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Looking Forward to 2017

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Inspired by a number of reflective end-of-year blog posts (including this and this) I thought I’d map out my aims and activities for 2017. If you’d like to gain a sense of what I achieved in 2016, you can check out my series on being a year post-phd here, here, and here.

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Yale Center for British Art

As always seems to be the case, 2017 is shaping up to be a very busy year.

In January, I’m primarily working on editing my PhD thesis for publication: firstly, I’m editing the sample chapters of my book that will be submitted for review, and secondly, I’m revising an article on needlework and visual culture, which is currently at revise and resubmit stage with a peer-reviewed journal. As a broader research aim, I also want to develop a sustainable daily writing habit during this month.

January is also the month in which I return to teaching, and this term I’m teaching four courses, one of which is completely new to me. I’m excited (and slightly apprehensive) about the challenges of a heavier teaching load, and interested to find ways of balancing my time between teaching and research commitments. Indeed, while teaching and marking dominate the months of January, February and March, I’m also planning on revising another article, this time on the interior decoration of A la Ronde, during this time. In February, I’m working on hosting a public event on Queer Material Heritage to tie in with this year’s LGBT History Month theme.

In April, I’ll be finishing off some marking, but more excitingly I’m off to Yale University’s Lewis Walpole Library for a two week-research trip. I’ll be researching an exciting mixture of things for both my monograph project, as well as my postdoctoral project on collage in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Directly following on from this, I’m spending the month of May as a Visiting Scholar at Yale Center for British Art, during which time I’ll also conduct research for the collage project, this time on composite albums, botanical paper collages, and a number of mourning objects.

In June I’ll be travelling to Umeå, Sweden for the International Society for Cultural History 2017 Conference, which this year is on ‘Senses, Emotions and the Affective Turn: Recent Perspectives and New Challenges in Cultural History’. My presentation, ‘Lost Objects & Loss Objects: Intersections of Absence and Presence in Eighteenth-Century Material Culture’, will hopefully provide the perfect opportunity to tease out some of the key issues for the Introduction of my book.

In July, I’m off to another conference, this time in London. At Sibylline Leaves: Chaos and Compilation in the Romantic Period, I’ll be presenting my recent work on Romantic commonplace books, which has functioned as a sort of pilot study for my collage project.

Finally, in August, I’m spending a month as a research fellow at the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library. Other than providing a gorgeous setting for research, I’ll be using the Wintherthur’s library and museum collections to conduct research on a form of paper collage known as ‘scrapbook houses’. I’ll definitely be posting about all my research trips so stay tuned!

I’ll also be running Edinburgh’s Eighteenth-Century Research Seminars again this year (with the first session on Jan 25th) and Katie Faulkner  and I are hoping to develop a project from #WaysofSheing, which will look at the contribution of female art historians across history – watch this space.

From September onwards, things are a little more hazy, although I’m a hundred per cent sure that I’ll be working on publications as much as possible, having kept various articles and the book ticking over during the first 8 months of the year. So 2017, let’s do this.

Week in Review – 21 August

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My object of the week is this c.1760 Worcester dish, which features the company’s Valentine pattern (Brian Haughton Gallery). Featuring symbols of love, the emotional qualities of the object resonate with the work I’m currently doing on my monograph project, which examines the social and emotional functions of domestic space and its associated material culture.

This week, I was also intrigued to read the article ‘Renowned Feminist Art Historian Amelia Jones Believes that the Discipline of Art History Should be Restructured to Embrace New Narratives and Diverse Voices‘. Whilst it’s true that Jones’s argument is nothing new (indeed, it has been advocated by Pollock, Parker, and Krauss among others), I find it heartening to see these views discussed on the public platform of the Huffington Post.

I’m also currently obsessed with the New York Public Library’s Emoji Bot – tweet an emoji to the bot, and it will reply with an object/image from the Library’s collections.

Other things that caught my eye this week included:

The programme for the Women’s History Scotland Annual Conference (coming up this Friday).

This Atlas Obscura article How Flower-Obsessed Victorians Encoded Messages in Bouquets.

This interview with the curator of the The Henry Moore Institute’s latest exhibition, William Hamo Thornycroft: ‘Charity And Justice’.

Thomas Dixon’s blog post What is anger? 1. Martha Nussbaum, discusses the definition of anger provided by Nussbaum’s latest book Anger and Forgiveness.

The Things That Make Us podcast, a podcast about people and the objects that have shaped them.

The programme for the Critical Love Studies Research Workshop at the University of Hull’s Love Research Network.

Linda Walsh’s new bookA Guide to Eighteenth-Century Art. I’m interested to see how (and if) Walsh integrates the concerns advocated by Jones (above) in her account of eighteenth-century art.

Week in Review – 24 July

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My object of the week is this book of spirit drawings by the medium Anna Mary Howitt. Now held at Cambridge University Library Special Collections, the drawings – which date to around 1857 – are the subject of a recent blog post.  Interestingly, the post corresponds with the Courtauld Gallery’s current exhibition Georgiana Houghton: Spirit Drawings, which features watercolours produced by the titular artist. As critics have noted, the show is an important subversion of traditional hierarchical histories of art.

Other objects, posts, articles and links that caught my eye this week included:

Ellie Mackin’s vlog on the Academic Bullet Journal. Like Ellie, I’m deeply interested in both the methodologies and materialities of research, and we’ve shared many discussions about notebooks and how we use them. This video provides a great introduction to using the bullet journal system to organise research projects.

Anna Katharina Schaffner’s post on the history of exhaustion: ‘Why exhaustion is not unique to our overstimulated age‘. My monograph project (tentatively titled Home Ties: Materiality, Identity, and Emotion in British Domestic Space, 1750-1840) is deeply rooted in the histories of emotions and feelings, so I was excited to see this critically-engaged discussion of exhaustion. Schaffner’s book Exhaustion: A History, is also out now via Colombia University Press.

The Nineteenth-Century Matters: Chawton House Library 2016-17 Fellowship, which will provide the successful applicant with affiliation in the form of a Visiting Fellowship at Chawton House Library and the University of Southampton.

Pat Thomson’s review of Les Back’s Academic Diary: Or Why Higher Education Still Matters – a fascinating book that adapts Back’s blog documenting the intricacies of the modern academy.

Lily Ford’s beautifully illustrated article for the Public Domain Review“For the Sake of the Prospect”: Experiencing the World from Above in the Late 18th Century.

Heather Bozant Witcher’s lecture, “Written-Visual Aesthetics: The Rossettis and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood” at the The University of Delaware Library. Witcher’s lecture explores the dynamic creative relationship between Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his sister, Christina.

The CFP for the conferenceFailing at Feelings. Historical Perspectives (1800-2000).

The BARS/Wordsworth Trust Early Career Fellowship, which is designed to help an early career researcher not currently in permanent employment to spend a month living, researching and collaborating in Grasmere.

Kelly Christian’s fascinating articleUnruly: Hair, Politics and Memorial’.

The CFP for the special issue of Victorian Periodicals Review on “Victorian Education and the Periodical Press”.