Recent Opportunities


What's Your Sign?

  • Dates: 19 Apr – 01 Jul, 2017
  • Location: Iowa City, Iowa, United States
  • Address: Iowa Memorial Union, The University of Iowa, 125 N Madison St, Iowa City, IA 52245
  • Contact: Vero Rose Smith
  • Email:
  • Website:
  • Phone: 3194671168, 3194671168
The Legacies for Iowa Collections-Sharing Project at the University of Iowa Museum of Artseeks proposals for papers considering the history of retail architecture signage. For as long as goods have been bought and sold, shopkeepers and traders have visually communicated their wares through signs. This breakfast symposium explores the evolution of signage from the shutter paintings of ancient Pompeii to the wooden trade signs hanging along Medieval English streets to the neon of twentieth-century American roadside signs. How have symbols of selling shifted over the centuries? How do retail signs reflect or reject broader visual cultures? What technological shifts have precipitated the most dramatic design departures? Papers may examine the iconography, typography, and materiality of retail signs as well as the cultural, financial, and geo-political forces that shaped storefront signs in the past. Papers may also contend with the future of retail sinage in an increasingly digital and global economy. This public event will be livestreamed and occurs in conjunction with the City of Iowa City Downtown District’s CoSign project, which partners local artists and craftspeople with small business to create exciting and distinctive new signs. SUBMISSION: Proposals from architectural historians, architects, designers, and related specializations welcome. Abstracts (up to 300 words) for 20 minute papers should be submitted with a CV by July 1, 2017. Please submit all materials electronically to Vero Rose Smith ( IMPORTANT DATES: July 1, 2017: Submissions due July 15, 2017: Participants notified August 25, 2017: Registration deadline September 9, 2017: Symposium

SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
1365 N. Astor Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610
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