The Center for Material Culture Studies invites UD graduate students from any discipline to submit proposals for the 17th Material Culture Symposium for Emerging Scholars, to be held in April 2023. 

 “Emerging Scholars” is organized by an interdisciplinary team of UD graduate students in collaboration with CMCS leadership and Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. Since the inaugural symposium in 2003, “Emerging Scholars” has become the preeminent international forum for the presentation of new material culture scholarship by early career scholars. The biennial symposium provides graduate students and recent PhDs with a venue for conversations centering on material culture across disciplines, media, and methodologies. Over 200 individuals have participated in the symposia as invited speakers, commentators, and keynotes.

 The symposium welcomes organizers and participants to help shape the future of material culture studies by addressing cutting-edge topics and new directions in the field. It offers organizers the opportunity to collaborate, develop professional skills, and network with early career scholars within and beyond UD. “Emerging Scholars” is jointly hosted by UD and Winterthur, with events—including a keynote lecture by a leading scholar, several panels of speakers, and collections-based workshops or tours—usually occurring on both campuses. CMCS provides guidance and administrative assistance to the graduate student team and modest financial support for the symposium.

Information about the topics, programs, and organization of previous “Emerging Scholars” symposia can be found here. Check out the CMCS History: 2000-2020 page for further information.

Planning timeline:

  • May 2, 2022: Deadline for proposal submissions
  • May 16, 2022: Decisions on proposals announced
  • September-December 2022: Organizing team finalizes symposium topic, develops and circulates CFP, fundraises from UD departments and programs, identifies and invites keynote speaker, determines format (in person or virtual)
  • Winter 2022-23: Review paper proposals in collaboration with a faculty team, invite speakers, organize program
  • Spring 2023: Publicize event, coordinate speaker travel, finalize planning


  • Teams must include 3-4 graduate students from different fields and UD departments/programs. CMCS encourages inclusivity and diversity in team composition.
  • Priority will be given to applicants at advanced stages in their graduate programs (PhD, MA or MFA), given the biennial nature of the symposium.
  • Applications should clearly communicate the applicants’ interests in material culture studies and the proposed topic’s significance for the field.

To apply:

  • Organize an interdisciplinary team of 3-5 graduate students. Identify each team member’s department/programs and anticipated graduation year.
  • Propose and describe a compelling title and topic for the symposium (250 words max.). Applications should explain the originality, timeliness, and interdisciplinarity of the proposed topic and its potential contributions to material culture studies.
  • Submit your application using this Google Form.
  • Applications must be received by May 2, 2022.
  • Questions? Email CMCS at