A Vision for Europe: Academic Action and Responsibility in Times of Crises

Thu 25 April 2019

We are delighted to announce the Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded research network, A Vision for Europe: Academic Action and Responsibility in Times of Crises, led by Principal Investigator Mick Finch (Central Saint Martins UAL), with Co-Investigator Joanne Anderson (The Warburg Institute) and Project Partner Johannes von Müller (Bilderfahrzeuge: Aby Warburg's Legacy and the Future of Iconology). The network is tasked with examining the scholarly use of image-led practices to comment and shape political reality through a unique engagement with the material archive of a photographic exhibition mounted in 1941 by the Warburg Institute in London.

English art and the mediterranean invite

The photographic exhibition, English Art and the Mediterranean, elucidated the Mediterranean influences on British art through the ages, asserting Britain’s European identity and countering nationalistic conceptions of art and cultural histories in a time of crisis. Thus, the exhibition holds a particular pertinence in Britain’s current political landscape and its faltering relationship with Europe. As Kenneth Clark reminded his audience at the opening of the exhibition on 2 December 1941,

(…) as this exhibition shows we are not only materially part of the Continent, but we are spiritually dependent upon it too.

But the historical case-study also speaks to the more widespread and rising issue of nationalism and populism Europe-wide that threatens the notion of a common European culture. As such the network makes a stance about the value of the humanities and the science of culture in public life.

mnemosyne atlas panel   warburg institute reading room 1937

The network brings together artists, historians, media theorists, curators, journalists, photographers and activists to reactivate this unique archival resource and to make it accessible to a broad public. Official Project Partners are the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich and the British School at Rome.

The network will enable critical engagement with the future of academic action and responsibility with public-facing events in London, Munich and Rome, in the form of exhibitions, a conference and publications. The organiser’s first exhibition, Bilder auf Wanderschaft. Das Warburg Institute und eine britische Kunstgeschichte, will be held at the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich, 29 May – 26 June 2019. The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication, Image Journeys: the Warburg Institute and a British Art History (Passau: Klinger Verlag, 2019). Details on future events will be announced in due course. 

The network will run for 18 months, until June 2020.

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