New issue of Maska

Intellect is delighted to announce the new release of Maska 29:169-71 focussing on Syros: A Bet on the Potentiality of Cooperation. This is Europe’s oldest professional journal in its field. 

For the last two decades Maska has fostered a high-level professional discourse in a range of subjects such as performance studies and theories of contemporary dance in connection with the broader field of contemporary arts. 

This issue is divided in four sections: Art and Life, Syros: A Bet on the potentiality of Cooperation, Criticism with Adjectives and a tribute to Petra Veber Rojnik. A range of articles and reviews are featured in this issue and for the full list of articles and how to subscribe to the journal please click on the link below.

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CALL FOR PAPERS: International Journal of Islamic Architecture (IJIA)
Special Issue on Imagining Localities of Antiquity in Islamicate Societies; Thematic volume planned for Summer 2017
Paper proposal deadline: 30 November 2015

The tragically familiar spectacles of cultural heritage destruction performed by the Islamic State group (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq are frequently presented as barbaric, baffling, and far outside the bounds of what are imagined to be normative, “civilized” uses of the past. Often explained as an attempt to stamp out idolatry or as a fundamentalist desire to revive and enforce a return to a purified monotheism, these spectacles of heritage violence posit two things: that there is, fact, an “Islamic” manner of imagining the past – its architectural manifestations, its traces and localities – and that actions carried out at these localities, whether constructive or destructive, have moral or ethical consequences for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. In this reading, the iconoclastic actions of ISIS and similar groups, for example the Taliban or the Wahhabi monarchy in Saudi Arabia, are presented as one, albeit extreme, manifestation of a pervasive and historically ongoing Islamic antipathy toward images and pre-contemporary holy localities in particular, and, more broadly, toward the idea of heritage and the uses to which it has been put by modern nationalism.

But long before the distorting presence of ISIS and other Islamist iconoclasts, and perhaps as early as the rise of Islam itself, Muslims imagined Islamic and pre-Islamic antiquity and its localities in myriad ways: as sites of memory, spaces of healing, or places imbued with didactic, historical, and moral power. Ancient statuary were deployed as talismans, paintings were interpreted to foretell and reify the coming of Islam, and temples and churches devoted to holy saints were converted into mosques in ways that preserved their original meaning and, sometimes, even their architectural ornament and fabric. Often, such localities were valued simply as places that elicited a sense of awe and wonder, or of reflection on the present relevance of history and the greatness of past empires, a theme so prevalent it created a distinct genre of Arabic and Persian literature (aja’ib). Sites like Ctesiphon, the ancient capital of the Zoroastrian Sasanians, or the Temple Mount, where the ancient Jewish temple had stood, were embraced by early companions of the Prophet Muhammad and incorporated into Islamic notions of the self. Furthermore, differing sects of Muslims as well as Jews and Christians often shared holy places and had similar haptic, sensorial, and ritual connections that enabled them to imagine place in similar ways. These engagements were often more dynamic and purposeful than conventional scholarly notions of “influence” and “transmission” can account for. And yet, Muslims also sometimes destroyed ancient places or powerfully reimagined them to serve their own purposes, as for example in the aftermath of the Crusader presence in the Holy Land or in the destruction, reuse and rebuilding of ancient Buddhist and Hindu sites in the Eastern Islamic lands and South Asia.

This special issue invites scholars from across disciplines to engage with a critical reassessment of imaginings of the past in Islamicate societies. Papers may draw on historical or contemporary examples to explore some aspect of the themes outlined here, but are not limited to them.

1. How are and were place and locality used in Islamicate societies to create a sense of the past, and what are/were the routes, rituals, and performances by which the past is inscribed on the landscape?
2. How are holy sites, sites of memory, and sites of ancient heritage simultaneously construed as contemporary and situated in the present in Islamic societies?
 3.  Is there an “Islamic” notion of heritage? Can the ways Muslims imagined and continue to imagine the past enable a critical interrogation of notions of heritage that are predominant in the broader international community?
4. Although ISIS and other Wahabi and Salafi groups are often said to be “medieval” in their methods and attitudes, can they in fact be envisioned as hyper-modern, both in their methods but particularly in the way they target imaginings of heritage as a cherished building block of the modern nation state?
5. Analysis of ISIS’ destruction frequently seems to parrot the agenda of ISIS itself in ways that amplify and reinforce their message, whether through viral sharing of their slickly produced videos on social media or credulous journalistic analysis that takes ISIS at its word. How can researchers analyze these hypermodern forms without re-producing and disseminating the very vision of violence that they crafted?

