Art & Design Culture

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Accepts undergraduate submissions
Call for papers: 

Art and Design Culture: CALL FOR PAPERS


The Art and Design Culture area examines and engages the realms of the visual world as constructed by visual artists and designers as they interact with the popular and professional domains in which they live and work. We welcome proposals from art and design historians, cultural critics, practicing artists and designers, and others for whom the aesthetic and cultural implications of art and design play an important role. This area asks the question that W.J.T. Mitchell poses as the title of his 2005 volume: “What do Pictures Want?” which interrogates “The Lives and Loves of Images,” because, as Gerhard Richter notes “Picturing things, taking a view, is what makes us human; art is making sense and giving shape to that sense.” (Mitchell 1, xv) and as Herbert Simon remarked “to design is to devise courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones”.

The Art and Design Culture area serves as a forum for theoretically informed approaches to the visual at PCA/ACA. The area focuses on the exploration of the interaction and exchange between self-consciously created art and design and the popular, and on the interrogation of the resulting visual objects and situations as cultural constructs.

As the name suggests this area is larger than a consideration of works or art or design as discrete objects, and seeks to examine the networks of culture in which these objects play a part. This reflects the influence of Material Culture Studies and Visual and Cultural Studies on Art and Design History. Engagement with the idea of design culture, as proposed by Guy Julier in The Culture of Design, opens up areas beyond the visual for examination: “design culture requires its observers to move beyond visual and material attributes to consider the multivarious and multilocational networks of its creation and manifestation.” This area serves as a forum for sharing research that reaches out beyond the traditional bounds of art and design history to examine works of art and design in various contexts, from galleries and museums to the pages of magazines and living rooms, through various forms of sensory perception, and through the lenses of various methodological and cultural frameworks.

We are soliciting papers for the upcoming PCA/ACA conference next April in Philadelphia that may consider but are not limited to:

  • Art broadly defined: painting, sculpture, installation, sound, photography, film, video, digital media, etc.
  • Design broadly defined: interior decoration, graphic design, industrial/product design, digital design, the built environment, landscape architecture, etc.
  • The meaning of looking and being looked at
  • Spectacle and surveillance
  • Networks of vision
  • Visual transcultures
  • Networks through which design and art are circulated
  • Art and design as networks of cultural exchange
  • The politics of display and exhibition
  • Theoretical issues related to art and design
  • Spectacle
  • Identity
  • Cultural Hybridity or Syncretism

 Please submit an abstract  of no more than 250 words of your proposed paper and a short 50-word bio with contact information at Instructions for logging in and submitting proposals appear on the home screen of the site. 




2021 Conference Dates and Deadlines

13-Aug-20 Submission Page Goes Live
28-Feb-28 Deadline for Proposals
10-Apr-21 Presenter Registration Ends at 11:59 pm: Non-registrants Dropped from Program
11-Apr-21 Non-presenter Registration Continues Through the Conference
15-Apr-21 Preliminary Schedule Available

June 2-5, 2021 

Virtual Conference


All presenters must be current, paid members of the PCA and registered for the conference. Non-presenters who attend the full conference must also pay membership fees.  

The last day for all refunds is February 15, 2021. No refund requests will be honored after this date. Membership fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.












Area chairs

Gretchen Gasterland-Gustafsson