Archive | November 2016

Durham Leverhulme Doctoral Training in Visual Culture

CVAC@DURHAM

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Conference on Catholicism, Literature, and the Arts

The Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University, supported by Ushaw College and the Centre for Poetry and Poetics and the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture at Durham University, are organising a Conference on Catholicism, Literature, and the Arts to be held in Durham 5-7 July 2017.  Proposals for short papers of 20 minutes are invited for this international conference.  Full details can be found below.  The closing date for proposals has been extended to 16th December 2016.

 

Catholicism, Literature, and the Arts

1850 to the Present

 

5 July -7 July 2017

 

Call for Papers

 

Proposals for short papers of 20 minutes are invited for an international conference on Catholicism, literature, and the arts, organised by the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University and Ushaw College. The conference is supported by the Centre for Poetry and Poetics and the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture at Durham University. It will bring together leading scholars such as Terry Eagleton, Ann Wroe, Paul Lakeland, and Eamon Duffy to address key questions in the study of Catholic art and writing, including the question of whether there is a distinctive tradition of ‘Catholic literature’. Among the main topics and themes of the conference are Catholic memoir and autobiography; Catholic fiction and poetry; Catholic readership; journalism; publishers and archives; and the visual arts. A key feature of the conference will be the use of interviews, discussion groups, and workshops, as well as lectures and seminars. The conference will include film, music, and the visual arts, as well as literature. It will also draw on works of art and literature closely associated with Ushaw College.

 

Please send expressions of interest, along with a brief proposal (up to 250 words), to Stephen Regan (stephen.regan@durham.ac.uk), Ludmilla Jordanova (ludmilla.jordanova@durham.ac.uk), and Stefano Cracolici (stefano.cracolici@durham.ac.uk).

 

The closing date for proposals is 16th December 2016, and applicants will be notified of the outcome by 31st December 2016.

 

 

 

Collaborative Doctoral Awards at The Bowes Museum

 

A consortium of the National Gallery and The Bowes Museum has been awarded nine doctoral studentships over five years from 2016 – 21 (three per year) as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme. Each institution is able to offer studentships in partnership with higher education institutions, to enable students to study for a PhD at a UK university.

In October 2016, two students started their CDP studentships at The Bowes Museum, based on the Museum’s Archive housed in the magnificent reading room at the top of the Museum. Their research interests emanate from the collecting activities of the Museum’s Founders, John and Joséphine Bowes.

The National Gallery and The Bowes Museum have substantial synergies in their research interests, which arise not only from the fact that they both hold significant collections of Old Master paintings, but also from shared interests in the research themes:

  • Buying, Collecting, Display: This strand concentrates on the histories of the art market, as well as of picture collections and the tastes, economics, and politics that lay behind them. It also concerns audiences for art (including museum visitors today) and the histories of the institutions themselves. It provides a context for collections that supports new approaches for presentation to the public.
  • The Meaning of Making: This strand seeks to use object-based research, combining the disciplines of art history, science and conservation, to contextualise technical study of collections by situating it within a larger art historical discourse, investigating notions of authorship, collaboration, copying, design, inspiration and their re-use/reinterpretation over time. It is a distinctive aspect of Museum/Gallery research.
  • Art and Religion: This strand focuses on the iconography, functions and context of Christian art. A high percentage of works in collections of Western European art are of religious subjects, nearly all of them Christian, reflecting the fact that, after classical antiquity, Christianity became the predominant power shaping European culture between the 13th and 19th centuries. The research addresses how and why these sacred works of art were made, to explore what they might have meant to their original viewers and to discover what they mean to beholders today.

The consortium builds on these common interests that are shared between the National Gallery and The Bowes Museum, as well as more generally in many museums, galleries and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
The specific themes above are not intended to be prescriptive but they serve as an effective expression of the consortium’s areas of interest, giving a framework for collaborations with HEIs and other research organisations, and for potential shared studentships. For more general information, find out about the scope of research at the National Gallery and The Bowes Museum.

Each studentship will be jointly supervised by a member of the consortium partner’s staff and an academic from an HEI in the UK, as with the existing Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDA) scheme. The HEI administers the studentship, receiving funds from the AHRC for fees and to cover the student’s maintenance. The consortium partner provides additional financial support to cover travel and related costs in carrying out research.

