2-4 December 2024

The 40th Annual SAHANZ Conference, Brisbane, Australia

Hosted by The University of Queensland (UQ) and The Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Call for Proposals

From spaces of isolation and independence, to archipelagos of connection and knowledge exchange, islands occupy a complex and evocative place in our terrestrial and imaginary worlds. At once utopian and dystopian—places of refuge and exile, extravagance and exploitation, paradises and prisons—islands contain contradictions and contested spatial histories. They provide distance from which to look back and reflect on one’s place in the world and the journeys that have brought us there. At the same time, they connote severance from the world as places of ostracization: petri dishes of extremism, claustrophobia, paranoia and self-isolation. More than physical spaces of geographic separation, islands also suggest those contrasts and positions that play out across political, social and cultural spheres. In architecture, such differences produce islands of practice—siloes of discourse and debate—historically visible in certain schools of practice and the work of independent practitioners and scholars. Islands are also shaped by architectural practices, from indigenous and colonial to modern and contemporary, from vernacular and regional to global and digital. Islands, therefore, emerge as both sites and subjects of critical historical research, and a lens or position through which to examine the past. 

On the occasion of the 40th Annual SAHANZ Conference, the theme of islands also encourages delegates to challenge and critique the often-siloed nature of architectural history itself, and how the discipline might speak to a wider audience.

We invite proposals (500 words max.) for papers, paper sessions and roundtables that reflect upon the many possible interpretations of islands in architectural history: how islands have influenced the production and reception of architecture, and how architecture has contributed to the formation and transformation of island cultures, identities, and environments. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • The antipodean island-ness of Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand: Interrogations of physical and cultural distance, centre-periphery histories
  • Historical studies of the island architecture and building cultures of Oceania—Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia—as well as the greater Asia-Pacific region
  • Islands of containment: Histories of immigration islands and detention facilities, island quarantine and isolation. COVID bubbles, and the biodomes of self-sustaining environments. The Eden Project, and Buckminster Fuller’s Dome over Manhattan
  • Islands and inclusion and exclusion: Histories of defensive islands and island fortresses
  • Political islands: Architectures of sovereignty and independence, colonisation and control. Strategic islands for military outposts and regional interference. Excised islands. Spaces of exile, self-isolation, and the architecture of Brexit
  • Islands of practice: Histories of regional schools and vernacular architectures, as well as solo and independent practitioners. Architecture and individualism, the lone auteur
  • Girt by sea: Islands and water, riparian histories. Climate change and island heritage. The architecture and urbanism of floating markets, villages in Southeast Asia
  • Terrestrial islands: sites and buildings for refuge, commune and retreat
  • Island cities: Histories of urban islands. Manhattan. Venice (and Ruskin). Singapore. Dubai’s artificial islands. The city within the city – toward the archipelago
  • Fictional islands and island imaginaries: Atlantis, Lilliput, Neverland, and Azkaban
  • Islands and indulgence: Sanctuaries and retreats, Coney Island, and Japan’s ‘Art Islands’
  • Paradise Island: Studies of island resort architecture. The Gold Coast’s canal islands (Chevron, Hope, Paradise); Bali and the work of Peter Muller. The island resorts of Christine Vadasz
  • Treasure Island: Developers and their islands (Keith Williams at Hamilton and Daydream Islands; Alan Bond and Cockatoo Island; Christopher Skase and the island of Majorca)
  • Desert island: Spaces of separation, solitude and remoteness

Key Dates

Call for Proposals:                                             Late January 2024

Peer Review Notifications:                                 Early June 2024

Deadline for Revised Proposals (750 words):       27 September 2024 

Conference Dates:                                             Mon 2 December – Wed 4 December 2024


Please email proposals of no more than 500 words (PDF or word doc) to . Proposals will be peer reviewed with acceptances sent in early June. 

Participants accepted for the conference will be asked to submit a final, updated version of their proposal / paper abstract (750 words) for online publication on the SAHANZ conference archive.

Please also note that a separate Call of Papers for a special issue of the journal, Fabrications, based the conference theme and paper proposals will be announced later in 2024.

Conference information

The 40th Annual SAHANZ Conference will be held in-person in Brisbane in early December 2024. At this stage, we intend to host the conference across central CBD venues at UQ and QUT. More details to come.


Dr. Ashley Paine (UQ) and Dr. Kirsty Volz (QUT)