Strangeness, Betweenness, and the Cosmopolitan Imagination


02 Jun 2017
Opening times:

Moore Lecture Theatre and Foyer Royal Holloway, University of London June 2nd 2017 9AM to 6PM (there is the possibility of the conference being held over two days tbc)


We invite proposals from artists working in any medium for works that have an integral relationship with the symposium’s themes of globalisation, cosmopolitanism, the imagination, strangeness and betweenness. The title for the art component of the conference is ‘Strangeness, Betweenness, and the Cosmopolitan Imagination’. It will be curated by Laura McLean.
The late Professor Chris Rumford challenged the idea that globalization was producing ‘one-world’ through a focus on the multiple experiences associated with globalization. He advocated a multi-perspectival account of social science capable of escaping its Eurocentric roots. In exploring our understanding of borders, of strangers/strangeness, European integration, cosmopolitanism, and globalization, this symposium will provide a space to discuss and build on his contributions to understanding contemporary societies and the transformation of the politics of our time.
Being interconnected with the conference we invite proposals for art forms that respond to Chris’ integrated multi-disciplinary contributions to political sociology and the study of globalisation, as well as the intersection between his research and the politics of our time. 
In providing such a platform ‘Strangeness, Betweenness, and the Cosmopolitan Imagination’ follows Chris’ emphasis that a ‘one-world’ approach to globalisation was mistaken and that any understanding of globalising processes needed to account for multiple perspectives through which to identify new sources of critical dialogue. The aim of such an approach is to re-imagine the interconnected relationship of self, other and the world. In Chris’ work the cosmopolitan stranger encouraged a focus on everyday, down-to-earth experiences; how might the artist respond to the cosmopolitan imagination in such terms? As such Chris’ work directly confronts the rationality of reality, and asks us to reorient our thinking about the space between self, other and the world. 
In exploring the everyday significance of Chris’s work the aim of  ‘Strangeness, Betweenness, and the Cosmopolitan Imagination’ is to decontextualize and deconstruct the world, to forge unexpected connections between its different manifestations, and to explore a perception of the world different from the prevailing account of reality. We would be particularly interested in works that explore the spaces that contain our lives, and in works that demonstrate an inter-cultural, multi-directional, transnational exchange in aesthetic concepts and artistic technique.

Artwork by Miho Watanabe