CFP: Future Prospects for Art History in Central Europe: Questions, Methods, Topics


Future Prospects for Art History in Central Europe: Questions, Methods, Topics

A workshop organised at Masaryk University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Art History

 on 17-18 June 2020

 What are the most prominent and important issues motivating art historians in east-central Europe at present? Are they methodological? Political? Thematic? Curatorial / museological? Conceptual? Or are they to do with debates relating to a particular period or geographical question?

This workshop is intended to provide a forum for considering answers to that question and for an assessment of the current state of art history in east-central Europe. Its aim, too, is to identify one or more potential projects that might give art historical practice in east-central Europe a higher profile and underpin an application for a European Research Council synergy grant (

Since 1989, art historians from countries such as Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Hungary and Romania have benefitted from unprecedented intellectual freedom, yet their voice has often still to be heard on the wider global stage. Where they gain international attention, it is mostly as authorities on specifically ‘national’ questions, or the wider problematics of ‘east-central Europe.’

Does this mean they will always be consigned to relative historiographic isolation? Or is it possible to find a voice that has wider resonance? If so, what form might that take? What are the most pressing contemporary concerns of art historians from east-central European countries, but which are not necessarily about the art of east-central Europe? What do art historians in east-central Europe have in common with their peers elsewhere? In what ways can they develop greater collaboration that goes beyond transnational research into the art of east-central Europe?

Speakers are asked to focus on a single question, topic or methodological issue they regard as being of particular significance for the present and future development of the discipline.

It may relate to art of any time: from prehistory to contemporary art. Topics might include, for example: research technologies; period concepts; new interpretative methodologies and aesthetic concepts; publication strategies; curatorial practices; the national-political and linguistic framing of research; the geographical organization of the map of art history; new modes of art historical representation; new political imperatives.

They may also address practices from east-central Europe but, equally, speakers are encouraged to consider how they relate to art and architecture across the globe. For example, do art historians approach art and architecture elsewhere in a way that is distinctive? Do their own intellectual traditions and socio-political circumstances shape the way they interpret art? Has the history of the art and architecture of east-central Europe prompted debates and questions that have pertinence for art history more generally?

Speakers are asked to present a paper of ca. 25 minutes on a single issue or topic for detailed group discussion, and to indicate its significance and wider possible ramification. It may relate to their own recent research but, equally, it may consist of a critical observation of the practice of art history by their peers.

They will be asked to submit their paper in advance; each paper will be assigned a discussant who will lead the conversation and response to the paper.


Proposals of 300 words should be submitted to:

Prof. Matthew Rampley, Department of Art History, Masaryk University Brno.


The deadline for submission of proposals is: 6 March 2020.

Masaryk University will cover the costs of accommodation and subsistence while in Brno.

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