Faces of the Community: Agency and Meaning in Urban Visual Communication, Central Europe 1400-1700

12.-13. 11. 2015

Conference Call

Faces of the Community: Agency and Meaning in Urban Visual Communication, Central Europe 1400-1700


Symbolic communication through seeing played an important role in the pre-Modern and Early Modern urban communities. Families, groups, corporations and individuals were visualised through images, objects and symbols in the urban space, making medieval and early modern town culture one of presence and visibility. Symbolic communication through donations and commissions was an inseparable part of representing communities and urban social networks, both to their members, as well as outsiders. Next to their primary functions, town halls, squares, facades, gates, churches and cemeteries became a stage for communicating one's status, religious attitudes and political affiliations. Architectural decoration, altarpieces, epitaphs, and liturgical objects act as an imaginative visual archive of the town's constructed past and set them within a present network of urban communication.    

The GAČR-funded project Faces of the Community of the Institute of Aesthetics and Art History of the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice organises a two-day conference to map aspects of the visual and performative communication in the urban space of the late medieval and early modern towns in East-Central Europe. Papers are invited to look at the different agents that through images, monuments, and rituals gave meaning to and shaped urban space. They may also explore various functions of such symbolic communication and its wider religious, cultural, social and political contexts, as well as the motivations of the individual commissioners. Particularly welcome are papers dealing with monuments and performances reflecting urban religious landscape and interaction in the multidenominational towns, individual and collective spiritual investments, and architectural interventions in the urban space in cross-regional and comparative perspective.

  • The conference will take place in November 12-13th, 2015 in the Rectorate and Faculty of Philosophy Building of the University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice. A guided excursions to the towns of Český Krumlov and České Budějovice are planned as part of the conference programme. Upon request, the accommodation will be provided for free in the university accommodation. There is a limited possibility of travel cost reimbursement.  
  • The length of individual papers is up to 25 mins. Paper proposal with a title and up to one-hundred-words abstract should be sent to katerina.hornickova@gmail.com before February 28, 2015. The conference will be held in English.  

PhDr. Kateřina Horníčková, PhD.

Institute  of Aesthetics and Art History

Faculty of Arts, University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice

Branišovská 1160/31, 370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic