Volume 17 | Multisensory materialities in the art school.

Studies in Material Thinking (SMT) in collaboration with Material Culture in Action: Practices of making, collecting and re-enacting art and design (Glasgow School of Art, September 2015), is calling for submissions to a special volume of research articles to be published in 2017. Although conference delegates are especially encouraged to submit papers, the call is open to all researchers.

The material culture of art and design covers a wide range of practices, from professionally designed works within the art school, to the less official works of the self-taught amateur. There is an emphasis on process and an awareness of the places of production ranging from the studio, the factory, through to the realms of domestic life. Although other places of consumption and display have been mapped out in academic literature little has been written about these specific and eminently complex environments of the studio and the art school. A ‘material culture’ approach to art and design can throw light on the multi-materiality of works of art and design, and on the affective resonances of artefacts.

This special issue will focus particularly on multisensorial and affective materialities in relation to the objects, meanings and practices of art and design and art education. Many writers have noted that the multi-sensual aspect of material culture is also that which resists attempts of narration or rationalisation. This raises particular concerns within some of the less well theorised or observed fields of art and design, where practitioners may themselves believe that ‘theory’ is not part of practice. The flux of art education is full of un/made and un/finished objects and narratives, traditional skills and canons are perpetually (re-)invented and sustained, while ultra-specialised, and sometimes obsolete, knowledge and hand skills are exercised, appropriated and invented. Art school students can be thought of as self-fashioning professionals, young adults engaged in varying processes of self-creation and self-narration through material practices. Of particular interest is the continuous appropriation, within the art school, of vernacular cultures, and the repurposing of various amateur practices. The inclusion of ‘clumsy’/DIY aesthetics, notably within visual communication (in the form, for instance, of unruly elements: irregular typography, ‘unprofessional’ drawings or doodles, graffiti), is worth thinking about. It represents an example of the continued dialogue between the vernacular and the art school, and the paradoxical, potentially subversive, transformation/re-valuing (in all the senses of the term) of the amateur fabrication into an art object.

In their articles, contributors will examine sensorial aspects of the object and the realms of seeing, smelling, touching, hearing, making. By recentering attention on material practices and processes, on artists and makers, submitted papers will bring together the study of material culture with that of affect, aesthetics, and politics in a cross-disciplinary dialogue, engaging theorists and artists, thinkers, makers and collectors/connoisseurs of objects.

Conference website: https://materialculturegsa.wordpress.com/

Submission deadlines:
• Invitation to submit: Nov/Dec 2015
• Deadline for full papers: June 2016
• Peer review, revision and preparation of final drafts: June – Dec 2016
• Deadline for revised drafts: Feb 2017
• Copyediting: Jan - April 2017
• Formatting and upload: May/June 2017
• Expected publication: June/July 2017.

Frances Robertson [email protected]
Elodie Roy [email protected]

Editor-in-Chief: Nancy de Freitas
Studies in Material Thinking, ISSN 1177-6234
School of Art and Design, Faculty of Design & Creative Technologies, AUT University, Private Bag 92006, Auckland 1142, New Zealand.
[email protected]

Please feel free to contact us to explore ideas that you may have related to the content and format of a submission. We are happy to discuss ideas.