Exhibitions, conferences and events

From Tallinn to Tbilisi: Art across boundaries in the age of empire

Event series: January to July 2023

Through the long nineteenth century until the eventual collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917, artists in territories under imperial control, such as Poland, Finland, Ukraine, the Baltics, the Caucasus, Central Asia and others, increasingly began to explore questions of national identity in response to hegemonic and Russo-centric narratives advanced by the tsarist regime.

In this seminar series, speakers examine art production in key centres of activity beyond St Petersburg and Moscow to present perspectives from across the Empire. Exploring a range of topics, such as art education, travel, national revivals, and women's advancement, they consider the ways in which artists negotiated ethnic and territorial identities, advanced their professional careers, and recalibrated their art-making in response to imperial rule.

Image: Edvard Isto, Attack, 1899, oil on canvas, National Museum of Finland, Helsinki

Edvard Isto, Attack, 1899, oil on canvas, National Museum of Finland, Helsinki

Third event in this seven-part series: 20 March 2023

Incising the future in early colonial Alaska

Speaker: Bart Pushaw, University of Copenhagen

Estonian museums are home to significant, but little-known repositories of Native Alaska material culture. This location reflects the critical role of Baltic actors in the invasion and occupation of Unangax and Sugpiaq homelands as the Russian Empire expanded into the Americas in the 18th century. The Russian American Company facilitated the enslavement of Indigenous hunters to procure sea otter pelts for trade with Qing China. Native artists created complex responses to the devastation wrought by the Russian Empire's violent logics of extraction.

This lecture focuses on one such object in the Estonian History Museum in Tallinn: an incised whale tooth depicting hunters pursuing marine mammals. It places the iconography within the global context of Unangax and Sugpiaq art histories during the Russian colonial occupation between the 1730s and 1860s. Confiscated from Qikertaq (Kodiak Island) by a Baltic official, the whale tooth also anticipates an inevitable homecoming, as its circulatory design portends a future migration away from Baltic waters and back to the Pacific.

Bart Pushaw teaches art history at the University of Copenhagen, where he works with the international research project "The Art of Nordic Colonialism: Writing Transcultural Art Histories." He received his PhD from the University of Maryland. His research focuses on issues of race, environment, and materiality in order to centre global narratives in the Indigenous Arctic and the wider Finno-Ugric world.

As a scholar and curator, he collaborates with museums and collections in and out of the Arctic to propel the accessibility of Inuit cultural heritage and advance repatriation campaigns. In addition to his first book manuscript, Indulgent Images, he is also the co-editor of two forthcoming volumes, Unfinished Histories: Art, Memory, and the Visual Politics of Coloniality (with Mathias Danbolt and Mette Kia Krabbe Meyer) and The Material Legacies of Nordic Empire (with Thor Mednick). Other writing on indigeneity and arts in the Russian Empire is forthcoming in the volumes Picturing Russian Empire and Routledge Companion to the Global Renaissance.

Image: Once-known Alutiiq maker, Woven grass pouch, late 18th c., lyme grass, cotton thread, silk, MA? No. 2888-93, Kunstkamera, St Petersburg.

Third event in this seven-part series: 20 March 2023

Fourth event in this seven-part series: 24 April 2023

Nomadic art as cultural and political capital

Speaker: Petra Andreeva, Parsons School of Design, The New School

Home to both nomadic and sedentary groups of various ethnic and religious backgrounds, the Golden Horde (1242-1502) was the Mongol Empire's north-western and most diverse section. The polity was situated at the heart of the Western Steppe and became the centre of the newly-emerging Black Sea trade routes passing through Crimea (Urgench-Sarai-Caffa).

Whilst centred at the traditionally-nomadic steppe, the Golden Horde was surrounded by several sedentary societies, including the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Ruling over such diverse demographics, the Mongol rulers of the Golden Horde had to maintain, reconcile and fashion two distinct identities. One was that of a worldly trade partner and an astute politician in an increasingly global milieu who started to invest in the urbanisation of the steppe under Pax Mongolica. The other was that of a proud successor to an uninterrupted steppe nomadic tradition defined by zoomorphism and portable luxury. As such, the Golden Horde elite started to build trade-centred cities, often modelled after Islamic urban centres elsewhere in Afro-Eurasia; yet, they also needed to demonstrate a certain attachment to centuries-old nomadic traditions to maintain the collective memory of a tenuous alliance.

This lecture will explore the visual and political parameters of this "balancing act", and also delve into the later impact of the Golden Horde on Central Asian and Russian imperial history. Could certain parallels be drawn between the self-fashioning dilemmas of the Russian tsars and those of the Golden Horde khans, especially in light of their similar political challenges in Crimea and on the global stage?

Petya Andreeva is Assistant Professor of Asian Art History at Parsons School of Design of The New School in New York. She completed her PhD in East Asian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests span several main areas: artistic exchange across the Silk Roads, nomadic material culture, Chinese art under conquest dynasties, patronage and dissent under the Mongol and Russian imperial conquests in Central Eurasia. Her work on these topics has appeared in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Fashion Theory, Early China, Orientations, Sino-Platonic Papers, several National Museum of Korea volumes, among other publications. She is the editor of the recently published open-access volume The Zoomorphic Arts of Central Eurasia, and the author of an upcoming book on nomadic visual and material culture. Andreeva has received awards from UNESCO, the International Convention of Asia Scholars, the Getty Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies.

