Call for Papers | Unpacking the V&A Wedgwood Collection

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on November 22, 2022

The V&A Wedgwood Collection in Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

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From the Call for Papers from the V&A:

Unpacking the V&A Wedgwood Collection
Barlaston (Stoke-on-Trent) and London, 7–8 July 2023

Proposals due by 15 February 2023

The V&A Wedgwood Collection is one of the most important industrial collections in the world and a unique record of over 260 years of British ceramic production. Owned by the V&A following a successful fundraising campaign spearheaded by Art Fund in 2014, it is on display at Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent, where an imaginative public programme celebrates the diversity, creativity and depth of the collection. The conference is organised in honour of Gaye Blake-Roberts MBE, former curator of the then Wedgwood Museum. After forty years of research and achievements, she retired from her position in early 2020, continuing her research as Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the V&A Research Institute.

Wedgwood was founded in 1759 by British potter and entrepreneur Josiah Wedgwood, who helped transform English pottery from a cottage craft into an art form and international industry. A museum has existed since 1906, first at the Etruria site and then from 1952 at Barlaston and a newly designed museum opened in 2008, winning the prestigious Art Fund Museum of the Year prize in 2009. It houses the finest collection of Wedgwood material, showcasing innovations in taste and fashion over three centuries and the UNESCO recognised Wedgwood Archives.

We are pleased to invite submissions from established scholars as well as emerging voices, and look forward to exploring new dialogues and disciplines which broaden our understanding of Wedgwood. Contributions are invited for four research themes:

Isaac Cook, curator of the first Wedgwood Museum at the Etruria factory, sorting trays of Josiah Wedgwood’s trials © Fiskars.

1  Beyond Josiah Wedgwood: Re-examining the Narrative
2  Global Wedgwood
3  Creativity, Technology, Economics, and Labour
4  Impressions of the Past: Contemporary Ceramic Making

Topics may include, but are not limited to:
• Transatlantic and continental trade
• Creativity, design, and artists
• Race
• Economics and labour
• Disability
• Workshop traditions
• Female contributions to the development and history of Wedgwood and ceramics
• Production and consumption of ceramics
• Empire and colonialism
• Technology
• Class
• Displaying and collecting of ceramics
• Social histories of ceramics
• Factory architecture and employee welfare

Please submit a 400-word abstract outlining a 20- to 30-minute presentation along with a short biography or curriculum vitae by 15 February 2023 to r.klarner@vam.ac.uk. These will be reviewed by the organising committee. Selected participants will be notified by 15 March 2023.

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Note (added 20 January 2023) — As initially announced here at Enfilade in November, the conference date was scheduled for 30 June — 1 July 2023; the posting has been updated with the new dates of 7–8 July.

New Book | Women, Collecting, and Cultures beyond Europe

Posted in books by Editor on November 22, 2022

From Routledge:

Arlene Leis, ed., Women, Collecting, and Cultures beyond Europe (New York: Routledge, 2022), 282 pages, ISBN: 978-1032135465, £130 / $150

This edited volume builds on recent research and offers a wider lens through which to examine and challenge women’s collecting histories. Spanning from the seventeenth century to the twenty-first (although not organized chronologically) the research herein extends beyond European geographies and across time periods; it brings to light new research on how artificiallia and naturallia were collected, transported, exchanged, and/or displayed beyond Europe. Women, Collecting and Cultures beyond Europe considers collections as points of contact that forged transcultural connections and knowledge exchange. Some authors focus on collectors and what was collected, while others consider taxonomies, travel, patterns of consumption, migration, markets, and the after life of things. In its broad and interdisciplinary approach, this book amplifies women’s voices, and aims to position their collecting practices toward new transcultural directions, including women’s relation to distinct cultures, customs, and beliefs as well as exposing the challenges women faced when carving a place for themselves within global networks.

Arlene Leis is an independent art historian who received her PhD from University of York.


Collecting to Collectingism: New Directions in Women’s Transcultural Practices — Arlene Leis

Part I: Points of Transcultural Exchange
1  Européenerie in Feminine Space: Qing Imperial Women and Collecting in China’s Long Eighteenth Century — Chih-En Chen
2  Coerced Contact: The Dzungar Court Costume of a Swedish Knitting Instructor — Lisa Hellman
3  Trading Places: The Japanese Art Collection of O’Tama Kiyohara Ragusa — Maria Antonietta Spadaro
4  Created to Gleam: Decorum, Taste, and Luxury of Four Dresses from Viceregal Mexico — Martha Sandoval-Villegas and Laura Garcia-Vedrenne

Part II: Natural History, Colonial Encounters, and Indigenous Histories
5  The Botanist Was a Woman: Classifying and Collecting on the First French Circumnavigation of the Globe — Glynis Ridley
6  Pineapple Lady: Expertise and Exoticism in Agnes Block’s Self-Representation as Flora Batava — Catherine Powell-Warren
7  A Memsahib’s ‘Natural World’: Lady Mary Impey’s Collection of Indian Natural History Paintings — Apurba Chatterjee
8  Women and Huipils: The Treasuring of an Indigenous Garment in New Spain — Martha Sandoval-Villegas
9  Colonial Pantomime: Queen Marie I of Portugal’s Human Cabinet of Curiosities — Agnieszka Anna Ficek

Part III: Settlers, Immigrants, and New Frontiers
10  Settler Botanists, Nature’s Gentlemen, and the Canadian Book of Nature: Catharine Parr Traill’s Canadian Wild Flowers — Cynthia Sugars
11  Collecting Indian Art in Santa Fe: The Bryn Mawrters and the Politics of Preservation — Nancy Owen Lewis
12  The Spectacle of Sponsoring an Ottoman Trousseau — Gwendolyn Collaço
13  Las Bexareñas and their Wills: Women’s Material Culture and Cataloguing Practices in Spanish San Fernando de Béxar — Amy M. Porter

Part IV: Recovery, Collaboration, and Repatriation
14  ‘He Surely Existed’: Women of the Early Folk Art Collecting Movement and Thomas W. Commeraw, Forgotten African-American Potter — Brandt Zipp
15  Adjacency in the Collection — Toby Upson
16  Collecting Fibre Arts in Arnhem Land — Louise Hamby
17  From Women’s Hands: Learning from Métis Women’s Collections — Angela Fey and Maureen Matthews

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