6. Is there a broader project of reshaping the meaning of heritage unfolding across the Islamic world? The actions of the Taliban, Wahhabi projects of destruction in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, the devastation of heritage in Syria by Assad and rebel groups, and the depredations of Islamists in Mali are recent examples. To what degree do contemporary iconoclastic groups rely on the assumed value of modern notions of universal heritage for their impact? How are these contemporary imaginings of the past similar to or different from those held by Muslims in previous centuries?

7. Although Islamicate societies often found ways to revere, venerate, and coexist with the considerable traces of antiquity in their midst, Muslims were also sometimes agents of destruction. What were the contexts in which Muslims destroyed localities of antiquity in the past? What meanings were claimed for such actions and how were they justified by their agents?
Essays that focus on historical and theoretical analysis (DiT papers) should be a minimum of 5,000 words but no more than 8,000 words, and essays on design (DiP papers) can range from 3,000 to 4,500 words. Contributions from practitioners are welcome and should bear in mind the critical framework of the journal. Contributions from scholars of heritage history and preservation as well as scholars and critics of heritage in the broadest sense are also particularly welcome.
Please send a 400-word abstract with essay title to the guest editor, Stephennie Mulder, The University of Texas at Austin (, by 1 November 2015. Those whose proposals are accepted will be contacted soon thereafter and requested to submit full papers to the journal by 1 June 2016. All papers will undergo full peer review.

For author instructions regarding paper guidelines, please consult: 

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Visual Inquiry: Learning and Teaching Art 4.2

Intellect is delighted to announce the new issue of Visual Inquiry 4.2. This truly international issue tackles topics such as data visualization, politics, economics, power and artistic identity. Articles include Rachel Smith Althof's discussion on the Socratic method; a profile of the artist Gu Xiong; Jan van Boeckel's arts-based environmental education practices; Clayton Funk and Juan Carlos Castro's exploration of real-time data mapping; and Rebecca Gessert's Marxist analysis of Fernando Sanchez Castillo's Arquitectura para el Cabello. 

To access the full issue please follow the link below

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Applied Theatre Research 3.2

Intellect is delighted to announce the new release of Applied Theatre Research 3.2

This new issue explores various themes ranging from how drama was used to explore female life conditions in Tanzania to the challenges drama based pedagogy teaching has by looking at three schools in Hong Kong. 

To subscribe to the journal please click below.

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Read an extract from Inclusion in New Danish Cinema
Intellect are delighted to offer a short extract from the introduction of Inclusion in New Danish Cinema for free. We hope you enjoy reading this.

If you have a good script and you are a sufficiently interesting human being, you will be allowed to direct your own film. That’s the way it is in Denmark.

Paprika Steen (Hjort, Jørholt and Novrup Redvall 2010: 266)

Picture candlelight, a warm glowing fireplace on a cold evening. The candlelight gently plays off the faces of friends holding drinks around a table laden with delectable food in a room filled with the sounds of a carefully curated music selection. People come and go for hours while drinks are poured, toasts are made and animated discussions go on into the night as two young athletic skinheads catch one another’s glance in the narrow hallway that leads to the bathroom. The camera moves into a close-up that captures the ripple of sexual tension that briefly crosses one of the men’s faces. This scene begins to describe the all-important concept of the experience of hygge in Danish culture and the ways in which it has been employed in Danish cinema to introduce audiences to themes and relationships that challenge Danish social conventions. Hygge is poorly translated to ‘cozy’ in English, but this sacred social institution is more complex than the simple word cozy allows. Hygge is a central social norm in Danish culture that is all about crafting an experience that allows for and invites intimacy and camaraderie. This obsession with creating social spaces of ease, safety and comfort is not surprising given that the Danes are known to inhabit the ‘happiest nation’ in the world. Is hygge their secret? It cannot hurt that their socialized government also makes certain every citizen is housed, educated and provided with health benefits. A talent for crafting the normative social tranquility of hygge is certainly part of the reason that Danish films are effectively taking on transgressive and highly contentious subject matter within sexually and ethically ripe storylines. This traditional Danish sense of social comfort provides an apt and contrastive backdrop for interrogating social norms and introducing unsettling alternative social realities.

