British Art Research Cluster
Research on British art is a strength of the Department of History of Art across the historical spectrum. The British Art Research Cluster (BARC) was founded in 2010 under the leadership of Professor Elizabeth Prettejohn, in order to coordinate postgraduate research, symposia, grant applications, and collaborations with museums and galleries. It is currently led by Dr Grace Brockington, and run by a committee of staff and postgraduate students. The research specialisms of those involved are diverse, ranging from medieval church architecture, to Victorian autograph albums, and contemporary black artists. Shared interests include the international contexts of British art, art writing in English, and the possibilities for extending research through collaborations with museums, galleries, and other research institutions.
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Art Historians at Bristol have worked with a number of museums and galleries, including Tate Britain, the National Portrait Gallery and Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. They have co-curated and advised on exhibitions, contributed catalogue essays, and taught curatorial courses which have led to successful exhibitions in their own right. Partner institutions include:
- Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales
- Bristol Theatre Collection
- The Courtauld Gallery, London
- Imperial War Museum, London
- National Museums, Liverpool
- The National Portrait Gallery
- The Royal Academy of Art, London
- The Royal West of England Academy
- Tate Britain, London
- The Victoria and Albert Museum, London
BARC has links to other British art networks and centres, nationally and internationally. For example:
- The Yale Center for British Art (YCBA). In 2011, Elizabeth Prettejohn gave the Paul Mellon lectures in British art at the YCBA (10 January - 11 February) on the subject of 'The National Gallery and the English Renaissance of Art'. In 2012, Grace Brockington spent three months at the YCBA as a Visiting Scholar. In 2013, she returned to present a paper at the YCBA symposium 'New Perspectives on Edwardian Art (11 May).
- The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (PMC), London (PMC). Elizabeth Prettejohn sits on the Paul Mellon Centre publications committee. In January 2012, she participated in workshop entitled 'International Pre-Raphaelitism' hosted by the PMC. Grace Brockington's monograph Above the Battlefield was published with the help of a Paul Mellon grant.
- The British Art Network convened by Tate Britain. Grace Brockington was an invited speaker at the inaugural seminar of the British Art Network entitled 'British Art and the First World War'. Together with Sophie Martin, she participated in a Tate workshop on 'Art Writing in Britain, 1910-1930' (13 December 2013).
- The British Art Research School (BARS) at the University of York runs a blog for the benefit of the wider community of British art scholars. Students at Bristol are listed on the website. The inaugural British Art Post-graduate Network conference (UEA, 2 March 2012) brought together researchers from Bristol, York, Warwick and UEA. Bristol student Elisabeth Roples presented a paper at the conference 'Visual Culture in Crisis: Britain c.1800-Present' (University of York, 11 May 2013), sponsored by BARS and PMC.
- The Modern and Contemporary British Art Discussion Group is run by and for postgraduate students working on British art, and meets regularly at Tate Britain. Bristol students are active participants in the group.
- The Edwardian Culture Network, run by researchers from the Universities of York and Durham, brings together scholars working on various aspects of culture in Britain between 1895 and 1914. Bristol student Sophie Martin gave a paper at the inaugural conference in April 2013.
We would like to express our grateful thanks to an anonymous donor, whose generosity has made possible many of the activities of this research cluster. Our thanks also to Sam Thomas and Sophie Martin for their work on this website.
The inaugural lecture for BARC took place on 8 November 2010. Professor Mark Hallett (University of York) gave a paper entitled Making a Reputation: Joshua Reynolds in the 1750s. Recent guest speakers include Emma Chambers (Tate Britain) who gave a paper on 'Migrations: Kurt Schwitters, Oskar Kokoschka and British Art' (2013) and Jim Harris (Ashmolean Museum) who spoke on 'Painting and repainting monuments of the English Reformation' (2012). Further details on our events can be found below.