46th Annual AHVA Graduate Symposium and Exhibition: Call for Papers

SYMPOSIUM DATES: Thursday, March 2 to Friday, March 31, 2023

“This fetishism of commodities, as Marx termed it, is not a universal mental habit; it has its origins in a productive system in which we are split off from our own productive capacities, our ability to make or to do things, which is transformed into a commodity itself, the abstract leveler ““labour power,”” which is saleable to the boss for wages.”

—Martha Rosler, “For an Art Against the Mythology of Everyday Life” (1979)

With the current rise of artificial intelligence and machine made objects, our own productive capacities are threatened with erasure. Mindful of this phenomenon, we want to re-emphasize the human made. The committee for the 46th annual UBC AHVA Graduate Symposium has themed this year’s event MakeShift: handmade, homemade, and remade productions. Through this theme, the committee hopes to centralize art histories which have been defined by processes of making that work against or exist outside of purely productive labour practices. This symposium will serve as a space in which to explore artworks that have tangible stakes or tactile formal qualities, or which employ the strategic use of physical materials in their composition. The intention behind the MakeShift symposium is to give a platform to artistic practices that have traditionally been obscured from canonical art histories and sidelined by various institutional frameworks. The committee is looking to approach the theme through an interdisciplinary and cross-historical lens, encouraging graduate students from across all disciplines to apply for this call for paper submissions.


The committee will accept paper submissions that are primarily concerned with topics related to visual culture, spanning any geographic area and time period. We are particularly interested in papers engaged with:

  • handmade or homemade artistic methods
  • spaces of domesticity
  • histories of craft-making
  • “productive” or “unproductive” labour
  • canonically underrepresented art practices
  • collaborative, community-based art economies
  • deinstitutionalization of art spaces
  • commodity fetishism in visual culture
  • processes of remaking or redoing


Graduate students are asked to submit their application via email to grad.symposium@ubc.ca by Thursday, January 26, 2023 at 11:59PM PST. In a single (1) PDF file, the applicant must include a copy of their paper in full, along with the related abstract (250-350 words), and a copy of the applicant’s current abbreviated CV. The applicant should also include their name, gender pronouns, name of the school in which they are currently studying, and complete title of the submitted paper in the body of their email.

Please note that paper presentations will take place in-person on UBC Vancouver campus on Thursday, March 2 and Friday, March 3, 2023. Please note for the committee any accessibility considerations that could have an impact on an in-person presentation of the paper.