1st Global Conference (2018)

The Joys of the Erotic: Building Human Connections
An Inclusive Interdisciplinary Project

Friday 29th June 2018 – Saturday 30th June 2018
Palermo, Italy


The erotic. A complex, tangled, and ephemeral web of meeting points, interfaces and intersections at the centre of human experiences. It informs our lives, shapes our perceptions and pulls us toward one another while being itself shaped by shifting tastes and perceptions. Shrouded in mystery, it is tantalising, alluring and dangerous all at once. Eroticism is frequently displayed in film, embedded in music, intimated in art and literature, as well as in the advertising on city streets, travel shows and fashion events. Above all, it builds pathways which bring us closer to each other.

African-American lesbian poet and activist Audre Lorde believes the erotic provides “the power which comes from sharing deeply any pursuit with another person.” Sharing physical, emotional or intellectual joy “forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference.” The shared joy of the erotic offers a bridge that allows us to make connections between and among people across various gender, racial, social, cultural, and political divides.

In fact the erotic is many things: a meeting point of intimacy, sensuality, arousal, sexuality, longing and desire; an interface between aesthetics, form, taste, art; a driver of photography, visual imagery and tactile textures; a component of music, performance, dance, fluidity, and movement; the object of fashion, design, marketing and social mass appeal; a unique avenue for ethical, political, social, economic, cultural, psychological, and philosophical insights and perspectives. The erotic unites, highlights, undermines and subverts the emotional and intellectual; it stands at the heart of (sexual) relationships, orientations, acts and behaviours and remains compellingly unique to us all.

Traditionally seen as socially taboo and often associated with fear and shame, the erotic continues to erupt, thrusting itself into popular culture by any means possible. By providing a forum for ideas, arguments and experiences that might otherwise not receive attention, we aim to explore the erotic, those who study it, and those who allow it to build those bridges as an outreach to others.

This fully inclusive and accessible interdisciplinary conference aims to explore the challenging, paradoxical and ambiguous nature of the ‘erotic’ which finds a resonance inside us all.  It has three overarching themes: 1. The erotic as a bridge in the context of human and personal relationships; 2. The erotic as a bridge in the context of social, cultural and historical behaviour; 3. The erotic as a bridge in the context in intellectual enquiry.

Key themes to be explored include – but are not limited to –

  • Inclusive interdisciplinary approaches to eroticism and the erotic
  • Histories of the erotic
  • Local, national, international and global perspectives on the erotic
  • The erotic imagination: literature, art, music, theatre and cinema
  • Politics and the erotic
  • Economics and the commercialization of eroticism
  • Public spaces and the eroticism
  • Virtual spaces and eroticism
  • The law, crime and the erotic
  • Madness and eroticism (e.g. Elizabeth Bathory)
  • The erotics of death
  • Exploring women who write and read gay erotica
  • Erotic encounters with the non-human: inanimate objects, sex dolls and erotic robots
  • Eroticized combat (e.g. the Trojan war myth)
  • Erotic imagery (pictures, art, sculpture, photography, body art, selfies)
  • The erotic and education
  • The erotic and identity: disability, ethnicity, gender, class and otherness
  • The eroticized, and de-eroticized body
  • The erotic, pornography and exploitation
  • The erotic, ethics and philosophy
  • The erotic: absence, control and excess
  • The erotic and sexual representation
  • The role of eroticism in relationships: romance, desire, arousal, excitement
  • Eroticism and fantasy or role playing
  • The erotic and the perverse; eroticism & fetishism
  • The psychology of the erotic
  • Religion and the erotic
  • The erotic in popular culture

Our main goal is to facilitate dialogue and spark innovative collaborations and discussions at an international level, in a dynamic and interactive setting. Thus, we welcome participants from all relevant disciplines, professions and vocations (NGO personnel, aid workers, researchers, mental and physical health professionals, educators, human rights activists, counselors, social workers, policy makers, journalists, lawyers, politicians, business owners, military personnel, customs workers and members of the border patrol, labour specialists, historians, sociologists, psychologists, economists, anthropologists, ethnographers social media experts, artists and many more)

What to Send
The aim of this interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, performances, poster presentations, panels, q&a’s, roundtables etc.

300 word proposals, presentations, abstracts and other forms of contribution and participation should be submitted by Friday 19th January 2018. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chair.

All submissions will be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.

You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 2nd February 2018.

If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 11th May 2018.

Abstracts and proposals may be in Word, PDF, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.

E-mails should be entitled: Joys of the Erotic Submission

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What’s so Special About Progressive Connexions Events?
A fresh, friendly, dynamic format – at Progressive Connexions we are dedicated to breaking away from the stuffy, old-fashion conference formats, where endless presentations are read aloud off PowerPoints. We work to bring you an interactive format, where exchange of experience and information is alternated with captivating workshops, engaging debates and round tables, time set aside for getting to know each other and for discussing common future projects and initiatives, all in a warm, relaxed, egalitarian atmosphere.

A chance to network with international professionals – the beauty of our interdisciplinary events is that they bring together professionals from all over the world and from various fields of activity, all joined together by a shared passion. Not only will the exchange of experience, knowledge and stories be extremely valuable in itself, but we seek to create lasting, ever-growing communities around our projects, which will become a valuable resource for those belonging to them.

A chance to be part of constructing change – There is only one thing we love as much as promoting knowledge: promoting real, lasting social change by encouraging our participants to take collective action, under whichever form is most suited to their needs and expertise (policy proposals, measuring instruments, research projects, educational materials, etc.) We will support all such actions in the aftermath of the event as well, providing a platform for further discussions, advice from the experts on our Project Advisory Team and various other tools and intellectual resources, as needed.

An opportunity to discuss things that matter to you – Our events are not only about discussing how things work in the respective field, but also about how people work in that field – what are the struggles, problems and solutions professionals have found in their line of work, what are the areas where better communication among specialists is needed and how the interdisciplinary approach can help bridge those gaps and help provide answers to questions from specific areas of activity.

An unforgettable experience – When participating in a Progressive Connexions event, there is a good chance you will make some long-time friends. Our group sizes are intimate, our venues are comfortable and relaxing and our event locations are suited to the history and culture of the event.

Progressive Connexions believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract or proposal for presentation.

Please note: Progressive Connexions is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence, nor can we offer discounts off published rates and fees.