Deadline Extended: Call for Papers for Workshop on the Role of Arts and Creative Practice in Addressing Bigotry

Deadline Extended: Call for Papers for Workshop on the Role of Arts and Creative Practice in Addressing Bigotry
Detail of the We Bleed the Same Exhibition. Photo by Adam Spencer at ANU.
Tuesday 23 May 2023

18 July, Australian National University, Canberra.

The Freilich Project for the Study of Bigotry invites contributions for a one-day workshop focused on the role of arts and creative practice in addressing bigotry. The deadline for this CfP has been extended by 1 week.

The term bigotry is varied, complex, and changes over time, but has seen a resurgence in recent political debates (McClain 2020). It can manifest as unconscious micro aggressions based on discriminatory biases, and as actions or ideologies that stoke division, hatred, and violence (Jennings 1990).

We see bigotry manifest in the daily news in reaction to First Nations reconciliation and justice, in discussions about the recognition of LGBTQIA+ rights and attacks on the queer and trans communities, in attitudes towards domestic and family violence against women and responses to the #metoo movement, in violent attacks against Muslim and Asian Australians, and elsewhere. These and other forms of bigotry take place in spheres both private and public, from the home to the halls of governments. Universities are also a site where these issues intersect. While expressing awareness of—and even acting to inhibit—bigotry and discrimination, many universities continue to contend with the impacts of their own institutional biases (c.f. Casellas Connors & McCoy 2022; Jankowski 2022; Dobinson & Mercieca 2020; Miller et al. 2018).

Creativity and creative practice have been put forward as one possible means of combatting bigotry and increasing representation, for example, through arts activism or by increasing empathetic relations and understanding between people and communities (Groyecka-Bernard et al. 2021; Coombs 2014; Frostig 2011; Bell & Roberts 2010; Kaufman 2010). For those who are otherwise invisible, the act of artistic expression can be seen as innately political (Bessant & Watts 2017).

This workshop will bring together scholars, artists, and creatives to discuss the role that the arts and creativity play in combating bigotry in all its forms. We ask whether creativity, including that situated within universities, can play a role in alleviating tensions and addressing bigotry. Contributors will be asked to present a paper for discussion at the workshop, following which we aim to develop a journal special issue.

We invite the submission of abstracts for papers on the following topics:

  • The aims and goals of creatives and/or researchers using creative works and methods to combat prejudice and bigotry, including those working at the intersection of research, arts, and activism.
  • Exploring frameworks and theories for relating creative and artistic activism to various concepts of the public humanities and/or to contested ideas about the actual or ideal purposes of universities.
  • Reflecting on the experience of academics/practitioners of creative/arts activism projects, including challenges, surprises and areas of intellectual and emotional growth or development. 'Own voice' contributions from scholars/artists from minority communities and backgrounds speaking of their own experiences are particularly welcome and encouraged.
  • Considering how 'success' is understood by the agents and participants in such projects and reflecting on processes designed to document the impacts of creative projects. This might include discussion of the efficacy of qualitative and/or quantitative measures of the impact, effects, or outcomes of creative activism projects on individual attitudes or broader social norms (especially those that reproduce bigoted and prejudiced attitudes towards particular social groups).
  • Specific artistic projects, installations or creative experiments designed to increase empathy and connection, combat prejudice and hatred, give voice to specific communities, or shift an audience's assumptions about an 'othered' minority.
  • Multimodal practices that blend both scholarly and/or pedagogical knowledge and arts practice to deconstruct colonialism, racism, sexism, and other discriminations.

The Herbert and Valmae Freilich Project for the Study of Bigotry is a philanthropically funded, interdisciplinary research centre based at The Australian National University. The Project supports research into the causes, histories and effects of ethnic, cultural, religious, and sexual bigotry and animosity. It promotes public discussion on how such intolerance can be combatted and how co-existence can be promoted through social, research and educational programs.

Please send abstracts of proposed papers to by Monday 5 June 2023 (extended by 1 week). The workshop will be held on 18 July at The Australian National University campus in Canberra, ACT.



Dr Melissa Lovell, Convenor & Research Fellow, Freilich Project for the Study of Bigotry, ANU.

Mr Chris Marcatili, Project Officer, Freilich Project for the Study of Bigotry, ANU.



Bell, Lee Anne, and Rosemarie A. Roberts. “The Storytelling Project Model: A Theoretical Framework for Critical Examination of Racism through the Arts.” Teachers College Record: The Voice of Scholarship in Education 112, no. 9 (September 2010): 2295–2319.

Bessant, Judith, and Rob Watts. “Indigenous Digital Art as Politics in Australia.” Culture, Theory and Critique 58, no. 3 (July 3, 2017): 306–19.

Casellas Connors, Ishara, and Henrika McCoy. “Performing Anti-Racis,: Universities Respond to Anti-Black Violence” Race and Justice 12, no. 3 (May 16, 2022): 588–613.

Coombs, Gretchen. “Activism, Art and Social Practice: A Case Study Using Jacques Ranciere’s Framework for Analysis.” In Proceedings of the 2013 Annual Conference of the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand, edited by B Bolt, K Grant, A Inglis, R Coates, T Juliff, and P Ruanglertbutr. Australia: Art Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2014.

Dobinson, Toni, and Paul Mercieca. “Seeing things as they are, not just as we are: Investigating linguistic racism on an Australian university campus.” International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 23, no. 7 (2020): 789–803.

Frostig, Karen. “Arts Activism: Praxis in Social Justice, Critical Discourse, and Radical Modes of Engagement.” Art Therapy 28, no. 2 (June 1, 2011): 50–56.

Groyecka-Bernard, Agata, Maciej Karwowski, and Piotr Sorokowski. “Creative Thinking Components as Tools for Reducing Prejudice: Evidence from Experimental Studies on Adolescents.” Thinking Skills and Creativity 39 (March 1, 2021): 100779.

Jankowski, Glen S. “Students’ Understanding and Support for Anti-Racism in Universities.” British Journal of Social Psychology 61, no. 1 (2022): 322–44.

Jennings, James. “The Foundation of American Racism: Defining Bigotry, Racism, and Racial Hierarchy,” 1990.

Kaufman, James C. “Using Creativity to Reduce Ethnic Bias in College Admissions.” Review of General Psychology 14, no. 3 (September 2010): 189–203.

McLain, Linda C. Who’s the Bigot? Learning from Conflicts Over Marriage and Civil Rights Law. Oxford University Press, 2020.

Miller, Ryan A., Tonia Guida, Stella Smith, S. Kiersten Ferguson, and Elizabeth Medina. “Free Speech Tensions: Responding to Bias on College and University Campuses.” Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice 55, no. 1 (January 2, 2018): 27–39.



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