Surrealisms 2019, University of Exeter, UK

Surrealisms 2019 is the 2nd conference of the International Society for the Study of Surrealism (ISSS) 

University of Exeter, UK

29th August – 1st September

Proposal deadline: March 1st, 2019

The radical imagination and global influence of surrealism continue to inspire and resonate in our contemporary moment across geo-political, disciplinary, and medium-specific boundaries. As a collaborative practice, a subject of scholarly research, and a form of adventurous play, surrealism bridges the fields of art history, literature, creative writing, film studies, performance, dramatic arts, philosophy, critical theory, and popular culture.

The International Society for the Study of Surrealism (ISSS) aims to facilitate cross-disciplinary and inter-regional exchange by organizing events and facilitating channels of information worldwide. The mission of the ISSS is to incorporate and promote new scholarship on global surrealism as well as to introduce new ways to approach its various literary and artistic expressions. In addition, we seek to foster exchanges between practicing artists, writers, surrealists and the scholarly community for whom surrealism (past and present) is a field of ongoing inquiry.

Following the success of our inaugural conference at Bucknell University Humanities Center in 2018, we are delighted to invite proposals for SURREALISMS 2019, which will take place at the University of Exeter, UK. The conference will include scholarly papers and roundtable discussions in addition to film screenings, poetry readings, theatre, and an exhibition. The conference will also engage with the rich legacy of the surrealist exhibition The Enchanted Domain, which was held across the Exeter City Gallery and Exe Gallery in 1967. The Enchanted Domain exhibition included performances, lectures, film-shows, which were attended by, among others, Robert Benayoun, George Melly, Conroy Maddox, Patrick Hughes, E.L.T. Mesens, and Roland Penrose. SURREALISMS 2019 welcomes scholarship on this 1967 exhibition, an under-researched area in the movement’s history, in addition to other current research in the field(s) of surrealism studies worldwide.

We are interested in presentations that investigate regional activities in surrealism across the world, including, for example, Latin America, North Africa, East Asia and Europe, as well as transnational collaboration between and among individual artists or groups. We are interested in the full range of mediums across all geographical locations and within all relevant temporal frames, as well as including political, philosophical and critical engagement with surrealisms past and present. Our goal is to promote new directions in surrealist scholarship, artistic practice and research, bringing surrealist groups and tendencies across continents and archipelagos into conversation.

Proposals for individual presentations (20-minutes) should include a 250-word abstract along with title, affiliation, and contact information. Pre-organized panel submissions, which we invite with enthusiasm, might include three or four presentations per panel and should include an additional paragraph describing the rubric and proposed title of the panel. Roundtables and alternative format panels are encouraged. We welcome proposals from independent artists, filmmakers, poets, and writers interested in presenting their work in a scholarly context. We welcome submissions from graduate students for whom surrealism is central to their research. The conference supports and welcomes submissions in French and Spanish; however please note that these must include a précis or translation in English. We stipulate that any individual may only present on a maximum of two panels/events during the conference (f or example presenting a paper, and participating on a roundtable) to ensure space for a full range of delegates and discussion.

We welcome short film submissions (experimental, animation, documentary, audio-visual essay etc.) of no longer than 12 minutes. These should be submitted along with title, affiliation, and contact information as a digital file or live link.


Proposals should reach by MARCH 1st, 2019


Conference Coordinators:

Felicity Gee, Exeter University

Jonathan Eburne, Pennsylvania State University

Effie Rentzou, Princeton University

Abigail Susik, Willamette University

Elliott H. King, Washington and Lee University

Variétés exhibition opens Nov. 30

Announcement: On November 30, the exhibition “Variétés (1928-1930) and Photography from the Amsab-ISG Collection” opens at VANDENHOVE – Centre for Architecture and Art in Ghent, Belgium.

