Worlding Art History: Negotiating the Global and the Local

Whether living, working or studying in megalopolises or in small towns forgotten by globalisation, negotiating a space between the global and the local is an everyday occurrence in today’s societies. The Courtauld Institute of Art’s Modern and Contemporary Postgraduate Colloquium invites speakers to navigate the local and the global through their diverse areas of research, not only in art, but in broader cultural fields including (but not limited to) media, film, fashion and music. The historical period that this event will cover is from the 19th century to the present day. The colloquium is open to internal and external speakers alike but preferably current graduate students and early career researchers, who are strongly encouraged to present papers associated with ongoing or projected dissertation research.

This call for papers is open to a wide range of different approaches to address the theme of the colloquium, which is organised into the following four panels:

Centre and Periphery:
Centre and Periphery is most frequently utilised as a political science theory and is rooted in post-colonial discourse. This panel aims to explore the global and local through centre-periphery theory. Most famously espoused and used by Immanuel Wallerstein through his World-System-Theory, the centre is most frequently identified as Western nations – and the periphery, countries that used to be identified as Third World. This panel is not limited to this reading of centre-periphery and invites speakers to explore or problematise the theory in new and innovative ways.

Approaching institutions in its broadest sense, this panel invites speakers to consider the term in its literal and metaphorical form. Areas of exploration could be, but are not limited to:

  • how do biennial institutions incorporate the global and local and what are the dialectical tensions that emerge out of it?
  • How do institutions approach a globalised discourse in this day and age?
  • Where did a globalised discourse emerge from on an institutional level?
  • How did institutions adopt ‘Western’/global institutional standards in a specific timeframe?

New Media and Technologies:

This panel aims to investigate the ways in which artists address the complicated relationships between the global and the local with new technologies that emerged under information societies. Possible lines of thought could be, but are not limited to:

  • how do artists critically respond to the rhetoric of deterritorialisation and rootlessness that is often associated with new media, such as video games and the mobile and internet technologies after Web 2.0?
  • How do artists who engage with the technology-based futurist movements (Afrofuturism, Gulf Futurism and Sinofuturism, etc.) negotiate the global and the local?
  • What are the strategies that new media artists undertake to critically approach the diverse impacts that globalisation brings about culturally, socially and politically?


Time and temporality are often closely related to power relations that can be problematic in the representations that explicitly or implicitly touch on the politics of the global and the local. Proposals can address, but are not limited to, the following questions:

  • how have temporal themes been used by artists as a tool for negotiating the relationship between the global and the local?
  • What role does temporality or the atemporal have to play in situating an artist’s practice within the global or local?
  • How are global and local narratives constructed through recourse to the notion of ‘contemporariness’ in the present?

Please send an abstract of up to 250 words for a 20-minute presentation, together with a CV, to Sophie Guo and Jasmine Chohan  no later than 14 December 2017. 

Full details can be found here here.

Image: Cao Fei. Splendid River. Vienna. 2015