Call For Papers

The Graduate Union of the Students of Art (GUStA) at the University of Toronto is pleased to present the ninth Annual Wollesen Memorial Graduate Symposium in cooperation with the Department of Art History.


Keynote: Rebecca Zorach, Northwestern University

The Paesina Stone, Florence

The Ninth Annual Wollesen Memorial Graduate Symposium

March 18-19, 2022 (Online)

Call for Papers Deadline: February 4th, 2022, 5 PM ET

In art history, notions of artistic creation, identity, and agency are often underpinned by an anthropocentric framework that hampers critical reflection on non-human actors in the making and circulation of images and artefacts. This symposium seeks to explore nonanthropocentric perspectives to artistic practice by confronting the ‘animal’, ‘inorganic’, or even ‘divine’ limits of art making, and examining the degree to which the works of art both past and present continue to be shaped by agencies and currents of power that resist or exceed human control. We encourage submissions from students and scholars working on visual and material culture in any period or region, as well as those engaging with theoretical insights in eco-criticism, history of science and technology, media theory, archaeology and anthropology.

Examples of research areas include, but are not limited to:

• anthropocentrism in art history
• political agency of animals in art
• the limit between art and nature, organic and inorganic in art-making (nature as painter/
artist/artisan, lusus naturae, nature print, photography)
• indigenous place-thought and land-based consciousness
• the limits of notions such as agency, intentionality, and consciousness and meaningful
ways to articulate agency, consciousness or thought proper to images and artefacts
• material agency; artists ‘listening’ to what their work/material/tool ‘wants’
• analogies between the artist and their tools (retina/lens, finger/brush, etc.)
• diverse strategies used to circumvent or relinquish human agency, intention, or
willpower in art-making (Acheiropoieta, role of accident and chance, automatism and
the unconscious)
• art generated by new digital technologies (e.g. Google Lens, Deep Dream Generator)
• the dehumanization of artists in political, ideological and colonial contexts

Submission Guidelines

The Ninth Annual Wollesen Memorial Graduate Symposium takes place on March 18-19, 2022. In view of the current development of the pandemic, the symposium will be organized entirely online. Speakers have the option of presenting live or submitting a pre-recorded presentation. Presentations are 20 minutes in length, followed by a live discussion period. We will be requesting submissions of completed manuscripts for publication in the symposium proceedings.

Please submit 250-word paper abstracts accompanied by a 100-word bio (.doc/.docx/.pdf) to the Graduate Union of Students of Art at by Friday, February 4, 2022, at 5 PM ET. If you would like to submit a request for an organized panel session consisting of three papers, please ask all authors in the session to submit individual abstracts and send us a separate email containing the names and email addresses of all session speakers. Applicants will receive email notification no later than Friday, February 25, 2022, at 5PM ET.

Queries regarding submissions should be directed to

With appreciation,
Rupert Nuttle and Wenyi Qian
Co-Chairs of the 9th Annual Wollesen Memorial Graduate Symposium