Reading week is nigh…

So, we have officially reached the mid point of the Autumn term, and those of you on taught programmes will, I am sure, be looking forward to reading week next week. It’s always a very welcome chance, after five weeks of classes, to catch up with reading, research, writing, and to take stock before embarking on the second part of the term. You’ll also not have been able to forget that it’s Halloween this weekend, thanks to the wonderful woolly installation currently featured on the front of the School of Arts!


This is the expert handiwork of Claire Adams and Catherine Catrix, two of our Assistant School Managers, and I hope you’ve had a chance to admire it on your way in and out of the building. Students who’ve been with us for a year or more will have already been able to enjoy previous knitted displays in honour of Easter and Christmas, and some of us have prized souvenirs at home (an Easter chick in my case!).

Also up and coming is our Graduation ceremony, which takes place next Wednesday, on 4th November. Those who have successfully made their way through the three years of the full-time undergraduate programme, or the four years of the part-time course, will be able proudly to claim their BAs. We look forward to seeing our new graduates donning their gowns and, I sincerely hope, indulging in the requisite throwing of the hats in the air.

One very last reminder about those National Art Passes…. The Art Fund has extended the deadline a little, until Monday 2nd November, so, if you haven’t already got round to signing up, there are a few days left to claim your free pass, and to start enjoying free admission to museums and galleries, and discounts on entry to exhibitions.

To end, I’d like to tell you a little about work which Dr. Sarah Thomas, Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Art in the department, has been doing with Tate Britain. Sarah has been involved in their forthcoming ‘Artist and Empire’ exhibition, which will be opening on 25th November. As part of this work, she has co-convened a major international conference to co-incide with the show, along with Emily Senior from the department of English and Humanities at Birkbeck, Carol Jacobi from Tate Britain, and colleagues at King’s College London (Students who have been with us for some time may well remember Carol, from her many years teaching for this department!). The conference will take place on 24-26 November 2015, and you can find further information and details on how to book tickets here. Scholars, curators and artists from Britain, Australia, the US, Canada, Denmark and beyond will be gathering to consider the art created under the conditions of the British Empire, its cultural legacies, and its future in museum and gallery displays. The conference will take the historic opportunity of the associated exhibition (which will feature diverse artists from the sixteenth century to the present day), to discuss the cosmopolitan character of objects and images, and the way geographical, cultural and chronological dislocations have in many instances obscured, changed or suppressed their history, significance and aesthetics. It will also explore how approaches to contemporary art, archives, curation and collecting can help develop new ways to look at them now. It promises to be a fascinating event! (This conference has been generously supported by Culture at King’s College London, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Birkbeck School of Arts, The British Association of Victorian Studies, The Association of Art Historians, Creative Victoria and the Australia Council for the Arts.)

Enjoy reading week!