Previous congresses of the IAA

Previous congresses of the IAA



By Jos de Mul

         I     Berlin (Germany), 1913        II     Paris (France), 1937       III     Venice (Italy), 1956       IV    Athens (Greece), 1960       …

Volume 18. Krystyna Wilkoszewska (ed.). Aesthetics in Action

Volume 18. Krystyna Wilkoszewska (ed.). Aesthetics in Action



By Zoltan

Volume 18. Krystyna Wilkoszewska (ed.). Aesthetics in Action. International Yearbook of Aesthetics. Volume 18. 2014   Content   The 18th…

ICA 2019 – Belgrade, Serbia, 22-26 July 2019

ICA 2019 – Belgrade, Serbia, 22-26 July 2019



By Zoltan

ANNOUNCEMENT   The 21th International Congress of Aesthetics 2019 (ICA 2019) will be held in Belgrade, Serbia, from July 22…

"Aesthetics and Mass Culture" – Proceedings of ICA 2016 – Seoul, Korea

"Aesthetics and Mass Culture" – Proceedings of ICA 2016 – Seoul, Korea



By Zoltan

"Aesthetics and Mass Culture" Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Aesthetics Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea Organised by the…

Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2014 JoomlaWorks Ltd.

December, 2011

Last July, Spain hosted the 5th Edition of the Mediterranean Congress of Aesthetics. Entitled “Art, Emotion, and Value”, it was organized by both the University of Murcia and the Technical University of Cartagena and took place in the campus of the latter. The venue of the conference was particularly unique: the old Navy Training Barracks, a stunning old military building which has recently been refurbished. Its huge windows and awnings provoked games of light and shadow in the best tradition of Mediterranean architecture, and so created a singular atmosphere that drew the admiration of all the participants. The plenary room offered impressive views over the city harbour, which could also be enjoyed in a pleasant rest room where the debates continued over the beautiful sea view. What is more, the building had a charming interior patio covered by geometrically shaped awnings where the welcome dinner and breaks were hosted.

The choice of venue was one of the many correct decisions of the Organizing Committee, all from the area of Aesthetics and Theory of Arts (University of Murcia) in collaboration with the College of Architecture and Building Engineering of the Technical University of Cartagena. They not only dealt efficiently with all the practical issues but also hosted the visitors with kind hospitality, which favoured a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. During the official Opening session, professor Dyonisis A. Zivas, from the National Technical University of Athens, and organizer of the First edition of the Congress in Greece in year 2000, thanked Matilde Carrasco and the rest of the Organizing Committee for their efforts in giving continuity to an initiative that aims to reinforce the cultural relations shared by the diverse peoples of the Mediterranean for thousands of years.

Following the line of the previous encounters, and given that the common link is a geographical space and not a particular language, the Congress had English, French, and Spanish as official languages. The participants came from various countries of the South of Europe, the North of Africa and the Middle East, but there were also people from Brazil, Canada, USA, Switzerland, or the Czech Republic, which confirms the drawing power and the consolidation of these encounters beyond the natural boundaries of the Mediterranean. This geographical diversity was combined with the multi-disciplined nature of the conference as philosophers, historians of art, researchers from communication sciences or theatre, and artists attended. It should be emphasized that many young researchers, new doctors and PhD. students participated, giving vitality to the discussions.


The Congress lasted five days, however, the large quantity of papers forced their organization in three parallel sessions and so demanded of the participants a similar division that consequently fragmented the debate. This might be the only regrettable aspect of the conference and far from being exclusive to this event, it is currently a problem in most international meetings, which could be even more serious in other more crowded fields of knowledge. We will have to learn to deal with this difficulty to reap the benefits of internationalization and multidisciplinarity.

