Following two years of disruption caused by the pandemic, we were delighted to be holding annual BAVS conferences once again. The 2023 BAVS conference will be hosted at the University of Surrey (31 August – 2 September 2023). The 2022 BAVS conference was held at the University of Birmingham (1-3 September 2022).

In recent years, BAVS has also organised various smaller activities such as the BAVS@Home series of online events, Victorian Valentines, Undisciplining Victorian Studies, ‘Florence Nightingale – Beyond the Lady with the Lamp’ and Violence, Vaccination, and Immigration in the Socio-Literary Imaginary. There has also been a series of ‘BAVS Talks’ events, videos of which are available to view online.


Other recent events funded by BAVS:

London Victorian Studies Colloquium, “Repairing Research in Victorian Studies”, 7-9 April 2022.

The LVSC, held 7-9 April 2022, was a space for PG and ECR students to make connections, share research and develop their own research community – something which has been greatly missed for the past few years. For many delegates, even those two or three years into a PhD, it was their first in person event. The generous funding from BAVS meant that we were able to reduce the overall cost of attending, which was especially valuable considering the career stage of our delegates. We had eighteen delegates in total and just under half of our delegates chose to stay on campus at RHUL, creating a residential environment in which delegates could build meaningful professional relationships.


Breaking Barriers: Nineteenth Century Visual Culture in the Woke Age

January 27th, 2021.

MeToo, BLM, LGBTQ+ rights, Extinction Rebellion – these are just some of the social movements that have contributed to the woke age. Moments of great change and reflection often make us think about our own social responsibility, be that our historical research, or what kinds of history we’re interested in. The long nineteenth century was also a time of furious debate, intense anxiety, and substantial progress, but its outdated views on gender, race and other pressing social issues remain in the visual epitaphs all around us, from statues to monuments, buildings to paintings. It is our social responsibility to rethink these objects and consider how they are represented and interpreted in the now.

This collaborative event will do just that. Edge Hill University and The British Association of Victorian Studies are pleased to welcome speakers from a range of backgrounds to talk about how their research on long-nineteenth-century visual culture interacts with changing social attitudes and ideas, considering the uncomfortable, problematic and even liberating experience of revaluating art and its legacies.

· Keynote: Laura Eastlake (Edge Hill University)

The Victorians and Cleopatra: Unwriting the Greatest (Orientalist) Love Story Ever Told

· Patricia Pulham (University of Surrey)

‘Touching Statues: Reading 19thC Narratives of Sexual Violation in the MeToo Era’

· Nichole Cochrane (University of Exeter, BAVS/BARS 19C Matters Fellow)

‘Bonaparte in Britain: Popularity, Propaganda and the Lives of ‘Great’ Men’

· Gemma Shearwood (Uni of York)

‘The devil on his shoulder’: considering Flaxman’s memorial to the Early of Mansfield in relation to the memorial of Charles Watson

· Rebecca Senior (Henry Moore Postdoctoral Fellow)

Commemorating colonialism: Monuments, oppression and visual culture in Britain during the long nineteenth century


Women and Humour in the Long Nineteenth Century

June 2021 King’s College London:

Wit is a prominent feature of nineteenth-century culture that encompasses genres from satire to nonsense. Well-known examples range from Dickens’s humorous sketches to joke pages in magazines, and from political cartoons in the tradition of Cruikshank and Gillray to music hall routines. Women’s participation in these discourses, however, still goes underacknowledged or even completely unrecognised. This reflects on cultural attitudes of the present day as well as the nineteenth century. While feminist comedy is now a genre in its own right, the question ‘Can women be funny?’ is still regularly posed. In popular imagination of the nineteenth century, women are the subjects of humour rather than humourists themselves. The centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act brought back into the public eye many contemporary cartoons ridiculing the suffragettes, and the strikingly similar earlier satires on the New Woman.

This interdisciplinary conference is interested in women’s active participation in humour and comedy in the long nineteenth century, as comic writers, artists, and performers. We will seek to address the reasons for the perceived absence of women from comic discourse, whether because their work was not recognised as humorous, because they issued it under male pseudonyms, or because they encountered resistance from a cultural establishment that regarded comedy as a male domain.

Participants may want to address topics including:

  • Satire
  • Parody
  • Nonsense and the absurd
  • Humour and the New Woman
  • The role of politics
  • The periodical press, specifically women’s magazines
  • Women as subjects and objects in comedy
  • Women, fashion and humour
  • Humour and politics
  • Women, profession, and satire
  • Woman satirists
  • Women, humour, and poetry

We welcome papers on individual female humourists which may include, but are not limited to:

  • Sarah Green
  • May Kendall
  • Margaret Harkness
  • George Egerton


The Tower of Mystery: The Literary History of Severndroog Castle

Free public lecture at Severndroog Castle in Greenwich, London
Sunday 7 June at 5pm

Speakers: Ellen Bulford Welch (University of Sheffield) and Jonathan Taylor
(University of Surrey)

Join us at the picturesque Severndroog Castle on Shooter’s Hill in Greenwich for a BAVSfunded
public lecture celebrating the launch of a new virtual exhibition about the castle’s
literary history. We will be exploring the important role that Severndroog plays in texts by
Charles Dickens, James Malcolm Rymer, Lucy Clifford and E. Nesbit, its popularity as a
nineteenth-century leisure attraction, and its implication within Victorian debates about class
and gender. A free wine reception will follow the talk. Free tickets will shortly be available
through Severndroog’s Evenbrite page:
Directions to the castle can be found at


