A Cultural Literacy Everywhere Symposium: 12–13 May 2022, via Zoom.
Professor Alison Blunt, Queen Mary University of London, UK
Topic – Home and beyond: dwelling and belonging in pandemic times
Professor Colin Ellard, University of Waterloo, Canada
Topic – Dwelling in a digital age: Lessons from the pandemic
Dr Rachel Hurdley, Cardiff University, UK
Topic – Making home: doors, mantels, windows and other places
As a physical space of habitation, dwellings may take many forms, such as houses, castles, apartments, convents, caravans, huts, or barges. Moreover, dwelling – both noun and verb – implies a certain ‘staying put’ or even permanence. Dwelling might then be a state of rootedness and safety, the opposite of temporary spaces such as refugee camps, prisons, and hospitals.
Space is a dimension that permits the formation of places, which for geographer Doreen Massey (1994) have multiple non-static identities. A place within a space can harmonize or clash with its surroundings. For Bachelard (1961), places and spaces are tied to identity-formation via an architectural engagement with dwellings. As a space of intimacy, a dwelling can constitute a ‘cosmos’ of the self, and it could be explored through topographical surveys or mappings of the paraphernalia, ambiances, memories, and imaginaries of living, as in the fiction and non-fiction of Georges Perec.
Exploring dwelling as a relationship with space, Bourdieu’s work on the ‘Berber house’ (1970) questions the modernist idea of space as nothingness or void. Heidegger’s ‘Building, Dwelling, Thinking’ (1954), an essential text for modern architecture, links human inscapes with the (im)material realities of building and dwelling. For the dweller, the relation to space and place entails simultaneously a withdrawal into a demarcated space for shelter and the creation of a sense of belonging.
Humanity’s sense of place and space has never been more prominent than it is today. The COVID-19 pandemic has confined many people to cramped urban dwellings or inhospitable spaces (e.g., quarantine hotels), turned homes into offices, and changed the topography of everyday life. This crisis, along with economic inequalities, climate change, and mass migration events, confirms the need for a radical reassessment of sustainable human dwelling on earth. This Symposium will engage in creative and critical discussion on dwelling in both the verbal and the nominal sense and on how we live or wish to live in the world.
This two-day online Symposium is designed to generate active discussion, focusing on thinking and talking rather than formal presentations. If your proposal is accepted, it will be included in a digital ‘book of presentations’ that all participants will be asked to read in advance of the Symposium. The contributions will be grouped into parallel break-out sessions of 90 minutes, during which each presenter will speak for max 10 minutes, and the subsequent discussion will aim to explore the key theme of the panel.
Proposals might include the following – or other – perspectives on ‘dwelling’:
- Dwelling and identity
- Dwelling and ecology
- Dwelling, location, address
- Dwelling as habitat or home
- Dwelling, remaining, and belonging
- Dwelling on: dwelling as a state of mind, as fixation
- Multiple dwellings or grouped dwellings, e.g., neighbourhood
- Dwellings vs. other buildings, e.g., factories, shops, ports, farmyards, etc.
- Dwellings and architecture, e.g., buildings: walls, doors, windows, roofs, upstairs/downstairs, etc.
APPLICATION: We invite 300-word proposals in English for a 10-minute presentation; please also send your presentation title, your name, affiliation, and a short biography (max. 100 words). We will also be hosting interactive workshop sessions (60 minutes) and invite 300-word proposals for these.
CONFERENCE FEES: Standard £50 | Students (+ ID)/Unwaged £20
BURSARIES: Several bursaries are available; the successful applicants will receive a fee-waiver. The competition will open on 17 December 2021 and close on 14 January 2022.
Membership of CLE is required. To join, go to: Sign up for Membership – Cultural Literacy Everywhere www.cle.world