18th Annual WIP (Work-In-Progress) Conference
School of English, Media Studies and Art History
The University of Queensland
29-30 September 2014, St Lucia, Brisbane
Keynote: Professor Richard Read, the University of Western Australia




  • Please email abstracts (of 250 words) accompanied by a short biographical note (50 words) to: UQWiP2014@gmail.com
  • Please note that we also welcome abstracts that do not fit the Conference theme.

Creative Writing Showcase

  • This year, the Conference program includes an inaugural Creative Writing Showcase. Creative writing postgraduates are invited to present extracts from creative works-in-progress including fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, plays, and screenplays, up to five minutes in length. Creative writing participants are also eligible to be considered for the Showcase Prize, worth $500. Please send abstracts (of 250 words) outlining your creative work (plus biographical note), and be ready to submit your creative piece by Friday 19 September 2014 for judging. Please note that creative work does not have to fit the Conference theme.

Bursaries and Registration Waivers

  • This year, up to three bursaries are available for postgraduate participants travelling to the Conference from regional, interstate, or overseas locations. Up to ten registration waivers are also available. Bursaries and waivers will be awarded on the merit of abstracts submitted, rather than adherence to theme.

Dr John McCulloch Memorial Prize

  • Papers presented by EMSAH postgraduate and honours students are eligible to be considered for the Dr John McCulloch Memorial Prize, worth $1000.

Publication of Conference Papers

  • Selected academic papers, developed from the Conference, will be published in a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Transformations.

Registration opening soon.

Call For Papers
The investigation of things has comprised an important subject across many disciplines in the humanities and social sciences over the last thirty years. In 1988’s The Social Life of Things, Arjun Appadurai provided an innovative exploration of how things, as commodities, shaped their human agents, rather than the other way round—an idea that would have important repercussions for a new scholarly interest in material cultures. More recently, in attempting to illuminate the problematic notion of a “Thing Theory,” Bill Brown has pointed to the complex relationship between objects and things, arguing that things in fact lie outside a simple subject-object framework, leading a shadowy and multifaceted “life” which humans only glimpse rather than truly see.

What then can we now say about “things” in relation to shifting cultural contexts, to works of art or literature, or in relation to their own “lives?” Where are the lines that divide the sentient from the non-sentient, the human from the non-human, and what are their consequences?

The 18th annual Work In Progress (WIP) is a postgraduate conference addressing the theme of “The Life of Things” from disciplines within the humanities including literary and cultural studies, film, media and communication studies, drama, art history, and writing.

Confirmed speakers include Richard Read, Winthrop Professor in the School of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts at the University of Western Australia; Gillian Whitlock, ARC Professorial Fellow in the School of English, Media Studies and Art History at the University of Queensland; and Gay Hawkins, Director of the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies at the University of Queensland.

The organising committee of WIP 2014 invite proposals for 20-minute papers on any aspect of this theme. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Thing Theory
  • The Art of Things: Objects and Aesthetic Regimes
  • The Contemplation of Things: the Reflective Mind and the Outside World
  • Immaterial Things: Virtual Worlds, Inner Worlds
  • Things and Gender/Gendering Things
  • Natural and Unnatural Things: Eco-criticism and its Discontents
  • The Heritage of Things: Life Stories of the Non-Living
  • The Ineffableness of Things: the Struggle between Words and Worlds
  • Anthropomorphising Things
  • Merging and Mutable Things: Hybridity and Metamorphosis
  • The Resurgent Banal?: The Everyday and Things
  • It-Narratives: Things as Textual Agents
  • The Structure of Things: Assemblages and Networks
  • The Ascendancy of Things: Hierarchies, Obsolescence
  • Worldly Things: Transnationalism, Diaspora and Identity
  • Things Fall Apart: The Meanings of Destruction
  • The Non-Sense of Things: Forgery, Fraud and Hoaxes
  • À la recherche du temps perdu: Things and Memory

Please email abstracts (of 250 words) accompanied by a short biographical note (50 words) to: UQWiP2014@gmail.com by 25 AUGUST 2014.

Papers presented by EMSAH postgraduate and honours students are eligible to be considered for the Dr John McCulloch Memorial Prize, worth $1000.

Registration now open.
Download conference poster and CFP here.