The exhibition, which runs until 16 February, demonstrates how the Belgian Surrealist journal Variétés (1928-1930) playfully combined works by leading photographers such as Eugène Atget, Berenice Abbott, André Kertész, Germaine Krull, László Moholy-Nagy, Eli Lotar, and Man Ray with reproductions of paintings, film stills, fashion photographs, postcards, portraits, anthropological documents, and all kinds of amateur photography.
Apart from issues of the journal, the exhibition includes about 80 vintage prints of photographs that were published in Variétés. Thanks to the legacy of Variétés editor Paul-Gustave van Hecke, they became part of the collection of Amsab, the Institute for Social History in Ghent.

The exhibition is curated by Steven Humblet and Steven Jacobs.
In the context of the exhibition, a symposium will take place on Saturday 8 December. Speakers include Karen Kurczinsky, Rolf Sachsse, and Ian Walker among others.

Variétés (1928-1930) and Photography from the Amsab-ISG Collection
VANDENHOVE – Centre for Architecture and Art
Rozier 1, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
Open on Thursday and Friday (2:00-6:00pm) en Saturday (12.00-5:00pm)


CFP: “Transatlantic Transactions: Dada and Surrealism Between the Great War and the Cold War”

Editor: James W. McManus

‘I am soliciting proposals for the planned volume “Transatlantic Transactions: Dada and Surrealism Between the Great War and the Cold War.” Conversations about this project with Margaret Michniewicz at the Bloomsbury Press have been positive and she has encouraged me to solicit proposals for potential inclusion in a peer reviewed volume likely consisting of 15 to 18 chapter length essays.

I am hoping to draw interest from a wide range of scholars, covering diverse topics that informed and/or participated in the transatlantic exchanges involving Dada and Surrealism between the Great War and the Cold War.

Options, for me, seem to be many. Looking for essays that address influences and exchanges extending in both directions across the Atlantic, it is my desire to see the conversation about Dada and Surrealism expanded beyond the regularly visited venues of Western Europe and North America. Focal points for consideration might include:

• Artists of color, gender and diverse sexual identity

• Expatriates’ on both sides of the Atlantic, especially those living and working outside of major cultural centers.

• Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean basin, and North Africa

• Politics, leading up the wars, wartime, and post-war, effecting Dada and Surrealism

• communications (Radio and television) and travel (steam ship and air)

• publications and small magazines

• the visual arts music, and dance

• Museums and galleries

• post-war influences of and reactions to American material culture

Many more options exist. Hopefully, this list will stimulate thought, producing a wide range of topics for consideration.

Please submit your 2 to 3 page proposals, accompanied by a brief cv or resumé, to James W. McManus by April 1, 2019. (a perfect date for Dada and Surrealism)

Following a review of proposals, chapter length essays will be selected for peer review


Style – The current issue of the Chicago Manual of Style

Microsoft Word, 12 point, do not use automatic formatting


If you are proposing a work previously published please provide the title and date, as well as the publication.

Also, this might provide you the opportunity to introduce new discoveries that could alter the content or conclusions of the previous work.’

CONF: Surrealisms in and of Scandinavia (Oslo, 30 Nov 18)

Oslo, November 30, 2018

Surrealism is without question one of the most influential and mutating intellectual and aesthetic practices emerging from the twentieth century. But “when” was Surrealism and “where” was Surrealism?

We wish to probe historical, aesthetic, formal and cultural discourses, – French and Scandinavian, or of other origin for that matter – which may shed light on the productive intersection of Surrealism and Scandinavia. We hope to complicate the traditional historical narrative of “Scandinavian Surrealism” and to re-open and expand the question of Surrealism’s broader relevance to art and culture in and of Scandinavia.

