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The Social Production of Art Today: Revisiting Janet Wolff

A BSA Sociology of the Arts Study Group & Cultural Sociology Event

6 June 2024 (10am–4:15pm)
The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds, UK

About the Event

Join us for a symposium showcasing contemporary work in the sociology of the arts framed around a return to Janet Wolff’s seminal book, The Social Production of Art (1981). Leading and emerging voices in the subfield will consider Wolff’s place within the intellectual history of the sociology of art, and contemporary approaches to the questions Wolff was posing some forty years ago - questions of artistic ‘genius’, the relationship between art and ideology, and the technologies and social organisation of art making and interpretation. The symposium also re-launches the British Sociological Association’s Sociology of the Arts study group, which aims to generate a sense of community amongst those who, from various institutional locations, work at the intersections of the arts and sociology.

We are delighted that Janet Wolff, currently Emeritus Professor at the University of Manchester, will join us for the day to discuss the book, the process of writing it, and how it has travelled with her through her career.

The symposium is kindly funded by the BSA journal Cultural Sociology, and The Bauman Institute at the University of Leeds. Cultural Sociology is also providing funds to support the attendance of people with precarious contracts, who are unwaged, and/or without access to institutional support. This is offered on a first-come-first-serve basis, so please contact Laura Harris when registering to enquire. 

Please note: this is a small event, so please only register if you are certain you can join us. 






Introductory remarks


Rethinking the canons in the sociology of the arts; Chair: Maria Rovisco


Lunch break (provided)


Contemporary approaches to the social production of art; Chair: Victoria Alexander


Tea/coffee break


30min talk from Janet Wolff about the writing of The Social Production of Art and her career, followed by an informal discussion.


Concluding remarks


This event is free to attend but registration is required.

The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery

The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery offers innovative art exhibitions from the University of Leeds Art Collection. It is currently showing Mohammad Barrangi: One Night, One Dream, Life in the Lighthouse which brings Barrangi’s unique and inventive printmaking process together with sculpture, installation and sound to explore notions of home, childhood and migration. You can read more about the exhibition here