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Call For Artists: Let's Talk 'Dirty'! Exhibition


Let’s Talk ‘Dirty’!

Loughborough University

SYMPOSIUM 28th of October 2020

EXHIBITION 26th - 31st of October 2020

We invite proposals for an interdisciplinary symposium and art exhibition considering the politicisation of what is deemed ‘dirty’. Our focus will lie particularly (though not exclusively) on visual representations.

The aims of the symposium are threefold:

Following Mary Douglas (1966), we first seek to question concepts such as dirt, waste, pollution, etc., as social constructions (in the 21st century), by asking: How are these social constructions formed and how stable are they? What kinds of hierarchies do these constructions support? 

Secondly, we want to consider the materiality of ‘dirty’ matter. Do waste objects exist somewhere between ‘dead stuff’ and ‘live presence’, as theorists such as Jane Bennett (2010, p.5) have suggested? How might creating artwork from these materials alter our perceptions of it?

Lastly, we wish to consider the ways in which people have been treated as ‘human waste’ (Bauman, 2003), focusing on the intersections between oppression/bigotry and representations of dirt, waste, disease etc. How are such representations used to maintain hierarchies and oppressive boundaries? How might such hierarchies and boundaries be resisted? 

One or more of the issues above should act as prompts for a proposal for:

An academic paper

Please submit a 300 word abstract for a 20 minute presentation and provide a short bio (max. 100 words).


An artwork

Selected works will be presented in an exhibition that coincides with the symposium. Wall and floor space is limited so we can only accept a small number of 3D and 2D works. We have greater capacity for digital work.

Please provide a 300 word proposal outlining your work and installation requirements with a short bio (max. 100 words).

All work must be delivered by Thursday 22nd of October and any return shipping costs/appropriate insurances are to be covered by the artist.

The deadline for all proposals: 29th of May 2020

Submissions and queries should be sent directly to the conveners Daniel Fountain and Marlous van Boldrik at 

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Photo, Crowds enjoying Garden of Light, by TILT. Lumiere London 2016, produced by Artichoke, supported by Mayor of London. Credit Matthew Andrews 2016.

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Photo, Jennie Gill, Yorkshire Artspace, Sheffield. Photo Our Favourite Places / Nigel Barker for Yorkshire Artspace.