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About the Conney Project

The Conney Project on Jewish Arts is an initiative of the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Now in its 18th year, the Conney Project is intended to be a far-reaching educational entity that supports and encourages the Jewish arts, both traditional and contemporary, including literature, music, and the visual and performing arts.

The mission of the Conney Project on Jewish Arts is to create a vibrant and respectful space for artists and scholars to present new research in the interdisciplinary field of Jewish arts and by extension, to participate in shaping the ever-evolving field into a robust contemporary discourse. To that end, we began this project in 2004 with the first Conney Colloquium on Jewish Arts, called, Experimental Jews: Projecting Jewish Identity in the New Mil­lennium, with the eminent curator Norman Kleeblatt as our first Keynote Speaker. We welcomed an historic gathering of artists and scholars who made presentations addressing the role of Jewish artists and thinkers on the creation of modern and post­modern art practices and found an international community asking similar questions in the process.

The Conney Conference on Jewish Arts supports the multiple ways in which histori­cal narratives concerning Jewish identity in the arts are both fluid and contested and how, throughout history, those practices are culturally inscribed. We are interested in new interpretations, new theorizing and new ways of thinking about and visualizing Jewish culture through the arts and throughout history to the present and into the future. The Conney Project on Jewish Arts looks at all aspects of Jewish identity across multiple disciplines and through its biennial conference. We are interested in broadening this discourse to include any and all historical periods as well as geo­graphical locations and expanded notions of inclusive Jewishness. We seek to open up new discussions that inspire critical debate around both traditional and contemporary approaches to creating and circulating work of Jewish content in literature, theater, the visual and performing arts as well as in art-related scholarly writing and research. We are interested in expanding the field of discourse surrounding Jewish identity in the histories and visual cultures of artmaking, scholarship, literature, music and other art related practices in which Jewishness exerts a significant presence. We welcome all models of presentation from artists and scholars ranging from the traditional to the performative and all people who wish to participate in this dialog are welcome.

The Conney Project would not be possible without the generosity of Marv and Babe Conney and their family, whose unwavering support allows us to do this important work.