Category Archives: Talks

Borderlands

Borderlands: The Historical and Cultural Significance of the Anglo-Scottish Border

13 December 2013

Gallery North, Northumbria University, Friday December 13th 2013.
Convened by Dr Ysanne Holt (Northumbria University) and Dr Angela McClanahan (Edinburgh College of Art)

This event, the first in the ESRC Seminar Series – ‘Close Friends?’ Assessing the impact of greater Scottish autonomy on the North of England – brings to the fore concerns shared with the AHRC Research Network, ‘Northern Peripheries’

To locate the contemporary relationship between Scotland and the North of England within a wider historical and cultural context, the seminar will consider how the North?s sense of itself as a region has been conditioned by its position in the hinterland of the Scottish Border. Representations and interpretations of ‘place’ are important. Discussions will also engage with recent cultural debates and creative practices concerned with the experience of Northern peripheries and border regions, spaces typically conceived as remote and marginal, but which can be alternatively seen as hybrid and generative spaces where dynamic and diverse networks develop.

Programme for the Day

10.30am – 10.50am Introduction: Professor Keith Shaw, Dr Ysanne Holt and Dr Angela McClanahan, ‘Borders and Borderlands’

11.00am – 11.40am Dr David Welsh (Historian) ‘The Anglo-Scottish Border Line’

11.50am – 12.30pm Professor Neil Mulholland (Edinburgh College of Art), ‘Unbundling the Border: Neomedieval North’

12.45pm – 1.15pm LUNCH

1.20pm – 2.00pm Dr Venda Pollock, Dr Karen Scott and Dr Frances Rowe (Newcastle University), ‘Northumbrian Exchanges: Art and the Rural’

2.00pm – 2.35pm Matt Baker, Artist and Curator of the Environmental Art Festival Scotland held in the Borders in September 2013, with filmmaker John Wallace, creator of the Cinema Sark, multi-screen video installation

3.00pm – 3.30pm TEA BREAK

3.45pm – 4.45pm Clare Money, (Northumbria University, Fine Art PhD), ‘Retrace: Deep mapping Riccarton’ and Professor Chris Dorsett (Northumbria University), ‘Gallery South’

Closing Discussion

“Scotland 2014: Coming of Age and Loss of Innocence?”

I will give a paper entitled No True Scotsman: Neomedivalism and Scottish Cultural Politics

“Scotland 2014: Coming of Age and Loss of Innocence?”

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, the English Department in Faculty 06 (Germersheim)

Scotland 2014

The conference takes place one year before the Scottish referendum on independence and it will investigate the possibilities and prospects Scotland now has. Will it eventually come of age, but also lose its innocence? Connected with this look at the current and possible future situations, the conference will also try to give an account of how Scotland and the ideas of devolution and independence have been dealt with in various media since the Middle Ages. In order to establish a fairly comprehensive understanding of Scotland’s past, present and future, an interdisciplinary approach will be taken and speakers from the fields of politics, cultural policy, history, sociology, economics, media and film studies, cultural studies, literature, art, the law, and the cognitive sciences will be invited.

A cognitive perspective is necessary, as one needs to investigate the mental schemata that have consciously or rather unconsciously been employed whenever devolution and independence have been discussed. How, in fact, have devolution and independence been represented in literature, films, cartoons, the newspapers, on TV, in business or political articles in recent decades as well as in earlier centuries? How dominant is a Scottish perspective in these representations, and how can this perspective actually be defined? Is it really national, or regional, determined by class, wealth, people’s occupation, or in any sense individual? In which ways have the Scottish notions of devolution and independence been influenced by England, Europe, globalisation, the enlightenment, antiquity, romanticism, post-colonialism etc.?

One key question in this context is how the stories of independence and devolution have been narrated. In narratology, mental schemata are again of great importance both for the story’s structure, contents, protagonists etc. and for the genre or medium selected. Are the same stories told at the same time in different media, or do the stories change through the medium employed? What changes in the use of genres and media as well as in the kinds of narrations employed can be detected in representations of Scottish devolution and independence throughout the centuries? Do the new media and media convergence bring about new narratives or new ways of story-telling? Do they in any way tell different stories?

Two other important problems that must be tackled politically, socially, economically, legally as well as intellectually are a) the prospects for the future of Scottish devolution or independence and b) the question of who or what is in control of the shape Scotland adopts for itself. As far as a) is concerned, it has for a very long time been absolutely evident that England (probably Great Britain generally, which means Scotland, too) has defined itself mostly by means of concepts of the past and has, therefore, neglected the present and especially not sufficiently developed plans and ideas for the future. An extended Scottish devolution and above all Scottish independence would make it absolutely necessary for both Scotland and England to develop new plans for their future and with these new ideas also new definitions of their identities. What possibilities for future identities are detectable at the moment, and to what extent are they influenced or even predicted by concepts developed in the past? Do these new possibilities use new forms of narrative and new mental schemata or are they just variations of what human tradition has provided?