More information about Collaborative Doctoral Awards is available at the AHRC.

Further details

Information for universities
Proposals for new studentships are developed by National Gallery or The Bowes Museum staff (as co-supervisors) together with a named university partner (as principal supervisor) and are chosen on their academic strengths and clear support for the National Gallery’s or The Bowes Museum’s research objectives. We welcome expressions of interest and project ideas from any UK university.

The deadline for the next round of CDP applications is 25th November 2016.

For more information about partnering with the National Gallery, advice on potential internal collaborators and guidance for applications contact Marika Spring> 

For more information about partnering with The Bowes Museum, advice on potential internal collaborators and guidance for applications contact Adrian Jenkins or Jane Whittaker

Embodying life and death: The body in Anglo-Saxon England

22nd October 2016, Durham University

The Anglo-Saxon period is characterised by significant cultural shifts and transformations. Emerging kingdoms, religious conversion, economic intensification, growing cultural contact and mobility result in increasing social complexity. Situated directly at the centre of these multiple transformations are the understudied Anglo-Saxon bodies, enacting, resisting and adapting to the ever-changing world around them. Although only the bare bones of these bodies remain, further evidence for the physicality, corporeality and personal expression manifest themselves in texts, art, material culture and more.

This one-day conference invited speakers from across multiple disciplines to converge on the topic of Anglo-Saxon bodies. Over the course of the day, presentations on nakedness, rebellious nuns, monstrous creatures, corpse positioning and saintly healing were followed by vibrant discussion. Central to this day was past and present visual cultures pertaining to Anglo-Saxon England. Figural iconography present on/in dress accessories, military paraphernalia, household objects, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture and more were brought together to better understand how the body was represented in this period alongside it’s symbolic and ideological significance. Beyond historical materials, speakers also critically reflected on visual materials produced by contemporary scholarship and the role these materials play in generating knowledge and shaping current thought. These included photographs and illustrations of objects and figural imagery, maps and plans of cemetery layouts, body positions and grave cuts. The result was a rich and diverse day, in which boundaries were deconstructed as connections and parallels were drawn across Archaeology, History, Art history and Literary studies, demonstrating the strength and necessity of interdisciplinarity.

Tristan Lake, November 2016

Perceptions of Architecture in Early Modern Europe

‘Perceptions of Architecture in Early Modern Europe,’ a conference held on 5 November at St. Mary’s College and funded by the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture, brought together an interdisciplinary, international group of scholars to explore the criteria, terms, and techniques with which experiences of the European built environment, 1500-1850, were constructed and described. Architectural history, art history, Classics, French Studies, and Italian Studies were the disciplines represented, and three members of CVAC – Jan Clarke, Stefano Cracolici, and Edmund Thomas – spoke alongside scholars from across the UK as well as Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.  The conference opened with a keynote lecture by Professor Maurice Howard OBE (University of Sussex), who surveyed a wide range of useful sources and themes; sources stretched from legislation to topographical writings, and themes encompassed competition, imitation, health, performance and artifice.  Through three sessions of three papers apiece, speakers then examined case studies from England, France, Italy, and the Netherlands.  Together, these papers and the subsequent discussion delved further into revealing sources and concepts with which to evaluate early modern architectural experiences.  Among the sources were poetry, prints, playscripts, and newspapers, while concepts included tensions between imitation and transgression, evocations of unease, responses to risk and destruction, the symbolism of style, and the roles of sight, memory and the imagination.  Conference participants – both speakers and non-speaking delegates – thus merged strands of scholarly inquiry often scattered across visual, cultural, and literary history into a day of ongoing interdisciplinary conversation.

Kimberley Skelton November 2016

Durham Leverhulme Doctoral Training in Visual Culture

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Caribbean and Diasporic Culture, Creativity and Research

On Wednesday 19 October 2016 ‘Caribbean and Diasporic Culture, Creativity and Research’ took place at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle. Co-organised by Jennifer Terry (English Studies and CVAC, Durham) and Laura Fish (Creative Writing, Northumbria), this symposium set out to think about practice-led research across disciplines and with particular respect to those who have found their creative work limited by existing frames and those who seek to initiate dialogues beyond dominant cultural traditions and institutions.

 

With just under thirty participants, the event brought together members of the public, practitioners, students, curators, cultural activists and academics.

