Category Archives: symposium



Cultural Literacy Everywhere and University College Dublin Symposium: 12–13 May 2022, by zoom.

As a physical space of habitation, dwellings may take many forms, such as houses, castles, apartments, convents, caravans, huts, or barges. Moreover, dwelling – both noun and verb – implies a certain ‘staying put’ or even permanence. Therefore, dwelling might then be a state of rootedness and safety, the opposite of temporary spaces such as refugee camps, prisons, and hospitals.

Space is a dimension that permits the formation of places, which for geographer Doreen Massey (1994) has multiple non-static identities. A place within a space can harmonize or clash with its surroundings. For Bachelard (1961), places and spaces are tied to identity-formation via an architectural engagement with dwellings. As a space of intimacy, a dwelling can constitute a ‘cosmos’ of the self, and it could be explored through topographical surveys or mappings of the paraphernalia, ambiances, memories, and imaginaries of living, as in the fiction and non-fiction of Georges Perec.

Exploring dwelling as a relationship with space, Bourdieu’s work on the ‘Berber house’ (1970) questions the modernist idea of space as nothingness or void. Heidegger’s ‘Building, Dwelling, Thinking’ (1954), an essential text for modern architecture, links human inscapes with the (im)material realities of building and dwelling. For the dweller, the relation to space and place entails simultaneously a withdrawal into a demarcated space for shelter and the creation of a sense of belonging.

Humanity’s sense of place and space has never been more prominent than it is today. The COVID-19 pandemic has confined many people to cramped urban dwellings or inhospitable spaces (e.g., quarantine hotels), turned homes into offices, and changed the topography of everyday life. This crisis, along with economic inequalities, climate change, and mass migration events, confirms the need for a radical reassessment of sustainable human dwelling on earth. This Symposium will engage in creative and critical discussion on dwelling in both the verbal and the nominal sense and on how we live or wish to live in the world.

This two-day online Symposium is designed to generate active discussion, focusing on thinking and talking rather than formal presentations. If your proposal is accepted, it will be included in a digital ‘book of presentations’ that all participants will be asked to read in advance of the Symposium. The contributions will be grouped into parallel break-out sessions of 90 minutes, during which each presenter will speak for max 10 minutes, and the subsequent discussion will aim to explore the key theme of the panel.

Proposals might include the following – or other – perspectives on ‘dwelling’:

– Dwelling and identity
– Dwelling and ecology
– Dwelling, location, address
– Dwelling as habitat or home
– Dwelling, remaining, and belonging
– Dwelling on: dwelling as a state of mind, as fixation
– Multiple dwellings or grouped dwellings, e.g., neighbourhood
– Dwellings vs. other buildings, e.g., factories, shops, ports, farmyards, etc.
– Dwellings and architecture, e.g., buildings: walls, doors, windows, roofs, upstairs/downstairs, etc

APPLICATION: We invite 300-word proposals in English for a 10-minute presentation; please also send your presentation title, your name, affiliation, and a short biography (max. 100 words). We will also be hosting interactive workshop sessions (60 minutes) and invite 300-word proposals for these.

SUBMISSION DATE: Please send your proposal as an email attachment to Naomi Segal at and Maika Nguyen at by noon GMT on Sunday 5th December 2021.

CONFERENCE FEES: Standard £50 | Students (+ ID)/Unwaged £20
BURSARIES: Several bursaries are available; the successful applicants will receive a fee-waiver. The competition will open on 17 December 2021 and close on 14 January 2022.

Membership of CLE is required. To join, see Sign up for Membership – Cultural Literacy Everywhere

CLE 2021

You can register for the symposium using the link below.

The booklet of abstracts and bios can be viewed here:

Symposium Programme can be viewed here:


Ask busy children what they’re doing and they’ll say ‘I’m playing’. Ask an adult and they will be playing the piano, the fool, or a video game. While playfulness forms an integral part of cultural expression and communication, its interpretation often depends on cultural expectations and limited interdisciplinary research can be found on the aesthetics of playfulness, or its role in intercultural communication. For D W Winnicott, playfulness takes place in the area between inside (self) and the outside (other/wider cultural experiences) in an intermediate, transitional area. Melanie Klein and Anna Freud both pioneered their own ways of utilizing children’s playfulness within the psychotherapeutic setting as a way of accessing unconscious processes. 

Kant’s definition of art as ‘purposeless purposiveness’ sites it at exactly the point where play & seriousness meet. The reification of play occurs when ambiguity, humour & laughter, irony or satire, are deployed in music, literary or visual culture to achieve specific aims (eg. to critique or lampoon extreme or repressive regimes) – for example Molière’s play Le bourgeois gentilhomme, or Buñuel’s film Cet obscur objet du désir), or in postmodern resistance as formulated in Jacques Derrida’s concept of “play” and Jean Baudrillard’s “simulacra”, or to counteract the rigidity of institutions and systems —see for example Pippa Hale’s recent work “Play Rebellion” (2018). The search for meaning in a chaotic world is eschewed, often playfully, and the postmodern medium becomes a parody of this quest. ‘Play’ then also becomes a powerful form of political resistance—of displacing hegemonic narratives not for the purpose of creating something new, but to destroy and reveal the constructed nature of what previously existed. 

