CFP: The World at Your Feet Footwear Conference

Women’s bath clogs, Turkey, 1850-1900 (image courtesy of Northampton Museum and Art Gallery)

The University of Northampton and Northampton Museum and Art Gallery invite submissions for a World Footwear conference due to take place at the University of Northampton in March 2013.

Deadline for abstract submissions is 21st November 2012.

The conference aims to encourage debate about the design and making of footwear from across the world, as well as celebrating the World Footwear collection housed at the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, designated as being of national and international cultural significance. Shoes are essentially complex objects that bridge both a functional and cultural role. Although the human foot has remained unchanged for thousands of years, shoes have shown incredible diversity. It is in these differences that some of the most interesting aspects of culture are revealed. A shoe is influenced of course by terrain, climate and available materials, but also by cultural aesthetics, religion, cultural status and practise, gender, trade and conquest.

The conference will aim to bring together those from different academic disciplines including, but not exclusively, fashion and design, sociology, anthropology and ethnography, history and psychology.

Themes could include but are not limited to:

  • Designing and making shoes
  • Distributing and consuming shoes
  • Impact of world footwear on contemporary design
  • Aesthetics of shoe beauty and sculpture of the shoe
  • Cult of shoe designers
  • Challenge of global markets and shoe making today
  • Personal and collective identity and shoe design
  • Social rituals and shoes
  • Shoes as polluting and purification agents
  • Role of religion and moral values in shaping footwear designs
  • Appropriateness of shoes and design
  • Shoes as tools in gender relations
  • Shoes and social status
  • Shoes as commodities within consumerism
  • Presence or absence of shoes
  • Cultural, social, economic, and personal meaning of shoes
  • Shoes as symbols of cultural understanding
  • Shoes and the relationship of between the West and other civilisations
  • Shoes as tokens of material culture
  • Shoes in performance
  • Displaying shoes

Instructions for submissions:

Papers must not substantially overlap with papers that have been published. Papers should be written in English. Papers must not exceed 15 pages total (including the references and appendices). If you’re interested in submitting a paper you must submit a short abstract of your presentation to Jane Seddon by 21st November 2012. The abstracts will then be reviewed by a panel of academic staff at the University of Northampton. Authors will be notified of acceptance by 15th January 2013.

For further information please contact Jane Seddon via email or call 01604 838 111 or contact Vicki Dean.

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