So, the week of the conference has arrived. We are looking forward to hosting you in Stuttgart and to an invigorating exchange of ideas!

The weather looks like it will put on a fantastic display of German autumn, with anticipated temperatures ranging from 9-19 degrees Celsius and some rain. Pack an umbrella or raincoat, and a jumper, too.

You will find the programme here. This link will be updated should last-minute changes be necessary.

A map of the hotels in the city centre can be found here: Hotels_Town_Centre.

Given the fact that we have a number of visitors from far away and not-so-far away, we have planned an informal get-together for Wednesday evening (26.09.12). You are therefore invited to join us for a drink and a chat in the bar of Motel One starting at 7pm (Lautenschlagerstraße 14 in Stuttgart’s town centre, just around the corner from the venue and also close to the main train station, a ‘mudmap’ can be accessed here: Conference_Warming_Venue). This is an informal, pay-as-you-go affair, a non-obligatory conference warming if you like. See you there!

Die Registrierung für die Konferenz erfolgt durch die Überweisung des Beitrages auf untenstehendes Konto.

The registration for the conference is to be paid via bank transfer.

Konferenzgebühr / Conference fee:
Bis / until 15.8. : 50 Euros
Von / from 15.8. bis Konferenzbeginn / until conference starts: 60 Euros.

(Undergraduate Students are asked to pay 20 Euros if they wish to attend the conference).

Kontodetails / Bank account details:
Kontoinhaber / account holder:                         Renate Brosch
Verwendungszweck / Reason for payment:     [NAME]_GAST2012
Kontonummer / account number:                     0902159
BLZ / bank code:                                                  60080000                               (Commerzbank Stuttgart)

IBAN: DE60 6008 0000 0090 2159 00

Note also that the programme can be accessed via the directory above or by clicking here.

(updated on 10.07 with correct BLZ / bank code) (apologies)

It will of course be possible to pay your registration fee – or to register for single days – at the conference itself.

The conference topic concentrates on visual representations of Australia. Visual images with their immediate and direct appeal are particularly powerful vehicles of national identity, transporting ideas of an ‘imagined community’ (Benedict Anderson). Some images are recognized as quintessentially “Australian” in spite of evidence that their legitimacy lies in collective myths. These myths, or nationalist narratives, are reiterated through the continual use of key pictorial icons. Investigating the multiple layers of meaning which images accrue in the course of becoming lodged in the cultural imagination can reveal key moments in the narrative of nation, country or region.

Bush landscapes, Aboriginal bark painting, Uluru, shearers, life-savers and surfers, kangaroos and koalas; these are some of the images associated with Australia all over the world, becoming icons of Australianness through medial forms such as art, cinema or advertising. These images are by no means static, reacting to or reflecting upon (violent) disruptions in the narrative of the nation: Desert images of Uluru are challenged by those of Woomera; life-savers by the Cronulla rioter.  Such changes rest uneasily with hitherto comfortable notions of Australia as an easy-going, egalitarian culture. The historicity of specific images underlines the importance of diachronic approaches, key to ascertaining different phases of visual (self-)definition.

An increased awareness of uneven power balance in visuality and visibility informs recent representations of Australia. In examining how images of national self-fashioning shape-shift and transform, historical assessments that seek to determine different phases in the construction of Australianness on the basis of significant central images will be particularly welcome. The tensions between what people outside Australia consider its distinguishing features and what locals recognize as such constitute particularly fertile grounds for the exploration of the engendering of national identities through visual imaginings. Analyzing examples of visual imaging in various media and practices can reveal similarities and differences between Australian images and their use and reception abroad. Such transnational perspectives are particularly welcome to ensure a hermeneutic process that avoids a reduction to exclusively internal and national perspectives.

The purpose of concentrating on visual representations and practices is to raise the level of awareness of the social, political and economic conditions which inform the production as well as the reception of images and to create an awareness of the pitfalls of sorting them into easily available stereotypical slots.

Contributors are invited from a broad range of disciplines and institutional affiliations. Suggested thematic clusters include:

  • Visual arts: painting, photography, performance
  • Visual media: cinema, TV, internet
  • Visual forums and formats: museums, exhibitions, anniversaries, events, narratives
  • Visual practices in tourism, advertising, mapping
  • Icons, stereotypes and figurations of Australian people: constructions of race, gender and age
  • Landscape, space and place: conflicting images of natural resources and ecological concerns
  • Discourses of visuality: power structures of seeing, visibility, access to visual media/ representation, narrative (constructions of) identity
  • Visual Culture and the classroom
The CfP can be accessed here as a .pdf:  CfPGASt

This is the webpage for the upcoming conference “Visualising Australia: Images, Icons and Imaginations – Representing the Continent at Home and Abroad” for the Gesellschaft für Australienstudien (GASt) in Stuttgart, Germany, 27-29 September 2012.