Call for Papers

For the Third International Artefacta Conference with the theme agency and objects on 16–17 February 2023 @UniTurku & @AboAkademi in Turku, Finland; Deadline 04 September 2022



Call for Papers 

Artefacta 2023 / Agency

The Third International Artefacta Conference will be organised in Turku, Finland on 16–17 February 2023. The theme of the conference is agency and objects.

The University of Turku, and the Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland

Conference Theme

Agency has become one of the most debated and productive concepts in the study of artefacts and material culture. Basically, it refers to the capacity to create an action or intervention and produce a particular effect, whether physical, emotional, social or cultural. The Third International Artefacta Conference focuses on this multifaceted concept and the recent advances and innovations in the field of artefact studies that it has inaugurated. What are the limits and abilities of objects to exert power over each other, to humans and their environment? What does it imply to acknowledge the agency of things, both in the past and the present?

In parallel with the conceptual re-evaluation of agency in the humanities and social sciences, new scientific and conservation methods of analysing the material properties of artefacts have transformed our understanding of things, humans and their interactions with the environment. They allow seeing technology as well as the production, use and material change of artefacts in more detailed and fascinating ways. Similarly, novel methods of artefact analysis have revolutionised our approach to cultural transmission, or the experimentation, decision-making, and choices related to material culture.

The Third International Artefacta Conference will discuss agency in relation to objects with a very wide and inclusive understanding of the concept.

We call for papers which examine and explore various aspects of the agency of artefacts in the field of the humanities as well as natural and social sciences. The papers can range from individual case studies to methodological considerations and theoretical reflections.

The topics may include, but are not limited to, to the following:

  • How an artefact or artefact group affect humans and/or the environment?
  • How is the agency of artefacts created by materials, living creatures, and/or the environment?
  • Is agency a useful and/or appropriate concept when analysing artefacts and material culture in the past or in the present?
  • The agency of artefacts as a cultural, material, and/or sociological phenomenon
  • The expressions and conceptualisations of the agency of artefacts in different historical and prehistoric periods, cultures, and academic disciplines
  • The methods and theories of examining the agency of artefacts
  • Considering the multitude of human and non-human agents involved in conservation, to whom are conservators preserving cultural heritage?

Confirmed keynote speakers

Prof. Tine Damsholt, University of Copenhagen

Prof. Bjørnar Olsen, University of Tromsø

Important Dates

The call of papers closes on 4 September 2022.

The acceptance of papers will be announced on 3 October 2022.

Registration for the conference closes on 16 December 2022.

The conference takes place on 16–17 February 2023.

Submit a paper proposal

Please, submit your proposal for a paper using this form:


Please, email your inquiries to artefacta2023(at)


More details

artefacta2023[ at ]