The subject of the congress, “Art, Emotion and Value”, led to two main kinds of discussion in particular. On the one hand, the issue of the relation between art, ethics and politics, a wide debate in which many people work nowadays and which is attracting more all the time. The relation between art and politics was the main subject, for example, in the last conference organized by the Nordic Society for Aesthetics, hold last spring in Copenhagen, and it will be of others already planned for 2012. On the other hand, there was the relation between art and emotions: the analysis of the emotions expressed by artworks and the emotional responses of the public to art, a line in which the researchers of the Area of Aesthetics and Theory of Art from the University of Murcia have been working hard on for many years. However, besides these two principal issues, other papers focused on aesthetic experience and judgement, aesthetics of nature, the analysis of the role of senses in aesthetic appreciation, and so on.

By Krystyna Wilkoszewska, Polish Society of Aesthetics, Krakow, Poland

The 1stPolish-Japanese Meeting: Aesthetics and Cultures took place on May 23-24, 2011 in Cracow’s Jagiellonian University. The idea for the conference was initiated by the Polish Association of Aesthetics and firmly supported by the Japanese Society for Aesthetics. Nine prominent Japanese scholars came to Cracow to discuss the problems of intercultural aesthetics in a bilateral formula. The conference was opened by the Dean of the Philosophical Faculty, the former Polish Ambassador to Japan, and the Honorary Consul of Japan in Cracow.

Reporter: Michael Ranta

Website ICA 18

Pictures ICA 18 © Michael Ranta

For about one century now, the international association of aesthetics has arranged19 congresses all over the world, in Europe, Asia, and North and South Americas. The first congress took place in Berlin in 1913, the second one in Paris in 1937, while– interrupted by the Second World War and its aftermath- the following ones were held from 1956 onwards with four-year intervals.[1]  These congresses were initiatedby the Comité International d'Esthétique consisting of prominent, though self-appointed scholars within the field of aesthetics, such as Harold Osborne, Thomas Munro, Etienne Souriau and many others. However, in 1988, the International Association for Aesthetics (IAA) was established, having a formal constitution which included membership for national societies and individual scholars and specified election procedures for IAA’s officers and its executive committee.[2] Under the auspices of the IAA most of the congresses afterwards took place with three-year intervals – in Madrid (1992), Lahti, Finland (1995), Ljubljana, Slovenia (1998), Tokyo (2001), Rio de Janeiro (2003), and in Ankara (2007).

The most recent congress was held 9th to 13th August at Peking University in Beijing, China, organized by the IAA together with the university and Beijing Municipal Education Commission.[3] Whereas the congress in Ankara had about 400 participants, as many as 1000 active participants attended the five-day congress in Beijing, about 400 of them stemming from China itself (and there were about 200 additional Chinese listeners). The attention and interest which the congress quite obviously received, not least within China, was certainly remarkable, and the fact that Yuan Guiren, the Chinese minister of education, gave one of the opening speeches might also be regarded as quite significant. Peking University, which has one of the best reputations in China (and indeed is ranked as nr. 47 on the QS University Ranking List)[4], and its campus provided an excellent setting for the congress. Numerous shops and restaurants were available, and park and garden areas with lakes invited relaxing strolls. Moreover, the university also hosts several museums, and the architectural setting consists of modern buildings as well as traditional Chinese houses and pagodas. Beijing itself, having more than 20 million inhabitants, can sometimes be densely crowded and busy, so the campus area felt something like an oasis in the middle of this huge city. In general, I experienced the atmosphere on this beautiful campus as very friendly and peaceful. Most of the participants were accommodated in university residential facilities and hotels nearby (at subsidized prices), thus the conference locations were quite easily accessible.

