Week in Review – 19 February

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John Richard Coke Smyth, Elizabeth, Lady Eastlake. Watercolour
4 3/4 in. x 4 1/4 in. (121 mm x 108 mm), National Portrait Gallery, London.

First up, the conference programme for the Writing Art: Women Writers as Art Critics in the Long Eighteenth Century conference. The conference intersects with a number of my projects, firstly an article I’m currently writing on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women travel writers and the narratives they tell through objects, and secondly, #WaysofSheing, a twitter-based project that aims to highlight and celebrate the contributions of female art historians. The conference features presentations on Elizabeth, Lady Eastlake (pictured above), Germaine de Staël, and the travel writer Maria Graham.

I enjoyed Sarah Read’s article ‘‘Gushing Out Blood’: Defloration and Menstruation in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure‘, from a recent edition of the Journal of Medical Humanities.  In the article Read explores how Cleland ‘repeatedly depicts and eroticises the act of defloration’ in his erotic 1740s novel Fanny Hill. 

Deborah Cohen’s The Atlantic article ‘Before Straight and Gay: The discreet, disorienting passions of the Victorian era‘, which begins with a microcosmic examination of the queer histories of the Benson family, is a fascinating read.

I was fascinated by this BBC News video, on the forgotten Victorian botanical painter Marianne North.

I also really enjoyed this revealing interview with April Haynes, author of Riotous Flesh: Women, Physiology, and the Solitary Vice in Nineteenth-Century America in a recent post on the Notches blog.

As ever, the Public Domain Review has been a wonderful source of articles and objects. I particularly enjoyed this recent essay by Yvonne Seale on nineteenth-century genealogy.

The following CFPs and conferences also caught my attention:

CONF: Women, Authorship, and Identity in the Long Eighteenth Century: New Methodologies (June 17, 2017)

CFP: Anonymity Unmasked: Identity, Agency, Responsibility (September 13-15, 2017)

CFP: Death and the Maiden (July 21-24, 2017)

CFP: Romanticism and Popular Culture (November 3-5, 2017)

ECRS – 22 February

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Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 18.23.10Please join us for the next session of this year‘s Eighteenth-Century Research Seminar series at the University of Edinburgh. The session will present new work on eighteenth-century portraiture, and will feature Sydney Ayres (University of Edinburgh) who will be speaking on ‘Representing Robert Adam: Biography, Portraiture & Memory’, and Nel Whiting, (University of Dundee) whose paper is entitled ‘‘if they hang not in proper Places, they will not have a good Effect’: Portraiture, Place and Position’.

All welcome. Seminars are held at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, from 4:30-6pm, and are followed by a drinks reception. 

You can also follow the series on its twitter account @ECRS_Edinburgh. We’ll be live-tweeting the papers from that handle.

Week in Review – 5 February

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First up, I really enjoyed watching Dr Juliet Shields’ fortuitously timed lecture, ‘Did Sir Walter Scott Invent Scotland?’, which comes just ahead of my lectures on Scott’s legacy, visual representation, and his home of Abbotsford, which begin next week.

Secondly, I’m excited to see the National Museum of Scotland’s new free exhibition, Scottish pottery: Art and Innovation, which examines the wide range of pottery produced in the last 250 years.

I was interested to see that The John Rylands Library is hosting the event Rip It Up: A Celebration of the Counter-Culture, which includes a zine workshop. Thanks to their evocative collaged forms, zines are something that I’m becoming increasingly interested in. Due to their strong counter-cultural, extra-canonical nature, the production and consumption of zines can be a useful way to explore minority and non-heteronormative identity, something that I’d like to investigate in the future.

I’m looking forward to spending a few hours reading the latest volume of the Cahiers Victoriens et Édouardiens journal, a special issue entitled Object Lessons: The Victorians and the Material Text. 

The Morgan Library’s new exhibitionI’m Nobody! Who are you? The Life and Poetry of Emily Dickinson, examines twenty-four poems as well as ‘an array of visual material, including hand-cut silhouettes, photographs and daguerreotypes, contemporary illustrations, and other items that speak to the rich intellectual and cultural environment in which Dickinson lived and worked’.

This post about the wallpaper collector Suzanne Lipschutz is full of beautiful examples of vintage wallpapers.

I enjoyed reading a number of blog posts this week, including Shane Doyle’s post for Notches Blog (which is a perennial favourite of mine) ‘Local Sexual Cultures and the Response to HIV/AIDS Along the Uganda-Tanzania Border‘, which explores the history of how HIV understood within African communities. Hailey Maxwell’s post ‘DECAPITATION IN THE “LOW” SURREALIST REVOLUTION‘ is fascinating exploration of what ‘revolution’ is.

The following workshops and conferences also caught my eye this week:

CFP: International Design Organisations (Brighton, 8-10 Nov 17)

CFP: On the Matter of Blackness in Europe: Transnational Perspectives (May 4-5, 2017)

CFP: Corporeal Materiality (Dallas, 8 Apr 17)

CFP: David B. Warren Symposium on American Material Culture and the Texas Experience

CONF: Private Collecting and Public Display (Leeds, 30-31 Mar 17)

CONF: Symbolic Articulation (London, 10 Mar 17)

CFP: Culture on the Move in Edwardian Britain (Lancaster, 8-9
Sep 17)

CFP: The material culture of exploration and academic travel, 1700-1900

Finally, I was thrilled to see that the National Trust and National Archives are hosting the event, ‘Queer city: London club culture 1918 – 1967‘, which will re-create the interiors of The Caravan, London’s queer-friendly members club of 1934.