8:30. Registration and coffee

9:00. Introduction

9:15. Keynote address: Karen Kurczynski, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

10:15. Coffee Break

10:45. Panel I:  Symbolism in and of Surrealism
Panel Chair: Jon-Ove Steihaug, Munch Museum

Thor Mednick, U. Toledo, “I Grow Fatigued: Jens Lund and the Emergence of Nordic Surrealisms”

Clarence B. Sheffield, Rochester Institute of Technology, “Haakon Bugge Mahrt’s Modernisme and the Complex Cultural Context of Scandinavian Surrealism ”

Marja Lahelma and Hanna-Reeta Schreck, U. Helsinki & U. Turku: “Ellen Thesleff’s Art in a Surrealist Context”


12:00. Lunch Break

1:15. Panel 2: Women in and of Surrealism
Panel Chair:  Pat Berman, Wellesley College

Kerry Greaves, U. Copenhagen, “Women, Surrealism, and Denmark”

Martin Sundberg, Norrköping Art Museum, “In and out of Surrealism: Greta Knutson-Tzara and the Swedish Art Scene”

Ulla Angkjær Jørgensen, NTNU, “Modish and Erotic Fabulations. Rita Kernn-Larsen’s Surrealism”


2:30. Panel 3: Narrative in and of Surrealism
Panel Chair:  Øystein Ustvedt, National Museum

Lars Toft-Eriksen, Munch Museum and UiO, “Rolf Stenersen and the Surrealism of Edvard Munch”

Emil Leth Meilvang, UiO, “Psycho-biology and life aesthetics in Danish, inter war Surrealism”

Kristoffer Noheden, Stockholm University, “Surrealism in Stockholm: 1949, 1986”


3:45. Coffee break

4:00 Response by Allison Morehead, Queen’s University, and group discussion

The conference is organized by the ”Munch, Modernism, and Modernity” research group (University of Oslo, The National Museum, and The Munch Museum).

CFP: Journal of Surrealism and the Americas General Topics Issue

CFP: Journal of Surrealism and the Americas General Topics Issue, Fall 2018
Deadline: Aug 1, 2018

The actual and fantasized travel of Modern European intellectuals to the “New World”—broadly defined to include not only North America (the U.S., Mexico and Canada), but all of Latin America, the Caribbean, and indigenous cultures—is, along with the surrealist diaspora, a major chapter in modern intellectual and cultural history that resulted in epistemological shifts across numerous fields, including anthropology, psychoanalysis, literature and visual culture. The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas is a forum for research on the prehistory and relocation of Surrealism to the Americas, as well as its ongoing cultural and intellectual legacies. The editors would like to announce a call for papers for a general topics issue on any aspect of visual culture or literature that engages with Surrealism in the Americas, or, that deals with the reception and legacy of the surrealist movement in the Americas.

Foreign language contributions (in French, German and Spanish) are accepted, but we require a two-page, double-spaced English language abstract with any foreign language submission. The JSA is a refereed ejournal, published annually, and has been supported by grants from the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Please send abstracts (1-2 pages) to:

Deadline for abstracts: August 1, 2018; complete submissions must be received by December 31, 2018

Subject: CFP: Surrealism in Britain, 1925-1955 (Wakefield, 6 Oct 18)

CFP: Surrealism in Britain, 1925-1955 (Wakefield, 6 Oct 18)
The Hepworth Wakefield, October 06, 2018
Deadline: Jul 15, 2018

Coinciding with the exhibition ‘Lee Miller and Surrealism in Britain’ at The Hepworth Wakefield (22 June – 07 October 2018) this one-day symposium aims to rethink Surrealism in Britain through an expanded lens. The deliberately broad time-frame allows for exploration of Surrealism’s presence in Britain before its supposed arrival in 1936 and in the postwar era. We also welcome proposals that explore regional and transnational Surrealisms and Surrealist explorations among marginalized groups in Britain.

This summer, The Hepworth Wakefield will present the first exhibition exploring the connections between Lee Miller and Surrealism in Britain. As a mobile figure who bridges fine art, commercial and journalistic practices, Miller serves as a useful starting point for a renewed consideration of pre- and post-war Surrealist practices and discourses in Britain.

