Call for papers: Experimenting with the AcademicConferenceMachine


Experimenting with the AcademicConferenceMachine



Neil Carey, Open University

Angelo Benozzo, Aosta Valley University

Nikki Fairchild, University of Portsmouth

Carol A. Taylor, University of Bath

Mirka Koro, Arizona State University



AcademicConferenceMachine at work.

AcademicConferenceMachine produces, reproduces, and breaks.

AcademicConferenceMachine creates us.

AcademicConferenceMachine space-time-matterings.

AcademicConferenceMachine affective resonances

AcademicConferenceMachine data-fications and fictions


This call for papers is an invitation to creatively develop the concept of AcademicConferenceMachine as a possibility to disturb/interrogate/decompose those contemporary academic spaces which repeat tired and worn-out formula of intellectual capitalism and represent an epiphenomenon of the transformation of the university as prominent actors of a neoliberalised and neoliberalising global economy. In the last 20 years conferences have played a relevant role in the global redesign of the university and of education as a service to be sold in the marketplace.

The papers in this thematic issue will meet and interact with the AcademicConferenceMachine in experimenting ways. As a collective, we have been working and researching together in academic spaces since summer 2016. More specifically, we have performed and enacted creative workshops, both in face-to-face and online conference spaces, that regularly provoke and disturb normative and structured modes of knowledge production. The outcomes of these research-creation workshops include a range of academic outputs (Benozzo et al., 2019; Taylor et al., 2019; Carey et al., 2021; Fairchild et al., 2022), the first of which saw us develop the neologism ‘AcademicConferenceMachine’ to conceptualise the neoliberal, striated and stratified modes of knowledge production which can be present at conferences. Since our inception as the CG Collective, we have worked to interrogate the boundaries of what constitutes knowledge, and how knowledge gets produced, repeated, disciplined, and structured at/in/through conference spaces.

In this thematic issue we expect contributions which draw inspiration from a rhizomatic conglomeration of onto-epistemological mo(ve)ments including: posthumanisms, feminist new materialisms, antimethodology, queer and interdisciplinary inquiry, post-colonial scholarship, and post-qualitative research sensibilities. We are seduced by process-focussed and research-creation inspired methodological approaches that refuse disciplinary boundaries and trouble avowedly humanist traditions and approaches to knowledge production.  This work has opensed (us) up (to) opportunities for working in more experimental, creative, curious and undisciplined ways with/in which more relational, diverse, and affirmative critiques to the normative ways of ‘producing knowledge’ might flourish.

Our writing about such research-creations is activated in and through Karen Barad’s ideas of the ‘re-turn’.  The re-turn is a dynamic and (re)generative process that invigorates past/present/future happenings in order to generate new knowledge practices (Benozzo et al., 2019).  We eschew more normative forms of writing that purport to recount, represent or report the events that we activate as disturbances of the AcademicConferenceMachine (Prasad, 2016; Pullen & Rhodes, 2008; Pullen & Rhodes, 2016). Donna Haraway’s (2016) notion of composting has also inspired our impulse to do and write about conference-ing differently, as has Manning and Massumi’s (2010) concept-practice of research-creation.  This thematic issue invites authors to adopt poses of composition that resonate with this kind of writing practice.

The current call for papers is an incitement to all those scholars who, also deeply dissatisfied with the systems and structures that shape neoliberal academic conference spaces, are desirous of experimenting with/in conference happenings; scholars who are willing to yield to the temptation to also disturb the AcademicConferenceMachine. Such experimentations might take the form of serious and playful (and seriously playful) disturbances at mainstream conferences or other (formal) academic gatherings; they might invoke art-or-craft-inspired interventions; or they might be performative, dramatic provocations.  At a push, they might take the form of ‘in-tension-al’ subversions of your role at such gatherings. 

The thematic issue will be a collection of creations that re-turn those happenings of conference disturbances; those planned occasions of experimentation which the author(s) were able to activate during those conferences they attended (and disturbed) between the announcement of this cfp and the submission date (see below). Authors are invited to address their in-tensions towards, and with/in, the materiality, sensoriality, corporeality, affectivities of conference spaces, to attend to and be attuned to those practicings which challenge the normalized and normalizing AcademicConferenceMachine.

Our aim for this thematic issue is to create a catalogue of creations that re-turn a range of experimentations that (aim to) disturb the AcademicConferenceMachine.  We are interested in relatively short creations and materials, including image and short videos, that re-turn those AcademicConferenceMachine experimentations that you have effected.  Materials of no more than the equivalent of 5000 words long are welcome (size and composition of visual/auditory materials will be negotiated). In line with the non-normative forms and formats of writing that we have been doing, we also desire to read papers that eschew normative and humanist modes of representation.  Possible submissions might address, but are not limited to, those experimentations that seriously play with and disturb the AcademicConferenceMachine: as a set of prompts we think about:

  • conference and researching boredoms
  • experiences of, and encounters with, the machinic striations of conference spaces
  • re-turns of events that disturb the AcademicConferenceMachine
  • conferencing otherwise (Osgood et al. 2020)
  • backstage conference spaces (corridors, toilets, elevators, the pub, the smoking shed ….)
  • making visible the (invisible) entities that allow conferencing to happen: cleaning and catering (staff), security details, health & safety staff and protocols, dirt, edits, gate-keeping, and …
  • the bodies who are present and not present
  • conferencing travels – the getting to, the arrivings, and the leavings, the movements through, of conferencings, trains, luggage, planes, hotels, airbnbs, and …
  • tasting conferencing – meals, snacks, coffee, (formal)dinners, disappointment, regret, and …
  • smelling conferencing – the sniff and whiff of learning, of boredom, of daydreaming, of fantasizing, and ...
  • sounding (out) conferencing – noises planned and unplanned, chatter, serious talk, whisperings, shoutings, call-outs and announcements, gossip, and …
  • clothing conferencing – outfitting, undressing, layering, shoe-ing in, attiring, fashioning, fadding, dressing up, dressing down, and …
  • bagging conferencing – conference packs, (un)packing, packaging, waste (binning), wash bags, hand-bagging, and …
  • Relationally embodied conferencing – cliques and cabals, queuing and shuffling, encountering and avoiding, hugging and (air)kissing, connecting and net(not)working, and …
  • (Un)key-noting conferencing – keying, noting, blanking, checking (out), author/ity, plenary, speechifying, pontificating, selling, and …
  • Conferencing (un-)panel – theme-ing, loosely connecting, graveyard slotting, and …
  • Conferencing seductions (Carey et al, 2022) – blood-flows, flirtations, petting, f**king, harassments, scopophilic pleasures, the pill, menstruating, and …
  • escaping conferences – having time away to think, to have fun, to energise, to rest, to . . .
  • ….
  • ….
  • ….


As you can see from this introduction we conceive and do conferencing as an ethico-onto-epistemological challenge to mainstream thinking and doing with/in conferences. And that is not all! Through this thematic issue we also want to work with/in and challenge conventional ways of doing academic publishing.  More specifically, we want to continue to experiment with the ‘peer review’ process.  We see this current thematic issue as a way of extending and bending those experimentations in peer review (what we called: ‘Review + Blind-ing text(s) + affective response(s) = dialogic re-view’) that we activated for a recent special issue in Reconceptualizing Educational Research Methodology (see Carey et al., 2022. The form and format of the ‘peer-re-view’ process for the current thematic issue will take shape in its desire to work against established ideas of review-ocracy. Your paper will not just disappear into academic publishing’s ‘black box’ of peer review: we will invite authors to have an active role – engaging with more than their own scripts prior to publication.


Guide for submission and deadlines

Authors are invited to submit proposals for papers by 30th Oct 2023 which should include:

  • Title and overview of max 500 words (.doc, .docx) which indicates and explains the approach (content and format) you will adopt in the full paper. Proposals must be submitted in English.
  • Contact details (full name, e-mail, post address and affiliation)


Acceptance of proposals by 31st Jan 2024.  If the abstract is accepted, the authors should submit the FULL article by 31st July 2024.  The maximum length of the paper will be 5000 words (excluding references and figures).


If you want to discuss this cfp or seek clarification please reach out and start a conversation with both the joint leads for this special issue:  

Neil Carey – (cc:

Angelo Benozzo –


Main references

Benozzo A., Carey N., Cozza, Elmenhorst C., Fairchild, N., Koro-Ljungberg, M., Taylor, C. A. (2019) ‘Disturbing the Academic-ConferenceMachine: Post-qualitative re-turnings’. Gender, Work and Organization, 26(2), 87–106.

Carey, N., Fairchild, N., Taylor, C. A., Koro, M., Elmenhorst C., Benozzo, A. (2022) ‘Autopsy as a site and mode of inquiry: De/composing the ghoulish hu/man gaze’. Qualitative Research, 22(4), 499-520.

Carey, N., Benozzo, A, Koro, M., Rantala, T (2022) Special issue: Mattering seductions in undisciplined qualitative inquiry.  Reconceptualizing Educational Research Methodology Vol. 13(1)

Fairchild, N., Taylor, C. A., Benozzo, A. Carey, N., Koro, M., Elmenhorst C. (2022) Knowledge production in material spaces: Disturbing conferences and composing events. Routledge.

Osgood, J., Taylor, C. A., Anderses, C. E., Benozzo, A., Carey, N., Elemenhorst, C., Fairchild, N., Koro-Ljungberg, M., Moxnes, A., Ottersand, A. M., Rantala, T., Tobias-Green, K.  (2020).  Conferencing Otherwise: A Feminist New Materialist Writing Experiment.  Cultural Studies ç è Critical Methodologies, 20(6), 596-609.

Prasad, A. (2016) Cyborg writing as a political act: Reading Donna Haraway in organization studies. Gender, Work and Organization, 23(4): 431–446.

Pullen, A., Rhodes, C. (2008) Dirty writing. Culture and Organization, 14(3), 241–259.

Pullen, A., Rhodes, C. (2015) Writing, the feminine and organization Gender, Work and Organization, 22(2), 87–93.

Taylor, C. A., Fairchild, N., Elmenhorst, C., Koro-Ljungberg, M., Benozzo, A., & Carey, N. (2019) Improvising bags choreographies: Disturbing normative ways of doing research. Qualitative Inquiry, 25(1), 17–25.