Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Recognising Silence / The Exploring and Managing Silence Project

Recognising Silence
The Exploring and Managing Silence Project

Tuesday 7th July – Thursday 9th July 2015
Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Call for Presentations:
Silence is powerful. When not expressed, feelings and thoughts build up an internal pressure, whether on the part of an individual or between members of a couple, family or group. Such pressure can lead to depression, resentment and anger, which can manifest as self-harm, family breakups due to work-life imbalances, domestic violence or even suicide. At the societal level, if one's voice is not heard and recognized, and if what one says is ignored or not incorporated into the decision-making process, further social dysfunction ensues, including the creation of bubbles and enclaves of minorities, an ever-growing inequality of contribution by individuals, and increasing levels of social stress and anxiety. The opposite of silence is the final scream of the suicide bomber. Paying more attention to silence might result in preventing the eruptions of frustration that leads to aggression, violence, and ultimately, to terrorism (such as 9/11).

The 1st International Interdisciplinary Conference on Exploring and Managing Silence focuses on recognizing silence in various contexts. We believe that silence is too complex a phenomenon to be defined in a prescriptive manner. So we are putting out a Call for Presentations from practitioners, academicians and professionals working in:

- Education at any level (primary through tertiary and post-graduate; vocational training)
- Health care (including mental health, chronic illness, elderly care, end-of-life care)
- Care of people with disabilities (including special needs children)
- Government and NGOs, especially with regard to interaction with Indigenous people
- Sustainable development
- Environmental sustainability
- Economics and business (especially with regard to interaction with Indigenous people
- Psychology
- Religion and spirituality

We are particularly interested in papers that address the following questions:

~How is silence understood in different contexts, by different parties, in different cultures, in different professions, in different disciplines?
~How is silence currently acknowledged, identified, measured, and valued by the different parties in a specific interaction (e.g., decision-making process, classroom, business transaction)?
~How does silence contribute to the process of meaning-making? How does what is not said fit alongside what is spoken? And how do people ascribe meaning to silence?
~Silence resides in the 'in-between' spaces: between words, between the lines, between persons. How do people enter into those in-between spaces? How does their presence in those spaces affect them and the interaction?

We would also like to consider silence in the arts:

~Silence in music: the evolution of the relationship between sound and silence in composition, silence as radicalism (John Cage, Miles Davis, etc.)
~Silence in poetry
~Silence in cinema: impact of silence on storytelling technique, image composition, mechanics of silent cinema, opportunities and challenges of the silent medium, masters of silent cinema, soundtracks and the use of silence in sound films
~Silence in performance: acting styles, mime, non-speech communication
~Architectural spaces and the creation of silence

And some other aspects of silence that are equally powerful:

~Silence and the law: regulatory provisions around health and safety standards, noise controls ordinances and architectural innovation to preserve silence
~Legality of silence: 5th Amendment of the US Constitution and other protections against self-incrimination
~Silence as what is not said or what cannot be said (testimony of Holocaust victims, silence after trauma)

Finally, the project will explore silence in religious and spiritual traditions, including:

~Quaker silence
~Silence as meditation and introspection
~Silence in mystical traditions (Catholic, Zen Buddhist, etc.)

The Steering Group welcomes the submission of proposals for short workshops, practitioner-based activities, performances, and pre-formed panels. We particularly welcome short film screenings; photographic essays; installations; interactive talks and alternative presentation styles that encourage engagement.

What to Send:
Proposals will also be considered on any related theme. 300 word proposals should be submitted by Friday 13th March 2015. If a proposal is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper of no more than 3000 words should be submitted by Friday 22nd May 2015. Proposals should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; proposals may be in Word or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: Silence 1 Proposal Submission.

All abstracts will be at least double blind peer reviewed. Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs:
Ram Vemuri and Nancy Billias: nanspinoza@gmail.com
Rob Fisher: silence1@inter-disciplinary.net

The conference is part of the Probing the Boundaries domain which aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore innovative and challenging routes of intellectual and academic exploration. All proposals accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English and will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected proposals may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s). All publications from the conference will require editors, to be chosen from interested delegates from the conference.

Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation.

For further details of the conference, please visit:

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