Call for Papers:

Fashion and Democracy?

8th–10th July 2016, Whitworth Gallery, Manchester

Keynote Speakers:

Professor John Styles, Research Professor in History, University of Hertfordshire and Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Victoria and Albert Museum, ‘Fashion to a Timetable: Re-scheduling European Fashion in an Era of Expanding Markets, 1500-1800’
Dr Philip Sykas, Research Associate, Manchester Metropolitan University, ‘Maintaining a distance: fashion in the wake of Manchester’s calicos’
Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces, title to be announced


The conference theme is Fashion and Democracy? This is intentionally wide-ranging and offers many possibilities for papers focusing on any aspect, period or geographical area in relation to dress and appearance. Papers are welcomed which interpret the theme imaginatively through different approaches and issues, drawing on interdisciplinary research based on garments and accessories, jewellery, photography, film, literature, and archives.

Subjects might fall within some of the following headings:
• The impact of technology
• The use of dress to communicate political affiliation and resistance
• Non-elite fashion and consumer demand
• Street style
• The fashion press and fashion in film

We welcome papers from academics, collectors, curators, designers, researchers, students, and independent scholars. Those wishing to offer papers should submit an abstract of about 200 words with a short CV by 16th October 2015 in WORD (no formatting). All submissions will receive replies by January 2016. Papers, with the exception of those by keynote speakers will be of 30 minutes duration with illustrations by PowerPoint.

Are you currently undertaking research, or have just completed research? At the Society Conference each year, a speaker or speaker(s) will be invited to present their latest research and ideas in the context of fashion, design or conservation.  Speakers will be invited to use image-rich, and/or object-based content to illustrate their work, which is not required to be linked to the Conference theme.  The applicant(s) will be selected with a Call for Speakers across all social media platforms and will be selected by a panel made up of the Conference Advisory Panel.  The successful applicant(s) will be required to speak for 20-40 minutes. Please submit your application in WORD format with a 200 word abstract supplied with a short biography on the same page.  More information is available online.

Having access to professionals working in the field will be an integral part of the Conference programme – from mentoring to opportunities for networking being made a priority at every point throughout the 2.5 days.  Professionals will be drawn from Society Trustees, Officers and delegates and matched throughout the booking process and welcome point at registration. We are also launching another new session ‘Soapbox – get up and speak!’ – an informal way of giving the whole audience a chance to share their knowledge or build confidence through public speaking. Each ‘soapbox’ speaker will be invited to speak for 10 minutes.  There is no requirement to submit a paper for consideration; however you must be registered as a delegate and advise the Conference Co-ordinator of your intention to speak.  A maximum of 6 soapbox speakers will be admitted so places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. More information is available online.

Abstracts and CVs should be sent to CONFERENCE[at]COSTUMESOCIETY.ORG.UK
All submissions will be considered by an Advisory Panel made up from the Costume Society Executive Committee and an employee of one of the destination organisations.

The Society is a registered educational charity and regrets it is not possible to pay for expenses in the preparation and presentation of a paper, or for travel to the Conference.

The Society offers a bursary for two students to attend the Conference. Details can be found on our website:

CFP – Fashion and Democracy? Costume Society Annual Symposium, Manchester, UK, 2016

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