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Structures of Feelings

structures of feelings-2CVAC’s Francisco-J. Hernández Adrián is participating in a workshop held at the Royal College of Art on Friday 15th May 2015. He will be presenting on ‘Children in Waterscapes: Scenes From the Films of Lucrecia Martel, Óscar Ruiz Navia and Carlos Reygadas’.

Details of the full programme are available on the RCA website.


Ambiguous Sexualities on the Eighteenth-Century Stage

Thursday 5th and Friday 6th February 2015

Senate Room, University College, Durham University

The theatre is inherently a space of transformation and disguise. As the curtain rises, the stage becomes a Roman forum, chorus girls turn into nymphs, cardboard cut-outs are now mountain ranges. Just as temporal and geographical boundaries are crossed within this fantasy, so too are those of sex as actors perform as women and actresses inhabit male bodies, and characters (try to) pass themselves off as individuals of the opposite sex. What might that crossing or passing mean? What is the effect and importance of that transgression? Is the boundary destabilised, reinforced or even conjured away?

As well as being a realm of fantasy, the theatre is simultaneously a place within the polis and, crucially, and it offers a collective experience; I am aware of the spectators around me, I sense their reactions to the performance, I hear their conversations in the interval, and I might measure my own responses accordingly. The theatre can embody and portray to the assembled audience its own desires, convictions and anxieties. This re-presentation operates by means of the theatre apparatus, and the spectator’s gaze is consequently subjected to a particular kind of discipline. As Roland Barthes observes, ‘The theatre is precisely that practice which calculates the place of things as they are observed: if I set the spectacle here, the spectator will see this; if I put it elsewhere, he will not and I can avail myself of this masking effect and play on the illusion it provides.’[1] The eighteenth-century writer Louis Sébastien Mercier understood that this organizing of the gaze might have erotic implications: ‘Mais la perspective du théâtre est tout. Ne vous placez pas dans les coulisses si vous voulez jouir’ (‘But perspective in the theatre is everything. Do not sit in the wings if you wish to have pleasure’ – jouir in French also means to orgasm).[2] An analysis of the aesthetic fashioning, the material presentation and, of course, the public reception of the dramatic piece can help us begin to understand how a given society dealt with particular concerns, foremost amongst which are those regarding gender, sexuality and identity.

Generously supported by the MHRA and Durham’s own CVAC, and organized under the aegis of the Phoenix research group (a Durham-Paris Sorbonne joint project established in 2008), this conference brings together ten speakers from the UK, France and Italy. Our aim is to explore how political and social anxieties were examined, contained, and released through the representation of non-normative sexualities on the eighteenth-century stage. Papers will cover a range of topics including cross-dressing and queer identities, and authors such as Marivaux, Voltaire and Beaumarchais. We intend not only to provide historically-grounded analyses of ambiguous sexualities in the Enlightenment, but also to ask more broadly what eighteenth-century theatre can offer to modern theory.

Papers will be given in English or French, and all are most welcome to attend. For further information, please contact Dr Tom Wynn (

[1] Roland Barthes, ‘Diderot, Brecht, Eisenstein’, in Image, Music, Text, translated by Stephen Heath (New York, 1977), p.69.

[2] Tableau de Paris, edited by Jean-Claude Bonnet (Paris, 1994), vol.2, p.1486.


Thursday 6th and Friday 7th November 2014
Venue: Senate Rooms, Durham Castle

The programme is as follows:

Thursday 6th November

10.00-10.30 TEA/COFFEE

10.30-10.45 Welcome
Elisabeth Schellekens, Robin Skeates & Andreas Pantazatos
10.45-11.30 Paper & discussion 1
‘How can I respect an object?’ Crispin Paine (Chair: Geoffrey Scarre)
11.30-13.00 Keynote presentation & discussion 1
‘Collaborative stewardship: Is it just appropriation by another name?’ Alison Wylie (Chair: Robin Coningham)
13.00-14.00 LUNCH

14.00-15.30 Keynote presentation & discussion 2
‘Real Things’ Carolyn Korsmeyer (Chair: Elisabeth Schellekens)
15.30-16.00 TEA/COFFEE

16.00-17.30 Keynote presentation & discussion 3
‘Reflections on the Ethics and Aesthetics of Repair and Conservation’ Peter Lamarque (Chair: Chris Scarre)
19.00 DINNER
Oldfield’s Restaurant

