Conference: Pockets, Pouches and Secret Drawers, IMLR University of London, 2 – 4 December 2021 (Deadline 30 July 2021)

Lucy Locket lost her pocket,
Kitty Fisher found it.
Not a penny was there in it
But a ribbon round it.

Keynote Speakers

Jack Ashby (Dept of Zoology, Cambridge): ‘Marvelling at marsupials: pouches in nature’
Carolyn Sargentson (Independent scholar & consultant, formerly Head of Research, V&A): ‘Furniture as theatre: performing secrecy, surveillance and subterfuge’
Jenny Tiramani (The School of Historical Dress): ‘Gendered pockets: the difference in pockets worn by men and women c.1500-1900′

to be confirmed

The title of this conference refers to enclosed places, deception and privacy, focusing on three spatial areas – the body, clothing and furniture. For Baudelaire the weight of memories is like a desk full of hidden drawers; for Carroll the white rabbit’s pocket drives Alice down into Wonderland. Houses contain rooms, which contain furniture with secret contents; bodies enclose pouches, wombs, systems, membranes. All enclosures imply possible exposure but also protect themselves against revelation – why and how? Do boys’ pockets differ from girls’? Is a poacher’s coat, lined with hidden pockets, quite different from the mechanism by which drawers spring out of an eighteenth-century lady’s escritoire to carry when she travels? What is the ‘person’ that hides things about itself? This topic crosses many disciplinary boundaries as well as languages, centuries and media. The conference will include three keynote speakers, a performance by a magician, a dinner, and break-out sessions.

Please send proposals for a 20-minute paper (or for a panel of three 20-minute papers) to the organiser, Naomi Segal ( The proposal should comprise your name, email address & academic affiliation, if any; a 300-word abstract, with title; and a 100-word mini-bio.

Deadline: 31 July 2021

Early Career Bursaries Competition
Opens 9 July 2021 & closes 9 August 2021

‘How small the cosmos (a kangaroo’s pouch would hold it), how paltry and puny in comparison to human consciousness, to a single individual recollection, and its expression in words!’ 
Vladimir Nabokov, 
Speak, Memory

Registration will open on 12 July 2021 and close on 29 October 2021

Numbers are limited, please book early

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