Conference Themes and Special Focus

The Thirteenth International Conference on the Arts in Society features research addressing the following annual themes.

  • Theme 1: Arts Education
  • Theme 2: Arts Theory and History
  • Theme 3: New Media, Technology and the Arts
  • Theme 4: Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts
  • 2018 Special Focus: How Art Makes Things Happen—Situating Social Practice in Research, Practice, and Action

2018 Conference Chair

Cissie Fu, Dean, Faculty of Culture + Community, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver, Canada; Co-Founder, Political Arts Initiative

Dr. Cissie Fu is Dean of the Faculty of Culture + Community at Emily Carr University of Art + Design and Co-Founder of the Political Arts Initiative, which invites 21st-century imag-e-nations of the political through digital technology and the creative and performing arts.

After an AB in Government and Philosophy at Harvard University, Cissie explored public interest law in Washington DC before moving to the University of Oxford for an MSt in Women’s Studies, an MSc in Political Research and Methodology, and a DPhil in Politics and International Relations. She lectured at Oxford and University College London prior to serving as Senior Tutor and Director of Studies at Leiden University College in Leiden University’s Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs in The Hague. Having returned to Canada in August 2016, she continues to be a regular guest curator and performer at art institutions in and out of Europe.

Cissie’s research sits at the nexus of politics, philosophy, and performance, with a focus on contemporary manifestations of the political through individual and collective action and expression. Suspending divisions of theory/practice, contemplation/action, and analysis/performance, Cissie seeks common ground where thinking, making, and acting are equally foundational to being human, which, when taken as the starting point of political theorising, casts performance—of identity, will, and responsibility—as a powerful source for political awakening and a robust realisation of citizenship.

On the premise that the aesthetic refracts the ethical and the political, Cissie draws from artistic practices for her current book project on the politics of silence, towards resuscitating silence as a positive political concept which can articulate and embrace the constructive ambiguities between attachment and detachment in political practices of speech and action.

Plenary Speakers

The Thirteenth International Conference on the Arts in Society will feature plenary sessions by some of the world’s leading thinkers and innovators in the field.

Helen Reed

Helen Reed

Artist, Vancouver, Canada

Hannah Jickling

Hannah Jickling

Artist, Vancouver, Canada

Vanessa Kwan

Vanessa Kwan

Artist; Curator, Grunt Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

Steve Lambert

Steve Lambert

Co-Founder, The Center for Artistic Activism, New York, USA; Associate Professor, New Media, State University of New York at Purchase, New York, USA

Steve Duncombe

Steve Duncombe

Co-Founder, The Center for Artistic Activism, New York, USA; Professor, Media and Culture, New York University, New York, USA

Amber Frid-Jimenez

Amber Frid-Jimenez

Canada Research Chair, Art and Design Technology, and Associate Professor, Emily Carr University, Vancouver, Canada

Richard William Hill

Richard William Hill

Canada Research Chair, Indigenous Studies, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Vancouver, Canada

Conference Tour: Artist-Run Centers

Participants of the 2018 Arts in Society Conference are invited to take part in an evening guided tour of artist-run centers that will include stops at the Western Front and the Or Gallery, among others.

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Conference Tour: UBC's Public Art Collection​

The University of British Columbia has been collecting outdoor art pieces to enrich the campus environment since the mid-twentieth century. These pieces give a voice to the multiple stories of history surrounding both UBC and Vancouver, and they are part of the ever-evolving narrative of art, place and space, and our own sense of ourselves.

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Pre-Conference Tour: Art/Seen Vancouver

Join other conference delegates and plenary speakers the day before the conference for a walking tour of Vancouver's art scene. The tour will touch on aspects of the themes of the conference and provide conference participants a look into how arts organizations connect arts to the context of Vancouver.

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Conference Closing Reception

Common Ground Research Networks and the International Conference on the Arts in Society will be hosting a closing reception at Equinox Gallery. Join other conference delegates and plenary speakers for drinks, light hor d'oeuvres, and a chance to converse.

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Conference Partner

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