International Scientific and Artistic Conference

Rethinking Childhood

Zadar, June 4-5,  2021.


Dear researchers and participants,


because of the new circumstances caused by the COVID – 19 pandemic, in order to preserve the overall safety and the well-being of our participants, we are forced to postpone the international scientific conference *Rethinking Childhood*, which ought to have taken place on September 24-26, 2020 at the University of Zadar.

The Organizing Committee has decided that the new date of the conference will be June 4-5, 2021. We remain hopeful that in the upcoming period we will be able to organize the conference whilst following all of the prescribed epidemiological measures that may come into force.

Participants who have already registered are encouraged to pay the registration fees by the dates indicated in the new invitation, which can be found on the conference website.

Finally, we thank the fellow scholars for their interest and hope to see you again in June 2021.

Guided by modern scientific postulates that justify the scientific dialogue between different scientific fields, whilst striving for a more comprehensive approach to a particular scientific problem, the project is conceived as an interdisciplinary scientific dialogue between the fellow scholar participants, with the goal of merging various scientific, artistic and methodological perspectives in their studies of childhood. Postmodern paradigm shift in the perception of the child and the childhood, based on the change of the childhood image – from the child as a passive to an active member of the social community; from childhood as a developmental stage to the conception of childhood as a social construct – strongly influenced the social sciences and humanities, thus leading to the need for active reflection on the child and childhood. In postmodern scientific polyphony, it is justified to discuss the concept(s) of childhood as something structured upon different scientific discourses, as confirmed by the researchers and scientists from various scientific backgrounds that lately converge around the new paradigm of childhood studies.

Following the established framework, the conference will focus on the following general topics:

  • the institutional context of contemporary childhood
  • the familial context of contemporary childhood
  • the culture of childhood today
  • new literacy – the challenges of today



Artistic program – exhibition theme „Rethinking Childhood“

The idea for the exhibition stems from the reasoning and interests of the growing number of artists regarding the phenomenon of child art, which is also becoming applicable in the emergence of modern art. This interest parallels the paradigm shift in the conception of the child and childhood in a kind of “rediscovery” of the child in the context of modern society and its constitution, but also in a departure from the academic barriers that a number of artists have set in trying to create new modes of visual arts. There is a famous quote by Picasso on the matter: “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” On the other hand, artists such as Paul Klee, Juan Miro or Jean Dubuffet directly refer to, or assimilate into their works, the characteristic elements of the child art aesthetics. For instance, in 1920, Klee delivered the painting “Untitled (Tent City in the Mountains)”, which is in fact a copy of his 12-year-old son’s painting, Felix. Similar famous examples point to the important role that child art has played in the development of modern art, something that American art historian Jonathan Finberg addresses in his book “Discovering Child Art: Essays on Childhood, Primitivism, and Modernism”.

Similarly to Picasso, whose statement on child art was not solely an affirmation, but also a remark on the loss of creative freedom caused by the academic indoctrination, Paul Klee stated in one of his letters from 1902, just after completing his art studies, that he has found his childhood drawings and noted them to be more free, unrestrained, whilst highlighting the significance the event.

Following the aforementioned arguments, the project seeks to encourage artists-teachers to explore their own early creative work by asking themselves: How can an artist come to terms with himself in their early works? The organizer’s wish is to encourage artists-teachers to explore the personal experience of their early creation with one work or works (up to three) of their choice, which they can reinterpret using the same medium, or via another medium in which the original work was created. The exhibition is a part of the program of the scientific and artistic gathering “Rethinking Childhood”, and as such it will be presented as a part of the group exhibition in the designated gallery space in Zadar. The application process necessitates that the works are to be accompanied by either the works themselves or photos of the works that are being referred to.

The exhibition project, which is part of the international scientific and artistic conference “Rethinking Childhood”, seeks to answer the following questions: How can an artist become a child once again? How can an artist come to terms with himself in his childhood work? Is there a way to reinterpret this encounter in a work of art? When submitting papers, the original work or a photo of it needs to be attached.

Should you be interested in participation, the formal applications end on April 15, 2021, and the works need to be delivered on May 15, 2021 at the latest to the following address:

Department of Teacher Education and Preschool Education Studies

University of Zadar

Franje Tuđmana 24i

23 000 Zadar