Upcoming Events

Doctoral Researchers Network (DRN) and Early Career Researchers Network (ECRN) Summer Symposium

DRN and ECRN Events

  • 1 July 2024
  • 10:00 – 6:00 pm
  • Ikon Gallery

Join us for the DRN and ECRN Summer Symposium. We are excited to bring you a day of activities at IKON in Birmingham.

This year the conference theme is “Precarity in Art History: Thinking with the Discipline’s Past, Present and Future”.

The challenges in art history are urgent, as the discipline faces an existential crisis due to recent developments in the sector. This call for papers framed the crisis through three interrelated developments:

  • The first is the context of academic precarity within the sector. Precarity is a condition that currently shapes the discipline, particularly for the work done by doctoral and early-career researchers. It entrenches existing social inequalities and is connected to recent efforts to manufacture “culture wars” which is exacerbating and intensifying marginalisation.
  • Second is changes in funding for the arts and heritage sector across the UK. This symposium will take place in Birmingham, a city which is facing a complete cut to council funding for the arts over the next two years (source). A similar situation exists for other local authorities and councils across the UK.
  • Third is the brutal reality of conflict and genocide around the world, and the notable component of targeted “scholasticide” alongside the wholesale destruction of educational, religious and heritage sites and archival records.

With these developments and challenges in mind, this symposium will seek to explore the ways in which we can both navigate precarity in our work as art historians, whilst also historicising the way that precarity has shaped the production of art across periods assist us with the challenges of the present.

The schedule for the day will include paper sessions, breakout workshops, a keynote, work-in-progress roundtables and opportunities to meet fellow doctoral and early-career researchers. We will also host a drinks reception, enabling conversations to continue.


10:00 – 10:20 Registration
10:20 – 11:10 Keynote: Shela Sheikh, Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the University of London Institute, Paris
11:10 – 11:20 Break
11:20 – 13:05 Paper Session 1: Artists and Precarity

Bo Lanyon, Precarious Pigments: critical minerals & loaded brushes

Leah Houghton, And what happened to Francis Upritchard? Re-membering Aotearoa/New Zealand-born artist-women in British art histories

Natalie Rudd, Inhabiting Frail Structures: Precariousness in British sculpture by women 1978-1993

Nadia Martin, Precarity as Potential: Artistic Research, Creation and Management in Contexts of Poverty in Argentina

Mridu Thulung Rai, Photographic ‘Disturbance’, Ontological Poetics and Politics in Northeast India

13:05 – 13:50 Lunch and short films screening on subject of precarity
13:50 – 14:50 Paper session 2: Institutions and Precarity: Interventions and Limitations

Senah Tuma, Futures that include 'us': decolonisation as radical possibility

Jelena Sofronijevic, EMPIRE LINES Podcast; The Box, Plymouth

Adi Lerer, Encounters of the Civic in the museum

14:50 – 15:00 Break
15:00 – 16:10 Paper Session 3 (Online): Negotiations with Statehood

Daen Palma Huse, Here today, gone tomorrow? A Threatening Move of the National Archive of Peru

Mohamed Wadhoodh, Precarious Lives and In-between Identities: A Study on Seeking Palestine and 11 Lives

Hyein Park , Negotiating Ideology: New Generation Groups in South Korea (1987-1992)

Yanqui Huang, Reforming Art Education in an Age of Uncertainties: Rector Lionel Esher and 1977 Student Occupation of the Royal College of Art

16:10 – 17:00

Keynote: Rachael Squire, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Royal Holloway University of London

17:00 – 17:30

Drinks reception & questionnaire (offsite, location TBC)