CFP: Old Time Accomplices: Mentors & Mentees

The University of Melbourne, 25-27 August 2016


In his essay De auditu (On Listening to Lectures), Plutarch warned that “the correct analogy for the mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting – no more – and then it motivates one towards originality and instills the desire for truth”. Once sparked, this fire requires feeding and care, a task often fulfilled by mentors. Mentors are fundamental figures in the history of thought and we know of their existence since antiquity. Already appearing in the Odyssey, the idea of mentoring owes much to the figure of Socrates.

Paradoxically, despite living in societies increasingly marked by individualism and selfishness, in the modern world we see an increase in mentoring programs. Mentoring is grounded on a mutual commitment towards professional and intellectual development and forges a bond between mentor and mentee. This pattern exists in the academic, professional and private sectors, where coaches of all kinds multiply.

In this 3-day conference we wish to explore the mentor-mentee relationship in an interdisciplinary context. We invite papers which explore the theme and the practice of mentoring in literature, history, art, performing arts, social sciences, and in the professional world. Papers can – but do not have to – address the following themes:

  • Famous mentors & mentees
  • Fictional mentors & mentees and/or the theme of mentoring in literature, music and performing arts
  • The evolution of the mentor-mentee relationship
  • Differences and similarities in the relationships between mentor-mentee, master-disciple, sponsor-sponsored, and master-apprentice
  • Gender and mentoring
  • Power and mentoring
  • Mentoring and/for children
  • Mentoring, creative ownership and intellectual property
  • Rituals and ceremonies
  • Access or elitism?
  • Mentoring in context: differences across disciplines / workplace environments


The conference will host a special workshop and mentoring session for postgraduate students. One of the aims of the conference is that of providing a forum to establish a mentoring network.

Interested postgraduate students are encouraged to submit a description of their PhD thesis and a written statement explaining what they expect from a mentor. A maximum of 10 statements will be selected and postgraduate students paired with the most appropriate mentor, selecting from the list of participants to this conference who wish to join this initiative.

If interested, please submit the following documents:

  • Name, affiliation, contact details
  • Thesis (provisional) title
  • Discipline and specific field (if applicable)
  • 5 keywords
  • Description of PhD topic (250-300 words)
  • Stage of candidature
  • Your statement (70-1 00 words)


Submission of proposals for individual papers:

  • Length of proposals: 250-300 words (list of references excluded)
  • Include your name and affiliation , contact details (including preferred email address), title, and a 50-75 words bio-note
  • Indicate whether you will be requiring A/V equipment
  • Indicate whether you wish to be considered as a potential mentor for a mentoring session with a postgraduate student (session to take place during the conference)

For submission of proposals for panels, besides the above information, please also include the title of the panel and the details of the panel chair.


Proposals should be received by Friday 18 December 2015 (Deadline extended). All proposals should be sent to the following email address:

Notification of acceptance will be sent by email before the end of the year.


For more information, please contact Veronique Duche-Gavet,
Gregoria Manzin


Prof. Veronique Duche-Gavet, Dr Gregoria Manzin, Ass. Prof. Lesley Stirling

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