Call for Papers

October 20, 2017
University at Buffalo

Fall 2017 Conference on Frank Lloyd Wright and the Buffalo School of Arts and Crafts

At the turn of the century, the Buffalo region was an innovative hub of U.S. industry as well as the center of the American Arts and Crafts movement. Western New York boasted the lion’s share of the most influential figures in American Arts and Crafts such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles Rohlfs, Gustav Stickley, Adelaide Robineau, Elbert Hubbard, Dard Hunter, Karl Kipp, among so many others—not to mention Buffalo Pottery, Heintz Metalwork, The Arts and Crafts Shop, etc. On the occasion of the 150th birthday of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, this international conference seeks to address the relation between Buffalo’s Arts and Crafts innovators, the industrial prowess and character of the region, and the forces that shaped the Buffalo School of Arts and Crafts in this country and abroad.

We invite scholars, professionals, collectors, graduate students and historians of all stripes to join us in considering the relationship between Western New York’s Arts and Crafts movement and its innovative industries, the social fabric of the community and the larger context of the progressive movement that sought to humanize life in the first quarter of the 20th century. We invite presentations on topics that may include:

  • The advent of Arts and Crafts as it coincided with the Buffalo region’s rapid industrialization
  • Wright’s designs as a reflection of his combination of the artisanal with technological innovation
  • The American iteration of the Arts and Crafts Movement in comparison with its British counterparts
  • The growth of the Buffalo School and its relationship to technology as either something to exploit or to react against
  • The period’s complicated understanding of the relationship among the Arts and Crafts movement, technological innovation and industry
  • How the Arts and Crafts movement included notions of social reform in favor of a more harmonious and healthy society
  • The diffusion of Arts and Crafts ideals in media and popular culture at the time
  • Whether Arts and Crafts worked to humanize the industrial environment or merely camouflage its many deficiencies

We invite papers on any aspect of Western New York’s extensive roster of Arts and Crafts innovators. An honorarium, travel assistance, and accommodations will be offered to select contributors.

This international conference will be held in conjunction with a Buffalo-wide celebration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s enormous local influence, on the occasion of his 150th birthday. The conference will take place October 20-22, 2017 at the University at Buffalo, and is sponsored by the New York State Arts and Crafts Alliance and the University at Buffalo’s Departments of Art and School of Architecture and Planning.

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