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As for the conference itself, I must admit that I – and, as I heard later, even other delegates - had some initial worries over its practical and organizational realization. The congress website with its call for papers, launched at the end of 2009, was certainly promising. Ten main topics were suggested:

  1. The global and the local: Western and non-Western aesthetics;
  2. The definition of art and the analysis of concepts of art;
  3. Conflicts and interactions between cultural studies and aesthetics;
  4. The relationship between aesthetics and philosophy, ethics, psychology, or anthropology, etc.;
  5. The relationship between aesthetics Aestheticsand forms of art, such as music, painting, sculpture, architecture, calligraphy, movie, and design, etc.;
  6. The relationship between aesthetics and nature/environment/ecology;
  7. The relationship between aesthetics and economy, society, and politics;
  8. Aesthetics and aestheticeducation;
  9. Aesthetics: historical traditions and modernization;
  10. Aesthetics: information technology and the cyberspace

As usual, information about the congress fee (200 USD) as well as instructions for the abstracts and the presentations etc. were included, the latter with a suggested length of 30 minutes, including 10 minutes for discussion. However, the initial website ceased to work after a while, and no connection to it could be made. After about two months this site was replaced by another one, which was much more elaborated, but where some of the function buttons did not work. Moreover, the communication by email to the executive staff proved to be difficult, expected answers were often much delayed, and hotel reservations and payments in advance proved in several cases to be difficult (the latter even impossible), demanding a lot of time-consuming correspondence. So, my initial worries were perhaps understandable - but proved in the end to be unnecessary. The XIIIth Congress of Aesthetics, I would say, turned out to be a great success!

The registration procedure at the beginning of the congress proceeded very smoothly at various locations and with the help of innumerable student volunteers who, in my own experience, usually had very good English skills. Each participant received a strong cloth bag containing a book with all abstracts (the size of a phone book!), a set of errata and corrections, a beautifully designed booklet about Chinese aesthetics, information about artistic events, and free lunch/dinner vouchers for all congress days. The enthusiastic and responsive assistance of the volunteers here was outstanding, as well as at the other locations, such as lunch/dinner places, during the cultural events, and at the congress venues in general, and contributed to a large extent to the friendly atmosphere during the congress! Their efforts undoubtedly deserve respect and much gratitude!

One of the larger university buildings functioned as the main venue for the presentations, thus it was quite easy to get from one session to another without any noteworthy delay. The session rooms were bright, modern and functional, with up-to-date technical equipment. The various presentations were, as usual, structured as plenary or panel sessions and (more or less coherent) thematic sections, with a great variety of topics, certainly doing justice to the congress headline “Diversities in Aesthetics”. These included, for example, analytic as well as continental aesthetics/philosophy, art education, architecture and urban planning, music, cinema, environmental aesthetics, literary theory, neuroscience and psychology of art, contemporary art, Marxist aesthetics, calligraphy, history of aesthetics, and digital art. Notable was also the occurrence of numerous sections on dance aesthetics, which usually have not been as prominent in other congresses of aesthetics which I have attended so far. Due to the vast number of presentations held at numerous parallel sessions, it is obviously quite difficult to give an all-embracing outline of them. It would also seem to be somewhat unfair and arbitrary, I think, to pick out certain speakers, while at the same time ignoring other commendable presentations. It perhaps suffices to say that I personally found a great number of them utterly inspiring, touching upon important issues as well as giving new insights into the various domains of aesthetic research.

Not surprisingly, a great number of presentations of course dealt with Asian aesthetics, i.e. from Korea, Japan, India and, not least, China, itself. Several presentations attempted to elucidate differences as well as similarities between Western and Chinese aesthetics. One question that became apparent was in which way it might be reasonable to talk about a specific “Chinese aesthetics” rather than “aesthetics in China”. As a matter of fact, since the 19th century aesthetic research in China has to a considerable extent been influenced by Western traditions, such as the works of Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Schopenhauer, Schiller and Nietzsche, just to mention a few philosophers whose works were translated into Chinese and became widely discussed in certain academic circles. Moreover, Marxist aesthetics was introduced as early as 1919 (when the Chinese “May Fourth” movement took place) and became especially prominent after the 1950’s when the Communist party under Mao Zedong came to power. On the other hand, aesthetic discussions in China had occurred as early as the 3rd century BC onwards, influenced by Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist thinking. A detailed discussion of traditional Chinese aesthetics would unfortunately go beyond the scope of this report, but we may note that rather holistic views of nature and humankind were embraced and artistic practices attempted to resonate with nature as well as the social landscape. Generally speaking, much less emphasis is put on originality, individuality and the expression of personal feelings compared with Western aesthetical ideals.

