Call for Papers: Nostalgias--Visualising Longing

Deadline for abstracts 15 June 2013

This peer-reviewed conference explores the multiple concepts of nostalgia and how longing manifests itself within contemporary culture. The conference aims to examine, analyse and interpret the complexities of nostalgia and nostalgic sensibilities within art, media and material culture. We invite submissions that consider how nostalgia is represented within the interdisciplinary range of art and media based practices (photography, moving image, sound, new media, fashion, fine art and design). What is the visual vocabulary of nostalgic emotion? 

How important are aesthetics to the nostalgic image? Do we long for more tangibility in this digital age? Nostalgia is often viewed as a form of yearning for another place or time; it has been identified as a way of managing loss, a marketing device and a tool of propaganda by making reference to the past as a means to shape the future. Nostalgia has different functions, it is used to evoke, influence and activate a range of emotional responses, affecting all areas of contemporary life. Yet, nostalgia is as much about fantasy as it is about memory. Recently, the cultural function of nostalgia has been a subject of critical debate. How is nostalgia used, experienced and referenced in relation to images in art and media? What role does nostalgia have in modern society? How do contemporary attitudes encourage nostalgia?

Possible topics could include but are not limited to:

  • The multiple readings of nostalgias
  • The impact of nostalgia on culture
  • Vintage and commodification
  • Longing for home; travel and memory
  • Aesthetics of nostalgia
  • Contemporary technologies
  • Political uses of longing
  • From sentimentality to nostalgia and melancholy
  • Touch, smell and sound evoking the past
  • Photographic history as nostalgia
  • Narrating nostalgia; fantasy and longing

The conference will take place at the Winter Gardens Margate, Kent, UK on 9 and 10 November 2013, with an opening reception on 8 November. Selected papers will be presented at the conference and may be included in a planned peer reviewed special issue of the journal Photography and Culture (Bloomsbury). The conference weekend will have a programme of associated events and exhibitions.

Submission guidelines - Papers

This conference invites submissions that explore nostalgia in its interdisciplinary sense, embracing ideas and visualisations of nostalgia and longing. We welcome submissions that assess contemporary attitudes and experiences of nostalgia through material culture, art and media.

Deadline for abstracts: 15 June 2013

To submit a proposal for a paper please send an abstract (300-500 words), a 1- page CV, five key words and a short biographical note (100 words)

Send to:

From the submitted abstracts we will make a final selection (subject to peer review process) to be presented at the conference. Successful applicants will be notified by 1 August and the full-length papers of 20 minutes will be required by 1 October 2013.

For more information about the conference, please visit or contact the conveners on