Friday 7th November

9.30-09.45 Welcome/summary
Elisabeth Schellekens, Robin Skeates & Andreas Pantazatos
09.45-10.30 Paper & discussion 2
‘Fitting aesthetics and the archaeology of race’
Debbie Challis (Chair: Victor Dura-Vila)
10.30-11.00 TEA/COFFEE

11.00-12.30 Keynote presentation & discussion 4
‘Artefacts and Intentions: Natural and Non-Natural Meaning’ Stephen Neale (Chair: Yiota Vassilipoulou)
12.30-13.30 LUNCH

13.30-14.15 Paper & discussion 3
‘The Specific Sites of Archaeology and Art’ Matthew Rowe (Chair: Andreas Pantazatos)
14.15-15.15 Panel discussion
Craig Barclay, Ludmilla Jordanova, Constantine Sandis (Chairs: Elisabeth Schellekens & Robin Skeates)
15.15-15.45 TEA/COFFEE

15.45-17.15 Keynote presentation & discussion 5
‘Emergent figuration, abstraction and aesthetic impact: some cross-cultural reflections’   Howard Morphy (Chair: Paolo Fortis)
18.30 DINNER
Finbarr’s Restaurant

The workshop/conference is open to all, free of charge.  Do come along for all of part of it.

Contact: Dr. Robin Skeates, FSA

Reader, Department of Archaeology, Durham University, South Road, Durham.  DH1 3LE. UK.
e-mail:   tel: 0044 (0)191 334 1156   fax: 0044 (0)191 334 1101

Paintings of the Spanish Golden Age: the Collections of County Durham

spanish symposiumThursday 23rd of October – Saturday 25th of October

Jointly organised by Auckland Castle, The Bowes Museum, and Durham University, this three-day symposium aims to highlight the outstanding collections of Spanish art held in County Durham.

Internationally renowned academics and museum professionals will present a wide range of papers that will place these significant collections within their artistic, cultural, and historic context. The symposium will also be an opportunity to consider the reception of seventeenth-century Spanish art in Britain, marking the bicentenary of the arrival of Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus in Teesdale (now in the National Gallery, London).

Speakers include Gabriele Finaldi (Museo del Prado, Madrid), Letizia Treves (The National Gallery, London), Javier Portus (Museo del Prado, Madrid), Alistair Laing (former National Trust), Xanthe Brooke (Walker Art Gallery), Itziar Aranna (Academia de San Fernando, Madrid), and Véronique Gerard Powell, (University of Paris-Sorbonne).

To download the programme please click here.

The symposium will be accompanied at Auckland Castle by Hidden Treasures: Spanish Art in County Durham (15 October 2014 – 30 October 2015), an exhibition showcasing Spanish objects and artwork from across the region. The Bowes Museum is hosting a complimentary exhibition, Seventeenth Century Spanish Painting: The Golden Age (11 October 2014 – 1 February 2015), developed in partnership with Auckland Castle and Durham University’s Centre for Visual Arts and Culture.


Reserve Your Place

To reserve your place please complete our booking form or for a student bursary form please click here and return to Rosie Bradford, Groups and Events Co-ordinator at The Bowes Museum.

For any further enquiries please contact or contact Rosie Bradford on 01833 694615.


Thursday 23 October – Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland

Auckland Castle, has been the palace of the Bishop of Durham for over 900 years. One of its greatest treasures is the extraordinary series of Jacob and his Twelve Sons by Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664) and his studio, painted between 1640 and 1645. This set of monumental and arresting paintings was purchased in 1756 by Richard Trevor, Bishop of Durham 1752 – 1771, at the posthumous sale of James Mendez, a Jewish merchant of Portuguese origins. Ever since, the paintings have hung in the Long Dining Room at Auckland Castle, which Trevor remodelled as a gallery for their display.

Friday 24 October- The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle

The Bowes Museum, founded by John and Joséphine Bowes and opened in 1892, holds one of the largest public collections of Spanish paintings in Britain outside London, including works by El Greco and Goya. The majority of these paintings were acquired by the Founders in 1862-63 from the collection of the Countess de Quinto, through their Parisian dealer, Benjamin Gogué.

Saturday 25 October – Durham University, Durham

Durham University is home to Spanish paintings located in Durham Castle and at Ushaw College. The Symposium is being supported by academics from the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture and the Institute of Advanced Studies.

