Monday, 10 September 2012

Material Meanings Conference, Canterbury

This week the project reported some of its achievements and discoveries to an international conference of art and architectural historians (amongst others). 

The Third Biannual conference of the European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies (EAM) was held at the University of Kent, 7-9 September 2012.  In a panel on

‘Matters of Learning Material: Education through Art, Art through Education’

Jeremy Howard spoke on ‘Wellington Monuments: Interpreting and contextualizing Hubert Wellington’s strategy for permanent art in modern schools in 1930s Edinburgh’,
Catherine Burke on ‘Concealment and exposure: the story of the Barbara Mildred Jones mural “Adam Naming the Animals” (1959-2009)’, and
Peter Cunningham on ‘Art in the curriculum and art on the walls: Primary education the 1950s’. 

It was, however a week of highs and lows for decorated schools as the panel also had to report on two very recent incidents affecting works featured recently on this blog.  One is the discovery of structural damage to Peter Peri’s spectacular 1961 sculpture ‘Welcome’  at Greenhead College, Huddersfield:  

The second is a fire that destroyed one wing of Sawston Village College, Cambridgeshire:

Both events are reminders of the natural threats to decorated schools, additional to the challenges posed by shifts in political or administrative attitudes towards individual works of art, and changing aesthetic tastes, resulting in negligence or worse.   Conservation issues remain central to our project.