Conf/CfP - Global Art Challenges: Towards an “Ecology of Knowledges”, 28-29 April, 2016, Barcelona, Spain

Publish Date: Jun 23, 2015

Deadline: Oct 31, 2015

Event Dates: from Apr 28, 2016 12:00 to Apr 29, 2016 12:00

Organized by: Anna Maria Guasch (UB), Paula Barreiro López (UB), and Nasheli Jiménez del Val(UNAM, Mexico) within the framework of:
AGI | Art, Globalization, Interculturality
Department of Art History, University of Barcelona

Key Speakers

Monica Juneja (Universität Heidelberg, Germany)
Klara Kemp-Welch (The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK)
Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel (École Normale Supérieur, France)


This conference is supported by 2014 SGR 1050 Grupo Consolidado Agència de Gestió d´Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca and the researchs projects HAR2013-43122-P and HA2014-53834-P of the Ministerio de Economía y Competividad (MINECO, Madrid).

The International Conference Global Art Challenges: Towards an “Ecology of Knowledges”aims to reformulate established approaches to the study of global art in the face of ongoing challenges in the field. Building on sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santo’s concept of an “ecology of knowledges” (2007), the conference seeks to go beyond “abyssal thinking in modern Western-based conceptions” of art, and to trace lines of inquiry into new epistemological approaches to global art studies. As theorized by de Sousa Santos, ecological thinking, understood as a counter-epistemology, recognizes the plurality of heterogeneous knowledge(s) and highlights the dynamic interconnections that exist between them. Hence, faced with a longstanding monocultural conception of knowledge and art, an “ecology of knowledges” conceives of knowledge-as-intervention-in-reality rather than a hierarchization of Western knowledge(s) over other forms of knowing.

This approach proposes an emancipatory attempt to supersede predominant epistemological frameworks that continue to reproduce the power structures that have dominated Western thinking since the Renaissance. Despite the spatial turn of global studies, longstanding monocultural (Western) conceptions of knowledge and art continue to impact and shape the study of global art, as well as its theorization and the validation of artistic practices around the world. An “ecology of knowledges”, as suggested by de Sousa Santos, is a useful concept to counteract this perspective. It recognises the plurality of artistic knowledge(s) and its socio-political agency in modern and contemporary global art.

This conference seeks to discuss, from a methodological, epistemological and practical perspective, the possibilities of developing an “ecology of knowledges” in art history, by looking for ways to overcome Western hierarchies and enter into a proactive dialogue between practices, methods and discourses. Such perspectives contribute to questioning taxonomies, values, temporalities, and dichotomies that have not just been a part of the art historic discipline since its foundation, but that have been imposed as universal and taken-for-granted. Finally, the conference seeks to become a platform for debating the possibilities of breaking that (Western-dominated) view within art history, seeking therein a starting point for a change of paradigm in the understanding of global art history.

Conference Objectives:

The International Conference Challenges of Global Art: Towards an “Ecology of Knowledges” aims:

  • …to highlight, revalorize, and investigate new and “alternative” forms of knowledge production regarding global art, identifying non-Western and non-normative knowledge(s), know-how and practices.
  • …to put forward forms of hybridization and different temporalities by taking into account local as well as global dynamics in the contemporary art scene.
  • …to identify knowledge(s) and cases in which real-world-interventions are enabled, highlighting local resistances, subaltern experiences and political agency.
  • …to highlight the transfers and circulatory processes in artistic practice and art history by questioning discourses and notions (such as modernism) that were built on the dichotomy between West and non-West.
  • …to foster thinking about new concepts for the study of global art that supersede the subject/object of knowledge binary.
  • …to think of other methodological tools and strategies in Art History and Global Art Studies that could be useful within the framework of an “ecology of knowledges”.
  • …to discuss the role of Global Art Studies, and of Art History more generally, within the global setting of modern and contemporary art.

Abstract Submission

How to submit:
Papers, creative projects and other non-traditional presentations exploring the aforementioned topics are welcome. Please note that at this time the conference organizers cannot provide travel grants or accommodation stipends for presenters.

A completed application form (attached) including a 300 word abstract and a short biography should be submitted to by October 31st, 2015.

Authors will be notified of their acceptance for a panel, the publication, or both, by December 1st, 2015. Presenters must confirm their participation by January 15th, 2016.

All abstract submissions (even if not selected for a panel presentation) will be considered for the publication Global Art Challenges: Towards an “Ecology of Knowledges, an edited volume presenting the results of this conference to be published by the University of Barcelona.

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