CFP May 4, 2016

Artistic Life in Central Europe (Kalisz, 19-20 Oct 17)

Kalisz, Poland, Oct 19–20, 2017
Deadline: Sep 1, 2016

Makary Górzyński

Artistic Life of a Province in Central Europe in the Second Half of the 19th and at the Beginning of the 20th Century: Transformations, Forms, and Functions

An International Conference
Kalisz, 19-20th October 2017

“Until very recently, only select few were concerned with what today very much interests all. The sense of beauty slumbering within the soul of every person suddenly awoke, it grew, turned into a passion, into a longing for beauty”

Dr. W., Wystawy sztuk pięknych na prowincji,
„Kaliszanin”1884, n. 64.

Organisers: Kaliskie Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Nauk KTPN (Kalisz Society of Friends of Sciences) and Wydział Pedagogiczno-Artystyczny Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu (the Faculty of Pedagogy and Fine Arts of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań)

Programme director: dr Iwona Barańska

Organising Committee: Pracownia Historii Sztuki i Kultury Artystycznej Kaliskiego Towarzystwa Przyjaciół Nauk (The History of Art and Artistic Culture Workshop of the Kalisz Society of Friends of Sciences)

Scientific Committee:
Prof. Lechosław Lameński, Catholic University of Lublin (KUL)
Prof. Piotr Łuszczykiewicz, Adam Mickiewicz University (UAM)
Prof. Jerzy Malinowski, Nicolaus Copernicus University (UMK)
Prof. Olimpia Mitric, Stefan cel Mare University of Suceava's
Prof. Beate Störtkuhl, Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg
Prof. Oleh Suchomłynow, University of Taras Shevchenko Kyiv
Prof. Krzysztof Walczak, KTPN, University of Wrocław (UWr)

Conference venue: Kalisz - Wydział Pedagogiczno-Artystyczny Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu (the Kalisz Faculty of Pedagogy and Fine Arts of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań)
Date: 19-20th October 2017

Languages of the conference sessions: Polish, English; abstracts in English

The thematic scope of the conference

The second half of the 19th century was a time of an intensification in civilisational processes. They were stimulated by, among others, sudden economic and industrial growth, which also led to a demographic explosion and to modernization and transformation of the population of Polish towns and cities. This resulted in an unprecedented rate of development of cultural life within urban communities and in other local communities connected to the cities through economic, social and cultural ties: among the gentry and gradually also in rural communities. Apart from traditionally cultivated branches, such as theatre and music, local communities of the turn of the 20th century experienced the emergence of new forms of activity related to the awakening in visual arts, architecture and protection of artistic heritage. The phenomena which originated in Warsaw or Cracow started to spread to smaller towns and villages and the artistic circles began to decentralise.

The term 'province' assumes its dependence on the centre – indeed, the above-mentioned civilisational processes are initiated by the centre, but at the same time there develops a strong sense of self-identity rooted in the attachment to one's own “small homeland”. Therefore, the sense of being as if secondary, remote and removed from participation in the big city culture is compensated by rich local activity, pride in belonging to one's place and in its values. The sense of isolation is also alleviated through the new means of communication – both in literal sense and through media communication (the press, the telegraph). The world begins to shrink, changes come and time appears to go by more quickly, distances seem smaller and, likewise, ideas and events appear within grasp.

Active urban social life, including artistic life, begins to flourish in the Central European province and its communities. Those who live there and undergo these transformations change from merely passive recipients of artistic phenomena to their creators and participants as well. Along with the development of these phenomena a new circle of consumers of artistic phenomena begins to form. The developing forms of participation in artistic life lead to formation of various forms of culture, also popular culture, which over the course time may generate conflict with the discourse of the so-called “high culture”.

The appearance of local press is conducive to distribution of information concerning artistic events taking place in the metropolis and in local environments alike. This results in the growth of local artistic critique and popularisation, or formation, of theoretical thought.

