Accessibility statement

Place and Community: building ourselves back after the pandemic

Posted on 3 July 2020

We are calling for short contributions, in a variety of formats, from both academic colleagues and external partners, for an online conference in September.


We are all currently facing several challenges: the Covid pandemic, the environmental crisis, major political upheaval, and through the Black Lives Matter campaign calls for long overdue social justice. In addition, many cultural institutions are on the brink of financial collapse, and some may disappear entirely. Lockdown has meant that the way people engage with culture has changed radically. This confluence of situations challenges us to be our best selves as researchers and practitioners; to be clear about the future directions for our activity; to think about how we interact with one another, and build and rebuild community, within the University and beyond, enabling our communities to flourish.

The HRC would like to use this moment to give researchers in Arts and Humanities an opportunity to reflect together on the theme of Place and Community. From this, we aim to develop some work that will help us to build ourselves back as we settle into a world that looks very different from the way it did. What can Arts and Humanities contribute to building the kinds of places and communities we want to live, love, work and play in? 

We invite our colleagues at the University and partners in the City to join in a discussion about where our future priorities might lie. We hope to provide some mutual inspiration for future work; enable people to make connections; articulate perhaps for the first time ideas for future research directions; and to facilitate connections that are more likely to attract external funding.

We plan two events over the summer, both online:

  • A webinar with partners from the local area in August (date to be confirmed)

  • An online conference in September: contributions available from 1 September, with an online event on 15 September

The HRC team will use these two events to gauge ideas for future events and partnerships.

1. Online webinar, August (date TBC)

We are planning a webinar on the theme of Place and Community with contributions from a panel of 4-6 guests representing a range of our external partners, along with a facilitated discussion. We will record this session so it’s available to watch later. We will provide more details as soon as we can.  

2. Online Conference, 1-15 September: Call for Contributions

The event

We are asking for contributions to an on-line event, where contributions in a range of formats can be showcased and discussed, and there will be networking opportunities. We will leave the contributions open for discussion a while after the event. 

  • We will make contributions publicly available online by 1 September.

  • The event is open to members of the University and invited partners

  • Participants are asked to watch / read / listen to / otherwise engage with the presentations of most interest to them before the scheduled event date. They are also encouraged to host and participate in watch parties between 1 September and 15 September to watch (as a virtual group) submitted presentations.

  • Participants can leave written comments or questions for presenters on the discussion board associated with each presentation’s materials. 

  • We will schedule an online event on 15 September 

The HRC team will use the contributions and responses to them as a way of planning our own activities, and to feed into wider thinking around the University about how we take our research and partnership forwards. 

Topic: Place and Community

The topic of the conference is Place and Community. We would welcome contributions that address this theme, including topics such as the following:

  • How do arts, culture and language contribute to a sense of place and a sense of belonging? 

  • What is the relationship between personal and local identities? How is it expressed?

  • How can we fulfil our civic mission in our city and the region? 

  • What kinds of contribution do we want to make to public life?

  • Research about or co-produced with communities; the value of communities to individuals and society more widely. 

  • Marginalised and excluded communities and citizens; the emergence of new communities, including online communities. 

  • Renewal of community; the importance of arts, culture, language, place and belonging in renewal.

  • The role of arts and humanities education, and the virtues of questioning, examining, and communicating, which enable people to become active and engaged citizens.

We especially welcome contributions that will engage with current public discourses; that are grounded in disciplinary and professional understandings but presented in ways that are accessible to a wide audience; that will help us to move collectively from reflection and thought to caring and acting.

How to join in

Send in a 100 word abstract by 16 July

If you’d like to present something, please send us a 100 word abstract using this online form. We aren’t looking for a polished academic paper – we are looking for thought-provoking ideas that will generate discussions and points of contact between people. What do people need to know about what you do, and what you’re interested in?

Invite a partner

If you’re an academic at York and you have an external partner who’s local, please feel free to pass this invitation on to them. They are welcome to submit an abstract or join in the event. 

Submit your presentation by 27 August

We will make the most of the potential of online presentations, to reach a wider audience than usual; to make it easier for asynchronous participation; and to serve to capture our responses to the current moment. We are looking for contributions in formats which can be shared — and responded to — online:

  • Video presentations, up to 5 minutes long

  • Recorded PowerPoint presentations, up to 5 minutes long

  • Articles of up to 750 words, accompanied by any images or audio files, maybe including links 

  • Posters of A2 size

  • Creative responses such as film or music

We ask you to keep contributions short, to minimise the work for you, and because it’s more likely to get an engaged audience. See them as starting points to a wider discussion. Feel free to recycle or repurpose your contribution. 

Watch, and join in the discussion 1-15 September

Come to the online event; look at the materials people send in; respond to them. 

Important Dates

16 Jul - Submission of 100 word abstract

29 July - Invitations to submit contributions

27 Aug - Submission of contributions

1 Sept - Contributions made available

15 Sept - Online event