Fields of collaboration in contemporary art practices | International conference

Can all art be considered collaborative? What has motivated so many artists, in recent decades, to organize in collectives and participate in collaborative projects? Does collaboration in the arts play a major role in redefining the art world and in the production of new subjectivities? How do collaborative art practices challenge the myths of creative genius and artistic individuality?

Collaboration in the arts is indisputably a global phenomenon – as asserted by authors such as Grant Kester (2011) –, which emerges cyclically, mostly in moments of great uncertainty. Such practices often involve a high degree of self-reflection concerning artistic modes of production of art, as well as a greater freedom of formal and authorial experimentation. However, there is a symptomatic lack of research about the long-standing desire of artists to work together and share a collective voice (Stimson, Sholette, 2007). Moreover, collaborative processes have been notoriously co-opted in the context of capitalism, in order to develop more flexible and precarious configurations of work (Deleuze, 1992; Boltanski, Chiapello, 2007). Given these contradictions, there is the need for a timely debate about the role collaboration plays in the current socio-economic context, particularly regarding the ways in which the arts may contribute to create another perception of the potential and value of collaborative practices (De Wachter, 2017).

We therefore invite artists, researchers and artist-researchers to share proposals that, inter alia, investigate art practices where collaboration is both the driving force of artistic creation and a field of experimentation where aesthetical processes, issues of autonomy and organization as well as modes of production and circulation are challenged.

We welcome proposals that explore the historical, sociological and aesthetic dimensions of collaborative art practices, bearing in mind the following issues and their points of convergence:

– Specific conditions of production of collaborative practices: the various means, methodologies, strategies, cultural and economic contexts, common guidelines and practices, and collaborative semantics;

– How they relate to public policies and the market: synergies, antagonisms and the search for alternatives;

– Challenges, conflicts and decision-making processes in collectives and other forms of artistic collaboration;

– Notions of authorship;– The contribution of collaborative practices in redefining working methods in the domain of art;

– New forms of agency: the influence of art practices on collaboration in a wider social perspective;

– Relationship with the experimentation of new political forms of self-governance outisde of the artistic field, and different notions of “common”;

– Formal aspects that distinguish, or fail to distinguish, works of art produced collaboratively from those produced in other configurations of authorship;

– Relationship of the sptectator to different regimes of aesthetic experience, i.e. enabling the audience’s participation in the collaborative experience;

– The tension between ethical judgement and aesthetic judgement in the critical reception of collaborative works of art.

We invite proposals for presentations of 20 minutes and welcome both traditional and non-traditional formats, such as video screenings or performances. Papers can be individually or collaboratively authored. The working languages are Portuguese and English.

Please send proposals to including:

– A pdf file with your name, paper title, e-mail address, institutional affiliation and a short bio (100 words);

– A second pdf file with the paper title, abstract (300 words) and keywords (max. 5). In case of a visual or performative presentation, please also include up to five images and/or a link to audio or video. Please do not include your name on the second file and linked material.

Call for papers: April 15 – June 15, 2019

Conference dates: November 19-20, 2019

Venue: Culturgest, Lisbon

Keynote speakers:

Catherine Quéloz and Liliane Schneiter

[Second keynote speaker to be confirmed]

Roundtable on collaboration in the arts in Portugal:

António Olaio (artist and professor, Universidade de Coimbra)

José Maia (artist and professor, Universidade do Porto)

Rita Fabiana (curator, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian)

Sandra Vieira Jürgens (curator and professor, IHA, DHA, FCSH, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa)

Accepted languages

English and Portuguese


Paper Submission: free

Regular Registration: 40,00€

Student Registration: 30,00€

Audience: free entrance

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Organized by ICNOVA, IFILNOVA and IHA – NOVA University of Lisbon

Lisbon, November 19-20, 2019