Classicism and the East: receptions of the oriental in European architecture

Friday 4th July 2014, Durham University, Department of Classics & Ancient History

Where studies of Italian Renaissance architecture have focused on the impact of the antique, they have been directed at the influence of western Roman buildings, particularly those in Italy and southern France, and neglected the role played in Renaissance designs by buildings of the ancient East of Greek, Roman and other ancient cultures. It is also some three to four decades since the work of Margaret Lyttelton, Anthony Blunt and William MacDonald began to explore the possible links between the early modern baroque and its ancient counterpart, most clearly seen in the buildings of the eastern Roman empire, and the impact of the architecture of non-classical cultures of the ancient East on European classicism remains to be investigated. How far was European classicism nurtured by a dialogue with the ancient East, not just Greek and Roman buildings, but the ancient oriental architecture? Bringing together the interests of Durham’s two classical research centres, the Durham Centre for Classical Reception (DCCR) and the Centre for the Ancient Mediterranean and Near East (CAMNE), this one-day workshop will reconsider the legacy of the ancient architecture of the eastern Mediterranean for the architecture of early modern Europe. A final open-panel session “Reconfiguring the Baroque” will explore stylistic relations between ancient architecture with “baroque” characteristics and its early modern counterpart and discuss the possible development of a research network grant application on the baroque in ancient and early modern culture.


10.00 Welcome

10.15 Introduction (Edmund Thomas)

10.30-1.00: Session 1: Renaissance looks East:
10.30-11.30 Peter Fane-Saunders (Durham), Diodorus Siculus and Renaissance Architecture
11.30-12.00 Coffee
12.00-1.00 Margaret Daly Davis (Florence), Sebastiano Serlio’s Terzo libro on the Antiquities and its fortuna: Recording and Reconstructing Ancient Architecture in the East

1.00-2.00 Lunch

2.00-5.30: Session 2: Orientalising the “Baroque”:
2.00-3.00 Edmund Thomas (Durham), Baalbek and the European Baroque
3.00-4.00 Vaughan Hart (Bath), Wren and Tyrian architecture

4.00-4.30 Tea

4.30-5.30: Session 3: Looking forward: Reconfiguring the “Baroque”, stylistic links between ancient and modern in architecture, art, literature and music:

4.30-5.30 Panel: chaired by Edmund Thomas (Durham) with response by Andrew Hopkins (L’Aquila)

There is no charge for attendance at the conference, but, to help with organising numbers for catering, anyone wishing to attend the conference is requested to contact me as soon as possible and by Friday 27th June. There are a small number of en suite rooms available at a reasonable charge, and anyone requiring overnight accommodation is asked to contact me to make a reservation.

Edmund Thomas

Photography and the concept of cultural translation: salvation or problematic?

Convenors: Professor Elizabeth Edwards (IAS 2012), Professor Jonathan Long (Durham)

Conference Panel forming part of the Durham Institute of Advanced Study conference on Transfusion and Transformation: the Creative Potential of Interdisciplinary Knowledge Exchange, July 15th – 17th 2014

The panel takes place 4pm – 5.30pm on Thursday 15th July in the Kingsley Barrett Theatre of Durham University’s Calman Building.

The concept and metaphor of ‘translation’, as an approach to practices and effects, has become increasingly widespread across a range of disciplines: archaeology, history, anthropology, cultural studies and, of course, the field of translation studies itself, in a symbiotic flow of key concepts. T

This panel will bring together a group of interdisciplinary scholars to consider the act and object of photography as an form of cultural translation that moves a set of experiences – the war zone, the ritual event, the everyday – from one space of understanding to another.

The panel asks for whom, and under what circumstances can photographs be seen as acts of translation? How does this intersect with our understanding of ‘representation’? To what extent is photography assumed to be a universal language? To what extent is photography, as an act of translation, assumed, that is at the same time, to transcend that translation in the global flow of representations/ images? To what extent does photography claim or challenge universal categories of comprehension? Does it assume unproblematic and mutually exchangeable accessibility? What is its cultural shaping in the act of apprehension? How is the act of translation disrupted by moments of incomprehension?

Contributors will be asked specifically to bring recent thinking in translation theory to new thinking on photographic analysis to explore synergies and problems. Is ‘cultural translation’ an exhausted metaphor that assumes the universality of photographic meaning, or does it open a space in which the analysis of the cultural work of photographs can be enriched and refigured by thinking through the act of translation itself?

