Beyond the Basket: Construction, Order and Understanding.

First Symposium: 5th-6th June 2009-01-20

‘Refining the Agenda’

Call for Papers

Beyond the Basket is a major research project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of the Beyond Text programme, which seeks to identify the place of basketry in human culture. The project will have a number of outputs, including an exhibition and an accompanying book both scheduled for 2011. There will also be two conferences of which this ‘symposium’ is the first. Its purpose is to help the team of investigators accommodate and respond to current research on basketry and associated fields. Accordingly, we are seeking short papers 20-30 minutes from those engaged in work that directly or indirectly relates to the characteristics of basketry. These are likely to include disciplinary concerns with the following practices (and others yet to be identified).

  • The design and production of basketry, tradition and innovation
  • Environmental issues such as the identification, exploitation and management of appropriate raw materials
  • Mathematical enquiry, such as the relationship between structure, pattern and number in basketry
  • Neuroscience and cognition: the exploration of the mechanisms of understanding implicated in basketry
  • Natural paradigms, the extent to which human practices are based on the observation of ‘animal architecture’ (birds’ nests, spiders’ webs, etc.).
  • Socio-economic factors: whether basketry is specialised production, specific to age group or gender, how skills are transmitted, how the products and skills are valued
  • The range of functions for which basketry is used, for example in building shelters, barriers, traps, mats, and containers.
  • The ‘language’ of basketry, from the vocabulary of techniques and forms, or its place in ‘myth’, to its use as metaphor for such things as creation (and indeed Creation), social order, and differentiation (which container something belongs in) and thus taxonomy

We envisage between 10 and 15 papers overall. These should raise awareness of relevant work in a wide range of areas of enquiry with a view to stimulating discussion. Papers that offer an overview of recent or impending developments will be particularly welcome, though unpublished case-studies may also be included. We anticipate a largely specialist group, speakers and audience, of a size appropriate to a symposium. We expect to place abstracts of presentations on a ‘Beyond the Basket’ website. A larger conference will be scheduled to coincide with the exhibition, in Spring 2011, and will no doubt draw on and help to develop the proceedings of the first symposium, perhaps resulting in a publication..

We would be grateful for direct expressions of interest and if you could draw this ‘Call for Papers’ to the attention of others you know who might be interested.