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Muslim Art Conference 2017 – Call For Papers – Exploring Contemporary Muslim Art, Culture and Heritage in Britain

Call for Papers
MUSLIM ART CONFERENCE
Exploring Contemporary Muslim Art, Culture and Heritage in Britain
14th September 2017, Birmingham

Art and culture provide a means of communication, an alternative platform to share stories, celebrate contributions to society and challenge misconceptions and stereotypes. In Britain, Muslim art and culture are in transition as we see interchange between artists inspired by the traditional Islamic arts and those who are finding new ways of weaving together their British and Muslim identities. A rising generation is using artistic forms such as music, film, literature, photography, poetry and comedy to express themselves. As well as celebrating the diversity of British Muslim identity, these artists and cultural producers explore difficult issues and help bridge divides between communities.

This new world creates exciting opportunities but also uneasy tensions as to where these practices can fit in the traditional canons of visual and performing arts, the heritage and museum sectors, in literature and even popular culture in Britain. British Muslims often find it difficult to present their work in mainstream arts and cultural establishments such as theatres, galleries and museums. Many upcoming Muslim artists work alone and often struggle to fund their work. Furthermore, the persistence of stereotypical representations of Muslims in popular media and cultural industries makes it harder for Muslims in the arts and cultural sectors to reach a wide audience.

This one-day Muslims in Britain Research Network conference will create space for critical dialogue and community exchange by bringing aspiring and established Muslim artists and cultural producers together with eminent scholars and researchers, policymakers, entrepreneurs and arts funders. The conference will provide a space to discuss, inform, connect and engage through a program of lectures, presentations, panel discussions and workshops. Cultural experts will share insights into the key factors affecting Muslim arts and culture in Britain and will address the practical questions facing Muslim artists in the UK – from applying for their first grant to running an arts organisation, from creating social change to establishing and receiving commissions for national and international work.

We invite the submission of papers, presentations, talks, session proposals, panel discussions, lightning talks, short performances to be presented on Thursday 14th September 2017 at a Birmingham venue (to be confirmed). We welcome proposals from scholars, curators, artists, cultural producers and programmers, and students and independent researchers. Sessions that include a mixture of scholars/researchers and practitioners are particularly encouraged. Although all paper proposals should speak to the theme of Muslim art and culture, we welcome submissions from individuals from any faith background and none.

Themes we hope to cover in the conference include:
• How are Muslims in Britain exploring identity, belonging and social change through art, culture and heritage?
• How are Muslim art and culture represented in the cultural sector in Britain? Are the cultural industries responding to British Muslims’ demand for culture?
• What does contemporary ‘Muslim’ and ‘Islamic’ art mean?
• How does contemporary British Muslim cultural production compare/relate to the past and to other cultural contexts?
• How are Muslim arts in Britain developing?
• What strategies are needed to grow, fund, and sustain Muslim cultural production without compromising on beliefs and creativity?

Individual presentations/responses should last no longer than 10-12 mins, and a full panel session no longer than one hour including audience Q&A.

To participate please send a 200 word abstract to the email address below by Monday 31st July 2017 along with a biography of no more than 50 words (per speaker).

Abstract submissions and any general questions should be sent to the conference organisers at muslimsinbritainrn@gmail.com

Selected academic papers and practitioner responses will be considered for publishing in a conference report and/or recorded and placed online.