MAKING IMAGINED OBJECTS – ACROSS SPACE AND FORM: THE 2nd INTERNATIONAL ALASDAIR GRAY CONFERENCE
MAKING IMAGINED OBJECTS was a two-day, interdisciplinary gathering held in Glasgow in the summer of 2022, the biggest collection yet anywhere in the world of folks interested in the work, art and life of the Glaswegian polymath (1934-2019). The theme was ‘Across Space & Form’. Here is the introductory statement by Rodge taken from the website set up for the conference at the University of Strathclyde.
This conference examined the nature, value and legacy of Alasdair Gray’s artistic output, considering his literary work and his visual practice, and the relationship between the two in Gray’s oeuvre. The conference was entitled “Making Imagined Objects” in tribute to Gray’s own repeated and modest claim that he was a “maker of imagined objects”. This was the second International Alasdair Gray Conference. The first one, convened by Professor Camille Manfredi, took place in Brest in 2012 and resulted in the critical book, Alasdair Gray: Ink for Worlds (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), which Gray himself contributed to. This second Alasdair Gray Conference, with some of the same organisers involved, intended to be its continuation a decade later, expanding towards an even greater validation of Alasdair Gray’s plurality of forms.
You can find a record of the conference objectives here.
You can find a short history of Alasdair Gray & his relationship to the city of Glasgow here.
The speakers at the conference included the highly celebrated novelist ALI SMITH and the Exhibitions Director of the Glasgow School of Art, JENNY BROWNWRIGG. You can see a breakdown of the speakers and organisers here.
A record of the full Programme and Abstracts is here.
A record of the Abstracts and biographies of those speaking at the conference is here.
A record of the Conference’s Partners is here.
WHO WAS THE ORGANIZING COMMITTEE?
Dr. Rodge Glass, Reader in Creative Writing, Edge Hill University
Sorcha Dallas, of the Alasdair Gray’s Archive
Prof. Marie-Odile Hedon, Professeur de Litterature Britannique Contemporaine, Aix-Marsielle Universite, France
Dr. Andrew McInnes, Senior Lecturer in English Literature, Edge Hill University
Prof. Camille Manfredi, Professeur de Littérature Ecossaise University of Nantes, France
Petra Pugar, Doctoral Researcher, University of Zagreb, Croatia (Research Network Co-Ordinator)
Prof. Alan Riach, Professor of Scottish Literature, University of Glasgow
Prof. Kirsten Stirling, Associate Professor in English, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
MAKING IMAGINED OBJECTS: Committee Members
Clockwise from Top Left: Sorcha Dallas (AG’s art agent), Prof. Marie-Odile Hedon (University of Aix-Marseille), Petra Pugar (University of Zagreb, Croatia), Prof. Camille Manfredi (University of Nantes), Prof. Alan Riach (University of Glasgow)
WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO DO WITH ALASDAIR GRAY, RODGE?
‘Alasdair is important to me. As a student, Gray was my tutor while I was working on what eventually became my first novel, No Fireworks (Faber, 2005). Then I became his secretary, working with him on multiple projects over several years. This was my education as a writer. I saw at first hand how Gray worked, something I then documented in Alasdair Gray: A Secretary’s Biography (Bloomsbury, 2008), an unorthodox book which was part-traditional walk through the life and works, part-multi-portrait of the artist as an old man. This was unashamedly subjective, but interrogative too. The book won a Somerset Maugham Award for Non-Fiction in 2009, after which I returned mostly to writing fiction, though I’ve continued to publish chapters and articles on Gray since. In 2012 I attended the 1st International Alasdair Gray Conference at the University of Brest, France, organized by Camille Manfredi. A book followed, Alasdair Gray: Ink for Worlds (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), and several of us involved in that book discussed pursuing a follow-up conference one day. Five years later, here we are. In the interim, things have changed. The conference could have happened anywhere, but given how visible Gray’s work is in the landscape of the city he has spent his life documenting, it makes sense to host this conference in Glasgow. So let’s make it happen.’