Lots of news – and a couple of photos…

  • You won’t have been able to miss the current media coverage of Mike Leigh’s new film: his ambitious biopic, Mr Turner. As a specialist in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century British art, I shall be heading off to the cinema as soon as I can, to see how one of the most important artists of the period has come out on screen. We’re very proud of the fact an alumna, Dr. Jacqueline Riding, who did her MA with us here at Birkbeck some years ago, acted as historical and art historical consultant on the film. Nice work if you can get it! There are numerous reviews of the film available – but I, of course, highly recommend one written by a member of the department: Professor Lynn Nead. You can find her review, and an essay on artists on film, in the current issue of Apollo (October 2014), pp.74-8.


  • It’s been a good period for awards… One of our MPhil/PhD students in the department, Thanavi Chotpradit, has just won the 2014 Anglo-Thai Society Education Awards for Excellence (Arts). These awards are intended to recognise ‘the exceptional academic achievements of Thai post-graduate scholars in the UK’ – so many congratulations Thanavi! Thanavi is currently working on her thesis, provisionally entitled ‘Revolution versus Counter-Revolution: The People’s Party and the Royalist in Visual Dialogue’, with Dr. Gabriel Koureas. Gabriel specialises in visual culture from the late nineteenth century to the present day, and he has co-organised a forthcoming event which may well be of interest to postgraduate students. This is a Masterclass for PhD and early career researchers on ‘Transmedial/Transcultural Memories: Points of Convergence’, at Birkbeck on November 29th 2014. Gabriel teaches across the programmes in the department, but he is one of the key figures on our MA in Museum Cultures. A rather convenient segue to allow me to post up a lovely photograph of those students taken by Dr Fiona Candlin, whilst she was leading them on a recent visit to the V&A!


  • I hope you’ll be able to visit the new display in the Peltz Gallery, just inside the entrance of the School of Arts building. Presented by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, it’s an exhibition of Moving Portraits of six survivors of genocide who now live in the UK. The collection draws upon the significance of memory, photographing survivors holding a belonging that is evocative for them. It’s on until 9th November – do take a look.


  • A reminder about the good news I was able to circulate earlier this week. The Art Fund have offered all History of Art students in the department a FREE student national art pass. This means that, amongst other benefits, you’ll be able to get 50% off major exhibitions and free entry into 230 charging museums and galleries across the UK over the next 12 months! Please do make sure you sign up before the DEADLINE OF 7 NOVEMBER. It’s a great opportunity – and also important that there’s good take-up of the offer, to show our appreciation.


  • And, in the tradition of amusing final news items, this is the scene I encountered last Friday, when going to discuss a serious matter with the admin team! Hard at work – but clearly only just keeping their excitement about Halloween in check!