Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies


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Migration, Memory and the Visual Arts: Second-Generation Jewish Artists in the UK

22 May 2020

University of Leicester

Confirmed keynote speaker: Dr Glenn Sujo (author and curator of Legacies, of Silence: The Visual Arts and Holocaust Memory, Imperial War Museum)

Symposium Call for Papers

While the work of refugee artists who fled to Britain in the 1930s and 1940s has received critical art historical and public attention, comparatively little focus has been given to how the experiences of the so-called second generation (i.e. children of Jewish refugees or Holocaust survivors) have been explored and represented in the visual arts.

Bringing together artists and scholars from the fields of art history, memory and migration studies, this symposium sets a new interdisciplinary research agenda by looking at how second-generation Jewish artists have engaged with the Holocaust, the first-generation experience, migration and questions of identity. We seek to investigate how subjects and themes relating to the second-generation experience, including displacement and (dis)belonging and the intergenerational transmission of memory, have been examined and mediated through visual means in art (painting, drawing, sculpture, print-making, installations, photography and other lens-based media). We also look to explore the specificities of the context in Britain where focus on the second-generation experience has been relatively slow to emerge.

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers that examine (but are not limited to) the following topics:

  • The exploration of inherited memory, subjectivity and identity in the artwork of second-generation artists
  • The relationships between the visual arts and memory studies, through concepts such as post-memory (Marianne Hirsch) or prosthetic memory (Alison Landsberg)
  • The interactions and tensions between public and private memory in visual representation
  • The role of genres such as landscape and portraiture in representing second-generation conceptions of home and (continental) heritage
  • The function and use of archival material, photographs and survivor voices by artists to present or refer to the experiences of the first generation
  • The role of memory tourism and genealogy as key topoi of the post-memory experience and the work of second-generation artists
  • The connections between the artwork of second-generation Jewish artists and contemporary refugee and diasporic experiences.

Please send an abstract (300 words) for a 20-minute paper and a short biography (200 words) to Imogen Wiltshire and Fransiska Louwagie by 23 February 2020. Notification of acceptance will be given by 6 March 2020.

We would like to encourage artists and scholars at all career stages to submit a proposal. The event is generously supported by the Association for Art History (AAH), the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the School of Arts at the University of Leicester. We are able to offer a limited number of travel bursaries for early-career researchers to speak at the symposium. The registration fee (£20 or reduced fee of £10) includes lunch and refreshments.

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