The act of ‘objectless’, or intransitive playfulness, and its experiential dimension, however, remain largely unexplored. One example of such ‘play’ can be found in Zen Buddhism, as expressed in the arts of the Japanese Edo period and in the visual culture of the Japanese Design Movement of the late 1970s and ‘80s. Another example is the acting method developed by Oleksandr Tokarchuk at his school of creative acting in Kyiv, summed up by the phrase “conducting your self” (written as two separate words). Playfulness, then, becomes part of the artistic personality, when the real world is understood as a theatre stage and its decor. 

In a world of increasingly transcultural and transmedial forms of expression, exploring notions of playfulness in their socio-cultural context offers an approach to cultural literacy which can arguably foster intercultural understanding in a manner less readily accessible than through purely experiential means. At the same time, experimenting with the process and aesthetics of playfulness, facilitated by instant communication technologies, which cross-fertilise between ages, cultures and media with remarkable resilience (eg. surrealism), can also offer valuable insights in fostering intercultural literacy. The aim of this conference, therefore, is to invite scholars from a wide range of backgrounds and interests to engage in thoughtful and critical discussion around the multiple manifestations of playfulness and their contributions to cultural literacy. 


This two-day online Symposium is designed to generate active discussion, focusing on thinking and talking rather than formal presentations, using simple online platforms and apps to foster a virtual experience. If your proposal is accepted, it will be included in a digital ‘book of presentations’ that all participants will be asked to read in advance of the Symposium. The contributions will be grouped together into parallel break-out sessions of 90 minutes during which each presenter will briefly summarise their points in a presentation of max 5 minutes & three slides, and the subsequent discussion will aim to explore the key theme of the panel.

Prior membership of CLE is required; become a member 


Students (+ ID)/ Unwaged £20
Standard £50



  • The aesthetics and/or philosophy of playfulness
  • Diversity or inclusivity and intersectionality of playfulness
  • The role of playfulness in interdisciplinary collaboration or education
  • Playfulness and experimental translation 
  • The role of playfulness in stimulating new ways of thinking in cultural literacy
  • Playfulness in and out of the psychoanalytic consulting room
  • Playfulness in media, literature, the visual and performing arts
You are invited to submit a proposal in English for a 5-minute presentation. It should consist of your name, affiliation, email address, title, a 300-word statement on any area of the symposium topic and a mini-biography (max. 300 words).Please submit your abstract and bio by filling in the form using the link provided below by the deadline of noon GMT on Sunday 6 December 2020. Proposals that arrive after this date will not be considered.


CLE2018: Call for Papers

Symposium of the Cultural Literacy in Europe Forum – 2018

Monday 9 – Tuesday 10 July 2018
Monash University Prato Centre
Via Pugliesi 26, 59100 Prato, Italy

Organised by Monash University, with the support of the Monash Education Academy

Call for Papers

Learning from Cultural Literacy: Practice and Theory

The first biennial Cultural Literacy in Europe Conference took place in London in April 2015; the second in Warsaw in 2017. We are now pleased to announce the Call for Papers for the second Interim Symposium of the Cultural Literacy in Europe forum (CLE). The Symposium serves a dual purpose – as an independent event, and as an introductory session to the biennial Cultural Literacy in Europe Conference (next to be held in Lisbon in 2019).

In 2018, the Symposium will take place at the Monash Prato Centre in Tuscany. Grounded in Literary and Cultural Studies, Cultural Literacy addresses cultures and cultural artefacts as text-like constructions that are inherently readable, and subject to interpretation. Under the broad thematic umbrella of “Learning from Cultural Literacy”, this interdisciplinary Symposium aims to share new research on Cultural Literacy and its application to different fields. We welcome applications that touch on one or more of the following areas:

* Pedagogical approaches to Cultural Literacy: how can we best teach/learn using Cultural Literacy as a pedagogical method, or how can we teach/learn about Cultural Literacy, as a subject matter?

* What can translation teach us about Cultural Literacy?

* Creative representations of Cultural Literacy.

* Semiotics and cultural readability, different approaches to reading and interpreting the world.

* Cultural Literacy and digital humanities.

* Literature and Cultural Literacy: literary theory vs. literary practice.

* Cultural Literacy and inter/transdisciplinarity.

The Symposium will include presentations, discussion papers, workshop sessions and roundtables on potential research areas for collaborative international projects through publications and grants, in Europe and abroad.

Download the Call for Papers / flyer (PDF)


The proposed format will include practice-based workshops, paper presentations , and roundtables. We will also have a forum for doctoral student presentations in the evenings.

How to contribute


Please see the menu on the right for further information