Call for abstracts


Offence Given and Offence Taken

A one-and-a-half-day workshop at the University of Galway in partnership with the Irish Philosophical Society


Offence is an increasingly prevalent social phenomenon that has received little philosophical analysis. To be offended or to take offence can have significant social power and incur severe professional and personal consequences. While a wide array of utterances, actions, creative outputs and personal beliefs are spoken of as sources of offence, spaces to meaningfully dialogue what offence may mean, discuss, respond to and handle potentially offensive content and how to identify spaces where offence ought to be avoided are few. To offend or be offended is an idea that has moved from the sphere of manners and social mores towards a tension-filled space in which neither the offended nor the offender are satisfied and understanding of offence itself is often not reached.

This in-person one-and-a-half-day workshop will take place at the University of Galway on Thursday 30 and Friday 31st of May 2024.

In the interests of stimulating discussion, papers will be circulated to participants beforehand.


Accepted speakers should expect to engage in all three sessions, but should submit their work under one of the following strands:

Offence and Creativity

  • Knowledge creation: how does the potential for offence curtail pedagogical innovation and/or limit the use of certain examples in the classroom?
  • Creative practice: how does the potential for offence limit creative practice in relation to representing the experience of others and limiting what can be said?
  • Engagement with art: should the opinions and actions of an artist impact where, when and how their work is received?

Offence and Belief

  • How can the belief systems we adopt make us more apt to being offended?
  • On what grounds can beliefs held by others be deemed offensive?
  • How can we communicate meaningfully across belief systems?

Offence and Silence

  • How does the potential to offend, the assumption of offence, and the fear of offence work to propagate silence around sensitive issues?
  • Does ‘taking offence’ on behalf of another silence those others?
  • How should we treat complaints of being silenced that are made by questionable actors?


Submission requirements:

Please submit an anonymised, extended abstract of between 750 and 1000 words in length excluding references and a separate file detailing your: name, a brief biography (150 words) and institutional affiliation to: with a subject line detailing which thematic strand you are responding to.

Those participating in the workshop should be members of the Irish Philosophical Society.

A small number of postgraduate stipends, funded by the Irish Philosophical Society are available. If you are a postgraduate student (MA or PhD) and wish your submission to be considered for a stipend, please include the thematic strand and the term PG stipend in your email subject line (i.e. Offence and Creativity PG stipend).


Key dates:

  • Deadline for submissions of extended abstracts: Friday February 23rd
  • Notification of acceptance: March 22nd
  • Deadline for completed papers word count 3000-3500 words: April 22nd