UCL Grand Challenges


Colour and Poetry: a Symposium

20 March 2019–21 March 2019, 10:00 am–6:00 pm

Event picture

Colour & Poetry: A Symposium takes place at the Slade Research Centre, Slade School of Fine Art, on 20 - 21 March to celebrate both International Colour Day and World Poetry Day.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Ms Jo Volley


Slade Research Centre
Gower Street
United Kingdom

At the heart of the symposium is an exhibition, The Nomenclature of Colours (named after Werner's 1814 Nomenclature of Colours - a taxonomic guide to the colours of the natural world). Slade staff, students, alumni and guests have been invited to produce a single work with the title of the show being the theme for the work. The exhibition is curated by Jo Volley, Deputy Director (Projects), and Stephanie Nebbia, artist and TFAC Manager, ColArt.

The symposium will take place in the Slade Research Centre on the 20 and 21 March with workshops/lectures on the materiality of colour from:

  • Dr Ruth Siddall, Slade Scientist in Residence, Geologist and Pigment Analyst
  • Prof. David Dobson, Earth Sciences on his invention of a new blue and will demonstrate the making of a synthetic pigment: Vivianite.
  • Mark Cann, Chief Chemist, ColArt on the new non-lead based cadmium range watercolours he has developed.

Lectures/presentations on colour by:

  • Estelle Thompson, Slade, on Artists, Colours, Words
  • Dr Emma Richardson, UCL, History of Art and Materials on dyeing processes
  • Ian Rowlands on Colour Mixing
  • Antoni Malinowski on Colour Poetics of Space.

Readings and performance/screenings to date include: Professors, Sharon Morris (Slade), Andy Leak and Roland-Francois Lack (UCL French) and Caroline de Lannoy’s Colour Tale, poet George Szirtes and philosophers Dr Edward Winters and Taylor Enoch. Jayne Parker’s film Amarylis will also be shown. Presentations by Professor Michael Berkowitz, Dr Onya McCausland, Dr Henrietta Simson, Dimitris Mylonas and Liz Lawes.

Seminal works in the Slade and UCL collections i.e. Josef Albers Interaction of Colour and Jean Spencer’s colour collection will be available to view. Malina Busch will present a lecture entitled 'Experiencing Colour with Albers' and be available to discuss the Albers print collection.

The symposium will also include contributions and displays from Small Press Project, Slade Press and UCL Special Collections.

Importantly, the symposium and exhibition will bring together works and knowledge exchange between Slade staff, students and other areas of UCL.

The symposium will end with a panel discussion on Thursday 21 March at 5pm between artists, scientists, philosopher and industry to launch the new UCL Materials Innovation Network.

Materials for workshops supplied by Liquitex and Winsor & Newton.