 

The morning programme began with Joan Anim-Addo (Poet and Professor of Caribbean Literature and Culture at Goldsmiths, University of London) raising questions about serial exploitation of BAME artists, institutional contexts and collective agency. She was followed by Ingrid Pollard (Photographer and Media Artist) who shared her work on belonging and Britain, which draws on the colonial film unit archive at the BFI. After lunch Tina Gharavi (Filmmaker and Senior Lecturer in Digital Media/Film at Newcastle University) shared part of ‘Tribalism is Killing Us’, her provocative film on race and social conditioning that will be co-created via a participatory online platform. Lubaina Himid (Artist and Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire) then spoke about her practice and creating ‘imagined conversations’ via her work series ‘cottom.com’ and ‘Naming the Money.’ The symposium concluded with a plenary discussion involving all; this picked up on earlier threads, further probed politics of exclusion in the Arts and in universities, and identified some areas of focus for future activities.

 

Bringing together discussion of literature, visual art, photography, film etc. yielded mutual benefits, not least because of the isolation of some practitioners occupying minority status in their daily working contexts. The sense of creative practice and ‘research’ broadly defined, that is research as finding things and finding things out as well as research as critical reflection on creative work, also proved generative.

 

Jenny Terry November 2016

Workshop: Handling Objects at The Oriental Museum

On the 1st of November, the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture organized a workshop on the premises of the Oriental Museum, formally known as the Gulbenkian Museum of Oriental Art and Archaeology, for the new Leverhulme Doctoral Scholars. Aside from contemplating one of the many facets of colonialism promoted through a contemporary lens, by perusing the galleries, one could not help but be naturally absorbed in understanding the concept behind the pedagogy of this educational museum, whose collections continue to expand and provide an interactive means of understanding a slice of history. What is particularly interesting about the collection is the juxtaposition of the “old” and the “new”, often displayed side by side, challenging traditional modes of representation and ultimately changing the ways of seeing.

 

The name of the workshop, “Handling Objects”, already suggests a thrilling enterprise, and the venture has proved to bring fresh insights with regards to both the Oriental Museum’s growing collection, and to the intimate experience of object handling. Presently a privilege for specialists, object handling has the potential of enhancing the ability of understanding the history of a specific piece, while at the same time raising new questions regarding aspects of materiality and sensorial perception. One cannot help but wonder at the perks of such a possibility made accessible to a wider audience; in the words of Dr Craig Barclay, the head of the museum, an ideal world would be one in which visitors could not only benefit from contemplating cultural objects displayed in a closed, “safe” space, but one in which the members of the public are actively given the choice of handling these objects. Indeed this would irrevocably change the way in which we engaged with a museum object and has the potential to, no doubt, revolutionize the reality of a museum experience in more ways than one.

 

 

Iris Ordean, November 2016

Embodying life and death: The body in Anglo-Saxon England

22nd October 2016, Durham University

The Anglo-Saxon period is characterised by significant cultural shifts and transformations. Emerging kingdoms, religious conversion, economic intensification, growing cultural contact and mobility result in increasing social complexity. Situated directly at the centre of these multiple transformations are the understudied Anglo-Saxon bodies, enacting, resisting and adapting to the ever-changing world around them. Although only the bare bones of these bodies remain, further evidence for the physicality, corporeality and personal expression manifest themselves in texts, art, material culture and more.

This one-day conference invited speakers from across multiple disciplines to converge on the topic of Anglo-Saxon bodies. Over the course of the day, presentations on nakedness, rebellious nuns, monstrous creatures, corpse positioning and saintly healing were followed by vibrant discussion. Central to this day was past and present visual cultures pertaining to Anglo-Saxon England. Figural iconography present on/in dress accessories, military paraphernalia, household objects, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture and more were brought together to better understand how the body was represented in this period alongside it’s symbolic and ideological significance. Beyond historical materials, speakers also critically reflected on visual materials produced by contemporary scholarship and the role these materials play in generating knowledge and shaping current thought. These included photographs and illustrations of objects and figural imagery, maps and plans of cemetery layouts, body positions and grave cuts. The result was a rich and diverse day, in which boundaries were deconstructed as connections and parallels were drawn across Archaeology, History, Art history and Literary studies, demonstrating the strength and necessity of interdisciplinarity.

Tristan Lake November 2016