PROGRAMME: 3rd EUI Conference in Visual and Material Culture Studies.

A- A A+

Souvenirs, Keepsakes and Tokens: Material and Visual Expressions of Personal Memories
16 May 2022 – 17 May 2022

Monday 16 May 2022:
Tuesday 17 May 2022:

Organisers: Elisa Chazal, Isabelle Riepe, Ana Struillou (Visual and Material History Working Group)

The researcher-led Visual and Material History Working Group of the Department of History and Civilisation at the European University Institute in Florence is hosting a two-day hybrid conference on the material and visual expressions of individual memories. This event is the third conference in visual and material culture studies.

People use objects as a memento for fragments of their lives, be they ordinary memories of childhood or old age, or extraordinary memories of travel, wonder, belief, war or oppression. From the inception of pilgrimage, travellers collected and carried tokens of the places they transited through to be later displayed back home or carrying with them reminders of the people they wanted to keep close. Similarly, souvenirs are also meaningful objects in sedentary lives, materialising domestic and intimate moments and tensions within the home and the family. From medieval pilgrimages to present-day immigration, sedentary and mobile individuals all over the globe are engaged in a form of emotional attachment to objects, as reminders of their past. We define souvenirs as mementoes of places and times, tied to individuals and communities who ascribed to them changing meanings and functions throughout their existence. These ever-evolving objects acquired new values and symbolic status. Taking this broad definition of souvenirs, this conference seeks to ascertain how individuals, families and communities memorialise their past through the visual and material world in form of four panels focusing on the themes of time, emotions, prisons & war and travel.


Monday 16 May, Sala degli Stemmi, Villa Salviati and ZOOM

09:00               Opening remarks

9:30-11:00      Panel 1: TIME – Chair: Érika Wicky, EUI

Imogen Peck (Coventry University)
The Anxious Afterlives of Letters

Elisa Chazal (EUI)
Playing with Temporalities: Anachronic Personalized Souvenirs from the Fin-de-siècle Historical Re-enactments

Ludwig Pelzl (EUI)
When I was younger… Thinking back of work in old age through memorial portraits, 17th and 18th Centuries

11:00-11:15    Coffee Break

11:30-13:00    KEYNOTE

Leora Auslander (University of Chicago),

Bras, rings, belts and spoons: Materialized memories of survivance in NS camps

13:00-14:30    Lunch

14:30-15:30    Panel 2: EMOTIONS – Chair: Julie Deschepper, KHI

Stephanie Koscak (Wake Forest University)
Inscribing Absence: Mourning and Love Tokens in Eighteenth-Century Britain

Loanh Mirande (Université Paris 1-Panthéon-Sorbonne; Université de Lille)
Musical iconography in 18th-century Brussels painting cabinets: emotional souvenirs ?

15:30-16:00    Coffee Break

16:00-17:30    Panel 3: PRISONS & WAR – Chair: Tara Zahra, Chicago

Maaheen Ahmed (Ghent University)
Keepsakes from the Second World War: Lies Den Houting’s Comics Notebooks

Marilyn Campeau (University of Toronto)
Sketching Frontline Mementos: Red Army Soldiers’ Drawings during World War II

Josefina Vidal Miranda (Universidad de Chile)
Remembering from the Material: Unveiling Affections in Prison

17:30-18:00    Summary of Day 1


Tuesday, 17 May  ZOOM

11:00-12:00   BOOK DISCUSSION

Emma Gleadhill, Independent Scholar

Taking travel home: the souvenir culture of British women tourists, 1750-1830 (Manchester University Press, 2022)

12:00-14:00    Lunch

14:00-15:00    Panel 4: TRAVEL – Chair: Giorgio Riello, EUI

Emily Carrington Freeman (Independent)
Materiality in John Ruskin’s continental diary-keeping (1835)

Jaclynne J. Kerner (State University of New York at New Paltz)
The Material Dimensions of Shrinedom and Its Pilgrimages

15:30-16:30    Closing Remarks


IMAGE CREDITS: National Trust Images, Killerton / Malcom Jarvis