Turning the Tables:
Documenting Art in a Global Context

Recent years have seen growing, worldwide interest in the visual arts and material culture of Africa, Latin America, the Near East, and other regions not part of the traditional “Western canon.” Documentation of these fields takes many forms, be it printed books, ephemera, or electronic archives. More widespread and substantial documentation of global visual culture is to be encouraged as it provides a preservation safety net for often scarce and fragile materials, and also promotes scholarship, tourism, and international understanding.

At the 2015 IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, the IFLA Art Libraries Section is sponsoring a session on this theme – Turning the Tables: Documenting Art in a Global Context. We are seeking speakers who will highlight library initiatives for documenting indigenous or culturally-hybrid visual culture. These library initiatives could be in-region projects, those originating from outside the region, or collaborations between the two. The Section wishes to provide for informed and spirited dialogue among international experts in these subject areas, and makes a special appeal for proposals from African, Latin American, and Near Eastern speakers, and from those who collaborate with colleagues in these regions.

The cultural artifacts that are of interest for this session are wide-ranging—from indigenous and colonial works to global contemporary art, from traditional fine art, crafts, and design to conceptual pieces and the built environment. Papers might reference post-colonial theories, concepts like “the other,” and the “center and periphery” dichotomy, all of which have had a great impact on the field of art history since the 1990s.

Approximately twenty minutes will be allowed for a summary delivery of the paper at the conference; the full written paper is not to be read. The full text of the final paper should be no more than twenty pages, double spaced. Final papers and presentations must be in one of the official IFLA languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, or Spanish. In accordance with IFLA’s Open Access Statement, all papers presented at the 2015 World Congress will be made available through the IFLA Library under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.

Important dates

13 March 2015: 

Proposals due

Middle of March 2015:

Acceptance notices sent to authors

30 June 2015:

Full text of papers submitted to the Art Libraries Section for review

15 July 2015: 

Full text of papers submitted to the IFLA Library


Proposals must be submitted by email and must contain


  • Title of the paper
  • Author(s) of the paper
  • Paper abstract (500 words maximum)
  • Speaker’s name, professional affiliation, postal address, and email address
  • Biographical note on the speaker (75 words maximum)
  • Language of the paper
  • Language of the presentation
  • Email subject line “IFLA Proposal”
  • Proposed papers must be original and not have been published or presented elsewhere


Please submit your proposal no later than the extended deadline 13 March 2015 to:

Sandra Ludig Brooke, Chair of the IFLA Art Libraries Section

Email: sbrooke@princeton.edu


Please note

All expenses, including registration for the conference, travel, accommodation, etc., are the responsibility of the authors/presenters. No financial support can be provided by IFLA, but a special invitation can be issued to authors. It is possible that the South African National Committee may secure funds for special Conference Participation Grants. Applicants should check the conference website for up-to-date information on terms and availability.