Surrealism blasted its way into British popular consciousness in 1936 with the International Exhibition of Surrealism at the New Burlington Galleries in London. Unlike its French equivalent, Surrealism in Britain was associated with the visual arts from the outset, and Herbert Read’s 1936 publication ‘Surrealism’ popularised a connection between the movement and Britain’s rich romantic literary and landscape-painting traditions, an interpretative framework which remains dominant. Meanwhile, accounts of Miller’s photography often repeat familiar biographical mythologies, privileging her singularity over more robust investigations of her contexts and contemporaries. Revisiting these narratives, the proposed symposium aims to reconstruct intricate networks of artists, writers, dealers and critics – friends, lovers and rivals – through which Surrealist ideas circulated and mutated during a turbulent historical period.

Topics might include (but are not limited to):

• Surrealism’s presence in Britain prior to the International Exhibition of Surrealism in 1936
• Networks of Surrealist artists, exhibitions, dealers, collectors and publications, including the London Gallery and London Bulletin
• De-centred narratives and vernacular Surrealisms
• Surrealist politics and (inter)nationalism in 1930s, 1940s and 1950s Britain
• Photography and Surrealism across genres
• Women in Surrealism
• Surrealism in popular culture e.g. fashion, design and journalism
• Surrealism in Britain during the Second World War
• Surrealism and the Independent Group
• Surrealism in Britain’s postwar environment

Organised by Rachel Stratton (Courtauld Institute of Art) and Dr Hilary Floe (The Hepworth Wakefield).

Papers are 20 minutes long. Please send your 250-word abstract and a short CV to and by 15 July 2018. You will be notified in early August.

Subversive Intent & Beyond: Surrealism, Politics, Sexuality – 1-2 June 2018

Subversive Intent & Beyond: Surrealism, Politics, Sexuality

University of Cambridge
1-2 June 2018


Brad Epps (University of Cambridge)

Alyce Mahon (University of Cambridge)

Subversive Intent & Beyond: Surrealism, Politics, Sexuality is a two-day symposium which aims to address the subversive intents and contestatory acts, the legacies and lessons, of Surrealism, especially as they bear on politically charged questions of sexuality, gender, race and nationality. Our symposium takes as a critical focal point Susan Rubin Suleiman’s Subversive Intent: Gender, Politics and the Avant-Garde (1990), in arguing for a ‘feminist poetics’ that subverted a longstanding masculinist tradition. Since the publication of Suleiman’s book, numerous scholars have taken that argument further and/or expanded Surrealism’s history to acknowledge a warren of transnational multi-gendered, polysexual, ethnically and racially diverse positions. Inasmuch as our conference signals a ‘beyond’ to subversive intents, it aims to map the trajectories of other subversive intents, other voices and practices, related, in one way or another, to Surrealism’s heterogeneous history.

The symposium is also planned to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of May 1968 and takes as a second focal point how the events of ’68 might be seen as a ‘coming of age’ for this avant-garde movement. It will thus reflect on the extent to which the events of 1968 witnessed many Surrealist-inflected ambitions, actions and ultimatums (‘Power to the imagination!’; ‘I take my desires for reality because I believe in the reality of my desires!’), how Surrealist strategies were appropriated by younger artistic and intellectual movements, and the need to go beyond a French and Eurocentric frame when reviewing Surrealism’s impact on events globally.

The symposium will open with an introductory lecture by Professor Suleiman, who will reflect on her 1990 publication, its attention to feminist and post-modernist aspects of the avant-garde, and to the ways in which Surrealism has been expanded and enriched, queried and contested. Suleiman’s lecture will be followed by a series of papers, organised in thematic sessions, by established scholars in the field of Surrealism. Sessions will address Surrealism and the ‘class of ‘68’; Surrealism, decolonization and race politics; Surrealism in Latin American; and Surrealism and new social movements (Feminism, Queer Surrealism). They will also be emphatically interdisciplinary and international – looking to art, film, literature and new media, as well as feminist, queer and postcolonial studies.