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Beauty will save the world

Press release issued: 2 September 2010

Postgraduate students from around the UK and overseas will come together next week [Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 September] for a conference on art and social change.

Postgraduate students from around the UK and overseas will come together next week to examine the ways in which art and its explanation of beauty, society and politics can help in understanding and changing the social world.

The two-day interdisciplinary postgraduate conference on art and social change, entitled Beauty will save the world is hosted by the University of Bristol’s School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPAIS) and will take place on Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 September 2010.

The conference aims to bring together postgraduate students working in and across various disciplines to share research that looks at the contested meanings of art and aesthetics and explores art in different cultural and historical settings.

With keynote talks from Professor Alex Danchev at the University of Nottingham‘s School of Politics and International Relations, and Dr Iain Biggs and Dr Victoria Walters from the School of Creative Arts at UWE, students will be able to interact with established academics in the field as well as showcase their research to an international audience.

A roundtable discussion, Producing change: the future of art, research and politics, will give students an opportunity to hear from: Tom Trevor, Director of the Arnolfini; Zoë Shearman, Curator and Director of Relational; Emily Wilczek, Artist and Senior Lecturer at Lincoln School of Media, University of Lincoln; Professor Elizabeth Prettejohn, Department of History of Art, University of Bristol; Dr Ann Rippin, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Management, University of Bristol and Professor Charles Martindale, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Bristol.

Bristol-based artist, Heath Bunting, founder of the website and contributor to the development of the movement in the 1990s, will be presenting his work The status project during a panel session on The nation, citizenship and identity.

Cerelia Athanasiou and Shaira Kadir, postgraduate research students in SPAIS and conference organisers, said: “The conference gives voice to research which is quite often marginalised by our discipline of International Relations and more widely by social science.

“It is a challenge to a widely-held perception that ‘progress’ can only be achieved through rationalism and science, a view which ignores the possibility that social ‘reality’ is continuously constructed by, and in, art, language and social interactions.”

The University’s Institute for Advanced Studies, Global Insecurities Centre, Alumni Fund and the Bristol Institute for Research in the Humanities and Arts, the British International Studies Association (BISA) and Political Studies Association Art and Politics Specialist Group and the BISA Poststructural Politics Working Group have sponsored the conference.


Further information

Please contact Joanne Fryer for further information.
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