CFP - The Ukrainian and Jewish Artistic and Architectural Milieus of Lwów/Lemberg/Lviv: From Ausgleich to the Holocaust

International Conference
November 5-7, 2012, Lviv.

Deadline for submission: April 1, 2012 

The period between Ausgleich and Holocaust (1867–1939) witnessed the rapid modernization of Galicia, and especially its metropolis, Lwów/Lemberg/Lviv. Citizens of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, and then of the Second Polish Republic headed in a diversity of paths leading from the segregated traditional communities towards the modern integrated societies. These uneasy political and cultural conditions presented challenges for every group, and especially for their creative individuals, the artists.

The conference focuses on artists and architects, who defined themselves or were defined as Ukrainians and Jews, and thus were the representatives of the two largest non-dominant groups in Lviv before World War II. Their modern identities were shaped, in respect or contrast to, but almost always in the context of the Polish dominance in the city, and – from the last third of the nineteenth century – in the context of Polish national resurgence. Ukrainian and Jewish artists were haunted by stereotypical views and self-views, both similar and dissimilar: while none of them had had any "national art," the former were known as indigenous builders and artisans, though confined to the peasant’s background, the latter as "an artless people," "isolated in ghetto for centuries." For some artists it was an existential choice to acknowledge or oppose the stereotypes. Another artists’ challenge was the ubiquitous modernization, reflected in the diversity of available concepts, whether evolutionist, "renaissance," or revolutionary. How artists constructed their artworks, their selves, and their group affiliations in relation to this changing world and specific urban environment, will be the topics of the conference. 

We invite scholars to present their studies of artistic and professional strategies within the highly prolific Ukrainian and Jewish communities of artists and architects. We invite papers questioning how artists and architects articulated their belonging to different groups, how this influenced their work and their social position, how interaction with other artists in the multiethnic environment of the city have influenced ideas and concepts of art and its role in society. Moreover, we would like to learn how the social position and perception of artists and architects varied in different ethnic communities, and how they changed over time. While individual papers may only focus on the artistic life and architectural practices within one community, Ukrainian or Jewish, we aim to bring a comparative perspective by inviting scholars to discuss narratives and strategies of these two groups together.

We hope for insights in three chief directions: making and socializing the art; retaining, constructing, and re-constructing bonds with the ethnic-religious groups; shaping the cultural elites by non-dominant groups. We also invite papers dealing with the question of interaction between the urban environment and artistic milieus. Inquiries into the role of Lwów/Lemberg/Lviv, but also perceptions and reflections of the city by Jewish and Ukrainian artists and architects are thus especially encouraged.  
The conference participants are encouraged to discuss a broad variety of matters concerning creative individuals and groups, including, but not limited to: 

  1. Emancipation and education: artists, architects, and engineers.

  2. Individual professional activity and career: graphical arts, painting, sculpture, photograph, decorative art, architecture and engineering; interaction of arts; religious and secular art; funerary art.

  3. Architectural presence and visibility in the cityscape: representation of minority in modern city; leaving and retaining the frameworks of the traditional environment.

  4. Education in traditional arts and crafts. Individual and group reaction to the numerus clausus restrictions.

  5. Defining and shaping heritage: documentation, preservation, and promotion of landmarks.

  6. Artistic and professional milieus of a non-dominant group: professional unions; associations; exhibitions; competitions; art critics; press.

  7. Supportive communities: welfare and social care, from orphanages to academic houses and spas.

  8. Art collecting and patronage. Private collectors. Jewish Museum and National Ukrainian Museum. Libraries.

  9. Circles of identities: local, imperial, national, and universal identity. Loyalty and nationalism in art.

  10. Relations with the "others": tutorship, co-operation, sympathy, competition, and separation.

  11. Prejudices in the realm of art, architecture and beyond: anti-Semitism, ethnic and religious discrimination.

  12. Constructing "national styles": defining Jewish and Ukrainian art and architecture.

  13. Destiny of Jewish artists and their works in Holocaust. Ukrainian artists and architects in the wars and under occupations: World Wars I and II.

  14. Post-Lviv/Lemberg/Lwów stories: artists and architects outside of Lviv. 

Languages of the conference: English and Ukrainian (simultaneous translation). 

Abstracts (up to 200 words) of a twenty-minute presentation with a short CV should be submitted (as an attached MSWord documents) by April 1, 2012 to Dr. Iryna Matsevko, the Academic Coordinator of the Center for Urban History at, with "Conference" in the subject header.  

Applicants will be notified of the decision regarding their proposals by May 1, 2012

Limited funds for reimbursement of travel expenses and accommodation are available. No conference fee will be charged.

Organized by:
Center for Urban History of East Central Europe (Lviv, Ukraine)
Center for Jewish Art, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Jerusalem, Israel)
Polish Institute of World Art Studies (Warsaw, Poland)
The Leonid Nevzlin Research Center for Russian and East European Jewry (Jerusalem, Israel)
Ukrainian Jewish Encounter Initiative (Toronto, Canada)

5 November 2012 - 7 November 2012