‘Arts and Ethics’ conference, Oct 18-19, 2012

Here is a call for papers for a conference I am organizing on ‘Arts and Ethics’ at Trinity Western University.

Arts and Ethics
Oct 18–19, 2012
The 6th Verge Conference at the School of the Arts, Media + Culture
Trinity Western University, Langley, British Columbia

There is long history surrounding the relationship between the arts and ethics. The arts affect individual identities, communities, and relationships between people and their environments. The arts can contribute to the ethical life of a community, as exemplified by public art and theatre. Some people have been suspicious of the role of the arts on individual ethical outlooks, as reflected by censorship and ratings labels. The arts can also affect relational ethics, either positively – as in the case of a caregiver singing to a child – or negatively – as in the use of music to encourage violence. Another strand of thought argues that the arts do not mean anything outside of themselves and are therefore isolated from ethics. Each theory of the relation between arts and ethics leads to different views of the ways the arts are experienced and gives rise to different responsibilities for producers and experiencers of the arts.

This conference explores the relations between arts and ethics through questions including:

  • Do artistic forms enact ethics? If so, are some artistic forms ‘more ethical’ than others?
  • Are there ethical responsibilities to art?
  • What ethical responsibilities do artists have?
  • Do arts educators have ethical responsibilities? Can there be ‘ethical guidelines’ for arts education?
  • What is the distinction (if there is one) between ‘arts and ethics’ and ‘arts and morals/morality’?
  • Can the arts make communities ‘more ethical’?
  • Can they encourage democracy or an ethical alternative?
  • Can the arts help or harm the development of ethical reasoning?How do the arts present ethical responses to real life situations?
  • Aesthetic experience is becoming increasingly discussed in neuroscientific terms. How does this alter the dialogue surrounding arts and ethics?
  • How have discourses about the arts ignored issues pertaining to ethics?
  • How do specific ethical theories (normative, virtue, discourse, pragmatic, utilitarian, Levinasian) contribute to this discussion?

Keynote Speakers

  • Prof. Terry Lindvall, Virginia Wesleyan College
  • Prof. Lambert Zuidervaart, Institute for Christian Studies and University of Toronto
  • Dr. Nanette Nielsen, The University of Nottingham
  • Dr. Marcel Cobussen, Leiden University

This conference welcomes submissions from any discipline that explores the topic under consideration. Please submit presentation abstracts (300 words) and a short bio (100 words) to Jeff.Warren (at) Twu.ca. Direct any questions regarding the conference to the same address. We welcome non-conventional forms of presentation, including lecture-recitals and other performances. Presentation length is 25 minutes with an additional 10 minutes for discussion of each paper. Unconventional presentations may propose a different time frame for presentation. In order to facilitate discussion throughout the conference, no more than thirty presenters will be chosen to present and there will be no more than two concurrent sessions. Presentations whose topics intersect with our recently launched journal will be considered for publication in an edition themed on the conference topic. For more information on the journal visit http://www.vergearts.com. The deadline for proposals is June 15, 2012.

For more information, visit our website

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