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  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


Please email proposals of no more than 500 words (PDF or word doc) to no later than 5 April 2004. 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.

The Auckland waterfront, showing the Auckland Harbour Board Downtown Scheme. Whites Aviation Ltd Photograph. Ref: WA-66196-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23236356

Ngā Pūtahitanga / Crossings: A Joint Conference of SAHANZ and the Australasian UHPH Group

The 39th Annual SAHANZ Conference held jointly with the Australasian UHPH Group, Auckland, New Zealand.

Keynote speaker: Ben Schrader

Ultra: Positions and Polarities beyond Crisis

The 38th Annual SAHANZ Conference, Adelaide, Australia, and online.

Keynote speaker: Barnabas Calder.

What if? What next? Speculations on History’s Futures

The 37th Annual SAHANZ Conference, Perth, Australia, and online.

Keynote speaker: Tim Winter.

Distance Looks Back

The 36th Annual SAHANZ Conference, Sydney, Australia.

2018 logo

Historiographies of Technology and Architecture

The 35th Annual SAHANZ Conference, Wellington, New Zealand.

Quotation, Quotation: What Does History Have in Store for Architecture Today?

The 34th Annual SAHANZ Conference, Canberra, Australia.

Keynote speakers: Jean-Louis Cohen and Julie Willis.


The 33rd Annual SAHANZ Conference Melbourne, Australia.

Keynote speakers: Abidin Kusno and Alessandra Ponte.

Architecture, Institutions and Change

The 32nd Annual SAHANZ Conference, Sydney, Australia.

Keynote speakers: Geoffrey London and Dell Upton.


The 31st Annual SAHANZ Conference, Auckland, New Zealand.

Keynote speakers: Barry Bergdoll, Branko Mitrović and Tom Avermaete.


The 30th Annual SAHANZ Conference, Gold Coast, Queensland.

Fabulation: Myth, Nature, Heritage

The 29th Annual SAHANZ Conference, Launceston, Tasmania.

Keynote speakers: Karen Burns and Alex Bremner.


The 28th Annual SAHANZ Conference, Brisbane.

Keynote speakers: Mark Jarzombek and Taro Igarashi (with support from the Japan Foundation).

Plenary speakers: Penelope Edmonds and Thomas Weaver.


The 27th Annual SAHANZ Conference, Newcastle, Australia.

Keynote speakers: Peter Myers and Sarah Treadwell.

Cultural Crossroads

The 26th Annual SAHANZ Conference, Auckland, New Zealand.

Keynote speakers: Roberto Segre, Paul Walker and Riken Yamamoto.

History in Practice

The 25th Annual SAHANZ Conference, Geelong, Victoria.

Keynote speakers: Des Smith and Don Watson.

Panorama to Paradise

The 24th Annual SAHANZ Conference, Adelaide, South Australia.

Keynote speakers: Mark Crinson, Keith Eggener and Paulette Singley.

Contested Terrains

The 23rd Annual SAHANZ Conference, Fremantle, Western Australia.

Keynote speakers: Andrew Ballantyne, Zeynip Çelik and Helen Mallinson.


The 22nd Annual SAHANZ Conference, Napier, New Zealand.

Keynote speakers: John Macarthur and Jonathan Woodham.


The 21st Annual SAHANZ Conference, Melbourne, 26-29 September 2004.

Keynote speakers: Peter Corrigan, Diane Favro, Reinhold Martin and Felicity Scott.


The 20th annual conference of SAHANZ, Sydney.

Keynotes: Mike Austin and Mary McLeod.

Additions to Architectural History

The 19th annual conference of SAHANZ, Brisbane.

Keynotes: Andrew Benjamin, Hilde Heynen, Esa Laaksonen and Jane Rendell.

In the making: Architecture’s past

The 18th Annual Conference of SAHANZ, Darwin, Australia.

Keynote speaker: Philip Goad.

Formulation Fabrication: The Architecture of History

The 17th Annual Conference of SAHANZ, Wellington, New Zealand.

Keynote speakers: Roemer van Toorn, Sarah Whiting and Mark Wigley.


The 16th Annual Conference of SAHANZ, Launceston, Australia, 1999. Keynote speakers: Mark Cousins, Neil Leach and Barrie Shelton.

Firm(ness) commodity De-light?: questioning the canons

The 15th Annual Conference of SAHANZ, Melbourne, Australia, September 1998.

Keynote speakers: Anthony Alofsin and Harry Francis Mallgrave.

On what Grounds?

The 14th Annual Conference of SAHANZ, Adelaide, Australia.

Keynote speakers: Augustin Berque, Bernard Cache and Paul Fox.

Loyalty and Disloyalty in the Architecture of the British Empire and Commonwealth

The 13th Annual Conference of SAHANZ, Auckland, New Zealand, October 1996.

Keynote speakers: Richard Engelhardt, Robert Grant Irving and Paul Oliver.

Plenary lectures by Peter Bossley and Sir Miles Warren. Public Lecture by John Stacpoole.

50 Years of Modernity in Australasia, 1920-1970

The 12th Annual Conference of SAHANZ, Sydney, Australia.

Keynote speaker: Harry Seidler.

From Sarsaparilla to Muckadilla

The 11th Annual Conference of SAHANZ, Brisbane, Australia.

Nuts and bolts, or berries: Early Modernism in Australasia

The 10th Annual Conference of SAHANZ, Perth, Australia.

Keynote speaker: Judith Brine.

Asia / Australasia

The 9th Annual Conference of SAHANZ, Geelong, Australia.

Keynote speaker: Helen Ibbitson Jessup.

Regional Responses

The 8th Annual Conference of SAHANZ, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Keynote speaker: Miles Lewis.

Colonial Connections

The 7th Annual Conference of SAHANZ, Melbourne, Australia, 1990.

Keynote speaker: Jonathan Mané-Wheoki.

Landscape and 20th Century Urban Design in Australasia

The 6th Annual Conference of SAHANZ, Canberra, Australia.

Keynote Speaker: James Weirick.

Australian Studies in Architectural History

The 5th Annual Conference of SAHANZ, Sydney, Australia.


The 4th Annual Conference of SAHANZ, Adelaide, Australia.

Keynote Speaker: Derek Linstrom.

Classicism and Romanticism in Australasian Architecture

The 3rd Annual Conference of SAHANZ, Melbourne, Australia.

Keynote Speaker: James Broadbent.

The 2nd Annual Conference

The 2nd Annual Conference of SAHANZ, Sydney, Australia.

Architectural Historians in Australia: Australian Questions to Face

The 1st Annual Conference of SAHANZ, Adelaide, Australia.

Keynote speaker: Dennis Sharp.