British art awards, and bon voyage!

The Paul Mellon Centre for British Art is a key London institution supporting the study of British art, architecture and visual culture, though its publishing activities (including the excellent online British Art Studies journal, which is very much worth a browse) and through fellowships and grants. Our department has in the past few years established itself a major centre for British art history, and this is reflected in the announcement of the latest Paul Mellon Centre funding round. Prof Lynda Nead has been awarded a Senior Fellowship to carry out research on her book ‘British Blonde: Glamour, Desire and Femininity in Post-War Britain c.1945-70.’ Prof Steve Edwards received a Research Support Grant for visits to the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY and the Metropolitan Museum of Art to carry out research on his project ‘British daguerreotypes – Antoine Claudet’. PhD student Shijia Yu was also awarded a Research Support Grant for a trip to the US (where she’ll visit seven archives and libraries, including Yale Centre for British Art, Winterthur Library, and the Morgan Library) to research her dissertation project ‘Amusing, Interesting and Curious’: A Study of English Paper Peepshows, 1825-1851.’ Many congratulations to all three of them! Some sample images below.

Diana Dors in Picture Post, 1956

Viorama, or the Way to St. Paul’s, 1825, Ingrey & Madeley, Jacqueline and Jonathan Gestetner Collection of Paper Peepshows, Courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum

Congratulations as well to Adelheid Ruthenberger, a student on the MA Museum Cultures, who has been named runner-up for the first Lorraine Lim Prize. The prize was set up in honour of Dr Lorraine Lim, Lecturer in Arts Management at Birkbeck, who died last year. It is awarded on the basis of a college-wide competition to an exceptional undergraduate or postgraduate student who has excelled in contributing to the understanding of cultural policy, especially addressing cultural work, equality and justice in the cultural sector. Adelheid received the runner-up award for her submission questioning the relevance of the National Pavilion Structure of the Venice Biennale. The winning essay  was by Karla Pauline Gudiño Yañez, a student on the MA in Arts Policy and Management in the Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies. Karla’s essay argued for a human rights-based approach to contested local heritage policy in her home country of Mexico. Both essays were commended for demonstrating originality and the potential to enhance the knowledge pool in cultural policy studies, honouring and ensuring the legacy of Dr Lim.

In the ‘very short notice’ department: I am giving a public lecture this evening, 1 April, 6pm at the Art Workers Guild on Queen’s Square as part of the series organised by the London Art History Society. The title is: ‘When Room becomes Cell: solitude and isolation in asylum architecture’. Free admission; more details on the lecture and all the other events organised by the society here.

Giving you considerably more notice about a major upcoming lecture by Professor Fiona Candlin, on 28 May, 6pm. It’s her inaugural lecture (these are public lectures organised to mark colleagues’ promotion to professor). She’ll ask the deceptively simple question: ‘What is a Museum? (And how would we know?)’ It’ll be a great event for the department and it’d be good to see you there. More information and a booking link here.

Finally, and how could I forget to mention, Spring term is over, the sun is shining, and the break is upon us. Bon voyage to all of you embarking on the field trip to Venice next weekend. The itinerary sounds amazing, with a vaporetto trip, the Doge’s Palace, walking tours, a day trip to Padua, and a special outing for the foodies to the historic spaghetti farms of the Veneto.

More on all of that in a future blog.