Call for Papers

Art, Aesthetics and Function: Collaborative Approaches to Everyday Objects

20/04/2015, The British Museum (Sackler Rooms)

Organisers: Alex Magub (British Museum/SOAS), Helen Chittock (British Museum/University of Southampton).

This full-day workshop hosted at the British Museum intends to bring new life to the everyday objects that are more often found among storage shelves, rather than in full sight of the public eye.

Each speaker will have 15 minutes to share their interests and research findings on the theme of everyday objects, and how the art, aesthetics and function of these objects interact in everyday life. Each paper will then be followed by 10 minutes of discussion. These object-driven stories may highlight the kinds of aesthetic choices being made, such as whether an object’s design was dictated by the politics of propaganda, inspired by oral or literary histories, influenced by rites or rituals, or reflect individual or collective identities. Has the maker of the object in question followed aesthetic traditions or broken away from convention? How do such aesthetic deviations transform the function of these objects?

A second aim of this workshop is to invite discussion from people with experience in various disciplines, such as archaeology, anthropology, philosophy and numismatics. While the workshop’s themes revolving around art, aesthetics and function in everyday objects is wide, this event will give speakers the opportunity to hear feedback on their research subject in a collaborative and interdisciplinary environment. This event aims to help speakers and audience members further their research by thinking about new methodologies and approaches to everyday objects.

Aesthetics has become a widely discussed topic among collaborative researchers in recent years and the energy behind these areas of dialogue will be applied to everyday objects in this workshop, so that new aspects about these objects may be highlighted in contrast to the often more explored visual culture behind larger or rarer objects created for solely artistic or monumental purposes.

If you are interested in attending the seminar, but do not intend to give a paper, please check this website for registration details. We will update the registration page once the schedule is finalised.

Please send an abstract of your paper of no more than 250 words, together with a brief biography or CV, to by January 30th. We hope to receive contributions from postgraduate students, early career researchers, and museum and gallery professionals.