In this book I investigate this special talent for crafting strange and uncommon cinematic moments of relief and empathetic understanding within extremely charged and intimate psychologically challenging narratives that are far removed from ordinary lived experience. By ‘psychologically challenging’ I am referring to storylines that actively challenge the spectator’s settled patterns of seeing, caring and responding to the world. These storylines include male neo-Nazis falling in love, female bodyguards for illegal sex workers, transgendered sexuality and identity, women soldiers on home soil with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, lesbian coming-of-age stories, a husband violently abused by his wife, arranged marriages and forced co-habitation for the purposes of citizenship, and same-sex marriage and alternative family structures.

How are these films seducing, confronting and comforting audiences? The answer is only partially explained by the candlelight and soft lighting (although admittedly these elements are found in many scenes). In addition, Danish cinema relies on the fact that you, the spectator, are likely (like everybody else you know) immersed in social media, YouTube and reality TV. Recent Danish films are employing a digital aesthetic that mimics current Internet and reality TV culture via a roaming voyeuristic camera presence that knows few boundaries. This participatory voyeuristic feel has an amazing capacity to instil empathy in the spectator when intertwined with the ethical and moral world of New Danish Cinema. Dark realistic narratives propel the spectator into scenes full of anguish and emotional turmoil; yet manage to relieve this tension through meaningful human interaction (within a hygge-like comforting social space) that dispels earlier anxiety.

The curious juxtaposition of challenging social themes and Danish cultural norms shot through the voyeuristic lens that mimics existing ever-present digital media culture has helped to thrust New Danish Cinema into the limelight at high-profile film festivals in recent years. From the success of The Hunt at the European Film Awards (Thomas Vinterberg, 2013) to the Academy Award winning In A Better World (Susanne Bier, 2010), New Danish Cinema has arrived. From a nation with a population of just 5.5 million that usually produces only twenty films a year, has come an unprecedented number of award-winning films. Like most Americans, I was unaware of this success when I first encountered New Danish Cinema through a random DVD purchase of A Soap (Pernille Fischer Christensen, 2006) at a local Blockbuster (a DVD rental store which has all but disappeared from the consumer landscape due to competition from digital media providers like Netflix and iTunes). The viewing experience was dark and powerful, heart wrenching and yet palpably hopeful. I felt like a voyeur, like I had been allowed to view a highly private experience that positioned me to respond to the screen in a way I had not experienced in which the provocative was made familiar.

To read more please follow the link to buy the book

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Journal of Urban Cultural Studies 2.1&2

Intellect is delighted to announce the new issue of Journal of Urban Cultural Studies 2.1&2. This journal explores both the humanities and the social sciences in order to better understand the culture of cities.

This is a new double issue that includes a special section investigating urban soundscapes, critical citizenship, and the 'sonic turn' in urban cultural studies.

For the full list of articles please click on the link below

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Call for Papers: Special issue of Craft Research

Real or unreal? - Crafting authenticity in the digital age

(Issue 7.2 September/October 2016)

For this special issue, we invite contributions about the authenticity of craft in the digital age and its meaning in an era of mass customisation. Current developments, including computer aided manufacturing and science-based ways of ‘producing’ craft artefacts, such as growing clothing from micro cultures, raise the need to question established understandings of making and of craft.

Visible traces of the maker’s skills and associated variation between individual pieces through making by hand, even where producing repeat patterns, are traditionally seen as a central characteristic of craft. With the rise of digital and science driven manufacture, the question arises as to where the signature of the maker might reside within mass customisation, now that wide variation and individualisation can be produced at the push of a button or in the ‘petri dish’. This reopens the question as to how the hand signifies making and what its role is in relation to design, referring to the link between creativity, thinking and the hand.

Authenticity is another related issue: How can we authenticate the digital and how might makers address genuineness, the ownership of ideas, designs and claims to uniqueness, in a world of instant copying, sampling and the habitual plagiarism of images? In the light of such developments, one might also question what the meaning of authenticity is, whether it has changed and how, and also how important authenticity is in the digital age in relation to the cult of originality, and the manipulation of existing designs? By extension, will the tradition of the developing body of personal work, which has long functioned as a key indicator of authenticity, continue in the face of rapidly mutating, technological opportunities, and what might replace it? We already speak of 'hybrid craft' but what does it mean, and what does it imply about the future of craft?

This special issue seeks to address these questions and more, to explore the position of craft today and what it might hold in the future. We invite relevant contributions in a number of formats, which are detailed below.

