Tomorrow, a collaborative event organised by the Paul Mellon Centre and The British Museum, will hosting a conference titled ‘Invention and Imagination in British Art and Architecture, 600-1500’. This conference will ‘explore the ways in which artists and patrons in Britain devised and introduced new or distinctive imagery, styles and techniques, as well as novel approaches to bringing different media together’; and I cannot wait to attend. One aspect of the Medieval period that has interested me for so long are the ways in which the artists and thinkers of the time were concerned with invention and using imagination as a means for expression. Obviously the society that we live in now, and have been living in since the emergence of science and rational is far different from the ones experienced during the Middle Ages. Through exploring the ways in which patronage etc has effected the modes of expression and ways of understanding the world that surrounded them, art and architecture was a means for the Medieval mind to grasp comprehension and order.
Another reason why this conference will be interesting is that many of the key speakers are fellow University of York members of the History of Art department! With the likes of our very own Professor Tim Ayers, who will be giving a joint talk on ‘The Painted fragments from St Stephens Chapel, Westminster’; which is also followed by a talk by a PhD candidate within the department, James Hillson, who will be discussing ‘Iterative Invention: Delayed Design in Dynastic Gothic at St Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster and Norwich Cathedral Cloister.’ Emily Guerry will be presenting a talk on ‘Picturing the Saints: Relics, Patronage, and the “Westminster Court Style” in Gothic Cult Painting between London and Angers’ which I am particularly looking forward to. Former department member, Tom Nickson, will be the chair of one of the days. I am also really looking forward to hear a talk by Paul Binski, whose work I read a lot last year.
Sadly (or not sadly…) the conference is sold out! I bought my tickets a few months ago, and even then the tickets were running low. However, do not fear, as I’ll be sure to blog about it.
Such conferences, whether Medieval related or ones about contemporary art, are a great way to learn more about the subject areas that you’re interested in. These are the types of events that I would really recommend third years, or any age really, to go and attend. Not only does this give you more information etc, but they can be extremely beneficial with regards to your own personal work and interests. I attended one regarding my dissertation and found that it really helped, so check out the History of Art webpage to see if there is anything going on within the university or look around on various museum/gallery websites.
To learn more about the conference, check out the website here: http://www.paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk/146