Lots to look forward to

Welcome back! The Spring term has begun – and with luck, by the end of it, it’ll actually start feeling and looking like Spring.

For some memories of nicer weather and a beautiful place (as well as a fascinating account of how contemporary art can trigger debate on all sorts of things), do have a read of a new blogpost on Birkbeck comments. It’s by BA History of Art student Patricia Yaker Ekall, who was one of two Birkbeck British Council Venice Fellows in 2019, allowing her to spend a month in Venice in September, working at the British Pavilion of the Venice Biennale. Patricia, in addition to being a student, is an active arts and style journalist – you can read more from her here.

And speaking of Europe… David Latchman, the Master of Birkbeck, wrote to all staff before the holidays (but after the election), and I thought I’d share part of his message with you: ‘the results of the election now firmly set the course for a Brexit which I know is a cause of concern across the College community. My message on this has always been clear but it is important to say it again. We are committed to welcoming and supporting staff and students from the European Union and across the globe. We are firmly committed to the breadth and scope of our international academic collaborations. I know you will join your voice to mine in making that message direct, heartfelt and real for our EU colleagues and our EU students.’ It is heartfelt and real: in History of Art we hugely value our EU colleagues and our many many EU students and look forward to remaining a department that nurtures these connections well into the future.

And now, because I know you’re all eager to know what’s coming up this term to keep you busy and stimulated, here are the events that have been announced so far for this term:

28 January, 5-5.50pm, Keynes Library: a session for all those interested in finding out more about the 2020 Department study trip to Vienna, which will take place 30 March – 3 April. Details will be emails to all BA, Graduate Certificate, PG Cert, Dip and MA students soon. (And for those with the Central European art and travel bug, a note that the Budapest trip, offered as part of the Cert HE, but open to all, still has places.)

3 February, 5pm, Keynes Library: the Murray Seminar in Medieval and Renaissance Art welcomes James Hall, who’ll be speaking on ‘Embattled Exclusivity: the Aesthetics and Politics of Michelangelo’s Attack on Flemish Painting’. There are further Murray Seminars coming up on 25 February and 16 March – more details in subsequent blogs.

6 February, 6pm, Keynes: The Centre for Museum Cultures presents a joint talk by curator and researcher Bergit Arends and Louise Lawson, Conservation Manager for Time-Based Media at Tate. They’ll address the complex issue of ‘Time-based media in the museum: conserving and activating performance’.

7 February, 6pm, Keynes: The Architecture Space and Society Centre hosts its annual Thinker in Architecture lecture.  Emma Cheatle (University of Sheffield) will be speaking on ‘Feminist Ethnography and “writing-architecture-nearby”’.

18 & 20 February – the series of School of Arts Employability workshops continues, with really good sounding panels of alumni working in various sectors, including visual arts, museums, media, the creative industries, and the civil service. See here and here for details and booking links.

19 February, 6pm, Clore lecture theatre – 2020 marks 100 years since Birkbeck became part of the University of London. There’ll be a series of lectures marking anniversary, including this fascinating and timely one by the School of Arts’ Dame Marina Warner: The Map is not the Territory: Re-imagining Place, Reweaving Story

21 February, 9.30-6, Keynes library – The ASSC and two of our PhD students have organised a one-day symposium called Liminal London, exploring real and unreal spaces of London in the twentieth century.

26 February, 6pm, Keynes – The Eighteenth Century Research Group welcomes Geoff Quilley from the University of Sussex, who will be speaking about ‘The Economy of Human Life: Arthur William Devis’s Representations of 1790s India’.

6 March, 6.30pm, Keynes – Birkbeck’s Rome Lecture Series returns with a programme of lectures on Raphael in Rome, beginning with Philippa Jackson on ‘Raphael’s Death in 1520: Fact and Fiction’


Next up on this blog: a guest post by Prof Kate Retford, on her term with country houses.