Visual & Material Culture Research Centre


Conferences & Events


Initiated in 1997 by researchers in this Centre, the following interdisciplinary series of funded conferences and events, organised in collaboration with academic partners, have focused on pressing research issues in visual and material culture.


Previous Conference & Events:


The politics of the social in contemporary art

Level 1 Staff Auditorium, Tate Modern

Friday 15 February 2013, 10.30-19.00

Can art intervene in social relation? What are the implications of involving art and its audiences in an ethical problem? How do such practices relate to art's social institutions? This symposium examines the turn towards participatory, interactive and collaborative art practices and the ethical questions such art raises.

Conference programme.


CFP: Exploring the Edge of Trauma
The 7th Cultural Intersections International Colloquim

Deadline for Abstracts: 5th January 2010

13-16 May 2010 Trauma Conference,

West Dean College,

West Dean, Chichester PO18 0QZ.

Organised by the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, in association with the Department of Languages and Linguistics, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada


Exploring the edge of trauma
Will interrogate the intricate and wide-ranging ways through which we seek to go over the edge of trauma, through art, literature, media, therapeutic and social experience, which all call for the construction/deconstruction of metaphors and representations that help or prevent sharing and communicating about trauma. In an interdisciplinary and international context, it will delineate and discuss some of the rich cultural and social experience accumulated in this quest, and investigate the impossibility/possibilities to be fully cognate with and experience the trauma of others and communicate our own traumas.


Cinema, Trauma and Displacement - convenor: Carrie Tarr, Kingston University
Cities of Trauma - convenor: Stephen Barber, Kingston University
Class Trauma - Francois Nectoux, Kingston University
The Legacy of Colonial Trauma - Lieve Spaas, Kingston University

Narrating Trauma - Tamas Benyei, University of Debrecen
Remediating Trauma - Chris Horrocks, Kingston University
Responses to Trauma in the Visual Arts - Fran Lloyd, Kingston University
The Unspeakable: the Language of Trauma - Magda Stroinska, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada
Vengeance, sacrifice, catharsis: experiences masculines et feminines - Anne et Catherine Saouter, Universite du Quebec a Montreal
Young People Online: The Internet as a Medium for Trauma and Traumatic Experience - Julia Davidson, Kingston University


Call for Papers - please click here. (deadline 5 January 2010)


Download Colloquium themes here.


2-3 July 2009 Conference - Revisiting / Revising the Avant-Garde at the Visual and Material Culture Research Centre, Dorich House, Kingston University, London.


For more information and program timetable, click here.


18 March 2009 Jonathan Black lecture, 'Dora Gordine and her Place in European Sculpture', Kingston Museum, 7pm


11 March 2009 Symposium 'Art and Travel' at the Stanley Picker Gallery, 1.30-4.30pm.


4 March 2009 Cosmopolitan Lives, Dorich House Museum, 1-5pm
Fran Lloyd, Ernest Eisenmayer, The Power of Images: How to narrate a life Story after Dachau?

Jonathan Black, Dora Gordine: Biographical Riddles, Biographical Journeys


4 March 2009 Book Launch Subtlety and Strength, The drawings of Dora Gordine, by Jonathan Black and Fran Lloyd. 6.30-8.30pm, Kingston Museum. Book launch invite available here.


Conference - Exhilarating Energies from the East: The Impact of Artist-Emigres from Eastern Europe on British Culture 1900-1950's.
26-27 February 2009 at John Galswothy Building, Kingston University. Supported by Henry Moore Foundation. Full conference programme and speaker biographies available here. Conference poster available here.


26 February Public Talk at Kingston Museum
Richard Cork: David Bomberg, From the 'Steel City' to the 'Spirit in the Mass'; Kingston Museum. Conference Reception hosted by VAMCRC 5.30-7.30pm.


Summer 2008 Sculpture and Beyond: Encounters Through the British Art School Part 2


Summer 2008 Photography and Obsession at Tate Britain


July 2008 Eadweard Muybridge Conference


2007-ongoing The Whitechapel Salon


November 2007 Sculpture and Beyond: Encounters Through the British Art School, in association with Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, 9 November 2007


September 2007 Design, Body, Sense, the annual Design History Society conference, Kingston University, London


April 2007 In between concept, practice and discipline: The Legacy of the Independent Group, co-organised with Lancaster University in partnership with Tate Britain


April 2007 What is Research in the Visual Arts? Archive, Encounter, Obsession an event that took place at The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Mass, USA


February 2007 Eadweard Muybridge: Art, Science, and Cinematography
The Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University, London


2006 Stelarc and the Future of the Body, ICA


October 2006 Encounter, Curiosity, and Method: The Making of Practice at Tate Britain

Two-day international conference at Tate Britain, London, entitled 'The Making of Practice: Curiosity, Obsession, and Encounter': Speakers: Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller (Canada), Jason Coburn (Kingston U), Caroline Jones (MIT), Susan pui san Lok (Middlesex U), Hans-Ulrich Obrist (Serpentine Gallery), Adrian Rifkin (Middlesex U), Molly Nesbitt (Vassar College), Peg Rawes (Bartlett, UCL), Jamie Shovlin, and Simon Starling.
Linked publication: The Research Handbook: Scholars, Curators, Artists, co-editor with Victoria Walsh and Heidi Reitmaier (under consideration with Tate Publishing for publication in 2008)


October 2006 Diasporic Futures: Women's Art and Globalization, co-organised with Dr. Rowe, Director of the Centre for Research in Postcolonial and Transcultural Studies, Roehampton University and Dr. Meskimmon, Loughborough University, Victoria & Albert Museum. This one day conference is designed to assess and evaluate the specific relationship between women, the arts and globalization on the articulation of diasporic and migrant identities, past, present and future.


