Call for Abstracts

The BraIn Plasticity and Behavior Changes (BIP) Group at the Department of Psychology, University of Turin and the Giorgio Amendola Foundation are delighted to invite contributions for the Third International Conference on Beauty and Change, a three-day international and interdisciplinary conference that will be held in Turin, Italy on 17-19 October 2024.

Established in 2022, the International Conference on Beauty and Change is a highly successful interdisciplinary forum for discussing recent advancements in philosophical and empirical aesthetics. This year’s conference will be devoted to the theme “Aesthetics and Human Flourishing: Theories, Experiments and Applications” and will gather leading scholars from the fields of philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience to reflect on how our aesthetic experiences impact our wellbeing and our psychological functioning.

Confirmed invited speakers:

Anjan Chatterjee (University of Pennsylvania)
Emily Cross (ETH Zürich)
Joerg Fingerhut (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Shaun Gallagher (University of Memphis)
Stefan Koelsch (University of Bergen)
Helmut Leder (University of Vienna)
Lucia Sacheli (University of Milano-Bicocca)

The Theme
According to a long-standing philosophical tradition, backed up by present-day research in psychology and neuroscience, our aesthetic encounters contribute in important ways to our individual and collective flourishing. The ways in which they are said to do so are many. Some argue that engaging with great art offers valuable knowledge about our world and our condition, our social lives and our relationships, or our mind and its workings. Others claim that our aesthetic experiences can boost or promote certain capacities, such as learning, problem-solving, attention, and empathy. Still others claim that engaging with the arts can constitute a form of emotion regulation and help alleviate anxiety, depression, and other psychopathological conditions. Artistic endeavours are also said to be potent vehicles of self-expression and self-transformation, deeply involved in the development of our personal identities. On a collective level, having an aesthetic sensitivity towards how objects, spaces, and environments are built and altered is said to promote deeper, richer, and more caring forms of interactions with others and with nature. Plausible as they might seem, however, these claims are subject to sustained theoretical debates, and the current empirical evidence in favour or against them is far from being conclusive.

The aim of the Third International Conference on Beauty and Change is to probe all these lines of enquiry in a thoroughly interdisciplinary way, to get a clearer picture of whether and how the arts and aesthetics are conducive to human flourishing. Philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists, and professionals working in the arts, design, architecture, and urban planning will gather to discuss the theoretical underpinnings of the various proposals in the debate, their empirical support, and their applications in concrete scenarios. We are therefore looking for well-informed theoretical or empirical contributions that might be of interest to an interdisciplinary audience. Topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Philosophical, psychological, and neuroscientific perspectives on what art contributes to our knowledge or understanding, and the role it plays (or should play) in our epistemic practices; 
  • Philosophical, psychological, and neuroscientific perspectives of how our aesthetic encounters are related to, improve, or impair mental capacities such as learning, problem-solving, creativity, empathy, attention, curiosity, motivation, and critical thinking;
  • The role of art and aesthetic practices in emotion regulation, affective scaffolding, and extended affectivity;
  • The theoretical underpinnings, benefits, and limitations of art therapy, art-based interventions, and other applications of aesthetics in therapeutic contexts;
  • The role of art and aesthetics as vehicles of self-expression and in shaping, defining, and transforming our personal identities;
  • The positive and negative impact of the work of art practitioners, designers, architects, and urban planners on our individual and collective lives;
  • The ways in which theoretical and empirical research in aesthetics can inform the work of art practitioners, designers, architects, and urbanists and provide them with suggestions on how to promote human flourishing;
  • The prospects and potential perils of artification, gamification, experience design, recommendation algorithms, and the rise of AI art for flourishing and psychological wellbeing;
  • The ways the arts and other aesthetic practices can promote or hamper positive social change.

Submission Guidelines

We accept two types of submissions: talks (20 minutes + 10 minutes for discussion) and posters. For both types of submission, please send an abstract of no more than 300 words in WORD or PDF format to beautyandchange@fondazioneamendola.it by 30 June 2024.

Abstracts must be written in English and prepared for blind review. In the body of your email, please indicate the names and affiliations of all the authors (specifying the presenting author), and your preferred presentation type (talk or poster). Each author may submit only one abstract as a presenting author but can be a co-author in any number of submissions.

We especially encourage submissions from women, early career researchers and members of underrepresented groups, and we will take diversity into account when making decisions for inclusion in the programme.

Important Dates
Deadline for submissions: 30 June 2024
Notification of acceptance: 15 July 2024
Conference dates: 17-19 October 2024

Conference Costs
Conference fee for students (BA and MA): free
Conference fee for untenured researchers (PhD students and postdocs): €100
Conference fee for tenured researchers: €200
Conference dinner (optional): €45

Student Prizes
We will be offering two small monetary prizes of €100 for the two best contributions (posters or talks) by students (BA, MA, PhD). One of the two prizes will be awarded for a theoretical contribution, the other for an empirical one. The prizes will be assigned by the conference scientific committee based on the quality and relevance of the submitted abstract. The two winners will be announced during the conference. If you would like to be considered for one of these prizes, please indicate so in the body of your submission email, specifying which category (theoretical or empirical) you are applying for.

Scientific Committee
Carola Barbero (University of Turin)
Alessandro Bertinetto (University of Turin)
Alice Cancer (Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan)
Jacopo Frascaroli (University of Turin)
Irene Ronga (University of Turin)
Maria Luisa Rusconi (University of Bergamo)
Pietro Sarasso (University of Turin)
Sander Van de Cruys (University of Antwerp)

Other Information
Information about venue, travel and accommodation will be made available on the conference website in due course.

We aim to make the conference as accessible as possible. Please do not hesitate to contact the conference organisers to discuss accessibility requirements.

All questions and correspondence should be addressed to the Organising Committee at: beautyandchange@fondazioneamendola.it