While some of the Chinese main speakers’ lectures were simultaneously translated into English (portable transmitting devices with earphones were available for this purpose), most of the Chinese presentations were not, thus being incomprehensible to most foreign participants. For obvious reasons this was unfortunate, as – judging from the titles – a great number of them might have given non-Chinese listeners substantial and important insights into Chinese culture and artistic practices. However, there were numerous possibilities for informal meetings and inspiring discussions besides the actual lecture sessions. Apart from meetings at the congress venues and during the lunches, two large banquets with exquisite Chinese cuisine were arranged. One especially noteworthy highlight of the congress took place one afternoon when bus excursions to the Forbidden City and to the Quing emperors’ Summer Palace, respectively, took place and also provided many opportunities for discussion. Another cultural highpoint was an aesthetically absolutely overwhelming dance performance one evening by members of the Beijing Dance Academy. Moreover, at the university library an exhibition took place showing traditional Chinese arts and crafts as well as calligraphy. At the congress main venue, another exhibition of contemporary (though, I think, hardly controversial) Chinese painting could also be seen.

In concluding, then, I would say that this congress was well-organized. It provided many opportunities for stimulating intellectual and personal meetings, as well as outstanding aesthetic experiences, and it had a generally friendly and open-minded atmosphere. In these respects, the Beijing congress indeed met the high standards already set at the exceptionally well-arranged congresses in Tokyo 2001 and in Ankara 2007. All of the presentations are intended to be issued on a CD, while a selection of them will be published in book form. Hopefully, these publications will also include translations of (at least some of) the Chinese presentations into English. So, there is every reason to congratulate the congress organizers, most notably perhaps Gao Jianping, Peng Feng, Ye Lang, and Zhu Liangzhi, and all involved persons, not least the student volunteers, on this very successful gathering.

The next International Congress of Aesthetics will take place in Kraków, Poland in 2013.[5]

[1] Venice 1956, Athens 1960, Amsterdam 1964, Uppsala 1968, Bucharest 1972, Darmstadt 1976, Dubrovnik 1980, Montreal 1984, Nottingham 1988.

[2] Further information about the IAA can be obtained at its website:

[5] I would like to thank Jos de Mul and Arnold Berleant for their helpful comments on an earlier draft on this report.

Jos de Mul and Renée van de Vall (eds.) Gimme Shelter: Global Discourses in Aesthetics. International Yearbook of Aesthetics. Volume 15. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013


Gimme Shelter. Global discourses in aesthetics contains a series of reflections on the impact of globalization on the arts and the aesthetic reflection on the arts. The authors – fifteen distinguished  aestheticians from all over the world -   discuss a variety of aesthetic questions brought forth by the aforementioned process of globalization. How do artistic practices and aesthetic experiences change in response to these developments? How should we articulate these changes on the theoretical level? When reflections on the significance of art and aesthetic experiences can no longer pretend to be universal, is it still possible to lay claim to  a wider validity than merely that of one’s own particular culture? What type of vocabulary allows for mutual – dialogical or even polylogical – exchanges and understandings when different traditions meet, without obliterating local differences? Is there a possibility for a creative re-description of globalization? And is there a meaning of ‘the global’ that cannot be reduced to universalism and unification? Can we seek shelter in a legitimate way?

