Past Events

Biographies and Space: Placing the Subject in British Art and Architecture


  • 28 March 2003
  • 10:00 – 7:00 pm
  • Paul Mellon Centre
Two men standing opposite family in garden with house in distance

Arthur Devis, Robert Gwillym of Atherton and his Family, circa 1745-7

Digital image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Convened by Dana Arnold and Jo Sofaer-Derevenski (University of Southampton), this symposium will address the conventions that inform our understanding of space, in all its complexities, and that remain in the domain of the male subject. The notion of 'other' is seen by some as a reaction to these canonical discourses.

Speakers will focus on the relationship between biography and space and how specific subjects are used, or not, as a means of explaining or articulating sets of social, cultural and spatial relationships, within the specificity of British art and architecture. Papers will examine issues of feminism, masculinity, childhood and race in respect of actual (architectural) and imagined (pictorial) place, with particular attention being paid to linguistic, historical and theoretical formulations.

The symposium aims to highlight an increasing fluidity and interaction between theory, methods and history, as well as exploring recent developments in social theory and biographical work. The question~ raised will offer a re-evaluation of the relationship between biography and space, which is of significance to British art, architecture and beyond.