The 37th Annual SAVAH Conference will be hosted by the Department of Visual Arts in the School of Visual and Performing Arts, Faculty of Humanities, Nelson Mandela University, Gqeberha, 5-7 September 2024 (in-person attendance only).

The theme of the conference is

UNSETTLED: re-Collective Memories and Histories of South Africa.

The conference aims to explore the mulifaceted aspects of South Africa's past, present, and future, as seen through the lens of art history, visual culture, visual and performing arts and its pivotal role in shaping societal narratives.

Theme Overview: As South Africa continues its journey of self-discovery, the concept of "settling" takes on renewed significance. One may think of settler-colonialism, and the associations between settlement and belonging, along with expressions that relate to place and trauma, such as letting the dust settle. On the other hand, looking back over recent history from the end of the apartheid era, or even further back, some complacencies in contemporary South African society might still need to be “unsettled”. This raises questions about how much we have actually changed. The visual and performing arts offer opportunities for critical interrogation of the “settled” and “unsettling” dynamics of our society and how we express ourselves.

This will be the first time the SAVAH conference is held at Nelson Mandela University and only the third time it is held in the culturally rich province of the Eastern Cape, itself laden with the incongruencies of socio-economic and historical legacies which affect the social cohesion of the region. The conference will allow researchers to question and engage with the ways in which art might challenge these legacies, and also to consider how they are embedded in particular geographical contexts, places and landscapes.

This conference seeks to unravel the dynamic interplay between art, unsettled histories, and the processes of settling, unsettling and being in the spaces in between. We invite scholars, artists, researchers, curators, and performers from diverse disciplines to contribute their insights and engage in constructive dialogues around this profound theme.

We welcome both individual paper proposals and panel proposals related to the conference theme. Individual paper proposals should include an abstract of no more than 300 words, along with a brief biography of the presenter(s). Panel proposals should consist of a 500-word abstract outlining the panel's theme and objectives, along with a brief biography of the convenor(s), with individual abstracts and biographies submitted separately for each paper within the panel.

Important dates:

• Submission Deadline 2nd call for papers: March 31st 2024

• Notification of Acceptance: April 30th 2024

• Conference Dates: 5-7 September 2024

Download the 2nd Call for Papers below.

The Call for Papers is now closed.