Month: October 2016

Week in Review – 23 October

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melisabeth.jpgMadame Elisabeth de France – 1782
Oil on Canvas, 71 x 54 cm, Versailles

I was greatly saddened last week to hear of the passing of Mary D. Sheriff, the internationally celebrated art historian. Her obit on Enfilade was both touching, and a compelling reminder of her contribution to the history eighteenth-century art and gender. My favourite work of hers is perhaps her 1996 book, The exceptional woman: Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun and the cultural politics of art, a text that I plan on re-reading imminently.

As part of my curation of the We the Humanities twitter feed this week, I shared a number of my favourite material culture podcasts. I thought I might also share them here: they include The Hunterian’s Object Lessons podcast, and the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Research Collections podcast, The Collection. I’m also a big fan of the Histories of the Unexpected podcast, which often takes material objects as its point of departure.

I was very excited to see that next year’s LGBT History Month theme is ‘heritage’. I’m intrigued to see how this theme will be interpreted by historians, curators and material culture specialists as part of the month’s events.

I recently enjoyed Helen Rogers’ blogpostStyle, Story, History‘, which discussed the craft of historical writing, and the role of metaphor and narrative within it. I particularly enjoyed her discussion of writing as a collage, which is an issue I’ve been reflecting on as I continue work on my assemblage/collage project. Similarly, Jonathan Willis’s recent postFor yee lead your liues in great ignorance’: Puritan Ponderings on the Patchwork of Popular Belief‘, for the collaborative blog, The Many Headed Monster, also used patchwork as a framework for his research. Going forward, I hope to employ some of these ideas in my own writing on collage.

Other CFPs, conferences and journals that caught my eye this week included:

The Decor and Architecture in the 17th & 18th Centuries conference.

The Working on Things. On the Social, Political, and Economic History of
Collected Objects conference.

The latest issue of The BARS Review.

The programme for the Maritime Masculinities conference.


We the Humanities Curation, 24th-30th October

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Next week (24th-30th October), I’ll be guest curating the Humanities twitter account, @WetheHums. The rotation-curation project is designed to spread the diversity and value of the humanities. You can read my guest blog for the programme below:

October 24th – 30th: Freya Gowrley

Hi, I’m Freya, a tutor in Art History and Architectural History at the University of Edinburgh, who can usually be found tweeting about art, history, writing, and life as an early career researcher, @Freya_Gowrley. I was recently awarded my PhD in the History of Art from the University of Edinburgh, and I am a co-convenor of Edinburgh’s interdisciplinary Eighteenth-Century Research Seminar Series. I blog about my research at

My research focuses on visual and material culture, design, and the decorative arts in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain and North America. Although my academic training is in art history, my research utilises perspectives from a variety of disciplines, including material culture studies, literary history, queer theory and gender studies, and the history of the emotions. My PhD thesis examined women’s engagements with domestic material culture in Britain between 1750 and 1830. I’m currently revising this work with an emphasis upon emotion, identity, and sociability. I’ve also begun work on a postdoctoral research project exploring the relationship between assemblage/collage and identity in Britain, America, and British India in the long nineteenth-century.

During my week curating We the Humanities, I hope to touch upon a number of topics. As a busy adjunct at the University of Edinburgh, my time is divided between preparing for various courses, applying for jobs and research grants, revising my PhD thesis for publication, and working on new research. Accordingly, I hope that my curation week will reflect my experiences of being an early career researcher, and the difficulties and challenges that can sometimes come with this. I also hope to discuss the processes of research, from the germination of an initial idea to the final published product. With #AcWriMo coming next month, I think it would also be profitable to discuss the role of social media in these processes, and the collective working practices that have arisen from it. Finally, with the recent news that the Art History A-Level will be axed, I also hope that the We the Humanities audience can continue to contribute to the vibrant discussion of why Art History, and the Humanities more broadly, matter.

I look forward to discussing these (and presumably many more) issues with you all next week.

CFP for Edinburgh’s Eighteenth-Century Research Seminar Series 2017

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Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 18.21.55The CFP for next year’s incarnation of Edinburgh’s Eighteenth Century Research Seminar Series is now live. Read it on the ECRS website or below.

The Eighteenth-Century Research Seminar (ECRS) series invites proposals for twenty-minute papers from postgraduate and early-career researchers addressing any aspect of eighteenth-century history, culture, literature, education, art, music, geography, religion, science, and philosophy. The seminar series seeks to provide a regular inter-disciplinary forum for postgraduate and early-career researchers working on the eighteenth century to meet and discuss their research.

ECRS will take place at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) in Edinburgh on a fortnightly basis from January to April 2017. Each seminar will consist of two papers, one from a University of Edinburgh-based researcher and one from a researcher based in another higher education institution, followed by a drinks reception. Non-University of Edinburgh speakers’ travel expenses will be reimbursed up to £100.

Abstracts of up to 300 words along with a brief biography and institutional affiliation should be submitted in the body of an email

The closing date for submissions is Monday 21 November 2016.
For more information please see our website:

ECRS is supported by the Eighteenth-Century and Enlightenment Studies Network (ECENS) of the University of Edinburgh.
More information about ECENS can be found at: