Deadline: 13.12.2021

Decolonising Europe: The Visible and the Invisible

Call for Papers for a Conference in Birmingham, United Kingdom, on May 19–20, 2022. Deadline: December 13, 2021

The Graduate Centre for Europe (GCfE) at the University of Birmingham, UK invites applications to participate in its next annual conference on the topic of Decolonising Europe: The Visible and the Invisible.

In the 21st century Europe continues to struggle with its colonial past and present. Manifestations of colonialism have recently faced increased scrutiny as discourses continue to evolve - affecting policy, legislation, and activism. Perhaps most poignantly, during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, the statue of slave trader Edward Colston was toppled, defaced, and thrown into Bristol Harbour. Both the act itself, and the affective responses to it, reveal a wide range of opinions and emotions that play out in public discourses, reflecting the polarised attitudes towards colonialism and decolonisation.

This year, the statue has reappeared in an exhibition at the M Shed museum in Bristol, prompting further discussion of how best we engage with our colonial past and its legacies. This conference seeks to explore the nature of decolonialism in Europe, and both the visible and invisible experiences of those affected by it. In readdressing notions of colonialism and decolonisation this conference wishes to explore ideas such as:

  • Looking to the future - which (in)visible legacies must we challenge and which must we acknowledge? What would a postcolonial Europe look like?
  • Decolonising in practice - what does it mean to decolonise? Who is being listened to in discussions of decolonisation? Who is being silenced and what are the implications of that? Who are the makers of decolonisation? Is this a grassroots movement or does it operate top down?
  • The ‘culture wars’ - What direction are they taking? What are their hidden implications?
  • Global Europe - What is Europe’s place in the age of globalisation? How do transnational narratives come into play?
  • Theoretical approaches including, but not limited to: decoloniality, postcolonialism, decolonisation, orientalism, intersectionality, etc.

As an interdisciplinary centre run by a steering committee of postgraduates, we particularly encourage postgraduates and early career researchers to apply. We also welcome papers from across disciplines as the notion of decolonising can apply to many different discourses. Contributions are not limited to the presentation of traditional academic papers. We very much welcome other kinds and formats of participation and we encourage groups and community organisers and activists to apply.

Do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any query about accessibility or any other aspect of the event. If you would like to present at the conference, please submit an abstract or a description of your proposed contribution of no more than 300 words, along with a brief biographical note of no more than 50 words and your contact details to gcfe(at) by 13 December 2021. Please also indicate whether you would like to present your paper online or in person. We would like the conference to take place over two days: one online, and one in person at the University of Birmingham.


Email: gcfe(at)
Twitter: @gcfe_bham
Facebook: @graduatecentreforeurope