It is significant how many ‘trans-‘ words cluster around attempts to understand the social and cultural efficacy of photography – not only translation itself but transaction, transcription, transfiguration, transubstantiation, even transgression. Linguistic models have had a profound influence on photographic analysis in the past few decades. Translation promises to enrich photography studies because it adds a dynamic, diachronic, and dialogic dimension to our understanding of photography and the multiple acts of interpretation to which it perforce gives rise.


Jennifer Tucker (Wesleyan/York)

“Law and image as translation: photographs and maps go to court”

Legal evidence depends on the tension between transparency and translation, which may be defined as the process of translating words or text from one language into another, the conversion of something from one form or medium into another, or the process of moving something from one place to another. Photography’s introduction into the courtroom during the middle years of the nineteenth century transformed the practice of law: how lawyers constructed and argued their cases, presented evidence to juries, and communicated with each other. How were photographs used and perceived in the courtroom and in wider culture, and how did they affect judicial decision making and public perceptions of justice? This paper explores how, when, and why legal practice moved from a largely words-only environment to one more dependent on and driven by images, and how rapidly developing technologies have further accelerated this change. Building on recent work in legal and historical scholarship and translation studies, I show examples from a wide range of actual trials and 19th and 20th century evidence manuals to illustrate and explore the idea of photography as a ‘universal language’ or an ‘immediacy,’ but one that is itself an act of translation.


Elizabeth Edwards (de Montfort)

“The same everywhere? Photographic ethnographies and the challenge to universal translation.”

This paper will address the destabilising potential of ethnographic studies of photography on classic, linguistically-based theories of photographic universality. It will argue that the qualities of direct translation and comprehensibility which have been widely debated in western photography, and which have been at the base of critiques of global image flows, from The Family of Man exhibition to the internet, are complicated by the different social demands and expectations brought to photographs. Drawing on recent work from Australia, India, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, the paper will argue that resistance to the idea of photography as universal translation has been grounded in the politics of representation and western hegemonies, but have largely excluded other ‘reclaimings of the real’ through which photographs are made to speak ‘different dialects’.


Janet Stewart (Durham)

“Photography, Petroleum Museums and the Sociology of Translation”

As Elizabeth Edwards (2013) has recently pointed out, despite the considerable body of critical literature that has been produced over recent decades in both photography theory and museology, the question of the role that photography plays in museums has only seldom been subjected to extended analysis. Notable contributions to this field include Gaby Porter’s (1989) essay on ‘The Economy of Truth’ and Edwards’s Raw Histories (2001), as well as recent contributions to Museum & Society (Stylianou-Lambert and Bounia 2012; Edwards and Mead 2013). This paper seeks to intervene in on-going debate about the use of photographs in museums by exploring the efficacy of employing the concept of ‘translation’ to shed light on the complex lives of photographs in these institutions. While Stylianou-Lambert and Bounia focus on photography in war museums, and Edwards and Mead turn their attention to the place of photographs in museum displays that engage with the colonial past, this paper focuses on the way in which photographs appear in museum displays that seek to narrate aspects of Europe’s oil history (another form of contested heritage). Focusing on the recently renovated oil and gas display in Aberdeen’s Maritime Museum, but drawing upon material from other European petroleum museums, this paper will attend to the multiple ways in which photography is employed in these institutions, analysing not only the displays but also marketing literature and other ephemera. The theoretical framework through which these photographic works – understood as both images and as objects – will be approached will draw upon the ‘sociology of translation’, developed by Bruno Latour and Michel Serres. Their focus on the relational nature of translation seems apposite when seeking to think through the particular example of the Petroleum Museum, an institution designed to mediate between technology and culture.


Jonathan Long (Durham)

“Translation in/of Photomontage”

In 1924, German designer and photomonteur John Heartfield produced a photomontage entitled 20 Years After: Fathers and Sons (Zwanzig Jahre danach: Väter und Söhne). The image uses a variety of motivic repetition known as translation or translational symmetry. This involves the serial repetition of a motif along a horizontal or vertical axis: moving a motif from one place to another. While easy to effect in simple abstract patterns, it is only practically possible with complex figurative subjects by means of photography. Translation, in this sense, is a quasi-universal operation, a form of visual organisation that can be found in cultural artefacts produced in most if not all societies. However, photomontage as form of political propaganda requires highly specific kinds of translation if it is to be effective. If it is so polysemous that it is incapable of translation into more or less determinate propositional content, it fails as propaganda. So this paper will map the universal translational capacities of photography onto the specific forms of translation demanded by the photomontage in order to develop an understanding of the operations and limitations of translation as both a photographic process and an explanatory schema.