(UN)LANGUAGE: What Remains Unsaid in Art & Literature

  • Each year, undergraduates from SFU’s World Languages and Literatures Department host an interdisciplinary academic student conference addressing cultural, social, and aesthetic frames of reference. 
  • Our panels range across literature, cinema, & the image, and investigate the socio-political, cultural, and literary fallouts of cross-national encounters.


LANGUAGE shapes existence, it provides a means to translate, elucidate, and express the human experience. So, what happens when one language doesn’t translate into another? How does art “speak” to us without words?  With these questions in mind, the annual WORLD LITERATURE STUDENT CONFERENCE is now accepting submissions for the Spring 2023 event, titled (UN)LANGUAGE: WHAT REMAINS UNSAID IN ART AND LITERATURE.


Language is an impartial and ubiquitous aspect of society; utilized by some as a tool of oppression, it is an equally powerful force in cultivating change.  Through World Literature we can explore the ways in which art mobilizes resistance by offering perspectives that transcend linguistic barriers.  But can art and literature effectively convert experience into expression?  Translation is the movement of meaning between forms—sensation to thought, feeling to words, language to language; and, so, this year’s theme invites presentations that explore the boundaries and possibilities of how language and culture interact with each other. How can words and images capture the depth and breadth of human experience? How do you put the feeling of looking at art into words? What does it mean to translate the untranslatable, to say the unsaid


This is an interdisciplinary event, and we invite students of all faculties and year levels to submit proposals that encompass literature, translation, cinema, and the image. We encourage different perspectives, including geographic, ideological, post-colonial, linguistic, psychological, or environmental approaches. Submissions from all departments will be treated with equal attention & confidentiality. A completed project is not needed at the time of proposal, only a short abstract or description of 150+ words. Email 

Deadline: 8PM / March 5th, 2023.

Each speaker will have four to five minutes to present their paper; therefore, the actual papers should be no more than 500–600 words in length. We look forward to reading your interpretations and responses to this year’s theme! See the conference submission portal or email proposals to wlsc_sfu@sfu.ca

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EMAIL: wlsc_sfu@sfu.ca