The Weirdness of Walls…

… is the name of a really interesting symposium happening *tomorrow* (Friday 8 June) in the Keynes Library, 9.30-17.30, sponsored by the Architecture Space and Society Centre and the Lorraine Lim fund and organised by two Arts PhD students, Milos Kosec and Christina Parte. If you come along (free and open to all, but please use the booking link) you’ll hear speakers on all sorts of walls, including Berlin’s and Trump’s, as well as our own Mark Crinson and Leslie Topp (yours truly) holding forth.

June is packed with History of Art events, so recover from exams, take a break from research projects, work placements and dissertations, and check these out:

Contested, Uncomfortable, Embarrassing: Encountering Difficult (Art) Histories is the compelling theme chosen by our MPhil/PhD students for their annual summer conference, Friday 22 June, 2-5pm, Keynes Library. This gives me the opportunity to introduce Dr Sean Willcock, who has just joined the department for three years as Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. He’ll be giving the keynote address at the conference, so come and hear about his fascinating research on the visual culture of violence in Victorian Britain. More about Sean here. He will be teaching a BA option in 2018-19.

Murray Seminars in Medieval and Renaissance Art: 27 June 5pm, Keynes Library, Alison Wright (UCL) ‘Gold against the Body: gold surfaces and their limits, medieval to early modern’

Directly after that you can zip down to the cinema for:

Anna Konik, In the Same City, under the Same Sky…: A Screening and Artist’s Talk for Refugee Week Wednesday 27 June 2018, 6-7.30pm, Cinema, followed by a reception – no booking necesary. Internationally-recognised video artist Anna Konik is visiting Birkbeck from her bases in Berlin and Warsaw to speak to us about her work involving migrant and refugee stories and to develop a new project with students on Birkbeck’s award-winning Compass Project. Konik has exhibited in numerous European galleries and museums over the past two decades. In the Winter Semester of 2017-18 she was Rudolf Arnheim Associate Professor at the Department of Art and Visual History, Humboldt University, Berlin; she is currently a fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center. She will introduce and screen extracts from her project In the Same City, under the Same Sky…, which has been exhibited in Germany, Poland, Sweden and Romania. For more information:

Open House London, the city-wide architecture festival on the weekend of 22-23 September, will again this year include the School of Arts building (Gordon Square), a historic Georgian terrace, former home of Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell and other members of the Bloomsbury Group, and site of the award-winning ground floor and basement intervention (the cinema and surroundings) by Surface Architects from 2008. You can learn more about our building by watching this film. There’s a meeting on Tuesday 19 June, 6pm, in 43 Gordon Square room B03 for those interested in volunteering at Open House in a variety of roles. If you are interested in volunteering, please come along to the information meeting on 19 June and/or e-mail Eva Höög at with your name and programme of study.

Finally, announcements of two publications by our eighteenth-century-ists:

Prasannajit de Silva has a new book out with Cambridge Scholars Press: Colonial Self-Fashioning in British India, 1785-1845: Visualising Identity and Difference In this book, Prasannajit considers the ways in which British colonists in India depicted their own lives.  Drawing on examples from various genres – portraiture, depictions of customs and manners, comic narrative, and landscape – this analysis exposes some of the complexities underlying colonial identity during a critical period in the history of British involvement in the subcontinent, and calls into question some of the standard stereotypes of colonial life. Many congratulations to him!

Kate Retford is meanwhile featured in an innovative open access online publication just launched by the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art: The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle, 1769-2018. It is now live, and it’ll be a great resource for students – short pieces about the RA summer exhibition every year from 1769 to 2018, lots of stats on exhibitors and visitors, and digitised versions of all the catalogues. You can find Kate as author of 1775 and 1798!