The 2nd Conference of Young Art Historians, organised by the CentrArt Association, was held on November 27-28, 2009. This time, the event was held in Budapest and was hosted at the Múzeum Boulevard building of the Faculty of Humanities of the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE).
The first of this series of conferences took place in Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca, Romania) in 2007, where the Géza Entz Foundation organised the 1st Conference of Young Art Historians – the latter serves as a background institution for Hungarian art historians studying at the local Babeş-Bolyai University. The CentrArt Association joined the initiative and thus made it possible to hold the conference series in both locations, Cluj-Napoca and Budapest.
The aim of the conference was to create an opportunity for young art historians, Ph.D. students, and researchers at the beginning of their careers to present the results of their research. The lectures were scholarly, and it was essential that the participants present new research material to the audience.
The conference was preceded by a long organising process. The call for papers was met with great interest, and many people registered for the event. In the end, the programme included some 48 presenters, six of whom came from abroad. Among the younger researchers were graduate students of art history from the Eötvös Loránd University and the Péter Pázmány Catholic University. Ph. D. students from various departments of ELTE, such as art history, history and literary studies, also participated, as did one Ph. D. student from Miskolc University, several Ph. D. students of the Babeş-Bolyai University (Cluj-Napoca), and staff members of various institutions and museums (ELTE, Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, University of Pécs, University of Debrecen, Art and Design University of Cluj-Napoca,
Illyés Gyula Archives and the Institute of Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, European University Institute in Florence, Field Service for Cultural Heritage (KÖSZ), Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Applied Arts, Ludwig Museum, Jankay Collection in Békéscsaba, Hungarian Polytechnic and Traffic Museum, Mureş County Museum at Marosvásárhely [Târgu Mureş, Romania] and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Gyulafehérvár [Alba Iulia, Romania]). The conference was scheduled to last two days, and two parallel sessions were held in order to accommodate the large number of presenters.
The conference began with the welcoming words of Tamás Dezső, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities of the Eötvös Loránd University, and the opening speech of art historian István Bibó. Young researchers could register for the conference without any restrictions as far as the period of their field of research is concerned. Sessions were organised according to various art historical periods (Medieval Art I-II, Renaissance Art, Baroque Art I-II-III, 19th Century Art, Art at the Turn of the Century, 20th Century Art I-II, 20-21st Century Art and Design). The session chairs were: Béla Zsolt Szakács, Zsombor Jékely, János Jernyei Kiss, Szabolcs Serfőző, András Rényi, Áron Tóth, József Rozsnyai, Emese Révész, Zoltán Dragon, Kinga German and Miklós Székely.
The two-day conference was followed with great interest, and while the audience was composed mainly of young people, acknowledged representatives of the profession honoured the conference with their presence as well.
A booklet was specially compiled for the conference as a guide that contained brief abstracts of the lectures and the addresses of the speakers – thus enabling professional contacts later on.
At the end of the conference, Miklós Székely, chairman of the CentrArt Association, thanked the speakers and the audience for their participation, the Association of Hungarian PhD Students, the Rectorate of the ELTE and the Representation of the Faculty of Humanities Student Union at the ELTE Institute of Art History for their support. He was followed by András Rényi, director of the ELTE Institute of Art History, who facilitated in organizing the conference at the university. Finally, Zsolt Kovács, head of the co-organising Géza Entz Foundation from Cluj-Napoca, also spoke to the audience.
We would like to give a special thanks to Lilla Mátyók, Klára Bernát, Enikő Pálóczy, Orsolya Szender and Kata Vizi for their help in organising the programme and with the registration.
The event ensured an opportunity for young art historians to publish the results of their scholarly research, exchange views with researchers pursuing work in similar fields, and establish professional contacts. As an organiser of the conference, I sincerely hope that this forum provided an opportunity for young scholars at the beginning of their careers to introduce themselves to the field of art history and draw the attention of the public to young and talented researchers.
The plan of the CentrArt Association to publish these lectures as extended studies in a special conference volume serves this purpose as well.
We hope to meet again in Kolozsvár in two years!
Ágnes Katalin Süle
Organiser of the conference