Session co-convenor (with Dr. Mary Ikoniadou, University of Central Lancashire)
Visual Solidarities: Crossing borders in aesthetic practices
This session examines the often side-lined, post-1945 histories, trajectories and methodologies of visual production and circulation that express and constitute relations of solidarity. It builds on the premise that in solidarity there is a sense of border-crossing from self to other and towards a shared space of politics that potentially challenges stable identities and fixed localities. Engaging with the concept of solidarity, in expanded art historical and visual fields of enquiry, allows us to probe the particular affective and symbolic capabilities of image production in relation to contingent politics of circulation and reception. Visual solidarities do not just require inclusion in a world map of artistic production; crucially, such visual practices and cultures challenge conceptual frontiers in the field and allow us to imagine and/or shape its future. Papers will focus on historical networks of exchange and political solidarity that were established against the backdrop of a global Cold War order and during processes of decolonisation. Through different perspectives and methodological approaches, each of the papers will focus on a specific element of aesthetic practice and its associated mode of artistic production and circulation: mail art; posters; a magazine; children’s books and the decolonization of artistic pedagogy. The discussion will cover a vast geography of connections brought by relationships of affinity, friendship and activist collaboration, which cut across national frontiers and ideological divides.