Modernism – cosmopolitan and international in its connections and networks – found its home in cities, regions and locales. And yet provincialism and localism are still dirty words in criticism surrounding literary and artistic responses to modernity: they remain tinged with the reactionary and the conservative. Many narratives of artistic culture of the period 1890-1950 maintain that advanced aesthetics move from core to province, losing vitality as they become part of a supposedly ‘middlebrow’ culture. But what if the current were reversed? What if the local, the regional, the provincial, the civic and the municipal were the sites of artistic energy rather than cultural backwaters? Terms such as ‘local’ and ‘regional’ have more recently been animated by the reaction against financial and consumerist globalisation, but a glance backwards reveals that artists and writers of the modernist period were engaging with ideas of the local too, and that many of them were located far away from the metropolitan ‘centre’.
This two-day conference on 22nd-23rd June 2015, hosted by the Centre for the Study of Cultural Modernity at the University of Birmingham, invites academics, postgraduate students, curators and other arts and heritage professionals to come together to discuss the many ways in which our current literary and artistic maps of modernism might be redrawn so that proper attention can be paid to local cultural nodes and networks. The organisers are looking for papers on any aspect of the topic. Potential speakers might talk about such issues as the following:
- Literary and artistic responses to civic, local, municipal, regional and provincial modernity
- Local, civic, municipal and regional activities, groups, coteries and enclaves
- Rural modernisms
- The concept of the ‘region’
- Rejections/reformulations of internationalism
- Town planning and urban design
- Public art
- Contemporary re-imaginings/re-workings of the spaces and places of civic modernity
Papers should be 20 minutes long. For further information about the conference, or to submit an individual or panel proposal, contact Dr Daniel Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org). The deadline for proposals is Monday 18th May.