Arts Conference 2009

Background | Supporters

Welcome to the website of the 2009 International Conference on the Arts in Society. The 2009 Conference will be held in Venice, Italy, 28 to 31 July 2009, in conjunction with the Venice Biennale. July 28th will be a Pre-Conference day, with a Biennale Roundtable later in the afternoon from 17:00 to 18:30 in the Hotel Ala breakfast room (please see the Accommodation page). While 29 to 31 July will be comprised of a range of Plenary and Parallel Sessions. The setting for the 2009 Arts Conference will be the architectural treasure, Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti, of the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, in the heart of the city, with access to pavilions along the Giardini.

The 2009 Arts Conference will address a range of critically important issues and themes relating to the arts in society. Plenary speakers will include leading thinkers and practitioners in the arts, as well as paper, workshop and colloquium presentations by researchers and practitioners in all fields of artistic engagement.

We invite prospective participants to submit a presentation proposal for one of the following parallel session options: a 30-minute paper; a 60-minute workshop; a jointly presented 90-minute colloquium session; or a virtual session. We also encourage innovative presentation formats, such as roundtables, staged dialogues, screenings and performances. Parallel sessions are loosely grouped into streams reflecting different perspectives or disciplines. Each stream forms a talking circle, an informal forum for focused discussion of issues and Conference themes.

Conference presenters may include contributors in all areas of the arts - artists, educators, graduate students, curators, writers, theorists, researchers, arts administrators and policymakers - with presentations in all disciplines (visual, performing, literary, and interdisciplinary genres). This is a Conference for any person with an interest in and a concern for art practice, public art, art theory, research and policy, curatorial and museum studies, and art education in any of its forms and at any of its sites.

Participants may choose to submit written papers before or after the Conference for possible publication in the peer reviewed The International Journal of the Arts in Society. Virtual participants also have the option to submit papers for consideration by the Journal. All registered Conference participants receive a complimentary online subscription to the Journal when registration is finalised. This subscription is valid until one year after the Conference end-date.

If you would like to know more about this Conference, bookmark the Arts Conference website and return for further information and regular updates. You may also wish to subscribe to ‘The Arts in Society’, the Newsletter of the Conference and Journal.

For all inquiries, please contact the Conference Secretariat.


International Conference on the Arts in Society

The purpose of the annual Arts Conference is to create an intellectual platform for the arts and arts practices, and to create an interdisciplinary conversation on the role of the arts in society. It is intended as a place for critical engagement, examination and experimentation of ideas that connect the arts to their contexts in the world - on stage, in studios and theaters, in classrooms, in museums and galleries, on the streets and in communities.

The theme of this year’s Conference is Art and Transnationalism. Its scope is deliberately broad and ambitious. Our times demand nothing less than cross-disciplinary and holistic approaches. The breadth of the Conference and its accompanying Journal, however, are without prejudice to finely grained discussion of the specific, the local and the grounded practices.

The Conference provides a venue and a framework for the arts and art practices that are situated within the context of international art expositions, festivals and biennials engaged with the international production of art and its global distribution networks. The occasion of the Venice Biennale provides an opportunity for the Arts Conference to serve as a node in the larger fair and festival phenomenon and network. This Conference aims to discover what values, instincts and common ground may exist within the arts and their practices and sites of reception around the world. Your participation shapes the Conference itself.

The Arts Conference is held annually in different international locations in conjunction with global and local arts events. The inaugural Conference was held in conjunction with the Edinburgh Festivals, Edinburgh, Scotland in 2006, and in 2007, in collaboration with the Documenta12, Kassel, Germany. The 2007 International Symposium on the Arts was held during the Armory Show in New York and in co-sponsorship with the Center for Art and Public Policy, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. In 2008, the Conference was held at the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK, with a special theme of Art and Communication.

The International Journal of the Arts in Society

All registered participants (including virtual participants) have the option to submit papers to The International Journal of the Arts in Society. Papers submitted for publication will be fully refereed through a peer review process. The publication decision is based on the referees’ reports. For more information about the Journal please visit the Publish Your Paper page.


  • BorderZone Arts, Inc., San Francisco and Melbourne
BorderZone Arts is an international community-based arts and cultural organization that facilitates collaborations among historically under-represented and emerging artists and arts organizations. BZA’s programs foster artistic exchanges across international, cultural, geographic and political boundaries through the creation of exhibitions, performances, publications and public programs.
  • Musica a Palazzo
“Musica a Palazzo” manages one of the most important and noble gothic Venetian palaces in Venice:, the Palazzo Barbarigo-Minotto, where an innovative approach to Opera bridges the distance among artists, musicians and audience.