Abusing Power: The Visual Politics of Satire

A conference organised by the University of Brighton in association with the Royal Pavilion and Brighton Museum

Speakers include:

  • Steve Bell, political cartoonist
  • Martin Rowson, political cartoonist
  • Professor Ian Haywood, University of Roehampton
  • The Curator of the Cartoon Museum, London
  • The Curator of Fine Art at the Royal Pavilion Museums

In January 2015, 12 of France’s most familiar cartoonists were shot dead in Paris. The aftermath of the attack on Charlie Hebdo raises significant questions about the status and the potential impact of an image and gives this conference a political urgency. The events in Paris underline  both the power of the political cartoonist and the dangers of causing  offence to political  and religious sensibilities.

In 1820, George Cruikshank and his brother Robert were summoned to Brighton Pavilion by George IV, in an attempt to buy them off from reproducing their salacious satirical cartoons. They were paid off, but continued to produce scurrilous images of the royal family and political figures. The Royal Pavilion now houses one of the best collections of Cruikshank, Hogarth and Gillray in the world, three of the most eminent caricaturists in visual history.

The city of Brighton and the University have a long history of association with cartoon and caricature. This conference offers the opportunity to celebrate the rich history of caricature and cartoons associated with Brighton and to address the important ethical questions that now confront the contemporary cartoonist. It celebrates the rich collections of Cruikshank, Gillray and Hogarth at the Brighton  Pavilion  and brings  together the expertise of practitioners,  curators, academic  historians  and cultural analysts. The conference draws upon the research expertise of the University, on the curatorial experience  of museum staff and on cartoonists who currently practice.

This conference is organised by three research groupings from the Faculty of Arts at the University of Brighton, the Centre  for Applied  Philosophy  Politics  and  Ethics,  the Centre  for  Memory,  Narrative  and  Histories  and C21:  Research  in Twenty-First Century Writings, which allows for the interdisciplinary focus that the subject merits.

University of Brighton in association with the Royal Pavilion and Brighton Museum invite proposals (c300 words) for both papers and panels on topics which may include, but are not limited to:

  • Comedy and ethics – what are the responsibilities of a cartoonist?
  • The curation of cartoons – what should be kept?
  • How far can you go? Are there limits to what a cartoonist can lampoon?
  • The legacies of Cruikshank, Gillray and Hogarth
  • Religion and caricature
  • Representations of history through cartoon
  • The impact of caricature on popular ideas of politics
  • Celebrity and caricature
  • In what contexts does satire flourish and why?
  • Is satire necessary?

DEADLINE: Email your proposal and short bio to [email protected] by 9th May 2016

Conference Fee: Full-time waged £210 /unwaged £90.

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