UCL Grand Challenge of Intercultural Interaction
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- Apply for a 2015-16 Grand Challenges Small Grant: Up to £4,000 available
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Lead applicant: Gemma Romain (UCL Geography)
Main collaborator: Dr Debbie Challis (UCL Petrie Museum)
Additional Collaborators: Nwakaego Ahaiwe, UCL MA Archives and Records Management student and cultural and community archivist (as named researcher)
Dr Sally-Ann Ashton, Senior Assistant Keeper, Department of Antiquities, the Fitzwilliam Museum
Dr. Caroline Bressey, Lecturer and Director of The Equiano Centre, Department of Geography, UCL
Robert Eagle, Multimedia Producer, UCL Communications and Marketing
This project explores responses to and representations of African and Asian visual culture in modern British society. It focuses on the period of 1907 to 1939, during which visual representations by British artists of African and Asian cultures and peoples were racially constructed in an environment of imperialism and ideas of race difference and also in relation to exoticisation and 'negrophilia'. The start date of the project, 1907, marks the creation of Pablo Picasso's 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon,' said to be the first cubist artwork and heavily inspired by African material cultures. 1907 also marks the Jacob Epstein's first major sculpture in Britain, that of 18 sculptures representing the
'Cycle of Life' and created for the exterior of the British Medical Association building.
The project will investigate these individuals in relation to one another, exploring the various interpretations and artistic responses to Egyptian material culture, with a particular emphasis on the work and worldviews of Flinders Petrie, Jacob Epstein, Ronald Moody and Edna Manley in their interpretations and responses to ancient and modern African sculpture. The project will collaborate with UCL student archivist and community heritage worker Nwakaego Ahaiwe, who will run, in conjunction with the lead collaborators, two research workshops with a group of community artists and archivists, investigating the Egyptian sculptures of the Petrie Museum and the British Museum, the special collections of UCL, the holdings of Tate Archives and Library, and public art created by Epstein such as Night and Day. The group will work with the co-collaborators in creating an exhibition based on their research to be displayed at the Petrie Museum during Spring 2014.
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