Call for Papers



18th Summer School of Cultural Studies

6–8 June 2012, University of Jyväskylä, Finland


Art and aesthetics, and culture in general, were part of the Modern separation of value spheres, a situation that in Late Modern developments began to unravel. New kinds of articulation between art and the whole social sphere gradually emerged. In the process of this cultural change, margins and practices of marginalization have not disappeared, but the distinction between ’high’ art and the ’low’ or popular forms has lost much of its potency as a force of social distinction.

One important moment in this cultural change has been the surge of research into the ’margins’ of different art forms, commonly also contesting the values of existing canonizations. These changes are by no means univocal, but one of their effects has been that much of what used to count as margin has turned into different kinds of interface. In addition, what is on the outskirts of art may be and is able to make powerful interventions in different kinds of public spaces.

Public art has changed from lonely monuments on plazas to the artistic intervention in not only public spaces but in social practices connected to those spaces as well. Therefore visions of what is acceptable as public intervention have also changed. Some of the practices which are immanent to contemporary city, such as skateboarding, graffiti, street art, parcour, urban knitting etc., have been going through changes in the perception of viewers. They are in essence non-institutionalized practices, and that is actually the very source of their energy and originality. But the art world has been trying for decades to reappropriate any forms of urban cultures because they are an important part of contemporary discourse.

Street art hype is a recent occurrence which demonstrates the problematic treatment of urban practices in public spaces in general, so details are different but patterns of reappropriation are the same. Dealing with these problematic issues could enable us to scan different approaches and analytical discourses in the academic sphere, which in future can prove to be useful records of such important movements in urban culture.

Against this backdrop, 18th Summer School of Cultural Studies invites papers discussing  interventions of art in public spaces. This may be carried out within a wide range of phenomena, including, but not limited to, community art, street art and graffiti, skateboarding and parcours, urban knitting and urban gardening, fan fiction and blog writing, cybertexts, and different kinds of performance art.  Also theoretical approaches to the tendencies described above are welcome.

The Summer School has a multi- and cross-disciplinary orientation. It invites papers, especially from Ph.D. students, dealing with the above, or related, topics and issues.


The first day of the Summer School takes a Symposium form, and is dedicated to public lectures of the invited teachers and some other presenters, and in addition to its function in the Summer School it also features as a meeting for researchers and artists with an interest in these issues. The remaining two days concentrate on seminar work.

The seminar sessions are meant for post-graduate students whose work is related to the topic of the Summer School, while the adjoining lectures are open for everyone. The Summer School is free of charge. During seminar sessions, each paper will be allotted about one hour, out of which 10–15 minutes are reserved for the actual presentation. The teachers will be giving feedback on the papers, but peer discussion is emphasized.

This year’s Summer School includes a participation fee, which is 90 euros per person. Fee covers coffee/tea and snacks during the seminar. Further advice concerning the payment of the participation fee will be sent to those to be accepted in the Summer School.

The language of the Summer School is English. Please note that attendance is required throughout the Summer School.

The Summer School is part of the activities of the Society for Cultural Studies in Finland. It is organized by the Research Centre for Contemporary Culture and the Department of Art and Culture Studies at the University of Jyväskylä. The organizers thankfully acknowledge the support of the Department.

Please send your application by Friday, March 30 to


Or by post to

Kulttuurintutkimuksen seura, PL 35,  40014 Jyväskylän yliopisto

Society for Cultural Studies in Finland, P.O. Box 35, FI-40014 University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Your application should include

1. An abstract of 100-200 words, based on the paper you will be presenting.

2. A short presentation of yourself and your research topic with its theoretical orientation, methods and materials.

The applicants will be notified of the decision by Thursday, April 5.

Deadline for papers is May 21. Length of the papers is 10-15 pages. More information on them will be sent out later.

For more information e-mail minna.m.nerg[at], phone +358 (0)50 599 8842 or visit


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