Editor / Guest Editor: Prof Kristina Niedderer, University of Wolverhampton, UK


Prof Martin Woolley, Coventry University, UK



The final date for submission of full papers for issue 7.1 is Monday 4 January 2016.

For guidance notes, for further information or to submit a paper, please contact the editors.


Full Research Papers (4000-6000 words)

They will describe completed research projects, including research problem, questions, methods, outcomes, and findings. They should include original work of a research and/or developmental nature and/or propose new methods or ideas that are clearly and thoroughly presented and argued.

Position Papers (2000-3000 words)

-                 Short Research Papers may describe smaller research projects or research in progress including research problem, questions, methods, (expected) outcomes and findings. They are an opportunity to new researchers/practitioners to get into publishing. 

-                 Position papers may put forward and debate a position on a particular (current) issue (e.g. new technology, material, theoretical, social or educational issue). Both should include original work of a research or developmental nature and/or propose new methods or ideas that are clearly and thoroughly presented and argued.

Both should include original work of a research and/or developmental nature and/or propose new methods or ideas that are clearly and thoroughly presented and argued. They are an opportunity for new researchers/practitioners to have their research/work published.

Craft & Industry Reports (1500-3000 words)

Reports of Investigative Practice from Craft & Industry should present an advance in and for the field, including collaborations and new developments of work, processes, methods, ideas etc. by practitioners and industry in the crafts. 

Review Section. We invite reviews of the following:

- The Portrait Section (1000-2000 words)

Will feature the work of an individual (crafts person, artist, designer, maker, researcher) within the field whose creative work stands out for its developmental / research qualities and contribution to the crafts.

- The Exhibition Section (1000-2000 words)

Will feature scholarly reviews of exhibitions that are of particular developmental / research significance for the field for the technical, conceptual, aesthetic, social etc. quality of the work or for the curation.

-   The Publication Review (1000-2000 words)

Will feature reviews of publications in print and new media.

- The Conference Section (1000-2000 words)

Will feature reviews of any relevant conferences/symposia/etc. in the field.

Calendar of Exhibitions & Conferences

We invite notifications of important and relevant forthcoming craft exhibitions and craft conferences/research events.

Remarkable Image Section 

We invite the submission of images of outstanding quality for their novelty, beauty, complexity, simplicity, challenging nature, humour, humanity, etc. that are representative of contemporary crafts developments and research.

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Q&A with Lu Pan from Aestheticizing Public Space

Intellect did a Q&A with Lu Pan, author of Aestheticizing Public Space to find out more about the publication and what drew her to write this book.

What was the inspiration behind this book?

Back in spring 2012, I visited Caleb Neelon, one of the authors of The History of American Graffiti, at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts during my stay at the Harvard Yenching Institute. Neelon was inspired to become a graffitist at 13 years of age when his family visited Berlin in 1990, right after the 30-year division ended. Like other tourists, Neelon saw the Berlin Wall and was impressed by the graffiti, tags, and murals that vandalized the wall. He also recalled his amusing experience in Shenzhen, China (a southern city bordering Hong Kong), in which he was invited by the local government to participate in a mural project of a museum in Dafen Village, known as an international manufacturing center of exported commercial paintings. After seeing mediocre imitations of western masterpieces, low-quality copies of best-selling Chinese artworks, and the streamlined, handcraft workshop-style painting process, Neelon called the village as “the center of the world’s worst art.” 

My curiosity about Asian graffiti and street art inspired my frequent travels around the continent. I learned from my friends in Japan and Korea about the existence and history of Sakuragicho in Yokohama, the AGIT indie art space in Busan, and the Urban Art Project in Seoul. I also participated in the Inside Out Project of JR, a French street artist, when he took his photo booth concept during his visit to Hong Kong in 2012. All these events and the people I met encouraged me to expand my research beyond the Chinese and Hong Kong contexts and to embark on an adventure. This adventure led to the creation of this book, which explores the street visuals of selected cities from three East Asian countries, namely, China, Japan, and South Korea. 

How did you first get interested in graffiti and street art?

