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CFA: Narratives Now: The Stories We Tell Ourselves

A Roundtable Workshop, 15-17 June 2020, University of Reading (Whiteknights)

Call for Abstracts

In honour of Herbert Read’s zeal to promote ‘art now’ and to celebrate the 60th anniversary of his collaborative founding of the Society, the British Society of Aesthetics is delighted to sponsor Narratives Now: The Stories We Tell Ourselves, a three-day roundtable workshop that aims to bring together theorists, researchers, practitioners and postgraduates from a diverse range of disciplines within philosophy, humanities and the arts (broadly construed) to discuss the centrality of narrative complexity in the development of our aesthetic sensibility and subjectivity.

What do we understand by narrative? Is it synonymous with ‘story’? Furthermore, what is the role of the narrator? Do the stories we tell ourselves, and so the story of who we are, issue from a narrating self?

Framing narrative as both referential and discursive, and with particular interest in the different ways we may narrate our own personal stories, histories or future imaginings, this workshop will look at how narrative is now used and explores how we might better put it to use in the future. Topics include, but are not limited to,

  • What concept of ‘narrative’ is being circulated within one’s discipline?
  • What can the rest of the world learn from these discourses? What can we learn from the world at large about narratives to use in our own disciplines?
  • Is all narrative essentially storytelling (i.e. narrated)?
  • Do we need individual models to deal with non-literary forms of narrative or can a general account suffice?
  • Are our emotions narratively structured?
  • Can machines create narratives (and so be narrators)? 
  • Who narrates our dreams?
  • Are confabulation and forgetting two ways of editing one’s autobiographical narrative?

Confirmed Speakers

Sarah Cardwell (University of Kent)

Stacie Friend (Birkbeck, University of London)

Submission Guidelines

We invite submissions for paper presentations (40 minutes presentations followed by 20 minutes discussion). Submissions should be prepared for blind review and comprise:

  • A cover page (including paper title, author name(s), any affiliations, contact email address, paper submission, and 150 word abstract) and
  • A separate, anonymous 400 words outline.

All submissions should be sent to narrativesnow.BSA@gmail.com

The deadline for submissions is 15 March 2020.

Successful delegates will be informed shortly thereafter and are expected to supply extended abstracts (1000 -1200 words) or full paper (3,500 max) within 2 months. These would be then be distributed to their fellow delegates, giving them 1 month to review with questions and comments for substantive feedback and productive exchange during the workshop.

As signatory to BPA/SWIA Good Practice Scheme, the BSA endeavours to provide an equal opportunity for all. Accordingly, women and other underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to submit. Inclusion, diversity and a gender balance will be considered as a matter of necessity in the final programme.

Travel and Accessibility

The workshop will be held in Minghella Studios at the University of Reading, Whiteknights campus with frequent and straightforward connections from London Paddington. To encourage submissions without worry of cost, the workshop will cover delegates’ reasonable UK travel expenses; en-suite accommodation and all meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and two social receptions) will also be provided at no cost in the Cedars Hotel (conveniently located on campus). We will also make any necessary arrangements for those delegates who have special needs including, but not limited to, disability access/parking, dietary restrictions or childcare.

Important Dates

Deadline for submission: 15 March    

Notification of acceptance: 31 March  

Deadline for extended abstract/final paper submission: 17 May

Organising Committee

Michael Young (University of Reading)

Vanessa Brassey (King’s College London)


For any and all enquiries, please contact the organisers at  narrativesnow.BSA@gmail.com