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Posted 03.04.17

Seeking the Marvellous conference – deadline for papers 31 May

By Tilly Craig

work by Ithell Colquhoun, 1971

Seeking the Marvellous: Ithell Colquhoun, British Women and Surrealism

22-23 March 2018, Plymouth

Call for papers – deadline 31 May, 2017

Seeking the Marvellous is a two-day interdisciplinary symposium that will examine the work of Ithell Colquhoun (1906 - 1988) and other women connected both with Surrealism and with Britain. It is organised by Plymouth College of Art in partnership with the Black Mirror research network and will be held in Plymouth on 22 and 23 March 2018.

During her lifetime, Colquhoun was widely respected, both as an artist and an occultist but since her death her oeuvre has been largely lost from public view. Her intellectual and artistic contributions to Surrealism and to British modernism and occultism have seen some scholarly attention, but hardly any extensive investigation.

This symposium seeks to re-examine Colquhoun and her place in art history and in the history of occultism from a variety of perspectives. We are also interested in papers on other female artists connected with Surrealism in Britain; these might include Eileen Agar, Valentin Penrose and Leonora Carrington to name but a few. 'British' might also include those who lived or worked in Britain as well as those with British nationality. In all cases, consideration should be paid to the polyvalent dialogues enacted between women artists and Surrealism in the British and/or other national contexts.

Our time frame is 1900 – 1980 and we welcome contributions on the visual and performative arts including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, film, design, fashion, theatre, dance and music. We are especially interested in work which examines the connections between artists and the magical or the occult, and/or in women who were prominent figures during their lifetimes but whose work and reputations have become obscured or occulted since their deaths. We welcome papers from all disciplinary and theoretical backgrounds, including gender and queer theory and postcolonial approaches.

The symposium will be held in Plymouth, close to Cornwall where Colquhoun lived and worked for much of her life. We hope to include new local documentary material about Colquhoun.

Keynote speakers will include renowned international experts Susan Aberth and Victoria Ferentinou.

Please send abstracts of not more than 400 words by 31 May 2017 to Judith Noble at jnoble@pca.ac.uk.

Include the following details: name and surname, affiliation, contact email address, and a short biography, including details of most recent publications.

Conference Organising Committee:
Associate Professor Judith Noble (Plymouth College of Art)
Dr. Tessel M. Bauduin (University of Amsterdam)
Assistant Professor Victoria Ferentinou (University of Ioannina)
Dr. Kristoffer Noheden (Stockholm University)
Associate Professor Dominic Shepherd (Arts University Bournemouth)
Professor Susan Aberth (Bard College)
Tilly Craig, Conference Assistant