Nurturing an interest in the relation between art and public space in general, I find it extremely important to theorize graffiti writing and street art, instead of just documenting the visual existence of them. First of all, I think it is difficult to say whether these graffitists would like to call themselves artists or not. In the world of graffiti, “writer” is the more commonly used name. Although some of writers do have graphic design or art-related training background, there are also many who haven’t received any art education. For example, one of most famous writers in East Asia – VERY (weibo: VERY1HS) from Osaka, Japan has always been mainly working as a DJ, and then took up graffiti writing. In my research, I found that they have a subtle relation with the market. On the one hand, unlike artists, museums and art galleries are not their final destination.  Of course also have experience in working with art galleries (e.g. in 2005, Mito City in Ibaraki Prefecture in Japan held an exhibition named “X-Color: Graffiti in Japan”, where I found most of the most active writers and street artists in the participant list), and some also run their own business that is related to graffiti design for commercial use but their best canvas is the city per se: the public space and streets. On the other hand, the debate on whether graffiti is art has always been on-going. Another thing I want to mention is the audience: street visuals expect a much more open and much less institutionalized audience than artworks in galleries do. I think that excitement of reaching out to the whole city as your gallery and the whole urban dwellers as your spectator makes writers remain on the street. 

Do you think East Asian graffiti differs much from European and American ones and if so what would you say are the some of the reasons for this?

It is difficult to generalize East Asia as a whole, as you can see in my introduction and the interview chapter the subtle differences among all the cities, sub-regions and nations in the region. Generally speaking, in East Asia, the public space is predominantly occupied by commercial advertisements packed in a highly congested living, business, and leisure space. Most of the East Asian governments had been deeply involved in issues such as order and hygiene, the concept of a “modern” lifestyle, urban visual order, and taxation. 

If we look closer, we can see interesting differences East Asian graffiti has from those from Europe and the US. For example, due to the vagueness of property rights in China, which have long been conceptualized as state-owned rather than privatized, economic and ideological obstacles that slow down the information influx into the country have allowed Chinese writers to feel less burdened from outside/Western influence while being able to venture into unexplored territories with their own ideas and experiments.

In Hong Kong, the two cases I address in the book illustrate totally different aesthetic style that you can’t find in western countries. The two unique cases of public writing in Hong Kong are the legends of two “kings,” namely, the “King of the Sewers” (quwang, 渠王) and the “King of Kowloon.” (九龍皇帝) The “King of the Sewers” is a self-employed sewer man. To save on advertising costs, he opted to paint his self-designed ads all over Hong Kong’s slopes, electric lighting posts or drain covers, promoting his service with very concise information and his telephone number, 92263203. Given that many of these advertisements were written in a characteristic font and style, the name of quwang was unmistakably linked to a single “writer.” “King of Kowloon” is a veteran graffitist in Hong Kong who has been writing about his personal history and that of Hong Kong using his paint brushes on the surfaces of various public facilities since the 1960s. Their writings opened up new perspectives for us to think about not only the relation between human and the city, but also between art and everyday objects. 

I think the reasons for the differences lie of course in the vastly different historical, ethical, economic context in East Asia from that in the western countries. The difference between how people understand the idea of public space may also be a reason. 

How do you think academic approaches to graffiti and street art have evolved over the years?

I think academic approaches to graffiti and street art have not evolved towards a more interdisciplinary direction over the years. We see them mostly in photo books, historical documentation, discussions in sociology, cultural and media studies. My efforts are made to provide a new space of integrating all these approaches. During my research, I see there are a lot of ways of re-considering graffiti and street art not only as subcultural or artistic form but have more profound implications as an intersection between theories and practices.

Do you have any favourite graffiti artists?

Very difficult to say whom my favourite is as many of them are unique and all have specific significance for me. 

Where does your own academic and personal Research interests lie?

My academic research interests coalesce around the topic of cultural and cross-cultural analysis of various textual forms. I am particularly interested in topics concerning literature, film, visual culture and art, urban culture, creative industries and cities, modernity theories and cultural memory in modern and contemporary China, East Asia and Europe. 

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New China/New Art: Contemporary Video from Shanghai and Hangzhou exhibition

Come and meet the editor of Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, Paul Gladston at the exhibition, New China/New Art: Contemporary Video from Shanghai and Hangzhou at the Djanogly Art Gallery, the University of Nottingham occuring on the 4th September 2015.

More details can be found here

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New video interview with Flavia Laviosa, editor of Journal of Italian Cinema & Media Studies

During Flavia Laviosa's visit to our offices, we conducted a brand new video interview with her in which she dicusses her role as principal editor for Journal of Italian Cinema & Media Studies, her aspirations for the journals and how the journal has evolved over the years.

Watch the video here

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