Breaking Barriers. Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture in the Woke Age

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About this Event

Fri, March 12, 2021

3:00 PM – 6:30 PM GMT

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 The long nineteenth century was also a time of furious debate, intense anxiety, and substantial progress, but its outdated views on gender, race and other pressing social issues remain in the visual epitaphs all around us, from statues to monuments, buildings to paintings.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 re-evaluating art and its legacies.

A special thanks to The Atkinson for their support and use of collections, and the Henry Moore Institute for their affiliation.

Organisers: Dr Emma Butcher and Dr Melissa Gustin


Dr Laura Eastlake (Edge Hill University) . Pre-recorded keynote and Zoom Q&A

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

Dr Onyeka Nubia (University of Nottingham)

The Africans of Georgian Britain: active agents of change in the ‘golden age’ of ‘reason’ and ‘enlightenment.’

Prof Patricia Pulham (University of Surrey)

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

Dr Nicole Cochrane (University of Exeter, BAVS/BARS 19C Matters Fellow)

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

Gemma Shearwood (University of York)

New perspectives on photographs of John Flaxman’s memorial to William Murray, 1st Earl Mansfield