About the editors

Jos de Mul  is professor of Man and Culture at Erasmus University Rotterdam. He has also taught at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and Fudan Univer- sity (Shanghai), and has been visiting fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. From 2007 until 2010 he was the President of the International Associa- tion of Aesthetics. His work is on the interface of philosophical anthropology (and its history), aesthetics, and philosophy of technology. English publications include: Romantic Desire in (Post)Modern Art and Philosophy (State University of New York Press, 1999), The Tragedy of Finitude. Dilthey’s Hermeneutics of Life (Yale Univer- sity Press, 2004), Cyberspace Odyssey. Towards a Virtual Ontology and Anthropology (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010), and Destiny Domesticated. The Rebirth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Technology (State University of New York Press, 2013). His work has been translated in more than a dozen languages. An extended CV and publication list is available at

Renée van de Vall  is professor in Art and Media at Maastricht University where she is chair of the Department of Arts & Literature. She has been president of the Dutch Association for Aesthetics (2002-2006) and is currently Dutch delegate in the Executive Committee of the IAA. Her research interests are philosophical aesthetics and the phenomenology of contemporary visual art and spectatorship. She currently leads an interdisciplinary research project on the theory and ethics of the conservation of contemporary art. Some recent publications are At the Edges of Vision. A Phenomenological Aesthetics of Contemporary Spectatorship (2008); ‘A Penny For Your Thoughts. Brain-scans and the Mediation of Subjective Embodi- ment’ in R. van de Vall & R. Zwijnenberg (eds.) The Body Within: Art, Medicine and Visualisation (2009); and ‘Towards a Theory and Ethics for the Conservation of Contemporary Art’ in Art d’aujourd’hui – patrimoine de demain. Conservation et restauration des oeuvres contemporaines. (2009).

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       I     Berlin (Germany), 1913

       II     Paris (France), 1937

      III     Venice (Italy), 1956

      IV    Athens (Greece), 1960

       V    Amsterdam (The Netherlands), 1964

     VI     Upsala (Sweden), 1968

    VII     Bucharest (Romania), 1972

   VIII     Darmstadt (Germany), 1976

     IX     Dubrovnik (Yoegoslavia), 1980

      X     Montreal (Canada), 1984

     XI     Nottingham (England), 1988.

    XII     Madrid (Spain), 1992

   XIII      Lahti (Finland), 1995

  XIV      Ljubljana (Slovenia), 1998

   XV     Tokyo (Japan), 2001

  XVI      Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), 2004

XVII       Ankara (Turkey), 2007

XVIII      Beijing (China) 2010

XIX        Krakow (Poland) 2013

The following Guidelines are intended for the organizers of an International Congress for Aesthetics (ICA). Their aim is to enable such organizers to follow common procedures and make similar decisions concerning various recurring issues. They are to be read and interpreted in conjunction with the IAA Constitution.

(1)  The aim of the ICA is the international exchange of ideas and the promotion of aesthetics.

(2)  An ICA takes place every three or four years (see the IAA Constitution, Article V).

(3)  An ICA is organized by an ICA Organizing Committee chosen by a member society for aesthetics or a group of individuals (in countries or regions without national or regional societies). The formal proposals to host and organize an ICA are made to the IAA Executive Committee which then selects among the proposals. The IAA Executive Committee may choose more than one proposal for an ICA but should in such a case also decide on the sequence of the ICAs.

(4) From the time of the selection of a proposal to host and organize an ICA until its realization the ICA Liaison Committee (appointed by the IAA Executive Committee and chaired by the president of the ICA Liaison Committee) serves as the main link between the ICA Organizing Committee and the IAA Executive Committee (see the IAA Constitution, Article V).

(5) In the case of a meeting of the IAA Executive Committee in the period between two ICAs, at such a meeting the representative of the ICA Organizing Committee shall report to the IAA Executive Committee on the preparations of the ICA.

(6) During the preparation of an ICA it is advisable for the ICA Organizing Committee to retain close contact with the IAA President, the IAA Secretary-General, and the IAA Executive Committee, so as to allow for additional continuous communication with the IAA.

(7)  The advisable duration of an ICA is five days.

