The Cleveland Symposium is hosted each fall by the Department of Art History and Art at Case Western Reserve University and The Cleveland Museum of Art Joint Graduate Program. It began in 1974 as the Ohio Area Student Symposium and included presentations by art history students from Ohio and the surrounding regions. Now in its 46th year, the Cleveland Symposium welcomes the participation of graduate students from all around the world.

This highly successful symposium, led entirely by students in the program and hosted by the Cleveland Museum of Art, is one of the oldest graduate art history student symposia in the nation. It remains free and open to the public thanks to the generous support of Nancy and Joseph Keithley, Friends of Art, the Baker-Nord Center for Humanities, and the Case Western Reserve University School of Graduate Studies.

The Department of Art History and Art and The Cleveland Museum of Art are pleased to announce the theme of the 46th annual graduate symposium: Bodily Realities: Engaging the Discourse of Dis/Ability. The symposium will be an all-day event held on the 30th of October, 2020. Topics will include the role of physical disability in the construction of identities, how the body relates to notions of normativity, abnormality, and hybridity, and accessibility in art museums and cultural sites. The keynote address will be presented by Dr. Petra Kuppers of The University of Michigan. Dr. Kuppers’ work encompasses disability studies, performance studies, critical theory and poetics, medical humanities, and the general fields of arts and expression, arts and health, and arts and community building.

Additionally, due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s symposium will be held virtually via Zoom. If you are interested in attending as an audience member, registration will be required. A link to register will be sent out in September with the Zoom link to follow the day before the event. Please direct all questions to Katie DiDomenico and Mackenzie Clark at

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For the current CFP, please click here.

For a list of previous symposia, please click here.






Untitled, 1990. Robert Gober (American, b. 1954). Wax, wood, leather shoe, cotton fabric, human hair; overall: 29.6 x 16 x 51.2 cm (11 5/8 x 6 5/16 x 20 3/16 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Dorothea Wright Hamilton Fund 2003.226 © Robert Gober, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery. Image courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art.