Deadline for Papers is Extended to 14th March 2017
Visualising the Home CFP – A conference exploring the meaning of home within contemporary society as seen through photography
Clare Gallagher, Photographer and Course Director of
BA (Hons) Photography, University of Belfast School of Art
Katrin Joost, Philosopher and Programme Leader of MA
Photography, University of Cumbria Institute of the Arts
What does home mean to us today? How can we depict the intimacy of homes as personal and private spaces as well as expressing the public and political dimensions of home? How does photography shape our visual understanding of our home? We all know our homes; yet, home is one of the most elusive of concepts. There are many people who have no homes and it can certainly be considered a privilege (and conversely a burden) to be a homeowner. Houses that are dwellings are more than mere bricks and mortar. Home as a sense of belonging is familiar to everyone, yet so difficult to describe. Images of houses and domestic spaces often serve as symbols, but rarely convey the intimate and individual sensibility of home. How then are we to articulate and visualise the aesthetics of home? The homely cosiness of the familiar has become idealised and easily recognised within collective consciousness to the extent that it has become a major marketing tool. The connotations and visual clues of home are universal and particular, personal and corporate. In a broader sense, how does photography operate in the aesthetics of home? Photographs of loved ones; family occasions, and places familiar to us constitute a major component of the aesthetics of home. Yet, we often only recognise our home once we leave or lose it. Hence, the innumerable melancholy songs about lost homes and memories of hometowns. The pain of homesickness and the anguish of exile expose the importance of home to us. More than the personal sensibility of home as private and domestic space, home can also be seen on a larger, public scale. Here, home gains a political dimension. National, ethnic and cultural senses of belonging and ownership relate to land, government and language. What does homeland mean? Does it belong to us to be shaped by us or do we belong to it to be shaped by it. The current refugee crisis brings to our consciousness the fundamental questions of home, politically and individually. More so, maybe, the Brexit referendum shows the passions of belonging and ownership and how governance is grounded in a sensibility of home.