RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London,

31st August – 2nd September 2011.

Convenor: Amanda Rogers (Royal Holloway, University of London)
Sponsored by the Social and Cultural Geography Research Group.

Geographical research on the arts has often concentrated on place bound artistic practices and representations, examining how art responds to local environments, identities and communities. This session invites papers that loosen the relationship between art and place by focussing on multi-locational and mobile geographies of art. These spatialities can occur at a range of scales, including: the micro-geographical movements of bodies as they engage in creative practices; the expression of mobile identities and spatialities in art; and the development of art works through transnational travel or collaboration. The session is also interested in how technologies affect or reflect this artistic movement, as well as mediating the form and function of art as it travels – whether in the development of viral videos or the re-staging of theatrical plays in different locations. The session therefore seeks to bring together geographers working on art, mobility and technology in order to develop accounts of artistic geographies that demonstrate how art can reassemble place or engage with porous understandings of site and location (Morris and Cant 2006; DeSilvey 2010).

The session is also inspired by research in the arts and humanities that highlights how creative practices are embroiled in relationships to multiple places through flows of people, finance and ideas. In particular, such work demonstrates that art and performance travel, re-producing national and transnational geographies in the process. The session therefore especially welcomes accounts that attend to border-crossing geographies of circulation, multi-locationality, and exchange – spatialities that geographers working on the arts have been less attentive to. It seeks to investigate the impact that these geographies can have on artistic skills, practices, imaginations, identities and products. Art is also re-located in, and circulated through, event spaces such as festivals or biennales, using particular mechanisms or technologies to do so. This movement also raises broader questions about how art and its practitioners are received or understood by audiences in different contexts. Reception thus raises additional issues surrounding the ability of artistic concepts to travel, the mediation or representation of different places, and the potential for intercultural communication. By focussing on these themes, the session seeks to develop a nuanced understanding of how art is rendered through a variety of movements and their geographies.

Papers, visual artworks and performances that discuss or elaborate upon these ideas are all welcomed. Please send an abstract or proposal (up to a maximum of 250 words), clearly stating name, institution and contact details, to Amanda Rogers: a.rogers@rhul.ac.uk by Friday 11th February 2011.

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