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Conference: Call for Papers Cutting Edge: Collage in Britain, 1900 to Now

This is for a conference at Tate Britain entitled Cutting Edge: Collage in Britain, 1900 to Now, taking place in March 2020. We are keen to showcase inventive new research and fresh perspectives on notions and practices of collage, and to explore its curr

Collage pieces together fragments. It builds them up into an aggregation of conjunctions, contradictions and superimpositions. It experiments with found and broken forms, and explores lack and incompleteness. While doing so, it also speaks of superabundance, hyper-production and the acceleration of image circulation. Collage embraces polyphony and has been used to resist the identification of any one subject or perspective as normative.

Collage seems to gain heightened currency in times of national and international crisis. It has offered searing and satirical responses to authority and aggression. At key moments of political struggle, it has been mobilised to suggest alternative viewpoints and dismantle dominant narratives. Collage cuts across cultures. It has the potential to overlay the local and the global, and to address questions of borders, barriers and modes of exchange.

This conference is intended to explore these and other aspects of collage in relation to visual culture in Britain, from 1900 to today. It invites fresh perspectives on collage as a practice and on its contribution to modern and contemporary British visual culture.

We welcome academic papers and practice-led contributions addressing, but not limited to, the following topics:
  • Collage and British visual culture
  • Collage and British Surrealism
  • Collage, Brutalism and Pop
  • Collage, Punk and the countercultural
  • Collage and feminist art practices
  • The poetics of fragmentation in modern and contemporary British culture, from fine art to literature, film and the digital
  • Collage and the contemporary: what is the currency of collage today?
Britain and beyond: collage and the transnational
  • Collage and transnational exchange
  • Collage and the construction and deconstruction of national identity
  • Collage and cosmopolitanism

Collage politics: resistance, representation and identity
  • Collage as an instrument of political opposition and deviance
  • Collage and the construction and deconstruction of race, ethnicity, class and gender identity
Collage technologies and materialities
  • Collage as a manifestation of the changing relationship between humans, machines and technology
  • o Collage, photocollage, photomontage, montage and moving image
  • o Collage and the material fragments
  • o Collage and painting
Collage methodologies and historiographies
  • Collage as historical document
  • Collage as an activity, category or methodology
  • The collage aesthetic as a methodological approach
  • Collage and the crisis of representation
Conference convened by Elena Crippa, Zuzana Flaskova, Mark Hallett and Rosie Ram
Supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

This two-day conference is organised in conjunction with the Tate Britain Spotlight display Vital Fragments: Nigel Henderson and the Art of Collage, curated by Mark Hallett and Rosie Ram with Zuzana Flaskova. The display is open from 2 December 2019 to 5 April 2020.

Submission Guidelines
Proposals are invited for 20-minute contributions to the conference. Submissions should include a title, abstract (500 words maximum), short author’s bio (150 words maximum), institutional affiliation (if applicable) and contact details.
Submissions should be sent to: research@tate.org.uk
Deadline for abstract submissions: 2 December 2019
Selection announced: 16 December 2019