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.

Conference report: In the Shadow of the Habsburg Empire?

The first CRAACE conference, ‘In the Shadow of the Habsburg Empire? Art and Architecture in Central Europe’, took place in the Moravian Gallery, Brno, from 12 to 14 September 2019. With three keynote speakers, five sessions and fifteen papers, the event explored the topic of continuities and ruptures in post-Habsburg Central European art history from several angles, sparking many engaging discussions. This brief report below can only highlight a few of the wider topics that emerged in the course of the three days. (The conference programme can be accessed here.)

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In the Shadow of the Habsburg Empire? Conference Schedule and Information


Our conference In the Shadow of the Habsburg Empire: Art and Architecture in Interwar Central Europe will take place in Brno from 12 to 14 September 2019.

The schedule which includes the names of the speakers and titles of their papers can be downloaded here: In the Shadow of the Habsburg Empire Conference Schedule

The conference is free to attend, but you need to register. Click here for the registration form.


Some practical information:

Conference venue

The conference takes place at the Governor’s Palace of the Moravian Gallery in Moravské náměstí 1.


Brno has an international airport but you may find better connections from Vienna, Prague and Bratislava. All are linked to Brno via coach (direct coach from Vienna airport) and train. Please note that if you arrive in Brno by train, you will need to get off at “Dolní nádraží” as the main station is closed for reconstruction.

Getting around Brno is easy by public transport (trams, buses, trolley buses) as well as on foot.


Some hotels near the conference venue:

Hotel Continental, from 68 EUR per night

Hotel Slavia from 80 EUR per night

Hotel International  from 78 EUR per night

Hotel Grandezza from 140EUR per night

Grand Hotel Brno from 120EUR per night

Hotel Barceló from 104 EUR per night

Brno guides

There’s an introductory article in the Independent outlining the main sights, while more substantial guides are provided by the Brno Tourist office. The guide to functionalist architecture in Brno is also a useful start for any modernism enthusiast.