Infantile History – Exhibition in the Department of History at York University

Dear all,

Have you ever been described as “infantile”? Have you ever classified someone or something as such?

As part of exploring what history is, whether it has a goal, age and direction, and what the means to answer these questions are, you are invited to submit artworks to be displayed in the Department of History. While all artworks that capture infantile elements are very welcome, the project is mainly interested in looking at history through children’s and childlike paintings. The fact that paintings record bodily gestures makes painting a medium that indexes its creator. What is there in paintings, and especially childlike ones, that indicates the age or maturity of their creator? What exactly do we see there that suggests that the creator of the work has potential to be, to become, something else? What can we take from this when approaching visual and material history: sources, methods and periodization of time?

Some ideas of artworks to get the ball rolling, but any additional ideas are welcome:

  • Children’s and childlike drawings and paintings, made in the near or far past.
  • Photographs of yourself as a child, and/or other children (and pets, naturally).
  • Pictures of settings, objects or people that use childlike rhetoric.
  • Any materials from your scholarly work that relate to infancy and childhood, and/or the relation between these and other stages of the human life cycle.

The submission is open to everyone, there is no limit on the number of submissions per person, and all submissions are accepted!

The exhibition is planned to run between December, 2016 – early April, 2017, in the main corridor of the Department of History. Works, in any size and shape, can be submitted by putting them in a box, in the department office, across from Jeannine’s desk. Please attach a note to the work with your name and email address. Any additional details that will be displayed in a label next to the work are welcome. These could be: name of creator, their age at time of producing the work, year of production, places connected to it, and further information/insights. Please note that the works will be returned to you, but will not be covered by insurance.


If you have any questions or ideas, or if you’d like to participate but cannot come to campus and would like me to print your submission/s, please contact me at:

Thank you very much for your collaboration!

Looking forward to it,


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