Call for papers: Transnationalism and Visual Culture in Britain: Émigrés and Migrants, 1933-1956

9-11 September 2009 Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Deadline for proposals: 15 November 2008


Dr Marian Malet (Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies, University of London)

Brigitte Mayr and Michael Omasta (Synema – Gesellschaft für Film und Medien, Vienna)

Historically British visual culture has been shaped by trans-cultural cooperation, exiles, émigrés and migrant workers. Besides multi-faceted collaboration across geographical and cultural boundaries, the political situation in the mid-twentieth century in continental Europe prompted various migration movements. Many professionals, artists and intellectuals left their home countries as a response to the establishment of totalitarian regimes first by Italian, German and Spanish fascists and later by communists in central and Eastern Europe. Others arrived in Britain almost by chance – caught out by war or redrawn national boundaries. To a significant number Britain offered a new – often permanent – home. Among the large group of émigrés who helped to change the face of visual culture in Britain were film producers such as Alexander Korda, art historians such as Nikolaus Pevsner, filmmakers such as Karel Reisz and Lotte Reiniger, ceramic designers such as Grete Loebenstein and Agnete Hoy, architects such as Walter Gropius and Erich Mendelsohn, avant-garde artists such as László Moholy-Naghy, and photographers such as Bill Brandt.

This international and interdisciplinary conference looks at the cross- fertilisation and trans-national contact of British visual culture from the year the Nazis seized power in 1933 to the uprising in Hungary in 1956. Its wide focus invites papers on the avant-garde as well as on popular culture, centres of immigration as well as marginalised communities.

Presentations may feature analyses of individual émigrés, trajectories of migrants, specific studies of cross-cultural contacts, specific artefacts, schools of thought and theory, places of migration and trans-national cultural life, film, photography, material visual culture, fashion, journalism, television, architecture, academic life, the avant-garde, design, race, gender, national identities, etc.

Topics of trans-national aspects of visual culture in Britain not included in the above list are also welcome. Panel proposals are also welcome but we ask each presenter to submit his or her own paper proposal. Roundtable sessions and international participation are strongly encouraged.

Please send 150-250 word proposals to

Dr Tobias Hochscherf Conference Co-organiser Northumbria University School of Arts and Social Sciences Lipman Bldg. Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8ST United Kingdom Phone: ++44(0)191-227-4932 Email:


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