Session 2

Dr Shona Kallestrup / School of Art History, University of St Andrews
Dr Charlotte Ashby / Department of History of Art, Birkbeck, University of London


Art and Design in Translation: The circulation of objects, people and approaches


Material objects, techniques, and approaches are produced within particular contexts. This session is concerned with what happens to the meaning of these objects and practices when they are translated or transported to other contexts, in particular through contact with other cultures. How do those aspects considered ‘Nordic’ or ‘foreign’ make the transition across these boundaries? What impact do they have on the new contexts in which they find themselves, and how are they themselves refashioned? How is original meaning affected or reinterpreted, and what remains stable?

This session invites proposals that consider Nordic art and design outside the framework of national art histories and within the transnational dynamics of cultural exchange. Examples might include the impact/presentation of Nordic art and artefacts in exhibitions and museum collections outside the Nordic countries, or the movement of individuals, objects, and approaches through study trips, exploration, emigration, and commerce. We also welcome proposals that consider the object-based construction of wider ideas of Nordic identity abroad, such as the exhibition-driven ‘myth’ of Scandinavian design in the 1950s, or the current Anglophone appropriation of ‘hygge’. As such, we welcome papers that address both specific case studies and wider conceptual issues of the agency of objects and material culture dynamics across national boundaries.