Call for Papers: Mirroring communities through Art and Design

With the aim of bringing together a range of arts and design-based activities, perspectives and approaches the University of Lapland hopes to contribute to the ongoing debates around the value of arts-based action and research in achieving sustainable change, social and economic marginalization experienced by youth and anticipating and confronting challenges which urgently require innovative ideas, methods and outcomes.

Mirroring communities through Art and Design
Dates: 30 Nov – 3 Dec 2021
University of Lapland, Finland

Conference theme

Central to the conference is a core question: ‘What might a model or methods of ‘mirroring’ mean and become through its development and application through art and design research?’. We hope to encounter a variety of ways that participants and contributors can demonstrate diverse and wide-ranging uses of this idea which will help reveal the potential for further possible practices of mirroring. We also look forward to opportunities for discussion and the development of the mirroring concept as a way to establish spaces and build bridges for dialogue, conversation and collaboration among global youth when it is applied across geographical distances. We are keen to explore how mirroring might be further used as a potent political tool across the arts and in terms of design so that it can help inspire or influence social movements. We also hope to encourage innovations which explore how care, responsibilities and relationships might become central to our ways of approaching and utilizing mirroring in the contexts of arts-based and design methods.

The concept of mirroring has much to offer in terms of how it can be utilized within and outside of individual academic contexts or disciplines. It allows us to recognize or acknowledge empathy, intersubjectivity and understanding in our own actions, and in those of others (Zahavi 2012). Neurologically, the large scale networks and mirroring mechanisms in the human brain create the basis for a social mirroring (Iacoboni 2007) while also contributing to motion, emotion and empathy which create the aesthetic experience (Freedberg & Gallese 2007).

Interpersonally, mirroring can embody action which, when used as movement in performance or dance, can create emotional understanding and empathy for others (McGarry & Russo 2011). We can also see instances of mirroring in structural and organized social relations through our interactions or correspondences as members of a community, and through society and culture. Indeed, since mirroring acts upon social perception multidimensionally, its potential can expand beyond straightforward comparison (Hřebíčková, Graf, Tegdes & Brezina 2017).

Mirroring, therefore, can contribute to achieving social empathy and an understanding of others (Segal 2018), and can be practiced as part of a variety of tacit social interactions (Hasson & Frith 2016). Further, through acts and actions which work to mirror our own views, values and ideas with those of others we are able to learn socially. Such a pluralistic and heterogeneous approach, we believe, will promise and contribute more to creative processes and solutions than if we continue to remain fixed upon homogeneity and the limitations of ‘singularism’ (Wals 2010).

Call for contributions – papers, posters and visual essays
We welcome proposals for contributions across a variety of formats, including:

1. Long (academic) paper – 2000–3500 words
2. Short (report) paper – 500–1500 words
3. Visual contributions (posters, visual essays etc.)

Your conference proposal might include (but is not limited to) any of the following themes or applications of the mirroring concept:

•mirror(ing) as reflection
•mirroring as representation
•mirroring as positioning
•mirroring as protection
•mirroring as knowing
•mirroring as showing & seeing & (multi)sensing & feeling
•mirroring as spying/playing
•mirroring as solidarity
•mirroring as care
•mirroring as a portal or entrance (to another world?)
•mirroring as history and future
•mirroring as learning, unlearning and relearning
•mirroring as visual practice

We are also excited to receive proposals for contributions which seek to explore the opportunities for developing visually-led narratives (posters, visual essays, short films etc.) which make use of modes of critical enquiry and storytelling as a means to explore ideas of mirroring.

Please send your submission to seeyouth@ulapland.fi.

Deadline for submission of abstracts 6.6.2021

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