The Future State: Land / Labour / Capital call for papers


The Future State

Goldsmiths, University of London

Land │L abour │Capital

Limerick City Gallery of Art

26-28 September 2013

call for papers


In the language of classical economics, land, labour and capital are the three factors of production; the basic resources required to produce goods and services that circulate in a globalized economy. Land │Labour │Capital is an interdisciplinary conference foregrounding cultural practices that appropriate ‘economised’ concepts and offer alternative interpretations that challenge dominant narratives.

In this contemporary moment we are all becoming economists.  Lively discussions in the bar after work, private conversations at home and small talk in supermarket aisles involve ruminating on the merits and demerits of promissory notes, debt, corporate tax rates, house prices and mortgage rates, unemployment, emigration and immigration. The jargon of contemporary capitalism infiltrates every part of our lives. The contemporary crisis is not just financial: it’s a crisis of democracy and society too.  Above all, the crisis is a position of knowledge from where it is possible to unpack normative narratives and frameworks of understanding.  

Land – encompassing all the resources that nature has to offer – is increasingly over populated, harvested, urbanized, built on, explored, mined, protected, gentrified, conflicted and polluted.  Labour is characterized more and more by a cognitive workforce, fractionalized working hours, outsourcing and off-shoring, migrant work flows, workers’ resistance, precarity and obsolescence through technology. Non-labour – the proportion of society unable to contribute economically – is progressively marginalized.   Capital, or wealth – including social and intellectual capital, and the distribution thereof – is more concentrated than before.  These are the narratives.

A collaboration between Limerick City Gallery of Art (LCGA), The Future State and Goldsmiths, University of London, the conference will take place in the LCGA during Labour + Lockout, an exhibition marking the centenary of the 1913 Dublin Lockout: a key moment in Ireland’s industrial history when employers refused to recognize workers in an attempt to break worker solidarity and the trade union movement. Land │Labour │Capital will reflect on the relevance of 1913 for the contemporary moment and, in collaboration with leading, interdisciplinary thinkers and practitioners, foreground radical and alternative narratives for future history-making.

LCGA’s Labour + Lockout exhibition is one in a series of exhibitions examining this moment of commemoration taking place in CCA Derry Londonderry, Belfast Exposed, Temple Bar Studios and Gallery Dublin, Gallery of Photography Dublin and independent spaces in Dublin.

We welcome proposals for 20 minute academic or practice-led presentations exploring cultural, particularly visual, representations that critique dominant narratives and/or propose alternative futures.  Topics can include but are not limited to the following:

·       Housing, ghost estates, public and private space

·       Natural, architectural, political and cultural landscapes

·       Ownership, natural resources and the commons

·       Globalisation, multinationals and indigenous industries

·       Outsourcing, off shoring, brass plate corporations

·       Cognitive workers, precarity of labour, fragmentation of working time

·       Gendered labour, non-labour

·       Industrial disputes, activism, social movements

·       Emigration, immigration, integration, borders

·       Memory, myths, cultural identity and cultural conflict

·       Practices, uses and problematics of commemoration

·       Education, social class, wealth, political class, political corruption

·       Global capitalism, the Nation-State, post-national

·       Democracy, sovereignty, citizenship


Please submit a 300 word abstract by 16 August 2013 to to include:

  • Title of the paper
  • Short biography of the author (independent researchers welcome)
  • Details of audio-visual requirements
  • Indication of any enhanced access support needs


Organizing Committee:

Goldsmiths, University of London and The Future State (Dr Derval Tubridy, Stephanie Feeney, Ruth Annett, Emma Cummins) and the LCGA (Helen Carey)



Dr Derval Tubridy
Senior Lecturer in English Literature and Visual Culture,
Department of English and Comparative Literature
Department of Visual Cultures
Goldsmiths, University of London
London SE14 6NW