(8)  An ICA is an international congress, so an appropriate number of invited speakers (at least two thirds) should be international scholars and from countries others than the host country.

(9) There are no official languages at an ICA, although it has been the custom to have English, French and German as the languages of individual ICAs.

(10)An ICA consists primarily of plenary sessions and sections. Sometimes round tables, panel discussions and conferences on individual topics are also included as integral parts of the official program. Such and related decisions are made autonomously by the ICA Organizing Committee.

(11) The ICA Organizing Committee chooses plenary and other speakers.

(12) It is a custom that during an ICA cultural events related to the venue of the ICA and the topic of the ICA are organized by the ICA organizers.

(13) The IAA Executive Committee may offer recommendations to the ICA Organizing Committee as concerns the preparations of an ICA.

(14) The ICA program must include the list of the IAA officers. The outgoing ICA officers are the official officers and representatives of the IAA until the General Meeting of the IAA (which takes place during an ICA). It is then that the incoming IAA officers take over the leadership of the IAA.

(15)  The outgoing IAA President gives the opening address at the ICA.

(16) The  ICA Organizing Committee schedules at least two IAA Meetings during the days the congress takes place.

(17)  It is the duty of the ICA organizers to assure the publication of ICA Proceedings.

(18)  It is the duty of the ICA organizers to collect the IAA membership fee for the period from one ICA to another from the ICA participants at the time when the latter pay the ICA registration fee.

(19) The registration fee is decided upon by the ICA Organizing Committee. It is advisable that it also includes, free of extra charge, the ICA Proceedings.

(20) The Honorary Presidents and Honorary Life Members of the IAA are exempt from paying the ICA registration fee. The ICA Organizing Committee is advised, if so requested, to offer a reasonable financial assistance to such persons so that they can attend the ICA.

(21) The IAA carries no financial or other responsibilities for the execution of an ICA.

(22) The ICA Organizing Committee is not financially responsible to the IAA but to those who finance its activities.

Jos de Mul and Renée van de Vall (eds.) Gimme Shelter: Global Discourses in Aesthetics. Proceedings of an international symposium, organized by the Dutch Aesthetic Federation and the International Association of Aesthetics. Amsterdam, October 8-10, 2009.

Gimme Shelter. Global discourses in aesthetics contains a series of reflections on the impact of globalization on the arts and the aesthetic reflection on the arts. The authors – fifteen distinguished  aestheticians from all over the world -   discuss a variety of aesthetic questions brought forth by the aforementioned process of globalization. How do artistic practices and aesthetic experiences change in response to these developments? How should we articulate these changes on the theoretical level? When reflections on the significance of art and aesthetic experiences can no longer pretend to be universal, is it still possible to lay claim to  a wider validity than merely that of one’s own particular culture? What type of vocabulary allows for mutual – dialogical or even polylogical – exchanges and understandings when different traditions meet, without obliterating local differences? Is there a possibility for a creative re-description of globalization? And is there a meaning of ‘the global’ that cannot be reduced to universalism and unification? Can we seek shelter in a legitimate way?


SANART Association for Aesthetics and Visual Culture was founded in 1991 with the aim to develop the philosophical and discursive background to artistic practice and the promotion of Aesthetics in Turkey. Since 1992 it has organized many international symposia inviting both accomplished artists and scholars in aesthetics, art and architecture. Each symposia is accompanied by related artistic events, exhibitions and performances. The 1992 ‘Identity, Marginality and Space’ Symposium hosted a CoBrA exhibition at the National Museum in Ankara as well as Japanese ceramics and South American painting shows. Ever since many similar artistic events and conferences have been organized including the 2007 International Congress of Aesthetics at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara which was attended by more than 400 participants. Many of these activities have been recorded in bilingual publications. SANART today has 90 active members. From 1992 to 2010 Jale Erzen acted as the President, since 2010 the president is Cana Bilsel.


Website of the SANART Association for Aesthetics and Visual Culture.