In the province, there appear artists connected to their local environments. Professionalisation of artistic trades causes the talented youth to follow this vocation. They leave to study in big academic centres around Europe, yet frequently they retain their roots. There appear associations dedicated to development of the culture of visual arts and the study of monuments; Societies of Friends of Fine Arts are operating actively in the province. Exhibitions of old and modern art are organised. Protection of monuments becomes a field of vivid activity, expressed in the preservation of local 'antiquities' as well as organisation of regional museum movements. Artistic patronage begins to take form, in both private and public aspect. Regardless of our personal perspectives, we also ought to recognise the various aspects of state patronage and artistic projects originated by the partitioning states.

The development of a multitude of forms of artistic life also becomes a part of the large-scale patriotic activation, the awakening of national culture.

Being divided into three partitions of different political systems and models of the state, Poland appears to be the perfect place to observe and compare all the various forms of artistic life. It also serves a good ground for observation of differences and analogies between the forms of artistic life existing in provincial centres of the neighbouring countries of the day, in all the regional diversity of these phenomena.

Kalisz, as a governorate capital at the turn of the 20th century, is one the typical provincial centres where all of these expressions of local artistic life manifested themselves through a multitude of activities, such as artistic and archaeological exhibitions, campaigns for the popularisation of art and its historical reception and connoisseurship, restoration of monuments or press discourses on the subject of art, culture, their role and historical and present-day meaning in various social contexts.

We would like to invite you to participate in our conference. Its aim is to identify and articulate these diverse phenomena, which often manifest themselves regardless of the state of origin, national identity or cultural preferences. We hope that the conference will not only serve to inform about the processes and facts, but will also encourage discussion concerning the shaping of forms and institutions of artistic life in the Central European province, about the degree to which they depended on the political, social or national conditions or in what extent they existed regardless of these differences, brought about rather by civilisation progress and broadly defined European modernity of the times of the industrial revolution.

The time scope of our sessions covers the period after the second half of the 19th century, when the aforementioned phenomena begin to develop on a greater scale, up to 1918, when the World War I ended, the structures of the world significantly changed and economic and social changes began to generate entirely different forms of cultural and artistic activity.

The main conference subjects of interest are:

- distribution of information concerning artistic life, the development and the role of art criticism, the role of the media

- the role of artists in the local community, their models of functioning: institutional or individual, artistic education, preferred art forms,

- animators of artistic life, the implemented strategies of action

- the provincial market of art, artistic objects, artistic functional forms and artistic prints: manners of functioning, financial realities, reception

- associations for the cultivation of different forms of artistic life

- exhibitions of old and contemporary art: initiatives and their realisation, their social goals, forms, thematic scope and public reception,

- protection of local artistic and cultural heritage and monuments – by whom and how did it use to be initiated, institutional forms, the role of state and church institutions and the role of activists, discussions and disputations

- the role of artistic life in the process of awakening of national identity and the preservation of cultural heritage, manners of argumentation used in the press, publications or lectures

- the role of visual arts in the local environment – monographic attempts at an overview from various perspectives

- the formation of urban popular culture, its role in the descriptions of the local realm of art and culture and in its functioning; cultural transfers, receptions, adaptations of various models



We welcome propositions of 20-minute-long presentations – please fill in the enclosed application sheet, making sure to include an up to 250-words-long abstract and a brief curriculum vitae, your postal address, e-mail, phone number and affiliation.

Please send your submissions to:
The preferred formats of e-mail submissions are DOC, DOCX and RTF.
By mail:
Kaliskie Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Nauk
62-800 Kalisz ul. Bankowa 9



Presentations will be selected based on an analysis of the submitted abstracts.
The Organisers will notify the selected Authors about having qualified for active participation in the conference by 30th September 2016.

The Organisers are planning an educational tour around the Kalisz town centre which will take place during the symposium. The tour will be conducted by the History of Art and Artistic Culture Workshop of the Kalisz Society of Friends of Sciences.

The conference fee is 200zł/PLN. The fee covers the cost of dinners, free coffee and a banquet for all active participants of the conference.
Please visit our official website to find more information about the conference:

In the case of any questions feel free to contact us at:

translated from Polish by H. Hadryś

CFP: Artistic Life in Central Europe (Kalisz, 19-20 Oct 17). In:, May 4, 2016 (accessed Nov 29, 2022), <>.