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Call for papers

Conference: Experiences of Oil

23-24 November 2020
Stavanger Art Museum


This conference addresses a constellation of questions: How does visual art reflect experiences of living in an oil producing nation? Why do art museums own so few works depicting the oil industry, or works that address how the industry directly or indirectly affects our society? In what ways are our individual and collective identities formed by living in an oil nation? Is it possible to conceive of ‘neighbourly relations’ by discussing the shared experiences of oil, rather than rely on geography?

The aim for the conference is to initiate a discussion on the social, cultural and emotional aspects of the petroleum industry and to bring diverse disciplines and individuals together in a collective and exploratory conversation. Can we, by making comparisons between countries that are not ordinarily compared, gain new perspectives on experiences of living in an oil nation? What similarities are there between Norway and Angola, Canada, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela or Qatar? How can such a comparison be made if we do not base it on the number of barrels produced per day?

We welcome papers that explore the social, political, environmental and economic consequences of oil as seen through the eyes of artists, or that interpret visual resources (e.g., archives and exhibitions) and other cultural expressions. We also welcome papers that examine how experiences of an industry that has made such a dramatic impact on the whole world can be traced in art, and how artists reflect their experiences of the societies that are so closely linked with the oil industry.

The conference is part of a wide-ranging research project that will provide the basis for organising an exhibition at Stavanger Art Museum in the autumn of 2021. The project will establish artistic ‘neighbourhoods’ between oil nations through curatorial methodologies. The contributions selected for presentation at the conference might be commissioned to be developed further and published in a ‘reader’, and the artistic contributions will be evaluated for inclusion in the exhibition or its public programme.

The call for papers is mostly directed to artists, curators and art historians, but also people from other professions who have a strong interest in visual art and want to present their thoughts in either a lecture or pictorial format.

The formats that will be appropriate for the conference are:

• performance lectures
• traditional presentation formats (with or without image/video/audio-illustrations)
• video recordings with subsequent live discussion via Internet

Send the title of your paper, an abstract of what you want to present (maximum 400 words) and a bio (maximum 200 words) to by 1 May 2020. You will receive an answer by 20 June 2020 at the latest.

The conference will be held in English. Contributions selected for publication or presentation in the exhibition can be in English or a Scandinavian language.

Lunches and the conference dinner will be free. Most participants will need to pay their own travel/accommodation expenses. However, limited funding is available to assist non-salaried artists or un/under-employed academics. Please indicate whether this is a consideration in your submittal.

The conference will be streamed and made accessible via the Internet channels used by Stavanger Art Museum and the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design (KMD), University of Bergen. By submitting your conference proposal, you agree that your contribution can be shared digitally, both during and after the conference.

The conference is organized by Stavanger Art Museum in collaboration with the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design at the University of Bergen.

Stavanger Art Museum, which is part of the consolidated Museum Stavanger (MUST), presents Norwegian and international art from the 1800s to today. The museum engages in art historical research and gives the public opportunities to experience, learn about, and involves themselves in art. Through its many exhibitions and publications, the museum has contributed to new readings of significant artists such as Frida Hansen, Kitty Kielland and Olaf Lange.

The Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design (KMD) offers BA, MA and PhD programmes based on an internationally recognised level of artistic research. The faculty consists of about 600 students and 130 staff members and is the only Norwegian higher education institution that offers a master-level study programme in curatorial practice.

By creating an international exhibition with a wide-ranging public programme, Stavanger Art Museum and KMD want to nurture important artistic and art historical research and contribute to social debate.