Art and travel workshops

Lead Research Organisation: National Maritime Museum
Department Name: Research


The workshops, five of which will be held at locations within the UK, and one in the USA, will address the subject of art and travel and their related histories. The workshops will focus scholarly attention on a field of art history and visual culture studies that, despite its richness and significance, has been so far under-researched. Given the vast scope of the general subject area, the workshops will address specific themes as focal points for developing research questions and priorities. While the overall programme will deal with art and travel in a broad sense, individual sessions will direct this subject towards the related issues of empire, identity, narrative, landscape and investigating the archive. Within this they will also consider the potential for practice-led research in this field. Meetings of a specially appointed steering committee, together with a final review seminar, will direct the application of workshops' results towards the establishment and maintenance of a research centre for the study of art and travel, to be based at the NMM, where there are supporting collections.


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Description Through the workshops, the research discovered four principal areas that could invite further investigation. Firstly, that there is an abundance of archival material in collections in the UK (and also at the Yale Center for British Art, USA, where one of the workshops was held), pertaining to art and travel, which requires systematic attention and disclosure to both specialist and non-specialist audiences, but which has been largely neglected by art historians. Secondly, that fruitful methodologies for addressing this large and potentially overwhelming subject might be developed thematically, through considering issues of identity, empire, the archive, cross-cultural encounter, landscape, and the temporality of artistic production. Thirdly, and perhaps predictably, that the 'long' nineteenth century, that is from the height of British colonial expansion following the Seven Years' War (1756-63) to the onset of aviation at the beginning of the twentieth century, is the most urgent period to investigate in the first instance. Fourthly, that taking serious cognizance of the archive of art and travel, and its ancillary cultural implications, might force a reconsideration of the history of British art, particularly of the long nineteenth century. This will constitute the basis for an AHRC large grant application, currently in preparation.
Exploitation Route Most obviously through exhibitions, actual or virtual; or through related disciplines, such as historical geography or diaspora studies. Also, through education at all levels.
Sectors Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

Description The findings have been used to support successful applications for two Collaborative Doctoral Awards (between the University of Sussex and the National Maritime Museum, researching respectively 19th-century photography and travel (Charlotte Mullins, 2008-12), and the 18th-century imagery of the river Thames (Geoff Snell, 2009-13). Some of the material brought to light as part of Mullins' research, photographic albums in the National Maritime Museum's collections, is due to be included in an exhibition on British art and empire at Tate Britain in 2016. Some findings were presented at the Landscape and Environment conference at Tate Britain in 2011, subsequently published in Tate Papers. A large research grant application to the AHRC, deriving from the findings, is currently in preparation.
First Year Of Impact 2008
Sector Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural