School of English

Indigeneity and the Arts: Visual Culture and Communication

3rd Native Studies Research Network, UK conference

University of Kent, July 6-8, 2011



This year’s conference will emphasise visual culture in the broadest terms, including historical and literary representations of the visual arts and political uses of and engagements with visual imagery. From the practice of continuous artistic traditions through contemporary modes of expression, from photography and film to television networks and digital media, this year’s conference aims to investigate issues such as continuity and change, aesthetics and ethics, and cultural and political sovereignty. 

How, for instance, are artists, museums, and art galleries responding to Jean Fisher’s charge of a “Western tendency to position ‘ethnic’ artists outside the discourses of modern experience”? More importantly, how have indigenous art practices assisted in what Linda Tuhiwai Smith calls “The act [and art and science] of theorizing our own experiences and realities”? How have indigenous filmmakers and screenwriters throughout the world responded to the challenge posed by long histories of misrepresentation? How have indigenous communities contributed to the advancement of media ethics? And how have indigenous artists, photographers and filmmakers used such media to document narratives of survivance and sovereignty? Douglas Cardinal has said that “Elders remind us to face the future with a computer in one hand and a drum in the other.” What role does technology, particularly digital media, play in contemporary indigenous arts practices? And what of the relationship between tradition and new media? These are just a few of the many questions this conference hopes to address. Proposals are welcome from all disciplines.

Topics under consideration include:

Museum culture and contemporary art
Traditional art and artistic traditions
Representations of indigeneity in the arts
The literary representation of art and artists
The visual/ocular in literature
Photography and photographic sovereignty
Indigenous TV and film production
Digital art and the World Wide Web
Performance art and political protest
Cultural sovereignty
Cultural appropriation
Image texts/mnemonic writing systems
Native peoples in/and Western art
Border art

Further enquiries to David Stirrup ([6])





School of English, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NX

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 823054

Last Updated: 30/07/2012