Problem b) is vital and for evident reasons extremely topical at the moment. It concerns basic questions of democracy, people’s participation in decisions about the economy, the execution of power, and the shape of the community they live in. It is quite revealing to find challenging descriptions of the current situation in both Great Britain and the United States in books like Charles H. Ferguson, Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption and the Highjacking of America, New York 2012 as well as Ferdinand Mount, The New Few. A Very British Oligarchy, London 2012. Both see a small elite in power, abusing the economic and political systems for their own profit and dramatically endangering democracy as well as basic humanist values. This is a global phenomenon that must be tackled globally, but also locally. So what is the Scottish position in this context? What are Scottish answers to this problem, and how is the Scottish point of view connected with devolution, independence and new or old forms of narrative and thinking?

Is this now the time for Scotland to eventually grow up and finally leave Neverland? Has the Union allowed Scotland to abstain from responsibility, and does leaving the Union mean becoming a responsible grown-up? The traditional Scottish love of “another land, a rainbow-land, […] the vague Land of Youth, the shadowy land of Heart’s Desire” (Fiona Macleod, The Winged Destiny: Studies in the Spiritual History of the Gael, London 1927, 198) can now indeed either be left behind or turned into a present day reality. But what are the possibilities for this reality? Fortunately, nobody today will repeat Hugh MacDiarmid’s misguided suggestion of 1936 that Scotland’s independence should at least be “on the same footing […] as one of the autonomous republics of the U.S.S.R.” (MacDiarmid, Lucky Poet, London 1972, 145) But are today’s suggestions really more intelligent than this one? Answers are urgently needed. That they are not forthcoming from politics has easily understandable, if deplorable reasons, but where are answers to be found?

The influence of the mass media has increased tremendously, especially in connection with the new media. But what do they offer? The latest animated cartoon Brave by the world’s most successful producer of this medium, Pixar, is a typical example and an indicator of what has happened here again and again, namely a rehash of traditional ideas and well-known concepts. There is nothing new but the technology employed, used for very common effects and narratives. If new concepts and new forms of thinking and narrating are not being presented, perhaps a return to the stupendous tradition of human ideas, often simply forgotten, might be very useful now, a tradition to which Scotland, of course, has contributed considerably, and not only during the Scottish Enlightenment.

The conference thus intends to define past and present conceptions of devolution and independence in large contexts, but will also try to develop ideas about the future of Scotland, Europe and the democratic world. We’d be pleased to hear your ideas and suggestions for this event which will take place at Mainz University in its Faculty 06 in Germersheim. Alex Salmond said in early September 2012 that the 2014 referendum should be on 18 October 2014. Our conference will, therefore, examine the situation exactly one year earlier and analyse, describe, and discuss it from Thursday 17 to Sunday 20 October 2013, with an opening ceremony on Wednesday 16 October at 6.30pm.

The Middle Ages in the Modern World

Thekary of The Eliasson

Confraternity of Neoflagellants are giving a paper at: The Middle Ages in the Modern World

University of St Andrews, Scotland, 25-28 June, 2013
A multidisciplinary conference on medievalism in the post-Middle Ages

Conference registration

Keynote speakers

Carolyn Dinshaw (New York University): The Green Man and the Modern World
Patrick Geary (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton): European ethnicity: Does Europe have too much past?
Seamus Heaney (Nobel Prize-winning poet): Translating medieval poetry
Bruce Holsinger (University of Virginia): The politics of medievalism
Felicitas Hoppe (Author and translator): Adapting medieval romance
Terry Jones (Author and broadcaster): Columbus, America and the flat earth
James Robinson (National Museums Scotland): Saints’ cults and celebrity: The medieval legacy

Other presentations selected from over 150 proposals by academics, writers, curators and musicians from 17 countries include:
Medievalism, masculinity, and authenticity in Game of Thrones; Spenser and the legacy of the later Middle Ages; North American High Crosses; Remembering Thomas Becket in Normandy; William Wright’s work for the Palaeographical Society; A Byzantine methodology for pop culture; The Middle Ages of World War I; Hermaphrodites, history, and the politics of intersex; How the 19th century still haunts the Middle Ages; Assisi’s May festival and its Fascist founder; The origins of the medieval commercial revolution in 20th-century war, exile, and genocide; The state and place of medieval studies in the university; The medieval imaginary in popular Brazilian literature; 19th- century replicas and the generation of visions of early medieval peoples; The 800th anniversary of the Studium generale of Palencia; Terrorism and the Medieval; Representing the Middle Ages in historical grand strategy computer games; Korean translation of Beowulf; The creation of medieval Scottish music history in the 18th and early 19th centuries; The comic medievalism of the internet meme; Antiquarian furniture and the ‘Modern Gothic’ in eighteenth-century Britain; Medievalism and “Touristic Capital”; What medieval sacramental theology has to say about marriage today; Alliteration in contemporary poetry; History by contact; Present uses (and abuses) of the term “Spain” related to the Middle Ages; Christianity, Islam and the persistence of mythmaking.

