Appel à contribution : « What does Animation mean in the Middle Ages? Theoretical and Historical Approaches », Bialystok, The A. Zelwerowicz National Academy of Dramatic Art, 19-21 septembre 2021, date limite le 1er avril 2021

This conference is concerned with the agency and life of material objects and evolves around the investigation of two interlaced objectives. First, the project will shed light on understudied aspects of medieval visual culture, focusing in particular on the agency of images and material objects. Second, it will provide new cutting-edge theoretical reflections and methodologies concerning the study of material agency and “living images” today. We argue that the cultural use of and interaction with images may be regarded as more than mere historically or culturally specific phenomenon. Rather, it concerns the ontology of images and constitutes a fundamental aspect of our life with images, in the premodern as well as in the contemporary. It is our contention that images are embedded in social interaction and that animation is deeply constitutive of the production of meaning. Animation, we argue, is not only located in the mind of the beholder, but in the epistemology, creation, interaction and materiality of images. Furthermore, we will argue that medieval animation may inform contemporary views on animation and provide us with a more precise vocabulary to capture current phenomena for instance in the digital world. The conference aim to be interdisciplinary and transhistorical in its perspective. The conference targets scholars of visual studies, material studies, study of religions, anthropology, medieval studies and theology. It is also relevant more generally for current discussions about the life and agency of seemingly dead matter.

There are four main topics of the conference:

  • Physical animation of art-works and other artefacts (sculptures, reliquaries, paintings etc.)
  • Mental “animations” of objects (art-works, and other artefacts)
  • Animation in a theatrical context (mystery-plays, liturgical plays and staging’s, puppets and other theatrical use of figures and sculptures)
  • Medieval and Early Modern animation in the 20th Century and contemporary theatrical practices.

The Conference takes as its point of departure the work of the newly organized international research-project: The Living Image (LIMA): On the ontology, agency and personhood of living images and objects – medieval and modern. This project is coordinated from the University of Bergen, Norway, and consists of a group of researchers from Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Poland, United Kingdom, and USA, and the work of the international research network: The European Network on the Instruments of Devotion – ENID:

The conference in Bialystok is designed to be a platform for the exchange of opinions, ideas, and historical documentation, as well as the starting point for a publication. We plan to publish a collection of articles offering an interdisciplinary academic survey of the topic of animation in the Middle Ages, and its reception in the 20th Century.

Confirmed key-note speakers: Peter Dent, Ph.D., University of Bristol, GB; Prof. Cynthia Hahn, The City University of New York, USA; Prof. Hans Henrik Lohfert Jørgensen, University of Aarhus, Denmark; Amy Whitehead, Ph. D., Massey University, New Zealand

The language of the conference is English. Each contributor will be given 20 minutes to present his/her paper. Please send abstracts of no longer than 500 words, together with a short CV and personal data at the following email:

Deadline: April 1, 2021.

Conference fee: 25 Euros (15 Euros for Ph.D. students)

Paolo Uccello, Contre-attaque de Micheletto da Cotignola, Bataille de San Romano, v. 1440 (?). Détrempe sur bois, 182 x 317 cm. Paris, musée du Louvre.

Conference organised by:

Scientific committee:

  • Henrik von Achen, Professor, Director of the University Museum, University of Bergen, Norway
  • Kristin Bliksrud Aavitsland, Professor Ph.D., MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society, Norway
  • Barbara Baert, Professor, Ph.D., Art History, Faculty of Arts, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
  • Jørgen Bakke, Associate Professor, Dr. Art., Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies, University of Bergen, Norway
  • Carla Maria Bino, Professor, Ph.D., Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Brescia, Italy
  • Christophe Chaguinian, Associate Professor, Ph.D., College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, University of North Texas, USA
  • Peter Dent, Ph.D., Department of History of Art, University of Bristol, Great Britain
  • Rob Faesen, Professor Ph.D., Department of History of Church and Theology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
  • Cynthia Hahn, Professor, Ph.D., Medieval Art History, Hunter College, The City University of New York, USA
  • Hans Henrik Lohfert Jørgensen, Associate Prof., School of Communication and Culture – Art History, University of Aarhus, Denmark
  • Jon P. Mitchell, Professor, Ph.D., Social Anthropology, University of Sussex, Great Britain
  • David Morgan, Professor Ph.D., Religious Studies & Art, Art History and Visual Studies, Duke University, USA
  • Salvador Ryan, Professor. Ph.D., Ecclesiastical History, Pontifical University St Patricks College, Maynooth, Ireland
  • Zuzanna Sarnecka, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., Institute of Art History, University of Warsaw, Poland
  • Laura Katrine Skinnebach, Ph.D., School of Communication and Culture – Art History, University of Aarhus, Denmark
  • Allie Terry-Fritsch, Associate Professor, Ph.D., School of Art – Art History, Bowling Green State University, USA

The conference will take place in Bialystok at the:
The A. Zelwerowicz National Academy of Dramatic Art
Branch Campus in Białystok
(Puppet Theatre Art Department)
H. Sienkiewicza 14,
15–092 Białystok, Poland


Citer ce billet
Florence Larcher (2021, 28 février). Appel à contribution : « What does Animation mean in the Middle Ages? Theoretical and Historical Approaches », Bialystok, The A. Zelwerowicz National Academy of Dramatic Art, 19-21 septembre 2021, date limite le 1er avril 2021. Collectif d'Historiens de l'Art de la Renaissance. Consulté le 14 juin 2024, à l’adresse

Florence Larcher

Florence Larcher est doctorante à l'Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Ses recherches sur les images de saint Roch en Italie de 1350 à 1680 l'amènent à étudier la peinture murale, la sérialité et l'itinérance des peintres.

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