‘The Good, the Bad and the (Extra)Ordinary: the Fifth British Society of Aesthetics Postgraduate Conference’ was held at the University of York’s Treehouse, on the 29th-31st March. Our first delegate to arrive was a local squirrel which made it through the window. After redirecting it, we thought we’d seen it for the last time. How wrong we were.
Happily, we also had a diverse range of fantastic talks from our human attendees. Our Friday lineup covered subjects from poetry to museums, anti-social art experiences to trans beauty. By Saturday, speakers were already responding mid-presentation to issues raised in prior talks and Q&As, giving the event a convivial and collaborative atmosphere. Presentations on Spinoza, Adorno, Danto and Wittgenstein stood next to presentations on body neutrality, imaginative resistance and television. Our lineup (or perhaps our lunch) even tempted the squirrel back to join the proceedings several times that afternoon. Sunday was rounded off with knockout closing talks on everyday aesthetics and fashion.
One of our main goals in organising this conference was to provide a place for early-career aestheticians to meet, to make friends, to share ideas and to make sure that future events are stocked with familiar faces. A relaxed wine-tasting and a lively conference dinner helped bring that plan to fruition. We must also recognise our keynotes, Elisabeth Schellekens Dammann and Yuriko Saito, not only for excellent talks but for getting involved with this spirit of the event as well.
Overall, we’re extremely pleased with how the conference went. We are grateful to all of our delegates, as well as to the BSA, for making it the success it was.