Centre for Chinese Visual Arts CCVA conference | call for papers


The 9th Centre for Chinese Visual Arts (CCVA) Annual Conference will take place on the theme: ‘Making the New World: The Arts of China’s Cultural Revolution’ on 11-12 November 2016 at the Whitechapel Gallery, London. Call for conference papers from researchers, artists, designers, curators and practitioners in a wide field of creative practice.

The Centre for Chinese Visual Arts (CCVA) at Birmingham City University aims to foster new understandings and perspectives of Chinese contemporary arts, design, media and visual culture through interdisciplinary practices and theoretical studies.

Marking the fiftieth Anniversary of the Cultural Revolution, in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery, we are now convening this two-day international conference as the ninth CCVA Annual Conference. It invites researchers, artists, designers, curators and practitioners at all stages of their careers worldwide to reassess the significance of the arts and culture of the Cultural Revolution, and to reflect upon their impacts on everyday life in China within socio-political, cultural and global contexts.

In the summer of 1966, Mao’s Cultural Revolution reached its climax across the country in the pursuit of ‘a new world’ freed from the ‘Four Olds’ – ‘old ideas, culture, customs and old habits of the exploiting classes’. This period has often been referred to as a ‘cultural desert’ and has been absent from Chinese art history. However, the Chinese Cultural Revolution has produced some of the most significant cultural products of the twentieth century China. It covers all fields of creative practice – from public sculpture to painting and performance; from calligraphy to printmaking; from ceramics to fashion and textiles; from furniture and product design to architecture.

Today, when revisiting the Cultural Revolution half of a century later, the conference asks what kind of new aesthetics, ideologies and culture have been shaped through the visual, audio, performative and immersive experiences of that time? What were the relationships between artists and audiences, between makers, disseminators and participants? Finally, what are the cultural impacts of the arts of the Cultural Revolution on contemporary art, design and creative practices, as well as on everyday experience within and beyond China?

We encourage papers from a variety of subject areas and interdisciplinary perspectives to develop new understandings of the arts of the Cultural Revolution beyond conventional studies for example, on revolutionary aesthetics. The following set of ten ‘relationships’ are indicative of, and not limited to, the topics that the conference aims to cover:

  • Art, culture and politics
  • Art, mass art and non-art
  • Amateur and professional: artists, participants and audiences
  • Art production, dissemination and reception
  • Collective and private spaces: squares, streets and buildings
  • The conformity and the rebellions: uniforms and the body
  • Mass assemblies and parades: performative and immersive experiences
  • Model operas, musicals and everyday life
  • Songs, voices and the spirit
  • Written words and images

Please submit abstracts of up to 300 words, a 100-word biography, contact information and any institutional affiliations, by 1 February 2016 via https://ccva.typeform.com/to/ZRIuvp.

Any general queries should also be directed to ccva@bcu.ac.uk.

Conference presentations should last no more than 20 minutes.

Successful proposals for conference contribution will be announced in March 2016.

Invited full papers should be completed by 20 December 2016 to be featured in Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art (Intellect) as a special issue in 2017.

The CCVA Annual Conference is hosted in turn by each of the partnership institutions. It is constructed as an international platform to bring scholars and research degree students together, primarily within the network, to discuss recent research development, share knowledge and exchange research experiences, and to expand expertise within the interdisciplinary community.

The CCVA Symposium is held either in China or in the UK to bring scholars and practitioners from various subject areas beyond the International Partnership, or timely aligned with a particular event in collaboration with other organisations, to focus and reflect on a chosen topic of Chinese visual arts.

Initiated in 2007 through an international network with the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing (CAFA) and the China Academy of Arts in Hangzhou (CAA), CCVA is hosted by the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media at Birmingham City University, UK.

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