Call for papers – “Great Expectations: Arts and the Future”

The European Sociological Association’s Research Network on the Sociology of the Arts announces its mid-term conference, ‘Great Expectations: Arts and the Future’ to be held:

1-3 September 2010

University of Surrey

Guildford, United Kingdom

The Research Network aims to provide the sociological context for understanding the multi-faceted and interwoven social aspects which characterize the artistic world. The theme of the Guildford conference asks us to look from the present to the future, and abstracts are invited on the thematic sessions. The conference also aims to be inclusive and abstracts are also welcome on any topic within the sociology of the arts.

Thematic Sessions:

1. The Future of the Arts.

These sessions will examine such questions as: How might changes in technology change the production and consumption of the arts? How might changes in the social construction in the arts, for instance, the blurring of the boundaries between fine and popular arts, affect art worlds? Might the arts become more or less democratic? Might there be new art forms? If funding for the arts shrinks in the near future, how will the arts fare? Can the arts contribute to sustainability? Contemporary trends may suggest a variety of alternative futures in these and other areas.

2. Children and the Arts.

Children are the future. Their exposure to art today may make a difference to the arts in times to come. Moreover, the Guildford conference will be held concurrently with the mid-term conference of the ESA Research Network on Childhood. Papers on all aspects of children and the arts, including arts education, pedagogy and art, art therapy, the portrayal of children, and children’s participation in the arts, amongst other possible topics, are welcome.

3. Recent Developments in Theory in the Sociology of the Arts.

In order to understand potential future developments, it is necessary to understand contemporary trends. What is new in sociological theories of the arts?

Topical Sessions:

The sociology of the arts is a broad area, united across artistic disciplines and sociological schools of thought by the belief that sociology can inform the study of the arts, as well as an interest in, and usually a deep appreciation of, those art forms we choose to study.

Topics from all areas of the sociology of the arts are welcome, and session titles will be determined so as best to fit the range of high-quality abstracts submitted. Sociology of the arts is defined broadly to include fine, popular, folk, commercial, design and street art and the institutions, artists, producers, supporters, audiences and the other organisations and individuals involved with the arts. Abstracts from all social science disciplines, philosophy and the humanities, and from artists and practitioners are encouraged.

It is hoped that there will be sessions on Arts Management, Book Culture, Gastronomie (Food as art), Improvisation, The Market – Is it Artless for the Arts?, and What Sociology of the Arts can say about the Social Value of Art. Submissions on these topics, or on any other, are welcome.

Confirmed Plenary Speakers:

Professor Barbara Adam, Cardiff University, UK with Seth Oliver, Visual Artist, UK

Dr Wendy Schultz, Infinite Futures, Oxford, UK.

Abstract Submission: Please see the conference website for details on how to submit abstracts of 250 words. Deadline: 1 March 2010, feedback by 26 March 2010

Conference website:

Further information: Contact Victoria Alexander,

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