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Making Art of Mountainous Spaces: Stakeholders, Processes and Territorial Transformations

Call for papers. Deadlines: 31st January 2016 (abstract) and 31st May 2016 (articles). Guest editor: Sylvain Guyot, Université de Limoges.

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“Hill and Valley”, 2014, Ste​ven Siegel (USA), Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpting the Wild, Lincoln, Montana, USA (picture: Sylvain Guyot, June 2015).


This call for papers questions the relationships between making art and mountainous spaces, from a social and political geography perspectives, putting stakeholder’s intentionalities at the center of the research.

“Making art” of mountain landscapes does not involve only a localized outdoor artistic intervention within mountainous spaces. It includes a spatiotemporal process that gives to the artist, its artwork, and its potential patrons a “transformation power” of representations and territorial dynamics at stake.

Making art of mountainous spaces incorporates preferentially types of art situated, realized and exhibited outdoor (sculpture, installation, performance, land art etc.). Articles willing to engage in other artistic medias such as painting or photography are welcomed, provided that realization and exhibition of artworks are made within their place of creation (like “artists’ colony”). Making art can be ephemeral, seasonal or permanent depending on the type of artistic production chosen, and always leaves a mark (material, immaterial or discursive etc.) able to transform the mountainous space. In this respect, permanent site specific art projects should be considered in the same way as some seasonal festivals of environmental and land art.

Making art of mountainous spaces goes beyond the process of “artialisation” defined by Roger (1997) to include a deeper transformation of mountain landscapes, based on the tryptic “meditation / mediation / exposure” and centered on the relationships between artists, patrons, the audience, local politics and the residents. A particular attention will be given to the interactions between making art and specificities of mountain natural environments, within protected areas (national parks, French PNR, nature reserves etc.).

If the links between art and geography and between art, nature, environment and landscape are subjected to numerous reflections from specialists of social sciences, art history as well as aesthetics, the study of making art, as a factor of territorial transformation and legitimacy, opens new scientific perspectives. The aim of this special issue of the “Journal of Alpine Research” is to establish and to interpret the processes that underpin making art of mountainous spaces (Alpine region and more generally all mountains worldwide).

Relationships between making art and mountainous spaces appear as revealing of contemporary global dynamics of aesthetization of global peripheries. Our hypothesis stands in that making art renew the conception and the representation of mountainous spaces and is used as territorial transformation tool by various types of stakeholders (environmental NGOs, elective representatives, tourism sector, residents etc.). Our call for papers opens the ground to multiscalar proposals, from global perspectives to local and regional case studies representative of distinct spatiotemporal contexts, like:

  • Alpine region, Pyrenees, French Massif Central : examples of VIAPAC in the French and Italian alps; “Rencontres artistiques de Chaillol” in the Champsaur, French southern alps; Vassivière in the limousine mountain; Hélicoop in the Vosges mountains; or the Lauzes trail in the Ardèche mountains; etc.

  • But also mountains worldwide: America, Africa, Asia, Antarctica etc.: examples of Arte Sella in the Trento mountains in Italy,; the CAN in the Spanish Pyrenees,; Djerassi in the Californian mountains; Eco-shrine in the South African Amatola mountains,, etc.

This special issue aims to question from a critical perspective the functions and finalities (territorial, political, economic and social) of making art of mountainous spaces.

Potential topics for papers

Papers’ proposals will feed the emerging process of « making art of mountainous spaces » in linking artists working approaches, private and public patronage logics (economic, political etc.) and their “reception” by various audiences (tourists, residents etc.)

  1. Why mountainous spaces have recourse to making art and vice-and-versa?

  2. How making art can transform the mountainous spaces?

  3. How making art help with the conservation of mountain natural environments?


Proposal abstracts (around 600 words) are to be sent in French (if French-speaking author) OR in English (authors of other languages) for the 31st of January 2016 to Sylvain Guyot (, Olivier Vallade, and Sylvie Duvillard (Université pierre-Mendès France, CNRS PACTE, CNRS UMR5194),

Final articles are due for the 31st of May 2016. Final articles can be submitted in English, French, Italian, German or Spanish; but the author(s) must arrange for translation into english, once the article has been accepted for publication. If the article is already in english the translation must be in french.

Publication date is planned in 2017.



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