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Writing as Material Practice : Surface, substance and medium – UCL London

October 13, 2008

Whereas content meaning has been the main focus of research on written evidence, this international conference seeks to explore past ‘writing’ and related symbolic modes in relation to material practice, performance and sensory experience. Papers are sought that, through case studies, will emphasise the artefactual nature of writing—the ways in which materials, techniques, colour, scale, orientation or visibility inform the creation of inscribed objects and landscapes, and structure subsequent engagement, perception and meaning making.

Please submit paper proposals of 500 words to by 31 December 2008. Abstracts should be submitted as Word files and include your name, title, institutional affiliation (if appropriate) and full contact details. If you do not plan to give a paper but would like to register your interest, please get in touch!

The many possible engagements with our theme include but are not limited to:

Defining ‘Writing’: How do we know when writing is ‘writing’? Is this category appropriate for characterising past forms of graphical symbolic expression?
Scribal Technology: How do materials, tools and technological choices relate to the expression and meaning of writing?
Inscribed Object Worlds: How does the substance, surface, shape or size of an object inform the expression and meaning of writing thereon?
Inscribed Landscapes: In what ways do ‘natural’ and built landscapes construct and influence written meanings?
Writing as Embodied Practice and Performance: How does the physical expression of writing inform physical and sensory engagements?
Hidden and Absent Writing: What is the social significance of writing if it is invisible or absent?
Methodology: What practice- and materials-based methods can be developed for the study of past writing, from documentation during excavation, analysis, interpretation and publication, to teaching and learning?


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