Alone Together. Mapping the Field: Challenges and Futures. An International Pandisciplinary Conference on Solitude in Community 25th - 27th April 2024, Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, UK
“We must meet; we must communicate with one another; we must, it would seem, be alone together” (John Macmurray)
We welcome contributions to the fourth international pandisciplinary conference on solitude in community: Alone Together, which will be held in Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) in Lincoln, UK, from Thursday 25th to Saturday 27 April 2024. This is organized by the International Society for Research on Solitude (ISRS) with support from Bishop Grosseteste University (UK) and the University of Szczecin (Poland), under the auspices of Professor Karen Stanton the Vice Chancellor of Bishop Grosseteste University ,UK, and Professor Waldemar Tarczyński the Rector of the University of Szczecin, Poland.
We welcome proposals of titles and up to 250-word abstracts of papers* and posters on any issues related to solitude, silence and loneliness, from any discipline, and from researchers from all over the world. These will be peer reviewed by the conference committee.
The theme of this edition is Mapping the Field: Challenges and Futures. This is part of an attempt to map the field, as the field of solitude studies crosses conventional disciplinary, professional and contextual boundaries, making it all too often a ‘hidden gem’ within other disciplines and fields.
We are delighted to announce the three keynote/plenary sessions.
- The opening session is by Michael Cholbi, Professor and Personal Chair in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, on: Attention, Solitude, and the Social Dimensions of Grief.
- The second is a panel session on the theme of Mapping the Field: Challenges and Futures, with attendance of distinguished experts from Australia, Canada, Israel, Sweden and the US.
- The third is by Julian Stern, Professor of Education and Religion at BGU and the President of the ISRS, on The Art, Literature and Music of Solitude. This will be accompanied by a book launch of his book of the same title.
We would like to mention various publishing possibilities related to the conference.
– There are editors of several journals who would welcome submissions on solitude. The Journal of Silence Studies in Education, based in Australia, Paedagogia Christiana, based in Poland, and The British Journal of Religious Education, based in the UK, would all welcome such submissions.
– The ISRS has a monograph series with Bloomsbury, on Solitude Studies. Editors of that series will be at this conference, and will be inviting and/or commissioning contributions to the series. Each volume in the series can be a conventional single-author monograph, or can be an edited collection.
– Directly related to this conference, we will be inviting and/or commissioning chapter authors for an edited contribution to the ISRS Solitude Studies series with Bloomsbury. This has the provisional title of Solitude at the Edge: Liminal Loneliness, and it is to be edited by Richard Cleveland of Georgia Southern University, USA, and Rafał Iwański of the University of Szczecin, Poland.
“Attention, Solitude, and the Social Dimensions of Grief”
Withdrawal from others is a common feature of the grief we undergo in response to others’ deaths. Such withdrawal often takes the form of an unwelcome loneliness. However, such withdrawal may also represent a desirable form of solitude inasmuch as it amounts to a prolonged instance of attention directed at the bereaved’s relationship with the deceased, a relationship that has been transformed by the latter’s death. Viewing grief not as an emotion or a mood but as an instance of emotionally saturated attention can thus illuminate how the social withdrawal characteristic of grief can benefit us.
Michael Cholbi is Professor and Personal Chair in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. He has published widely in ethical theory, practical ethics, and the philosophy of death and dying. His books include Suicide: The Philosophical Dimensions (Broadview, 2011) and Grief: A Philosophical Guide (Princeton University Press, 2022). He is the editor of several scholarly collections, including Immortality and the Philosophy of Death (Rowman and Littlefield, 2015); and the Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Suicide (Oxford University Press, 2024). He is the co-editor of the textbook Exploring the Philosophy of Death and Dying: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives (Routledge, 2020). His essay “Empathy and Psychopaths’ Inability to Grieve” was awarded the 2022 Royal Institute of Philosophy Essay Prize. Professor Cholbi is the founder of the International Association for the Philosophy of Death and Dying and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. He serves as an associate editor of the journal Ethical Theory and Moral Practice and on the editorial boards of the Journal of Applied Philosophy, Social Theory and Practice, and Philosophical Quarterly.
