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19 March 2020

Goldsmiths College, London

Supported by the Mountain of Arts Research (MARs)


This is a one day Symposium on queer art and activism from Turkey and its diaspora, which aims to open a dialogue on contemporary art about alternative sexualities and non-conforming bodies from alternative geographies. The Symposium is part of a more general series of queer art events entitled Turkish Delight.

The symposium will feature two keynote speakers: Evren Savci (Yale University) will provide an overview of queer culture and politics in contemporary Turkey and Cüneyt Çakirlar (Nottingham Trent University) will present an overview of contemporary queer art practices from Turkey. 



Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies, Yale University

Evren Savcı is Assistant Professor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. Her work focuses on transnational sexualities, informed by feminist and queer theory and ethnographic methodology. She is currently finishing her first book Queer in Translation: Sexual Politics under Neoliberal Islam (under contract with DUP), which analyzes sexual politics under contemporary Turkey’s AKP regime. As she wraps up her first book, she is starting a new research project on “failures of Westernization,” analyzing sexual practices that were deemed “uncivilized” and either heavily discouraged or outlawed by the Turkish Republic, such as Islamic matrimony, cousin marriages, arranged marriages and polygamy, yet are still practiced today.

Savcı’s work on the intersections of language, knowledge, sexual politics, neoliberalism and religion has appeared in Journal of Marriage and the Family, Ethnography, Sexualities, Political Power and Social Theory, Theory & Event, and Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, and in several edited collections. She has contributed op-eds, blog entries and interviews to Jadaliyya, The Feminist Wire, make/shift and Middle East Research and Information Project. She was selected Exemplary Diversity Scholar by University of Michigan National Center for Institutional Diversity in 2013.

Savcı received her Ph.D. in Sociology from University of Southern California, and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Sociology from University of Virginia. Following her Ph.D., she was a postdoctoral fellow at The Sexualities Project at Northwestern (SPAN).



School of Arts and Humanities, Nottingham Trent University

Cüneyt Çakirlar is a senior lecturer in Communications, Culture and Media Studies at Nottingham Trent University. His current research practice focuses on transnational sexuality studies, global visual cultures, and cross-cultural mobility of contemporary art practices. Awarded a PhD degree in Gender Studies (UCL), followed by an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship award at University College London with his project on cultural translation in arts (2008-2009), Çakirlar has taught on queer aesthetics and film theory at UCL (UK), Bogazici University (Istanbul, TR), Koç University (Istanbul, TR), and Istanbul Bilgi University (TR). Çakirlar’s articles appeared in various international peer-reviewed journals including Critical Arts, Paragraph, Cineaction and Screen. Has co-edited a volume about cultures of sexual dissidence in contemporary Turkey, namely Cinsellik Muamması: Türkiye’de Queer Külltür ve Muhalefet (Metis, 2012), and co-translated Judith Butler’s Bodies That Matter (1993) into Turkish (Pinhan Press, 2014). Çakırlar has also worked with various arts institutions in Turkey, USA, UK, and Germany. He has authored exhibition catalogues for the works of various artists including Taner Ceylan (Paul Kasmin Gallery NYC, 2013), Jake and Dinos Chapman (ARTER Istanbul, 2017), Erinç Seymen (Zilberman Gallery, 2017), and Soufiane Ababri (PILL Istanbul, 2019). He has recently acted as the public program curator for the show House of Wisdom Nottingham, an arts exhibition curated by Collective Çukurcuma, produced by Queer Art Projects and sponsored by Arts Council England, Bonington Gallery, Primary Nottingham, Bromley House Library and UNESCO City of Literature.


We are accepting applications for the symposium “Queer Art, Culture and Politics from Turkey” to be held on Friday 19 March 2020 in partnership with the arts organisation CUNTemporary and in collaboration with the Mountain of Art Research Centre (MARs) at Goldsmiths College, London, as part of the more general series of events entitled “Turkish Delight”.

We are looking for: 

  1. 15-20 minute paper presentations, performative lectures, and artist talks on and about queer arts from Turkey and its diaspora. 

  2. Written contributions (articles, write-ups, interviews, short essays, cross-genre creative writing, etc.) for an editorial piece to be published online at


We take ‘queer art’ to mean, in the broadest possible sense, art practices by and about lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, non-binary, gender-fluid subjectivities and all sexual minority experiences including but not limited to BDSM and fetish, as well as artworks that are queer in their form only, even when their content or author is not.


We are open to consider contributions that engage with any theme, any approach and any academic field or discipline, which falls under the general parameters of the symposium. We particularly encourage contributions that address the following areas and topics:


  • Case studies of specific queer artworks or artists from Turkey and its diasporas.

  • Queer art from Turkey’s Kurdish, Armenian, Greek, Jewish and Arab minorities.

  • Comparative studies of queer art from Turkey, with queer art from the Middle East, the Balkans, the Mediterranean, Eastern European and West Asian regions, all of which have cultural and historical ties with Turkey.

  • The relationship between queer activism and queer art in Turkey and its diasporas, as well as regions of common culture and history like the Middle East, the Balkans, the Mediterranean, Eastern European and West Asian regions.

  • Decolonising Western canons in art practice, history and criticism, specifically in terms of queer art – which is usually interpreted within a universalising Anglo-American lens. Specifically, how to take into consideration the politics of positionality when interpreting Turkey’s queer art within its local political and aesthetic frameworks.

  • Politics of regionalism, globalism, postcolonial nationalism and migration in the creation, dissemination, perception and critical appraisal of queer art from Turkey and its neighbouring regions as well as its diasporas. 

  • Multi-cultural queer art collectives and global queer events like pride months, festivals and LGBT history months on the production, dissemination and perception of queer art from Turkey and regions of common culture and history, like the Middle East, the Balkans, the Mediterranean, Eastern European and West  Asian regions.

  • The recent ban on pride parades and queer art events in Turkey and its effect on queer cultural production, censorship and self-censorship in the art scene. 


To apply, please fill in the form at the link below by Monday 10 February 2020 midnight (UK time). 

If you have any further questions about the symposium and the application process please write to Dr. Tuna Erdem:


Please note that there is a separate Call for Artists and Artworks to the ‘Deep Trash: Turkish Delight’, the unique multi-disciplinary exhibition and performance club night taking place at on Friday 20 March 2020, at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club and we encourage artists that are applying to also consider applying for an artist talk or performative lecture. 

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