October 2005 New Views: Repositioning Graphic Design History Graphic Design History Symposium, London College of Communication, October 27-29 2005.


May 2005 The Sense of Colour, speakers: Valerie Soe and Glenda Egan Drew, Independent Artists, California, USA; Stephen Gallagher; Brunel University; Antony Hudek, Jan Van Eyck Institute, Holland; Kiki Karatheodoris, University of Alabama; Beverley Lear, University of Oxford; Mary Pearce, Independent Researcher, Brazil; Hilary Dalke, Chris Horrocks, Fran Lloyd, Andrew Rankin, Kingston University, International Colloquium of Queens University, Kingston Ontario at Herstmonceux Castle, Sussex, May 2005


May 2004 Practice and Identity: Women, Sculpture, and Place (C20th), in association with Henry Moore Institute, Leeds. Speakers included Ann Compton, freelance curator and art historian, USA; Marjan Sterckx, Fund for Scientific Research- Flanders Katholieke Universiteit Leuven; Dr.Alexandra Keiser, The Archipenko Foundation; Fran Lloyd, Helen Potkin, Kingston University, Dr. Gill Perry, Open University; Jan Marsh; Claudine Mitchell; University of Leeds; Dr. Sue Malvern, University of Reading; Professor Martha Buskirk, Massachusetts; Hester Westley, University of Arts, Dorich House, May 2004


April 2004 Place: Aesthetics, Politics, Poetics, in collaboration with the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, University of London, and the British Academy
Two-day international conference at the Institute of Romance Studies, University of London, entitled 'The Poetics of Place.' Speakers: Marc Augé (Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences socials), Edward Casey (SUNY, Stony Brook), Jean-Baptiste Decavèle, Sunil Gupta, David Harvey (Johns Hopkins University), Susan pui san Lok (Middlesex U), Vivian Rehberg (Modern Museum of the City of Paris), Adrian Rifkin (Middlesex U), Irit Rogoff (Goldsmiths College), Gillian Rose (Open U), Françoise Vergès (Goldsmiths College), and Robert Young (Oxford U).


March 2003 Contemporary Japanese Popular Culture, supported by Japan Foundation, Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, British Academy
Speakers Professor Noi Sawaragi, Tama Art University, Tokyo; Professor Yoshika Mouri, Kyushu University, Tokyo and Visiting Fellow Goldsmiths College; Sarah Chaplin, Kingston University; Catherine Atherton, Oxford Brookes; Chris Horrocks, Kingston University, Ichiya Nakamura, Director of Stanford University, Japan; Mizuki Takahashi, Assistant Curator of Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Lola Martinez, SOAS. Brunei Theatre, SOAS, University of London, 28 March 2003.


November 2001 Celebration and Contradiction: Urban Futures, Contemporary Japanese Art, Design and Fashion, supported British Academy grant, Japan Foundation
Speakers included Professor Midori Matsui, Yokohama, Japan (key writer/theorist on contemporary art/culture), Yuko Hasegawa, Chief Curator, Contemporary Art Museum, Kanazawa, Fumio Nanjo, Curator Mori Foundation, Tokyo, Stephen Barber, Professor Sparke, Tate Britain, November 2001.


May 2001 Exils/Exile, Centre convened 'Exile and Displacement' strand, interdisciplinary speakers included Roger Ravet (University of Aberdeen); Gregory Ludlow (George Washington University) Jorella Andrews (Goldsmith's College), Carrie Tarr (Kingston University), Wendy Everett (University of Bath), Lindsey Moore (University of Sussex), International Colloquium of Queens University, Kingston Ontario at Herstmonceux Castle, Sussex, May 2001


October 2000 Sex and Consumerism
Speakers included Yoshiko Shimada, Tokyo, Bubu, Kyoto (performance artists), Stephen Barber (Kingston University), Nicholas Bornoff (independent scholar), Salis Theatre, University of Brighton, October 2000


April 1999 Displacement and Difference: Arab Identity in the Contemporary World, part of British Council Mutualities programme and supported by a British Academy grant. Key speakers: Salwa Nashashibi (Director, International Council for Women in Arts, California); Gilane Tawadros (Director, INIVA) and Dr. Sherwell (Director, Palestinian Art, Al-Wasiti Centre, Jerusalem), SOAS, University of London, April 1999


July 1999 Politics of Location: Contemporary Arab Women's Art, panel discussion with Mai Ghoussoub, artist, writer and publisher, Houria Niati, performance artist. Pitshanger Manor and Gallery, London, July 1999.


April 1998 Secret Spaces/Forbidden Places, Centre convened strand 'Crossing to Forbidden Places': participants Tivador Gorilovics (Kossuth Lajos University, Hungary), Beatrice Didier (Paris), Marja Keranen (Helsinki University), Jorella Andrews (Goldsmith's College), International Colloquium of Queens University, Kingston Ontario at Herstmonceux Castle, Sussex, April 1998.


June 1997 Re-presenting the Body: East and West, addressed issues of visual art and cultural identity. Key speakers: Rosemary Betterton, Professor Jiang Caiping (Beijing Academy of Fine Arts); Professor Craig Clunas, Jenny Saville and Jacqueline Morreau, Kingston University, June 1997


All Staff and students in the Visual and Material Culture Research Centre are associated with the research engines of Dorich House Museum (awarded Museum status in 2004) and the on-site Stanley Picker Gallery (re-launched under new Directorship in 2003) that has a distinctive Fellowship Programme supported by the Stanley Picker Trust. Both the Museum and the Gallery are key sites facilitating interdisciplinary and collaborative research projects.