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Conference: ‘Art versus Industry?’

Posted on Monday, 20th February 2012

This two-day international and transdisciplinary conference aims to re-evaluate the intersections between the visual arts and industry in Britain during the long nineteenth century, with speakers including Dr Lara Kriegel (Indiana University), Dr Tom Gretton (University College London), Dr Colin Trodd (University of Manchester) and Dr Steve Edwards (Open University).

The complexity and variety of nineteenth-century industrial culture and responses to it remain under appreciated. The idea that an ‘industrial culture’ might have existed in nineteenth-century Britain seemed paradoxical in the wake of Raymond Williams’ Culture and Society 1780-1950 (1958) and Martin Wiener’s English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit (1981). Both suggested a seemingly non-negotiable opposition between culture and industry. They privileged the writings of John Ruskin, and later William Morris, which resisted the incursion of mechanised production into the sphere of the fine and applied arts.

‘Art versus industry?’ looks beyond Ruskin and Morris to modify these characterisations. Recent studies of nineteenth-century literary culture have identified the development of a pro-industrial rhetoric in the early nineteenth century. How was this articulated in the visual arts? Debates over design reform in particular suggest the permeable boundaries between the artist, designer, artisan and operative, matched by a taxonomic conflation of art with design. Meanwhile, the prospect of widening the franchise of ‘taste’ often correlated with the embrace of new industrial technologies, as much as with the repudiation of them. ‘Art versus industry?’ seeks to uncover the complexities of the nineteenth-century ‘industrial culture’.

Both days: £20.00 (£15 for students)
Single day: £10.00 flat fee

Contact Name (if applicable): Gabriel Williams gmw504@york.ac.uk

Contact and further information details: Please visit http://artvindustry.blogspot.com/ for programme details, further information and to download the booking form.

Deadline for booking or submission (if applicable): 9 March 2012 (Booking deadline)

Event details

  • Art versus Industry?
  • Location: Leeds City Museum
  • Date: Friday, 23rd March 2012 - Saturday, 24th March 2012
  •  This two-day international and transdisciplinary conference aims to re-evaluate the intersections between the visual arts and industry in Britain during the long nineteenth century, with speakers including Dr Lara Kriegel (Indiana University), Dr Tom Gretton (University College London), Dr Colin Trodd (University of Manchester) and Dr Steve Edwards (Open University).