CFP: Caresses and Catharsis: On Art and Touch - 2021 Online Conference of the Universities Art Association of Canada

Kristen Carter's picture
Call for Papers
May 16, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Contemporary History, Fine Arts, Theatre & Performance History / Studies

CFP: Caresses and Catharsis: On Art and Touch

Chairs: Kristen Carter, Florida Southern College,; Jessica Santone, California State University-East Bay,


Lygia Clark’s 1967 “The I and the You” invited two participants to touch each other while wearing conjoined suits that covered their eyes, noses, and ears. For Clark, touch constituted a cathartic and sometimes antagonistic process that interrogated boundaries between self and other. Three decades  later, Diane Borsato’s “Touching 1000 People” was a month-long performance of surreptitiously grazing strangers on Montreal streets and buses. Thwarting the gentility of North American personal space, Borsato aimed to improve the city’s wellbeing through intimate contact, in the process recasting touch as curative and creative form. With these projects in mind, we invite papers that explore the cathartic, phenomenological, social, and/or political capacities of touch as creative form in 20th-century body art, performance, and related practices. At a moment when touch has become a source of global anxiety, we turn to these histories for what comfort and instruction they might offer us now.


Please send proposals directly to the chair(s):


Kristen Carter, Florida Southern College,

Jessica Santone, California State University-East Bay,


Proposal deadline: May 16, 2021


1. Submissions must include:

  • the applicant’s email address 
  • the name of the applicant 
  • the applicant’s institutional affiliation 
  • a brief biography (150 words maximum)
  • title of proposal 
  • a proposal (300 words maximum) 


2. Submissions must be submitted via the “Call for Papers” form:


3. Proposals may be submitted by current members or non-members of UAAC. Non members must become members of UAAC and pay registration fees in order to present a paper at the conference. Membership dues and registration fees must be received by September 20, 2021. 


4. Proposals are invited from permanent and contractual faculty, independent scholars and artists, and graduate students in terminal degree programs (examples: PhD,  MFA, MDes, etc.) who are engaged in the  visual arts (studio practice, art history,  visual culture, material culture, museum  studies, art conservation, etc.). MA students are not permitted to give papers at the conference.


For more information:

Contact Info: 

Kristen Carter, Florida Southern College,

Contact Email: