The International Society for the Study of Surrealism is electing a Vice President who will serve the first two years as Vice President (November 2021-November 2023), and the next two years as the President (November 2023-November 2025), as well as a Program Chair to serve for a two-year term (November 2021-November 2023).
The Vice President will be responsible for keeping track of the Annual Calendar, for scheduling quarterly meetings of the ISSS executive board, and any occasional extraordinary meetings that might be necessary, in consultation with the President, and will become leading President of the organization in November 2023.
The Program Chair will have a lead effort to identify conference locations and conference hosts for the ISSS annual conference, support conference hosts with program components and schedule, and be the liaise between host organizers and ISSS board members and report on the program committee’s activities.
The election poll will start Saturday, 13 November, at 10 am EST and will be open until two weeks after the ISSS virtual conference. You will receive an email by the elections chair (firstname.lastname@example.org) leading you to the voting poll.
Our candidates for Vice President
Felicity Gee is Senior Lecturer in Modernism and World Cinema at the University of Exeter and was the organiser of the 2nd ISSS Conference at Exeter in 2019. Her research and teaching focus on surrealism, avant-garde and global art cinema, and critical theory. She is author of the monograph Magic Realism, World Cinema and the Avant-Garde (2021). https://humanities.exeter.ac.uk/english/staff/gee/
Elliott King is Associate Professor of Art History at Washington and Lee University (Lexington, VA) and a founding Board member of ISSS, and has served the organization since 2016 as Acting Communications Co-Chair (2016-20), Acting Treasurer (2020-present), and member of the Programming Committee. He is author of the monograph Dalí, Surrealism and Cinema (2007). https://my.wlu.edu/directory/profile?ID=x7214
Thomas Mical is Professor of Architectural Theory of Jindal School of Art and Architecture in Delhi, India and has been a tenured Professor in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand. He has taught, written, and mentored in Surrealism globally for three decades since completing my Ph.D. on Giorgio de Chirico. He is editor of the anthology Surrealism and Architecture (2005). https://jgu.edu.in/jsaa/node/58
Iveta Slavkova is Assistant Professor of Art History at the American University of Paris. She has been a member of the ISSS since its foundation and participated in the elaboration of the ISSS virtual conference as a member of the Program Committee. She has worked on the notion of anti-humanism and ab-humanism in surrealism and is author of the monograph Réparer l’homme. La crise de l’humanisme et l’Homme nouveau des avant-gardes autour de la Grande Guerre (1909-1929) (2020). https://www.aup.edu/profile/islavkova
Our candidates for Program Chair
Nadia Albaladejo is Assistant Lecturer for Spanish at the Waterford Institute of Technology. She has received her doctoral degree from University College Cork. Funded by the Irish Research Council she investigated the Spanish/Mexican surrealist artist Remedios Varo from an interdisciplinary and interartistic approach. At UCC she was named Chair of the Dyslexia Working Group as well as social media manager for the Centre of Mexican Studies. She was member of the Program Committee of the 2021 ISSS virtual conference, Surrealisms 2021. https://ie.linkedin.com/in/dr-nadia-albaladejo-garc%C3%ADa-4659368a
Raymond Spiteri is Senior Lecturer of Art History at the School of English, Film, Theatre, Media Studies, and Art History of Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand). He has a longstanding commitment to the study of surrealism and a solid history of publications focusing on the tension between the cultural and political dimension of surrealism. He was on the organizing committee for the 2012 Art Association of Australia and New Zealand annual conference and has served on the organizing committee for the 2021 ISSS online conference. https://people.wgtn.ac.nz/raymond.spiteri
Anna Watz is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Linköping University (Sweden). While her home discipline is literary studies, her research is both interdisciplinary and multilingual. She investigates surrealism and the avant-garde, gender and feminist theory, contemporary women’s writing, and representations of female desire. She is the author of the monograph Angela Carter and Surrealism (2016), and editor of Surrealist Women’s Writing (2020). https://liu.se/en/employee/annwa19
2021 ISSS Elections: Candidate Statements
Candidates for Vice President
Felicity Gee (University of Exeter)
Felicity Gee is Senior Lecturer in Modernism and World Cinema at the University of Exeter and was the organiser of the 2nd ISSS Conference at Exeter in 2019. Her research and teaching focus on surrealism, avant-garde and global art cinema, and critical theory. Trained in English literary studies, her doctoral research spanned literature, art history, and film (Royal Holloway, University of London). She is author of the monograph Magic Realism, World Cinema and the Avant-Garde, which explores the art historical and critical inception of magic realism, its overlaps with surrealism, and traces its geopolitical application in cinema. She has also written on avant-garde film, Luis Buñuel, the writings of Leonora Carrington and Claude Cahun, as well as on the surrealist novel in Japan. Her current research project centres on the oeuvre of Valentine Penrose, and the role of female travels/voyages in surrealism. Ever mindful of the fast-approaching centennial year which will commemorate the publication of André Breton’s Manifeste du surréalisme (1924), she is also collaborating with the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (co-founded by Roland Penrose) on a film and events programme to celebrate the legacy of surrealism across the year in 2024.