ECRS – 8 February

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Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 18.21.55Please join us for the next session of this year‘s Eighteenth-Century Research Seminar series at the University of Edinburgh. The session will present new work on politics and culture in eighteenth-century Scotland, and will feature Nicola Martin (University of Stirling) whose presentation is entitled ‘Improvement, Stadial Theory, and the Pacification of the Highlands in the mid-Eighteenth Century’, and Thomas Archambaud, (Independent) who will be speaking on’The Highland Bard and the Prime Minister: James Macpherson, Lord Bute and the politics of Scottish patronage in the age of Enlightenment’.

All welcome. Seminars are held at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, from 4:30-6pm, and are followed by a drinks reception. 

You can also follow the series on its twitter account @ECRS_Edinburgh. We’ll be live-tweeting the papers from that handle.

Crowdsourcing Collage

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This week the Bodleian Library’s John Johnson Collection of printed ephemera tweeted the following question on behalf of their visiting scholar Jill Shefrin.

Shefrin is currently undertaking a major research project on writing blanks, objects which are are ephemeral, yet important pieces of visual and material culture. The post received several responses, unearthing some truly beautiful examples of the genre:

This got me thinking about my own research into the ephemeral, specifically my postdoctoral project on collage and assemblage before the twentieth century. Aside from the research I’ve completed as part of the project’s pilot study (which I discuss here and here), so far I’ve mostly be concerned with finding out what collaged objects survive in what collections. This has meant many a rewarding hour trawling museum and library catalogues, and has led to some really exciting discoveries that I’m anxious to research further over the next few years.

It’s because of this richness—the huge variety of collaged objects preserved in museum collections today—that I’m convinced that many many more examples must be out there, both in museum and private collections. As the project progresses, I fully intend to follow the John Johnson Collection’s example and use Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media to try and unearth as many examples of collage from colleagues, research institutions, and the public more broadly.

As my research on collage is inherently concerned with ideas of intimacy and identity, I’m particularly keen to learn about personal, private objects – objects that might have passed down through several generations, rich with inherited meaning, yet whose private (i.e. non-institutional) nature might mean that these stories are never heard. Accordingly, I’m becoming increasingly interested in the prospect of creating a kind of crowdsourced ‘database’ of collaged objects, where individuals can submit objects, images, stories, and reflections. The contours of such a project will obviously need further delineation, but I feel like it could make a fascinating counterpart to the more ‘academic’ aspects of this project. As ever, I’ll be posting more about my various research projects as they develop, and stay tuned for a post on ‘the book proposal’ coming asap.

Week in Review – 29 January

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First up this week, is the Victoria & Albert Museum’s exhibition Lockwood Kipling: Arts and Crafts in the Punjab and London, a fascinating exploration of the life, work and lasting impact of John Lockwood Kipling (1837 – 1911), an artist, writer, museum director, teacher, conservationist and influential figure in the Arts and Crafts movement. The exhibition includes a wide array of objects, including book plates, jewellery, furniture, photographs, and other forms of decorative art. The exhibition is complemented by the conference The Many Careers of John Lockwood Kipling (25 Feb), and runs until 2 April.

Secondly, I enjoyed Pat Thomson’s post, ‘What does a book proposal reviewer do?‘. Having recently acted as a reader for a press, while concurrently having my own book proposal under review at another, the ideas in this post are something I’ve been thinking about a lot.

I was interested to note two complementary conferences on issues of photography and materiality, the first Photo Archives VI: The Place of Photography (Oxford, 20-21 Apr 17), and the second, Photo-Objects. On the Materiality of Photographs and Photo-Archives in the Humanities and Sciences (Florence, 15-17 Feb 16). As I continue my new research on photocollage, I’m becoming increasingly concerned with the idea of photograph-as-object, something that these conferences also look to explore.

As a keen advocate of academic blogging, I read Jeanne de Montbaston’s post Why do academic blogging? with interest. I find it particularly interesting that so much of de Montbaston’s teaching and research output starts life in the blog post form. I’m keen to experiment with blogging from the early stages of my research process for my new project on collage.

I’m eager to hear more about the newly-launched Eighteenth-century Arts Education Research Network (EAERN), which recently received funding from the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The network ‘brings together an international community of researchers in music, art, literature, history, and dance to share approaches to investigate eighteenth-century arts educational materials‘.

The following conferences, seminars, and CFPs also caught my eye:

CFP: At Close Quarters: Experiencing the Domestic, c.1400-1600

CFP: Beyond Between Men: Homosociality Across Time

CFP: Imagined Forms: Models and Material Culture, UD-CMCS/Hagley; November 2017

Programme: Edinburgh’s Nineteenth-Century Research Seminars

CFP: Mapping Black Mobilities and Identities in the Long 19th Century

CFP: Harts & Minds, Vol.3, Issue 2 (2017) ‘Embodied Masculinities’

CFP: Arthur Symons at the Fin de Siècle (21 July 2017)

CFP: Beyond the Home: New Histories of Domestic Servants (Oxford, 8 September 2017)

CFP: Printmaking in America, 1800-1865 (Gloucester, 28 Oct 17)

CFP: Full Circle: The Medal in Art History (New York, 8-9 Sep 17)

ECRS – 25 January

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Please join us for the first session of this year‘s Eighteenth-Century Research Seminar series at the University of Edinburgh. The session will present new work on eighteenth-century religion, and will feature Ben Rogers (University of Edinburgh) whose presentation is entitled ‘‘An Unexpected Solution or a Political Imposition?’: Scottish Episcopalian Toleration, 1702-1712’, and Carys Brown (University of Cambridge), who will be speaking on ‘‘A dissembling Harlot for a leacherous wolf’: sexual reputation and religious coexistence in England, c.1689-1750′.

All welcome. Seminars are held at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, from 4:30-6pm, and are followed by a drinks reception. 

You can also follow the series on its twitter account @ECRS_Edinburgh. We’ll be live-tweeting the papers from that handle.