“The Art, Literature and Music of Solitude”
This presentation is a thematic analysis of various aspects of solitude, silence and loneliness, from the ancient world to the present day. The themes include exile (expulsion from a community), ecstasy (getting ‘out of oneself’) and enstasy (being comfortable within oneself), through to the Romantic idea of the artist as solitary. There is work on aloneness in and through nature, and on alienation and its emotions. We will touch on modernism and postmodernism as presenting new forms of solitude in the twentieth century, and how, more recently, there have been attempts to ‘recover’ the self, through therapeutic uses of the arts. All of these types and experiences of aloneness are described through the lenses of artistic, literary and musical forms of expression, as aloneness is not only explored and articulated through these art forms, but is in many ways created through these art forms. The presentation coincides with the launch of Julian’s latest book, also, coincidentally, called The Art, Literature and Music of Solitude.
Julian Stern is Professor of Education and Religion at Bishop Grosseteste University, President of the International Society for Research on Solitude, General Secretary of ISREV: the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values, and Editor of the British Journal of Religious Education. He was a school teacher for fourteen years, and has worked in universities for more than thirty years. Julian is widely published, with nineteen books (plus five second or subsequent editions), contributions to twenty-eight other books, and over thirty peer-reviewed articles. Books include The Art, Literature and Music of Solitude (2024), Middle Leadership in Education: Care, Carefulness and Being ‘Caute’ in the Middle (2022), The Bloomsbury Handbook of Solitude, Silence and Loneliness (edited with Christopher A Sink, Małgorzata Wałejko and Wong Ping Ho, 2022), Mastering Primary Religious Education (with Maria James, 2019), A Philosophy of Schooling: Care and Curiosity in Community (2018, @2018Care), Can I Tell You About Loneliness (2017), Virtuous Educational Research: Conversations on Ethical Practice (2016), Loneliness and Solitude in Schools: How to Value Individuality and Create an Enstatic School (2014), and The Spirit of the School (2009). He can be contacted by phone on 07422 688964 and by email on firstname.lastname@example.org. He podcasts on Just Writing at https://amzn.to/3BmK6IK
Day 1: 25.04.2024
- 4.00 PM Opening of the conference
- 4.30 PM The opening session is by Michael Cholbi, Professor and Personal Chair in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, on: Attention, Solitude, and the Social Dimensions of Grief.
- 5.30 PM Discussion
- 6.00 PM Dinner
Day 2: 26.04.2024
- 9.30 AM Panel session on the theme of Mapping the Field: Challenges and Futures, with attendance of distinguished experts from Australia, Canada, Israel, Sweden and the US.
- 10.45 AM Coffee break
- 11.00 AM Parallel sessions
- 12:30 PM Lunch
- 2.00 PM Parallel sessions
- 3.00 PM Coffee break
- 4.00 PM Parallel sessions
- 6.00 PM Dinner
Day 3: 27.04.2024
- 9.30 AM Julian Stern, Professor of Education and Religion at BGU and the President of the ISRS, on The Art, Literature and Music of Solitude. This will be accompanied by a book launch of his book of the same title.
- 10.00 AM Coffee break
- 10.45 AM Parallel sessions
- 1.00 PM Summary of the conference
Applications and fees
The submission of abstracts will be welcome till the 25th of March. (Later submissions will be considered if there is still room on the programme.) Scheduled speaking time up to 20 minutes.
Participation will require a fee for refreshments and conference materials (20% off for students and ISRS members; no accommodation included*).
- General Attendees £135.00
- BGU and University of Szczecin Staff and Students, Members of ISRS £108.00
We are looking forward to meeting you!
Venue of the conference
Bishop Grosseteste University, Longdales Road, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England
Lincoln is in the heart of England on the East Midlands, ideally place to give you easy access to Nottingham, Sheffield and the coast. It’s got good rail and road links with the rest of the UK as well which makes travelling around much easier.
The BGU Campus is located in the Cathedral Quarter of the city only 5 minutes walk away from the magnificent Lincoln Cathedral, the historic Castle and the trendy boutique shops of uphill Lincoln.