The figure of the hero is a matter of great cultural debate at the present time, in British contexts and beyond. Recent conflicts; natural disasters; ambitious expeditions; Olympic and Paralympic events – all have forged potential hero figures, renewingcenturies-old discussions about just who, or what, a hero might be. This two-day conference will draw together academics from a wide variety of disciplines, alongside archivists, curators and librarians, plus colleagues from the commercial and charity sectors. It will foster conversations about hero figures past and present, considering their emergence or creation, their relationship with their fans or ‘worshippers’ in their own communities and/or further afield and, if relevant, the shifting fortunes of their reputations. We ask whether heroes emerge through deeds, character or morality, or whether they are created. We ponder the value of heroes to particular communities in the forging of their group identity. We trace the shaping and maintenance of heroic reputations in texts, art practice, oral culture and curatorship. Across the scope of the conference we seek to ask: who were, or are our heroes, and how/why could or should future heroes be selected or permitted to emerge?
Our conference will include the launch of the exhibition ‘Heroes of Exploration,’ which draws attention to heroic records in the collections of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), with a particular focus on heroism in mountain and Polar environments.
Submitting Paper and Panel Proposals
To propose a paper: Please send an abstract (max. 400 words), and a biographical note (max. 200 words)
To propose a panel: Please send abstracts and biographical notes (word limits as above) for each speaker, along with their contact details and institutional affiliation, plus a rationale for the panel as a whole (max. 600 words)
These should be sent to Dr. Abbie Garrington (Durham University): firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Monday 20 July 2015. Abbie is also happy to answer any informal enquiries regarding papers, panels, and conference arrangements.
This conference forms part of The Hero Project, an AHRC-funded, year-long research initiative which looks at the historical contingency of the hero figure, and its role in the formation of community and national identity.
Principal Investigator: Dr. Abbie Garrington (MA PhD FRGS), English Studies, Durham UniversityCo-Investigator: Dr. Natasha Danilova (BA MA PhD), Politics and International Relations, University of Aberdeen
Co-Investigator: Dr. Berny Sèbe (Maîtrise DPhil FRHistS FRGS FHEA), Department of Modern Languages, University of Birmingham
Collaborator: Ms. Imogen Gibbon, Chief Curator and Deputy Director, Scottish National Portrait Gallery Collaborator: Dr. Catherine Souch, Head of Research and Higher Education, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
Keep up with and comment upon the conference on Twitter: #heroesconf15