalism;
  • Teaching art under conditions of crisis;
  • Climate and art: Anthropocene;
  • Heritage and democracy;
  • The infrastructure of art: The role of institutions in a sustainable art world; and
  • Education and criticism: To communicate art.

We invite proposals to be submitted to the following address:

Deadline for proposals: 15 March, 2020

Proposals should not exceed 500 words/one A 4 page.


Jan Bäcklund
Linda Fagerström
Lena Liepe
Johanna Rosenqvist
Hans Sternudd

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