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14th International IAWIS/AIERTI Conference 

Word, Image and Social Dynamics

Amsterdam, 24-28 August 2026

Convened by: Matthijs Engelberts, Erin LaCour, Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes, Emilie Sitzia, Rik Spanjers, Alice Twemlow, and Mia You

Word and Image relations and the institutions where these play out determine much of how societies (individuals and groups) define themselves. With this conference, we propose to explore how intermedial practices (inter- and/or transdisciplinary) impact on social dynamics, e.g. determine the ways in which art and activism operate and intersect, and how art, literature, comics, film, digital media, theatre etc. institute themselves in the public sphere or are entangled in power dynamics.

Word and image relations can take many forms and engage us to think about the significance of society’s connection with various semiotic signs and to study a variety of material that tends to fall outside traditional boundaries. Therefore, we welcome historical and contemporary case studies and methodological explorations from artistic research, art history and theory, creative writing, literary studies, cultural studies, cultural analysis, film, theatre, comic or digital media studies, political science, museum studies, art sociology etc.

Questions that this conference aims to address include:
   - the dynamic (power) relationships between text and images and their social impact
   - the creative, activist and / or transformative potential of this interdisciplinary dialogue
   - the institutions of word and image (and experimental institutionalism)
   - intermedial activist art and literature / digital subjectivities
   - the impact of images / word on the situated reader / viewer
   - historical perspectives on word and image and this history’s mediation today
   - questions of (art) institutions, display and curating
   - methodological questions arising from hybrid cultural material in the social domain
   - indirect efficacies in / of word and image in repressive political contexts
   - environmental activism in word and image
   - critical fabulation in word and image
   - word and image in counter-forensis
   - word, image and the affordances of their infrastructures

Amsterdam has a history of being at the forefront of interdisciplinary (scholarly) practices and engaged/activist art and vibrant publication scene. IAWIS originated here. There is potential for collaborations with network partners (below), which will give the conference a rich side- and social programme.


















Please click one of the links below for information on the academic programmes of previous International IAWIS/AIERTI Conferences on Word & Image.

13th International Conference, "Sédimentations : Towards an archaeology of word and image", Belo Horizonte 2023
Org. : Marcía Arbéx

12th International Conference, “Water and Sea in Word and Image”, Luxembourg, 2021
Org. : Nathalie Roelens

11th International Conference, “La reproduction des textes et des images”, Lausanne 2017

Org. : Philippe Kaenel

10th International Conference, “Riddles of Form”, Dundee 2014

Org. : Keith Williams

9th International Conference ‘The Imaginary/L’Imaginaire’, Montreal, 2011

Org. : Dominique Hardy & Bertrand Gervais

8th International Conference, ‘Efficacy/Efficacité’, Paris 2008

Org. : Béatrice Fraenkel

7th International Conference, ‘Elective Affinities’, Philadelphia 2005

Org. : Catriona MacLeod

6th International Conference, ‘Orientations: Word & Image’, Hamburg 2002

Org. : Charlotte Schoell-Glass

5th International Conference, ‘Visual Cultures’, Claremont 1999

Org. : Eric Haskell

4th International Conference, Dublin 1996

Org. : David Scott

3rd International Conference, Ottawa 1993

Org. : Peter de Voogd

2nd International Conference, Zürich 1990

Org. : Max Nänny

1st International Conference, Amsterdam 1987

Org. : Kibédi Varga

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