The Absent, the Unseen, and the Forgotten

31 May 2019

Keynote Speakers:
Dr Eleanor Davey and Dr Ben Offiler


SHSU Postgraduate Research Students’ Society presents their third annual postgraduate and ECR conference, this year focusing on the invisible.  Invisibility, absence, the unseen, and the forgotten are common themes in a variety of mediums.  In literature, they are devices through which suspense is built around absent friends and relatives, horror through ghostly apparitions which question what it means to be present, and romance and mystery via lost or forgotten letters.  In British politics, with the Brexit vote, we have been encouraged to think about what it means to be present and have a voice, and the concomitant responsibilities of speaking.  And in contemporary discussions surrounding refugees and immigration, we find that so often the voices of those refugees are very much absent.  This conference encourages discussion on what it means to be invisible, the responsibilities of being visible, and the politics behind forgetting and remembering.

Potential approaches to Invisibility and Absence may include:

  • Absent voices in political discourses, and how those voices are silenced.
  • Power relationships predicated upon the absence of voice of some of the participants.
  • The gaining of voice; making oneself visible.
  • The ontological status of the ‘invisible’.
  • Narratives of those who have been traditionally under-represented or oppressed: women, trans, minority narratives.
  • The ‘unseen’ consequences of political discourses on those without a voice.
  • Agency and visibility.
  • Age and invisibility.
  • Social media and presence.
  • The experience of being ‘invisible’ within discourse and its consequences.
  • Disempowerment relating to absence.

Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union will host the conference on 31 May 2019.  This is a free event for speakers, presenters, and attendees.

We welcome proposals from Postgraduate students and ECRs (who are within five years of completing their Ph.D.) for 20-minute papers and creative performances.  We also welcome posters for a display during the event.  Proposals should take the form of a 250 word abstract and short biography.  This is an interdisciplinary conference, and as such we welcome entries from a variety of fields: English Literature, Linguistics, History, Psychology, Sociology, Film Studies, Tourism, Politics, the hard Sciences, etc.

Applications should be submitted to by 1 April 2019. Follow our Twitter account @shsuprss for updates.

We look forward to reading your proposals and welcoming you to SHU.