About ARLIS UK & Ireland  Annual Conferences

ARLIS UK & Ireland hosts an annual conference on art librarianship; the location is changeable and reflects the spread and diversity of art librarianship across the United Kingdom and Ireland. We encourage everyone to attend one of our conferences, and particularly to consider submitting a proposal to present- we want all of our conferences to provide a platform for all the voices involved in our profession, at home and abroad.

Please have a look at our conference write-ups to get a better idea of what to expect at an ARLIS UK & Ireland conference. If you are interested in attending one of our conferences (as an attendee or speaker) please also see our awards and scholarships page for funding opportunities.


ARLIS UK & Ireland 2023 Conference:

Generative Spaces: The Creative Powers of the Art Library

****Call for papers now open (deadline 13 January 2023)****


Location: The Forum, Norwich

Date: 3 – 5 July 2023


The art library is a container, a protector and an organiser, but it is also a creator. This year’s ARLIS conference will celebrate and interrogate the art library’s power to generate tangible and intangible cultures. Inspired by our host city’s pioneering history in the production of books, print and literature, we invite contributors to consider the art library’s role in the production of new ideas, practices, meanings and relationships, and their potential.


The conference will consist of papers, workshops and poster presentations.

During the conference there will be a curated display from the Books On Books collection and an interrelated exhibition of contemporary book art created by Bookscapes Collective, along with optional visits to local libraries and places of interest in Norwich on the final day of the event.

We welcome contributions that acknowledge and recognise achievements and challenges in response to the following themes:


Stimulation and dissemination:


● The art library as publisher

● Art libraries’ role in commissioning new creative work

● The artist’s role in enriching the art library’s collections

● The impacts and by-products of the art library’s supply chain: i.e. how can we grow collections more thoughtfully in response to the climate emergency?

● Collaborative working and dialogue between artists, art librarians and curators


Living spaces:


● Encounters and exchanges – interactions with our existing and potential users

● The art library as a site of performance and participation

● Art libraries as exhibitors – the challenges and opportunities of display

● Neurodiversity, inclusion and accessibility in art libraries

● The art library’s role in access to learning and pedagogy


Change and critical reflection:


● Critical art librarianship

● Decolonial, queer and feminist reading of archive material; promoting equity in access

● The practising artist’s dialogue with the book

● Storage and access issues relating to digital artists’ books

● The relationship between the physical and the digital, image and text, in art libraries


We are seeking inspiring and provocative contributors with an interest in these questions and themes and how they relate to art and design libraries and archives.

We welcome submissions from art library workers, academics, artists, early career researchers and independent scholars.

To have a truly engaging conference, we believe we need presenters who bring a variety of perspectives and backgrounds. We particularly welcome submissions from people belonging to under-represented and marginalised communities and sectors, including but not limited to: BAME; LGBTQIA+; those with disabilities and those who are neurodivergent.

Papers needn’t be scholarly, and we encourage the perspectives of artists, curators and any other practitioners who are engaging with the themes we’ve outlined.

There are three ways you can contribute to the conference:

● Presentations (25 minutes including questions)

● Workshops (30 minutes)

● Lightning talks or poster presentations (10 minutes)

If you have an interest in the questions we’ll be discussing, and would like to contribute your thoughts and/or experience by participating in the 2023 ARLIS/UK & Ireland Conference, we’d love to hear your proposal. Taking part in the Conference is a valuable CPD experience that will enhance your CV/portfolio and offers you a chance to share your experience and ideas with the wider art and design libraries and archives community, as well as practising artists.

Proposals must be submitted by email no later than Friday 13 January 2023 to:

Please include the following information in your email:

● Title of the proposal

● Presenter’s name, pronouns, email address, and professional or organisational affiliation (if any)

● Type of proposal: presentation/workshop/lightning talk/poster (delete as appropriate)

● Short abstract (200 words)

● Short biography of presenter

If you have any access needs that require you to submit your proposal in another format, please email and we can help you find a solution that works for you.

There will be some financial assistance available in the form of bursaries.

We’ll let you know whether we have selected your proposal for the conference by 17 February 2023.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch:

We’re very much looking forward to hearing from you.

ARLIS 2023 Conference Working Party




Past Conferences


ARLIS UK & Ireland 2022 Conference

Bristol: M Shed, 14 July 2022

ARLIS UK & Ireland 2020/2021 Conference

21-23 July 2021 (online)


The 2020 conference was postponed due to COVID-19 and ran in July 2021 as a virtual/online conference. 

ARLIS UK & Ireland 2019 Conference

Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 15-17 July 2019

ARLIS UK & Ireland 2018 Conference

London: Architectural Association, 26-27 July 2018

ARLIS UK & Ireland 2017 Conference

Dublin: National Gallery of Ireland/ Royal Irish Academy, 12-14 July 2017

[Please note there was no conference in 2016]

ARLIS UK & Ireland 2015 Conference

Cardiff, 15-17 July 2015

ARLIS UK & Ireland 2014 Conference

Manchester, 16-18 July 2014

ARLIS UK & Ireland 2013 Conference

Bristol, 10-12 July 2013