Surrealism is an attitude and a way of life, not just a field of research; and its potential revolutionary and revelatory politics are essential to life in the 21st Century. It is exciting to think about the many ways that ISSS in its fiercely interdisciplinary, intersectional, and international work can reach and inspire a growing number of artists and scholars. It would be an absolute privilege to play a part in sustaining and expanding this vision, particularly through fostering further collaborations between scholars and artists, between disciplines, but also continuing to support and promote those who are at an early stage in their careers.
Elliott King (Washington and Lee University)
As a founding Board member of ISSS, I have served the organization since 2016 as Acting Communications Co-Chair (2016-20), Acting Treasurer (2020-present), and for
two years as a member of the Programming Committee. In these roles, I have sought to establish our online and social media presence, expand membership, help facilitate a world-class conference, and keep the organization financially solvent. It has been a sincere joy to see ISSS grow from a small group of dedicated colleagues into an international organization with two major conferences, 255 members, and over 700 Facebook followers.
If elected Vice President, I would work ardently to keep ISSS a dynamic and inclusive space for the ongoing, multi-disciplinary study of surrealism. Part of ISSS’s mission is to ‘integrate the field of surrealism studies worldwide,’ and in addition to our large-scale conferences, I support smaller workshops and events – virtual and in-person – that build community across geographies and time-zones. I am eager to support ISSS’s journal and book series initiative. I am also keen to bolster connections ISSS has formed between scholars and surrealist practitioners; indeed, I consider the axis between academics and living surrealists to be among ISSS’s most distinguishing and admirable characteristics.
ISSS is a wonderful organization with exciting intellectual exchanges, a valuable mission, and passionate individuals devoted to surrealism. It would be my honor to help lead us as VP.
Thomas Mical (University of Delhi, India)
This proposal for the VP role in the International Society for the Study of Surrealism is motivated by the values of curiosity, diversity, multiplicity in a global imagination. Curiosity draws many to surrealism, and curiosity is imbedded in surrealist theories and practices which offer fertile avenues for exploration and liberation. ISSS should be proactively scanning and tracking established and emergent forms of artistic scholarship for demonstrating innovative questioning, cascading from diverse surrealism(s). Diversity of scholars and investigators, emergent forms of scholarship from unexpected locations and under-explored disciplines should also be core to ISSS. Multiplicity demands the pursuit of alternate narratives, alternate lives, alternate models existing just beneath the surfaces of appearance and logic – the potential of the sacred, the erotic, the uncanny, the marvelous to erupt into the everyday which ISSS can champion.
We should work to transparently welcome the maximum number of scholars, centers, and archives of surrealism dynamically. I have been a tenured Professor in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and now India. I have taught, written, and mentored in Surrealism globally for 3 decades since completing my Ph.D. on Giorgio de Chirico.
For example, my anthology “Surrealism and Architecture” (Routledge, 2005) is still in print and has influenced students, curators, and designers for decades. Today I offer my substantial international networks to help grow the breadth and depth of these values for future ISSS initiatives. My vision: the world desperately needs streaming surrealism for the everyday to become marvellous, to welcome strange beauty to emerge.
Iveta Slavkova (American University of Paris, France)
My research on Surrealism is related to my work on the avant-garde and the crisis of humanism in Europe following the First World War. Cutting across the disciplines, my PhD and publications have explored the radical redefinition of the self and subjectivity proposed by the Surrealists. Anti-humanist in the sense of a rupture with the supposedly universal preconceptions of Western civilization based on the Enlightenment, positivism, and scientific progress, the Surrealists analyzed without concession the perverse effects in the internal mechanisms of humanism that led to its failure embodied by the two world wars and genocide.
