Upcoming Events

Speaking of Art: Art, Histories and the Podcast

Lecture – James Mansell, Jo Baring, Cathy Courtney, Inigo Wilkins

  • 17 March 2021
  • 6:00 – 7:30 pm
  • Online Event

Podcasting is an increasingly popular form of communication in the arts, culture and heritage sectors. Research is finding new ears, collections are reaching new audiences and art objects are entering into new relationships with words as they are described verbally for listeners. Art and art history has a new soundscape. This panel will bring together speakers interested in the possibilities of the relationship of art, art history, voice and sound. It will explore how this form of audio communication is prompting different, and often surprising, ways of describing objects and artistic practices, encouraging an intimacy that is often absent from academic research, and creating new points of encounter. The discussion will roam across topics, covering ideas such as the visual ear, the art object in sound, listening and looking, virtual travel and the oral/aural textures of description.

This event has been organised by Anna Reid (Senior Research Fellow, PMC) and Sarah Victoria Turner (Deputy Director for Research, PMC). They will reflect on their recent experiences of podcasting at the Paul Mellon Centre and their involvement in developing the British Art Talks and Sculpting Lives series. Joining Anna and Sarah is a panel of speakers; some will discuss their own podcasting projects and others will reflect more broadly on the relationship of art, sound and voice


Cathy Courtney, Project Director of National Life Stories: Artists’ Lives, British Library

Jo Baring, Director of the Ingram Collection and co-host of Sculpting Lives

Inigo Wilkins, writer and lecturer (CalArts, New School for Research and Practice)

James Mansell, Associate Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Nottingham and Principal Investigator of the AHRC funded project Sonic Futures: Collecting, Curating and Engaging with Sound at the National Science and Media Museum.

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Image caption: “Treatise” by Cornelius Cardew. Digital image courtesy of Loop 38

About the speakers

  • James Mansell

    Dr James Mansell is Associate Professor of Cultural Studies in the Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies at the University of Nottingham. He is the author of The Age of Noise in Britain: Hearing Modernity (2017) and co-editor, with Christopher Scheer and Sarah Victoria Turner, of Enchanted Modernities: Theosophy, the Arts, and the American West (2019). His research is on sound culture and he is currently leading the AHRC project ‘Sonic Futures: Collecting, Curating and Engaging with Sound at the National Science and Media Museum’.

  • Jo Baring headshot.

    Jo Baring is the Director of the Ingram Collection of Modern British & Contemporary Art, one of the UK’s leading art collections. She has curated exhibitions at museums and galleries across the country. A former Director of Christie’s UK, Jo is regularly requested to interview artists at museums and art fairs. She is a trustee of arts charities ArtCan and the Artists Collecting Society, is a member of the Association of Women in the Arts, the Association of Professional Art Advisors, sits on the board of the Women of the Year charity, and also acts as an arts mentor. She is on the authentication committee for the artist Elisabeth Frink and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. She is working on her first book Modern British Art: New Reflections which will be published in Autumn 2022. Her first podcast series, Sculpting Lives, a collaboration with Dr Sarah Victoria Turner, and supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, was released in Spring 2020.

  • Cathy Courtney head and shoulders shot.

    Cathy Courtney is Project Director of Artists’ Lives, which she and others established in 1990, an on-going oral history project for National Life Stories, based at the British Library. Now numbering over four hundred in-depth audio recordings, averaging twenty hours each but many considerably longer, the project captures, via informal conversations, the life stories of artists and those whose careers are associated with them. Cathy Courtney was co-curator with Elena Crippa (Curator Modern and Contemporary British Art) of the exhibition Artists’ Lives: Speaking of the Kasmin Gallery at Tate Britain (2016–2018), presenting extracts from Artists’ Lives alongside works in Tate’s collection. She is also Project Director of a sister NLS oral history project, Architects’ Lives.

    Between 1995–1997 she held a Fellowship in Book Arts at Camberwell College of Art, and between 1983–c.1999 wrote a regular column on book art for Art Monthly. In 1995 she was co-curator with Maria White (former Tate Chief Cataloguer, Artists’ Books) of the exhibition, Artists’ Books at Tate Britain. 

    She is a Trustee of the Jocelyn Herbert Archive (theatre design) now housed at the National Theatre Archive. Publications include Jocelyn Herbert: A Theatre Workbook.

  • Inigo Wilkins headshot.

    Inigo Wilkins is a writer and lecturer (CalArts, New School for Research and Practice) working across many disciplines (sonic culture, cognitive science, philosophy, and finance). He took his masters in Sonic Culture at the University of East London, and completed his PhD in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths in 2016. The title of his thesis was Irreversible Noise, which forms the basis for a book forthcoming by Urbanomic. He has a piece called Improbable Semantics in the book Construction Site for Possible Worlds (Urbanomic), and has published articles in such journals as Litteraria PragensiaMute Magazine, and HFT Review. He is co-director of the online journal and research platform Glass Bead (www.glass-bead.org).