9. November 2018 Johannes Wolters

Tuebingen 2019: Doing Animation History: Exploring Challenges and New Visions in Writing Animation Histories

Doing Animation History: Exploring Challenges and New Visions in Writing Animation Histories
Winter School at the Graduate Academy and the Centre for Animation Studies of the Eberhard Karls University of Tuebingen, Germany

March 25 to March 27, 2019
Hohentuebingen Castle, Tuebingen

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Franziska Bruckner, Suzanne Buchan, Edwin Carels, Malcolm Cook, Michael Cowan,
Donald Crafton, Esther Leslie, Alexandra Schneider, Paul Wells, and Ulrich Wegenast

Organisers: Rada Bieberstein and Erwin Feyersinger


At the centre of the winter school is the following question: How can we write the history/histories of a field as heterogeneous and often marginalized as animation? We want to discuss methods of researching especially those aspects of animation history that are overlooked, hard to trace, and non-canonical. By promoting an interdisciplinary network of young scholars and established researchers of animation studies, film studies, media studies, art history, the history of science, and other related fields as well as film archivists, film educators, and film festival organisers, we aim at fostering innovative approaches to writing the history/histories of animation in a collaborative atmosphere.

One of the challenges of writing any animation history lies with the fact that animation is a “pervasive” cultural practice (Buchan 2013: 1–2) with many techniques, open to a range of visual languages with many individual styles, employed in almost all areas of life: from entertainment and science to education, advertisement, the arts, and information dissemination, all displayed with various technologies in different spatial contexts such as cinemas, museums, theatre stages, art galleries, hospitals, or public squares. Understanding animation in this variety and complexity with its “deep time relations of arts, sciences, and technologies” (Zielinski 2013: 26) makes the writing of a comprehensive history of animation difficult. The winter school tries to face this challenge by addressing the following and other questions:

•    How can histories of animation be approached methodologically?
•    How can the history of animation be theorised?
•    How can animation that is part of a larger work, e.g. as title sequence, animated visualization, VFX, motion graphics, animated projection on the stage, or cutscene in a computer game, be traced in archives?
•    How do archives and scholars deal with the many artefacts such as puppets, drawings, production documentation, and personal correspondence that are an essential part of the vast history of animation?
•    How can we conserve knowledge of out-dated or highly individual techniques?
•    How can we study the history of ephemeral forms of animation in the context of live performances such as stage productions, VJing, or on-site installations?
•    How can we research animation as part of useful cinema, factual television, and scientific visualizations, especially when it is not documented by production companies and made by unnamed animators?
•    Apart from writing texts, which other forms of documentation can we utilize for a historiography of animation? Which challenges do these forms pose?

We warmly invite junior researchers – PhD students as well as advanced MA students – to contribute to the program in the form of short 15 to 20 minute inputs to our discussion of the historiography of animation. Contributions can be classical paper presentations on methodologies, approaches, problems, solutions, case studies, practice-based research, etc., but we are also interested in other innovative forms of input such as scientific apparatuses, displays, art works, or performances. For students whose contributions are accepted, accommodation and travel grants are available.

Please send an anonymised abstract (about 200 words) and a brief biography (about 100 words) via email as two separate PDF or Word files and additionally for those who propose other forms of input possibly a link to view the contribution to:

Erwin Feyersinger <erwin.feyersinger@uni-tuebingen.de>, Rada Bieberstein <rada.bieberstein@uni-tuebingen.de>

Deadline: December 16, 2018.

Supported by the Institutional Strategy of the University of Tuebingen (DFG, ZUK 63) and the Society for Animation Studies

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