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Beyond Genius and Muse: Collaborating Couples in Twentieth-Century Arts

April 18, 2017 - April 19, 2017
Department of Music, University of Bristol

Bristol BS8 1SA
United Kingdom

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Deadline for proposals: 16th December 2016


Prof. Frances Spalding CBE, FRSL

Anthony Payne & Jane Manning OBE

Examining collaborating couples can force us to rethink the paradigms of working relationships in the arts; especially those of the twentieth century, where ideas of genius and muse are in total flux. Whether couples collaborated or hindered each other, what are the means to describe such complex creative partnerships? How can feminism, gender theories, and queer studies help shift perceptions and rediscover hidden powers and intimate connections? What methodologies can we use to research and write about intra-art and interdisciplinary couples? How do such couples perceive themselves and their work? This conference seeks to engage with all kinds of collaborating couples, be it cases where traditional roles are intact, reversed, or changed otherwise.

We invite proposals to the following topics (and others beyond):

Muses vs. geniuses in creative partnerships

Related isms: feminism, modernism, post-modernism, etc.

Queer perspectives

Methodological challenges (biography, comparative biography, life writing, archives and legacies, constructs like Michèle LeDoeuff’s ‘Heloise complex’, etc.)

Challenges in interdisciplinary partnerships/approaches

Collaboration and obstruction in partnerships

Partnerships between creative artists (writers, poets, fine artists, composers, performers, etc.) and ‘enablers’ (editors, gallerists and dealers, critics, conductors, etc.)

Proposals can be for 20-minute individual papers or 90-minute collaborative panels or lecture-recitals of max. 90 minutes. Proposals should not exceed 300 words, biographies (optional) 150 words. Please submit your proposal on the website. If you would like to compete for one of three postgraduate travel bursaries, please identify yourself as a postgraduate student in your proposal.

Conference fees, details on registration and the conference dinner will be posted on the website.

Organiser and Programme Committee

Dr Annika Forkert (Organiser; University of Bristol)

Dr Adrian Paterson (NUI Galway)

Dr Sarah Terry (Oglethorpe University)

Dr Tom Walker (Trinity College Dublin)

Contact: please email

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December 16, 2016, 11:45pm BST

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