BAVS-Sponsored Events

Events Archive

Art on the Move: Mobility in the Long Nineteenth Century

Friday 12th of January 2018 - Saturday 13th of January 2018University of Birmingham

Keynote Speakers: Pamela Fletcher Tapati Guha Thakurta In the nineteenth century the circulation of works of art developed into its recognisably modern form. The forces of increasingly globalized capitalism, imperial routes and new means of transport, coupled with the growing reach of advertising and the press caused an unprecedented movement of artists, goods and materials. …

Read more

Picturing the Reader: Reading and Representation in the Long Nineteenth Century

Thursday 7th of September 2017Liverpool Hope University

A one-day interdisciplinary conference with keynote by Professor Mary Hammond (University of Southampton)

Read more

Victorians Unbound: Connections and Intersections (BAVS annual conference 2017)

Tuesday 22nd of August 2017 - Thursday 24th of August 2017Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln

Keynote Speakers:

Professor Kate Flint, University of Southern California, Dana & David Dornsife College

Professor Mike Huggins, University of Cumbria

Professor Sir Christopher Ricks, Boston University

Opening Roundtable Speakers:

Edwina Ehrman, Victoria and Albert Museum

Dr Kate Hill, University of Lincoln

Professor Francesco Marroni, University of G. d’ Annunzio, Chieti-Pescara

Read more

The Coarseness of the Brontës: A Reappraisal

Thursday 10th of August 2017 - Friday 11th of August 2017Durham University

This two-day conference, scheduled for the 10th to 11th August 2017, aims to re-evaluate the charge of ‘coarseness’ so often directed at the Brontë family. In early critical appraisals of the Brontës’ writings, accusations of ‘coarseness’ appear frequently. Although Jane Eyre(1847) was an instant bestseller, Elizabeth Rigby famously attacked the book as ‘coarse’ and accused Charlotte of …

Read more

Arthur Symons at the Fin de Siècle

Friday 21st of July 2017Goldsmiths University of London

A one day Symonsposium Keynote Speakers: Marion Thain (New York University) Nick Freeman (Loughborough University) Arthur Symons (1865-1945) is the dominant figure in English Decadent verse of the late nineteenth century. Some of his best poems had already perfected some of the techniques often attributed to the modernists, distilling the energy of the impression in …

Read more

George MacDonald’s Scotland

Wednesday 19th of July 2017 - Friday 21st of July 2017University of Aberdeen

This three day conference will be held from Wednesday 19th to Friday 21st of July 2017 in the Old Aberdeen Campus of the University of Aberdeen. It will explore all aspects related to the Scottish upbringing, education and heritage of the cleric, polymath and writer of fantastic literature George MacDonald. It aims to fathom the importance of this facet in his enduring …

Read more

Medicine and Mystery Study Day: The Dark Side of Science in Victorian Fiction

Thursday 8th of June 2017 - Thursday 8th of June 2017National University of Ireland, Galway

A Victorian Popular Fiction Association (VPFA) NUI Galway Study Day

Read more

Hardy Study Day: The Woodlanders

Saturday 22nd of April 2017The Corn Exchange, Dorchester

This day of talks, seminars and interactive displays, will focus on The Woodlanders, on the 130th anniversary of the publication of what Hardy once called his ‘best novel’

Read more

The Northern Nineteenth-Century Network (NNCN): Water

Friday 7th of April 2017Leeds Trinity University

Omnipresent yet largely ignored, this one-day conference brings water in the long nineteenth century into focus

Read more

George Egerton and the fin de siècle

Friday 7th of April 2017 - Saturday 8th of April 2017Loughborough University

A two-day conference organised by the Cultural Currents (1870-1930) Research Group

Read more

After Dickens

Friday 2nd of December 2016 - Saturday 3rd of December 2016University of York

A two-day conference that aims to bring together new research into Dickens’s afterlife and legacy, from his influence on Victorian literature, social reform and literary criticism to biographies, reminiscences and re-imaginings in the twentieth century and beyond.

Read more

Tea with the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in the Modern Imagination

Friday 23rd of September 2016 - Saturday 24th of September 2016University of Birmingham

A two-day conference exploring the intense fascination with ancient Egypt that permeated the cultural imagination in the nascent nineteenth century and beyond

Read more

Annual Conference 2016, Consuming (the) Victorians

Wednesday 31st of August 2016 - Friday 2nd of September 2016Cardiff University

A conference that is concerned with the complexity and diversity of Victorian consumer cultures and also seeks to consider our contemporary consumption of the Victorians.

Including a reception in the Impressionist galleries, with access to the Victorian art gallery, followed by an organ recital and conference dinner, National Museum Cardiff, and a house tour of Cardiff Castle, with interior decoration by Victorian architect William Burges.

Read more

Forgotten Geographies in the Fin de Siècle

Friday 8th of July 2016 - Saturday 9th of July 2016Birkbeck College, University of London

A two-day conference exploring forgotten geographies in the fin de siècle

Read more