PATS Building at the University of Surrey was the venue for an international, multi-disciplinary three-day conference entitled ‘Writing About Contemporary Artists: Challenges, Practices, and Complexities’ from 20-22 October 2017.
Hosted and sponsored by the University’s Institute of Advanced Studies, the conference brought together scholars and practitioners in fields including musicology, theatre studies, dance and choreography, literature, film, digital media, and the visual arts. Its 70 participants represented a strongly international delegation drawn from North and South America, Australia, South Africa, and across Europe and the UK.
Conference highlights included:
- Keynote addresses by Lorraine York (Professor of English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University), Paul Allain (Professor of Theatre and Performance, University of Kent), and Björn Heile (Professor of Music since 1900, University of Glasgow)
- A Keynote Concert and Dialogue by MusicArt London, featuring the distinguished painter Christopher Le Brun (President of the Royal Academy of Arts) and pianist Dr Annie Yim (St John’s Smith Square Young Artist in Residence 2016/17), with additional contributions by composer Richard Birchall
- A complete performance of Morton Feldman’s three-and-a-half hour work For Christian Wolff (1986) by Nancy Ruffer (flute) and Ian Pace (piano/celeste), incorporating dance improvisation from in-house student dance company Actual Size
- Launch of the book Plays in Time: The Beekeeper’s Daughter, Prophecy, Another Life and Extreme Whether (Intellect, 2017) by Professor Karen Malpede
- Roundtable discussions on ‘Creative practice as research and self-reflexive research around practice: Equitability and parity’, ‘The composer’s voice in contemporary music scholarship’, and ‘Contemporary artists, contemporary writing: Internet and social media’
- Over 30 papers encompassing a range of artistic disciplines.
Department of Music and Media organisers, speakers, and participants included Christopher Wiley (Conference Chair), Tom Armstrong (Conference Organising Committee), Kirk Woolford (Roundtable Speaker), Bill Thompson, Steve Goss, Tom Hall, and postgraduate research student Andrei Sora (Paper Presenter).
Conference website: http://www.ias.surrey.ac.uk/workshops/artistswriting/
Full programme (including abstracts): http://www.ias.surrey.ac.uk/workshops/artistswriting/papers/Writing%20About%20Contemporary%20Artists%20conference%20_%20Proggramme.pdf