I am currently working on Parisian ‘’abhumanism’’ which, theorized by Jacques Audiberti and Camille Bryen in the 1950s, stemmed in part from the Surrealist critique of humanism. The project focuses on artists and writers who were informally engaged with Surrealism—Bryen and Audiberti— and proposes new ways to approach the work of Wols, Henri Michaux or Antonin Artaud. Together with Anne-Marie Butler and Donna Roberts, I am editing a book on “Ecology and Surrealism”, a project born from a CAA conference panel in February 2021, to be published at Vernon Press in 2023.
I have been a member of ISSS since its foundation and participated in elaboration of the ISSS virtual conference as a member of the Program committee. I am part of Paris conference organizing committee which, postponed due to the pandemics, will take place as soon as circumstances allow. Fluent in 4 languages, knowledgeable in two others, with expertise in Slavic and Eastern European languages and cultures, stimulated by engaged and multicultural colleagues in the heart of Paris, I hope to contribute to enlarging the international scope of ISSS.
Candidates for Program Chair
Nadia Albaladejo (Waterford Institute of Technology)
I achieved First-Class Honors in both a BA and MA from University College Cork. Funded by the Irish Research Council my doctoral degree investigated the Spanish/Mexican surrealist artist Remedios Varo from an interdisciplinary and interartistic approach. I have a special interest in working across multiple fields, as seen in my last publication, a reflection on space-making in Varo’s La creación de las aves, and also in my current research on surrealism and fashion and Varo’s only written manuscript, De Homo Rodans.
Throughout my doctoral studies, I have focused on a range of issues directly related to Surrealist studies always from this interdisciplinary perspective. I have taught a range of modules which have enhanced my understanding of intercultural/interartistic development, and which have developed my skills in the area of presentation, organisation and teamwork strategy. Proof of my other research interests and my multifaceted-personality, is the fact that during my time in UCC I was named Chair of the Dyslexia Working Group as well as social media manager for the Centre of Mexican Studies. I was also awarded funding to single-handedly organise two international conferences in June 2020 that would have showcased my interests for both Spanish teaching and surrealist art, however due to the current Covid 19 situation these were temporarily postponed.
I have attended an array of local and international conferences, seminars and symposia where I have delivered the findings of my research to a broad range of scholars and postgraduate students. This has provided me with a series of skills and given me a strong vision for conference programming worldwide which I believe will serve me well in the role of Conference Program Chair at the International Society for study of Surrealism
Raymond Spiteri (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
I have a longstanding commitment to the study of surrealism, going back to by doctoral studies in the 1990s, and a solid history of publication on aspects of surrealism. The particular focus in my research is how the history of the surrealist movement is animated by a tension between the cultural and political dimension of surrealism.
I fully support the mission of the ISSS, and would bring an international perspective to the position. I have spent much of my career in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, with four years working in US universities. The ISSS conference is an
important and unique forum for the study of surrealism, and I can see it playing a key role in the development of surrealism studies. Its international focus presents opportunities and challenges to the field, particularly in understanding the transmission and dissemination of surrealism across national boundaries. Surrealism can no longer be approached from a singular perspective, but must encompass the plural character of surrealism, perhaps best captured in the central question: What is surrealism?
I also have a range of experience on conference organisation: I was on the organising committee for the 2012 Art Association of Australia and New Zealand annual conference (a major regional conference), and have frequently organised conference panels and symposia. I also served on the organising committee for the 2021 ISSS online conference.
Anna Watz (Linköping University, Sweden)
The success of the two previous ISSS conferences, in terms of establishing new connections, inspiring conversation, as well as fostering international collaboration, has undoubtedly contributed to the current prospering of surrealism studies and surrealist activities globally. I entirely support the ISSS’s inclusive understanding of surrealism as a movement that is not limited to certain geographical locations or historical periods. My own research is in line with this vision in its focus on women artists and writers working up until the present moment. I am strongly committed to the continuation of the annual conference as well as to ISSS’s international and multilingual mission. Since we are living in a moment of unprecedented environmental crisis, I believe we have a responsibility to plan future conferences as hybrid events, so as to ensure the continued in-person contact between scholars that the ISSS has enabled in the past while also providing sustainable access to these discussions.
I am Associate Professor of English at Linköping University, Sweden. While my home discipline is literary studies, my research is both interdisciplinary and multilingual. I am currently working on a book on surrealist women artists and writers and the emergence of theories of écriture féminine. I am the author of Angela Carter and Surrealism (Routledge, 2016), and editor of Surrealist Women’s Writing (Manchester UP, 2020) and A History of the Surrealist Novel (Cambridge UP, 2022).