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Birmingham Museums Trust Co-CEO Sara Wajid and Curator Victoria Osborne in conversation with Bill Sherman (Warburg Institute Director) and Gregory Perry (CEO, Association for Art History)

This event is organised by the Association for Art History in conjunction with the Warburg Institute, University of London.

Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts and Crafts Movement, at the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, presents three generations of British artists, designers and makers who revolutionised the visual arts in the second half of the nineteenth century. The Pre-Raphaelites, William Morris and his circle, and the men and women of the Arts and Crafts movement transformed art and design. The exhibition features works in a variety of media — paintings, drawings, jewellery, glass, textiles and metalwork — selected from the city of Birmingham's significant collection.

We will discuss the planning and realisation of the exhibition and its US tour, as well as the threat posed to the Birmingham collections by the financial struggles of local councils in the era of austerity and the recent, unprecedented announcement by the central government in the UK that councils should consider disposing of assets such as public buildings and collections to improve their budgets.

Sara Wajid is Co-CEO (alongside Zak Mensah) of Birmingham Museums Trust. She is a founder member of the Museum Detox network for people of colour in museums and an active advocate for diversity and equality issues in the arts. Sara is also a judge for the Museum and Heritage awards, and a member of ITV’s Cultural Advisory Council. Before working in museums, she was a cultural commentator, journalist and editor; and has recently been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of York.

Victoria Osborne is Curator of Fine Art for Birmingham Museums Trust, specializing in British nineteenth-century works on paper. She has co-curated several major international loan exhibitions of British nineteenth-century art. Victoria has been an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham since 2013, and in the same year was awarded a Robert R.Wark Fellowship at The Huntington, San Marino.

Curatorial Conversations in collaboration with the Association for Art History invites museum directors and curators of recent exhibitions and installations at world-leading museums and galleries to discuss their work. The conversations, led by Bill Sherman and Gregory Perry, discuss the issues of setting the directorial or curatorial agenda and staging meaningful encounters with objects. The series is designed to draw out discussion of the discoveries made, challenges tackled and the lessons learned in heading a collection, presenting important permanent collections and putting together internationally renowned exhibitions.