Critical Legal Conference 2021 – University of Dundee – 2-4 September 2021

The Agency of the Artist-scholar

We invite presentations that explore the figure of the artist-scholar.

The agency of the artist-scholar is almost always post-contemporary. It engages with arts and literature (sensorial and textual knowledge) across time-senses. When it does break through the norms of its time (in which it nonetheless co-resides), the resulting tension with other events closer to their times is registered in works. At such a point, artistic and scholarly insurrections emerge as if ex nihilo, whose political relevance appears in the sensorial and textual means employed.

Manifestos associated with the modernist avant-garde tend to be self-conscious statements of the emergence of agency. The art-historical record is littered with retrospective analyses of such moments and remains complicit in a conspiracy promoting diachronic or temporal agency, which has given teleological historical studies a subtle yet troubling “bad conscience”: for the measures induced to weigh such moments also tend to erase the very moments.

Instead, we propose that the panel privilege forms of preposterous presentism, namely a focus on the breaking of norms without historical constrictions. All presentations are encouraged to be developed as “performance” (live or recorded) of visual and textual elements. The subtending chord of the performance is the practice of lived law in a post-contemporary way. We intend this stream as an experimental step into the waters of radical spatiality and law, with the artist-scholar as the place-holder for works of artistic scholarship and resistance to the commodification of knowledge. We will provide a non-binding summary of ideas and practices to prospective panelists but a short list includes:

  • Occupying space through making in the present
  • Emergence of agency through art-practice
  • Legal practice as art / Art practice as law
  • Conference art that defies conference contexts


Dr. Gavin Keeney

Independent Artist-scholar

Agence ‘X’


Prof. Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos

Professor of Law and Theory

Co-Director of the Westminster Law and Theory Lab

University of Westminster



  • Call for Papers opens April 28, 2021
  • Call for Papers closes June 30, 2021
  • Conference (online and otherwise) September 2-4, 2021


We encourage engagement with the thematics of the stream through a troupe ethos, per panel and across the stream. This may take many forms, but given that the conference is to be half online and half in-person, recording live performances and re-mixing or sampling them for live presentation (e.g., with music, ambient sound, and intertitles or voice-over) would permit an aleatory and theatrical ambiance to emerge across presentations and underscore the focus on works-based agency. This troupe ethos would also allow for otherwise singular panel presentations to be condensed or melded into a few key continuous, collectively orchestrated 90-minute sessions, inclusive of discussion, debate, and collegial disputation.