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Calls For Papers

What's Your Sign?: Retail Architecture and the History of Signage

Type: Calls For Papers [View all]
Posted by: University of Iowa Museum of Art
Deadline: Sat, July 1st, 2017

The Legacies for Iowa Collections-Sharing Project at the University of Iowa Museum of Artseeks proposals for papers considering the history of retail architecture signage. For as long as goods have been bought and sold, shopkeepers and traders have visually communicated their wares through signs. This breakfast symposium explores the evolution of signage from the shutter paintings of ancient Pompeii to the wooden trade signs hanging along Medieval English streets to the neon of twentieth-century American roadside signs. How have symbols of selling shifted over the centuries? How do retail signs reflect or reject broader visual cultures? What technological shifts have precipitated the most dramatic design departures? Papers may examine the iconography, typography, and materiality of retail signs as well as the cultural, financial, and geo-political forces that shaped storefront signs in the past. Papers may also contend with the future of retail sinage in an increasingly digital and global economy. This public event is livestreamed and occurs in conjunction with the City of Iowa City Downtown District’s CoSign project, which partners local artists and craftspeople with small business to create exciting and distinctive new signs.


SUBMISSION: Proposals from architectural historians, architects, designers, and related specializations welcome. Abstracts (up to 300 words) for 20 minute papers should be submitted with a CV by July 1, 2017. Please submit all materials electronically to Vero Rose Smith (



July 1, 2017: Submissions due

July 15, 2017: Participants notified

August 25, 2017: Registration deadline

September 9, 2017: Symposium

Posted on Tue, April 18th, 2017
Expires on Sat, July 1st, 2017

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