2022 Conference — "Sonorities and Stained Glass: Aestheticism, Sensation, and the Arts of Sensing in Victorian Britain"  |  Richmond, Indiana, May 6-8

Few societies both honored and changed art as much as the Victorians. In expressing their stances on music, art, architecture, and literature, the Victorians filled tomes on both their value and impropriety, spirituality, and decadence. What was the role of the arts in the lives of individuals and their societies? What did it mean to be surrounded by works appealing to the senses – aural, visual, or other? The Program Committee for the 2022 MVSA conference invites proposals for papers and panels addressing the arts and the senses in Victorian culture broadly defined. Submissions are welcome from scholars working in art history, musicology, history, science, philosophy, theater, theology, literature, and other fields of scholarly endeavor. We especially encourage papers that will facilitate cross-disciplinary discussions, which are a traditional feature of MVSA conferences. Specific paper or panel topics might include:
  • The Visual Arts, in Theory and Practice
  • Sonorities, Soundscapes, Music, and Noise
  • Sensation, as a Physical or Emotional Experience
  • Resonances, Amplifications, and Vibrations as Effects, Affects, and Metaphors
  • Architecture, Sacred and Secular, Church Modernization, and Building Controversies
  • Aestheticism and the Aesthetes, Decadence, and Fin-de Siècle Ideologies of Art
  • “Sensation,” in Literary Genres, Journalism, the Occult, and Other Nontraditional Outlets for the Senses
  • Scientific and Medical Approaches to the Senses, Sensation, and Synesthesia
  • “Spectacles” and Spectacular Entertainments, including Magic-Lantern Shows
  • Religion, Aesthetics, and the Senses
  • Glass Cultures, including Stained Glass, Commercial, and Art Glass
  • Printing and Illustration, Innovations and Innovators, Movements and Technologies
This year's conference will be held in the historic Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Indiana, and event highlights will include a concert on the church’s Hook and Hastings Organ. Established by Quakers in 1806, Richmond boasts many Victorian edifices and buildings that will feature in the conference, in keeping with the 2022 theme.

Interior of Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church

The leadership of the MVSA is planning on returning to an in-person conference format this year. Select portions of the conference, however, also will be livestreamed to allow virtual attendance. We will have COVID-safety measures in place, including a vaccine requirement for in-person registration. 

For individual papers, panels, or lecture-demonstrations, send a 300-word abstract and 1-page vita (in MWord or as a PDF) by December 15, 2021, to


For information on past MVSA conferences, visit the Archives section of the website.