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.

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


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 looking forward to seeing you at The Forum, Norwich in July.

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 Conferences
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