Any enquiries are welcome to mamo@st-andrews.ac.uk. Organisers: Claire Pascolini-Campbell, with Chris Jones (School of English) and Bettina Bildhauer (School of Modern Languages), University of St Andrews.

Three Little Neomedievalisms, OCAD, Toronto

Plastique Fantastique Ribbon Dance Ritual to Call Forth the Pre-Industrial Modern (2007)

Ontario College of Art & Design

Lecture Room 7401

205 Richmond Street West

Toronto

Monday 22nd April 2:00-3:00pm,

Neomedievalism is not a singular theory but, rather, a series of provocative analogies for conceptualising post-Soviet geopolitics, globalisation, creative economics and aesthetics. This lecture will consider how we might apply three theories of neomedievalism to the study of contemporary art.

Neil is an art historian, curator and artist. His historical research focuses on art practice and theory in the British Isles since the 1970s while his practice incorporates art writing, developing workshop models of artistic learning in participatory settings, and the field of neomedievalism. Recent publications include thN Lng folk 2go (Punctum, forthcoming 2013), co-authored with Norman Hogg, and ‘Bang the Whole Gang’ in Glam: The Performance of Style (TATE, 2013).

confraternityofneoflagellants.org.uk

 

Neoflagellation at PNCA, Portland OR.

Pacific Northwest College of Art

1241 NW Johnson Street, Pearl District

Portland, OR 97209. USA.

April 11th 12:30-1:30, Room 118

PNCAmulholland

Neomedievalism is not a singular theory but, rather, a series of provocative analogies for conceptualising post-Soviet geopolitics, globalisation, creative economics and aesthetics. This lecture will consider how we might apply unrelated theories of neomedievalism to the study of contemporary art in Britain.

Neil is an art historian, curator and artist. His historical research focuses on art practice and theory in the British Isles since the 1970s while his practice incorporates art writing, developing workshop models of artistic learning in participatory settings, and the field of neomedievalism. Recent publications include thN Lng folk 2go (Punctum, forthcoming 2013), co-authored with Norman Hogg, and ‘Bang the Whole Gang’ in Glam: The Performance of Style (TATE, 2013).

confraternityofneoflagellants.org.uk

 

Education: not knowing | Raven Row 13/11/12

Shift/Work will be part of a Sculpture, entitled Education: not knowing at Raven Row, 13th November 2012. The Sculpture features in…

The Individual and the Organisation: Artist Placement Group 1966-79
27 September to 16 December 2012

This is the first retrospective of the pioneering artists’ organisation Artist Placement Group, or APG, conceived by Barbara Steveni in 1965 and established a year later by Steveni and John Latham along with Barry Flanagan, David Hall, Anna Ridley and Jeffrey Shaw, among others.

Between 1966 and the turn of the 1980s, APG negotiated approximately fifteen placements for artists lasting from a few weeks to several years; first within industries (often large corporations such as British Steel and ICI) and later within UK government departments such as the Department of Health and the Scottish Office. APG arranged that artists would work to an ‘open brief’, whereby their placements were not required to produce tangible results, but that the engagement itself could potentially benefit both host organisations as well as the artists in the long-term. Artists’ work in proposing and carrying out placements is represented here in diverse ways, in films, photographs, texts and correspondence and sometimes in art objects.

APG was a milestone in Conceptual Art in Britain, reinventing the means of making and disseminating art, and anticipating many of the issues facing cultural workers today. It represented itself in a number of exhibitions and events, notably in the exhibition Art and Economics at the Hayward Gallery in 1971 with artistic interventions by Garth Evans, Barry Flanagan, John Latham and others. Emulating APG’s emphasis on the discursive, the exhibition will host frequent public discussions relating to art and social organisation.

The exhibition is curated by Antony Hudek and Alex Sainsbury, in consultation with Barbara Steveni.

Raven Row
56 Artillery Lane
London E1 7LS
T +44 (0)20 7377 4300
info@ravenrow.org
www.ravenrow.org