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Call for Participation: Thinking Colour Symposium

Thinking Colour image

Call for Participation: Thinking Colour Symposium

Trinity College, University of Oxford, 24 June 2016

* The call for participation for this symposium is now closed. To view information about the symposium, taking place on 24 June 2016 at Trinity College, and to register, please visit: *

‘Fascinated by painting, philosophical thought has always burned itself in the fire of colour’      – Jacqueline Lichtenstein

Thinking Colour invites academics, curators, and artists to consider the philosophical relations between colour and thinking. Engaging with questions of colour in ways that exceed the discussion of specific cases and linguistic manifestations, we invite our participants to approach colour through visual analysis, visual theory, critical thought, and comparative or transhistorical reflection. This symposium starts from inquiries already opened by thinkers such as Ludwig Wittgenstein, Gilles Deleuze, and Julia Kristeva, and more recently by Michael Taussig and Natasha Eaton. It asks questions such as: how do images think in/through colour? What is colour’s affective power? How does colour relate to specific materialities? How can colour have agency? Is colour a device for – or even a form of – thinking? We also invite responses both to ontological questions around being in colour, being without colour, resisting colour, and inhabiting colour, and to epistemological questions around colour and knowledge. How can colour function in relation to thinking in artistic practice/research?

Understanding interdisciplinarity as a polyphony of voices and methodologies coming together in and around a single context, the Thinking Colour symposium invites its participants to contemplate colour as a topic for theoretical reflection, in the light of their own discipline. It offers a space for presentation but also for debate, and exchange, with an emphasis on comparison as a methodology for stimulating new thought.

The day will consist of several talks delivered by invited international academics who are leading in this field. We are honoured to host David Batchelor, Laure Blanc-Benon (University Paris-Sorbonne), Natasha Eaton (University College London), Liz Watkins (University of Leeds), Paul Smith (University of Warwick).

Responding to, and comparing, ideas raised by these distinguished speakers, will be a panel composed of artists, graduate research students, early career fellows, and established academics. There will also be a round-table of shorter (10 minute) paper presentations and discussion for which we invite paper proposals.

We invite potential participants to apply to one or both of the following formats:

  1. To give a short (10 minutes) paper/proposition: please send a 300 word abstract
  2. To be considered as a respondent and panel member, offering a 10-minute comparative response to invited speakers:  please send a 300 word ‘indication of interest’ surrounding your academic and theoretical interest in the topic of colour and thinking

Please send proposals to by 31 March 2016. Applicants will be notified of the decision by the beginning of April.

The symposium is co-funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH).