Call for Papers: 2023 CADN Graduate Student Conference, OCAD University

Nadia Waheed, Bathers (2019)

Call for Papers: CADN Graduate Student Conference at OCAD University
Practicing Resilience: Redefining Spirituality through Contemporary Art

March 24-25, 2023

The Contemporary Art, Design, and New Media Art Histories (CADN) Program at OCAD University invites contributions for the annual Graduate Student Conference.

We accept cross-disciplinary graduate and independent submissions worldwide, from critical essays to poetry and artwork, and welcome submissions that address intersectional approaches to the theme Practicing Resilience: Redefining Spirituality through Contemporary Art.

“Times of upheaval inspire a search for alternative understandings of reality.”1 In “Spirituality Has Long Been Erased From Art History. Here’s Why It’s Having a Resurgence Today,” art critic Eleanor Heartney identifies a “trend for spiritually-minded art” which has resulted in a “new spirituality [that] manifests itself in a longing for restorative positives, and human-centered social attitudes.” It is within this search for a new, more expansive definition of spirituality that we seek to locate the role of visual art.

Katie Bond Pretti, Atlas (2017)

In the midst of climate crisis, racialized violence, police brutality, the pandemic, and global oppression, creative explorations of spirituality in contemporary art practice provide a unifying forum for reflection and response. Expressions of spirituality in relation to identity are both intimate and diverse. This conference engages with themes of resilience, vulnerability, healing, transcendence, transformation, refuge, and retaliation. We ask, how have individuals and communities grounded themselves during these times of social turmoil? Can new interpretations of “spirituality” aid artists and viewers in overcoming adversity? How are artists redefining spirituality through contemporary artistic practice?

Themes could include:

  • Ethos in/of contemporary art
  • Resilience of body, mind, spirit and/or community
  • Transcendence in contemporary art practice; cathartic release; intersection of art and faith
  • Channeling individual/collective unconscious
  • Contemporary Expressionism; Afrofuturism; Post-Humanism; sentience and creativity in AI

To submit:

  • Email a 250 word abstract or proposal, a short biography, and (optional) up to five (5) images and/or five (5) minutes of video by February 10, 2023 to
  • Please submit texts as .docx or .pdf files.
  • Accepted candidates will be notified by email.

For further information and updates about the 2023 CADN Conference visit our website or follow us @ocadugrad.

For information on past CADN Conferences click here.

OCAD University
100 McCaul Street
Toronto, ON
M5T 1W1

1. Eleanor Heartney. “Spirituality Has Long Been Erased from Art History. Here’s Why It’s Having a Resurgence Today.” Artnet News. January 6, 2020.