A Material World is a new events series hosted by the Warburg Institute which focuses on the reconstruction of life in the past through objects and materials, the people who made them and the people who used them. Combining public lectures, student seminars and live object-based presentations across three terms, the series brings together academics and heritage professionals from a wide range of disciplines including history, art history, cultural history, archaeology, anthropology, history of religion and museum studies. The series will discuss issues concerning historical objects, their materials, forms, and functions, as well as their conservation, presentation, display, and reconstruction. It offers a broad social perspective, being concerned not only with the highest strata of society, but also with marginalised peoples and their habits concerning the production and consumption of everyday items.
The three combined lecture-seminar sessions of 2020-21 will be on the theme of Devotion, exploring a range of artefacts produced and marketed in the context of religion during the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The theme will build on Aby Warburg's legacy and interest in the devotional practices of both western and non-western societies, as well as the Warburg Institute's interdisciplinary ethos.
Organisers: Rembrandt Duits (Deputy Curator, The Photographic Collection, The Warburg Institute) and Louisa McKenzie (PhD student, The Warburg Institute):
Thursday 26 Nov 2020, 5.30pm: ONLINE
Anna Forrest (National Trust): 'The Oxburgh Hall Finds'; Respondent Dr Tessa Murdoch (Victoria and Albert Museum)
Anna Forrest examines how the recent discoveries at Oxburgh Hall shed light on the vibrant material culture of recusant Catholics at a time of persecution. As the Oxburgh Hall project is still in its early stages, this lecture presents a key opportunity to discover how curators go about analysing objects, and start to formulate conclusions, while a project is still evolving.
Tessa Murdoch writes about the Oxburgh Hall discoveries in Apollo Magazine: https://www.apollo-magazine.com/rats-nests-bedingfeld-history-oxburgh-hall/
Friday 27 November, 3.00pm: ONLINE
Meriel Jeater (Museum of London), 'Daily life and popular piety: medieval material culture from the Museum of London’s collection'
Meriel Jeater, Museum of London curator and contributor to the new book, The Art of the Poor, will present some of the museum's rich holdings of medieval pilgrims' souvenirs in this object-based session, live from the Museum of London via Zoom. Meriel will address the manufacture and use of these objects, as well as issues involved in their conservation and curation, and how curators use material culture findings to help reconstruct aspects of life from the past.
This seminar is designed for postgraduates at MA and research level studying art history, cultural history, archaeology, anthropology, history of religion, museum studies and related fields.