The School of Arts & Creative Industries at London South Bank University will host a one-day interdisciplinary colloquium on Friday 16th June 2016, 9am-6.30pm.


The modernist city emphatically encapsulates the dialectic of the ephemeral and the eternal. Its dynamic flows of goods, people, and commerce at once determine the city’s transitory nature while at the same time reinforce its status as an immutable seat of power and culture attested to by the very materiality built up within and around such dynamic flows.


Amid the fleeting and transient experience of the city, what is it that constitutes an abiding culture? Where is ‘culture’ and in what form does it appear or exist? What are the spaces, moments, events, and cultural artefacts that make up the ephemera that in turn (re)constitute the modernist city?


Prompted by such questions, this colloquium invites proposals that will explore the myriad city-borne arts, objects, practices, and movements that typify the ephemeral and eternal dialectic.


Focussing on the city, and understanding ‘modernist’ in its broadest sense, papers or panels might consider the following:


  • Works (art, architectural, literary, photographic, poetic, etc.) that explore the tensions between the ephemeral and the eternal.
  • Musical, literary, or theatrical performances or works that defined or established an abiding movement or moment.
  • Spontaneous events, meetings, and performances (or ‘planned spontaneity’ in the mode of Dada).
  • Abiding legacies of the chance encounter.
  • The ‘performance’ of societal acts such as conversations in cafes, restaurants, clubs, libraries, salons, theatres, etc.
  • Ephemeral architecture, or spaces and places (re)designed for such acts.
  • Politics of the street: protests, marches, pamphlets.
  • Politics as performance: manifestos, speeches.
  • The Archive.
  • Statutes and Acts.


Confirmed Speakers:


  • Prof. Catherine Moriarty, Curatorial Director, University of Brighton Design Archives
  • Prof. Andrew Thacker, Nottingham Trent University
  • Dr. Nathan Waddell, Asst. Professor in Literary Modernism, Nottingham University


Deadline for proposals: Friday February 24th 2017.


Please send 250-word proposals for individual papers or panels of up to 4 speakers, including a short (50-word) biography with contact information, to the event organiser, Dr Leon Betsworth (LSBU) (