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Senior curator Dr Friederike Voigt traces the history of the Iranian collections of National Museums Scotland, from their beginnings in the 19th century. She will focus on the role of Scottish engineer and diplomat, Sir Robert Murdoch Smith, in building up the collections, and explore how ideas surrounding their development, research and display have changed. The talk will be complemented by a show and tell with a selection of objects from our collections.
Please click here to visit the museum’s website for further details.
Spotlight on Iran!
Date: Friday 10th Feb 2017
Time: 14:30 – 16:00
Venue: The National Museum of Scotland, Chambers St, EH1 1JF, Seminar Room ( Learning Centre Level 4)
Entry: FREE Admission (Ticketed)
Box Office: call the museum on +44(0)300 123 6789 for booking)
Blackwell’s Bookshop is extremely excited to welcome Brian Catling, who will be in store to chat about his forthcoming book The Erstwhile, the second in The Vorrh series.
Brian will be in conversation with literary critic and fellow writer Stuart Kelly.
About the Book
In London and Germany, strange beings are reanimating themselves. They are the Erstwhile, the angels that failed to protect the Tree of Knowledge, and their reawakening will have major consequences.
In Africa, the colonial town of Essenwald has fallen into disarray because the timber workforce has disappeared into the Vorrh. Now a team of specialists are dispatched to find them. Led by Ishmael, the former cyclops, they enter the forest, but the Vorrh will not give them back so easily.
To make matters worse, an ancient guardian of the forest has plans for Ishmael and his crew. Meanwhile a child of mixed race has been found abandoned in a remote cottage. Her origins are unknown, but she has powers beyond her own understanding. Conflict is coming, as the old and new, human and inhuman are set on a collision course.
Once again blending the real and the imagined, The Erstwhile brings historical figures such as William Blake and places such as the Bedlam Asylum, as well as ingenious creations such as The Kin (a family of robots) together to create unforgettable novel of births and burials, excavations and disappearances.
About the Author
Brian Catling RA is an English sculptor, poet, novelist, film maker and performance artist. He was educated at North East London Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art. He now holds the post of Professor of Fine Art at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford and is a fellow of Linacre College.He has been exhibiting his work internationally since the 1970s. In 2001 he co founded the international performance collective WitW. He has published poetic works, including one compendium, A Court of Miracles, in 2009. His first prose book Bobby Awl was published in 2007. Currently he is writing novels and has just completed The Vorrh trilogy.
For more information or if you would like a signed copy because you can’t make it to the event, please contact Ellie Wixon on 0131 622 8229 or [email protected]
Come along to The Castle Hotel (66 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LE) from 7pm. Come along for some food, some socialising and an opportunity to learn in a relaxed atmosphere. All are welcome along to this informal event – put your feet up and enjoy the journey…
The Dutch Masters are an intriguing group in art history. Compared to other great artistic movements their work is rather quiet and insular. Not for them the wild experiments of the modernists or the celestial majesty of the renaissance. Instead, artists like Rembrandt and Vermeer focused on domestic interiors, reserved portraits and the exquisite play of light and shadow known as chiaroscuro.
Yet the Dutch Masters were working at a time of great change. The Dutch Republic carved a unique path between Catholic absolutism and Protestant iconoclasm, stumbling upon the invention of modern liberal capitalism along the way.
Dutch toleration and trade produced huge advancements in technology and learning; the understanding of architecture, accounting, music, mechanics and, importantly, optics were revolutionised. A new philosophy emerged to explain these breakthroughs, most eloquently summarised in the works of the artisan lens grinder Baruch de Spinoza.
A living example of the power of Dutch toleration, Spinoza’s works were banned by the Catholic church, denounced by Protestant preachers and he was cast out from the Jewish community for suggesting that God and Nature were one and the same.
Offered a prestigious position at the University of Amsterdam, Spinoza preferred to keep on making his spectacles and keep his philosophising as a hobby. This was in keeping with his Ethics, in which he argues that every individual is responsible for their own soul which no established church or institution could guarantee for them.
In this lecture I aim to demonstrate how the intimate domestic scenes common to the Dutch Masters reflect a view of the world in line with Spinoza’s materialism. The importance of light and shadow, the denial of myth and magic, and the preponderance of group portraiture all reflect the unique landscape of Dutch thought and being in the seventeenth century Golden Age.
And for the second talk of the evening…
2017 has seen the sharp decline in UK German studies at all levels. A 13.2 drop at GCSE level, similar at ‘A’ level and undergraduates reading German has almost halved since 1997. It would appear ironic that in an age where Europe has never been closer geographically, our real sense of closeness to it culturally & emotionally widens.
As a result of this and continued media stereotyping of the ‘bad’ or ‘threatening’ German, many British are unaware of the completely different reputation that ‘our cultural cousins’ had before the onset of WW1 as a nation of ‘poets and thinkers’. Germans of all professions flocked to Britain from the 1860s onwards, becoming one of the largest immigrant groups and contributing immeasurably to British culture and communities of the time.
My talk will identify German nationals’ contribution to Manchester in particular but crucially, will try and pinpoint at what point the image started to curdle, from that of ‘poets and thinkers’ (Dichter und Denker) to that of ‘Judges and executioners’ (Richter und Henker) – a Eurotrope of aggression and domination that the country has never quite managed to shake off. The question posed is how to re-engage Britain with German culture – a culture so bound up with ours if only we knew…….
All Ragged University events are free and informal. Everyone is welcome to bring along an item of food to put on the table to share and take away what is left at the end.