Image: Early Golden Horde, gold belt fitting with deer amid foliage, 13th c. Discovered in Gashun-Ust (near modern-day Stavropol, south Russia).

Fourth event in this seven-part series: 24 April 2023

Moving Muybridge: Transatlantic Dialogues: 2-3 March 2023

International conference

This international conference showcases the latest research on Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904), whose multi-faceted work continues to have significance across moving-image cultures, photography, digital animation and the visual arts globally. Centring on the transatlantic movements of Muybridge, his work and ideas, and the diverse Muybridge collections in the US and the UK, the conference brings together leading scholars, curators, filmmakers and artists to share knowledge about the overall significance of Muybridge holdings in both countries and to reflect on the future of Muybridge studies.

Held in Kingston upon Thames – the birthplace of Muybridge in 1830 and where he returned for the last decade of his life until his death in 1904 – the conference marks the recent relocation of Kingston Museum's Muybridge Collection to a purpose-built archive at the University's award-winning Town House building.

The proceedings open on Thursday 2 March with drinks and an early evening screening of Exposing Muybridge (2021), written and directed by the award-winning filmmaker Marc Shaffer.

Research presentations on Friday 3 March include invited Muybridge scholars, artists and curators and will conclude with a Roundtable Discussion with invited speakers.

The conference is organised by Kingston University's Visual and Material Culture Research Centre in partnership with Kingston Museum and The Stanley Picker Gallery, and is made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art.

For further detail on the Conference, please visit the Stanley Picker Gallery website.

Image: Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxiscope Disc, c.1893. Kingston Museum and Heritage Service

  • When: Thursday 2 March, Friday 3 March, 2023
  • Venue: In-person at Town House, Penrhyn Road, Kingston University KT1 2EE
Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxiscope Disc, c.1893. Kingston Museum and Heritage Service

Artists' Homes in Kingston: Gordine and Muybridge

In this final event of a three-part series taking place over May–June on the theme of HOME, members of KSA's Visual and Material Culture Research Centre will be in conversation with guest speakers exploring the various homes of two former Kingston residents, the artists Dora Gordine (1895–1991) and Eadweard Muybridge (1830–1904). The conversations will be followed by a discussion and opportunity for audience questions.

Dora Gordine's Homemaking

In this conversation between art historian Jonathan Black, curator Brenda Martin and art historian Fran Lloyd, we will focus on the sculptor Dora Gordine's concept of home. Gordine had a number of different homes between 1895 to her move into Dorich House in Kingston Vale in the autumn of 1936, from Liepja in Latvia, St Petersburg in Russia and Tallinn in Estonia to Berlin in Germany, Paris in France, and Johor Bahru and Singapore in the Malay States of the British Empire. In the late 1960s, after her husband Richard Hare's death at Dorich House, Gordine considered a move to a new home to be bult for her in Indianapolis, Indiana by the wealthy Anglo-Armenian Tarzian family. The move to Indianapolis was off by the early 1970s, however, with Gordine instead focusing on trying to find a new home for Dorich House and its collection of Imperial Russian artefacts, trying to persuade the National Trust, the Victoria and Albert Museum or the National Portrait Gallery to take Dorich House on as a satellite museum.

Coming Home: Eadweard Muybridge's return to Kingston

The photographic and moving-image innovator Eadweard Muybridge was one of Kingston's most celebrated and eccentric residents, spending the first 20 and final 10 years of his life there, with the intervening 44 years spent mainly in the USA. This discussion will focus on Muybridge's relationship with Kingston and the range of places he lived after returning to the town in 1894 following his disastrous participation as an exhibitor at the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition. He lived in a succession of Kingston homes, from a room in a riverside boarding-house (‘The Chestnuts') to a large, detached house alongside Kingston's entrance to Richmond Park. He remained very active, using Kingston as his travelling base for an extensive projection tour of his work across the UK's civic halls and arts clubs, and assembling an immense scrapbook of his life's work, intended for future researchers. But much of his time in Kingston remains mysterious (Why did he tell his Kingston-based relatives he had returned there from Japan rather than, as was really the case, from New York? Was he really digging a swimming pool in his back garden at the moment of his death?). The Kingston Museum's Muybridge Collection curator Seoyoung Kim and Kingston University film historian Stephen Barber will try to unravel a few of Muybridge's Kingston enigmas.

Date: Friday 10 June 2022, 6.30 to 8pm
: Online.

Victorian typing showing the Kingston address of Eadweard Muybridge

Creativity in the Lockdown Home: Crafting, Parenting, Researching

In this second event of a three-part series taking place over May–June on the theme of HOME, members of KSA's Visual and Material Culture Research Centre will be in conversation with guest speakers exploring various forms of creativity that emerged in the Covid-19 lockdown home, from crafting and its flourishing on social media to the challenges and opportunities presented by parenting while working from home. The conversations will be followed by a discussion and opportunity for audience questions.

Craft at Home: Exploring Social Media Content Creation as a Craft

Has the recent popularity in domestic craft practice been influenced by social media? While the multiple lockdowns pushed more people towards their screens to connect and many used this unprecedented time at home to learn a craft, this period only accelerated an already growing phenomenon being fuelled by the Instagram craft community. Content creation is a creative output and making successful content for social media requires a unique set of skills and know-how. From the comfort of their couch and through the palms of their hands, crafters are not only making with material, but also using their mobile phones to upload content of their making for their social media feed. Making is a way of connecting and this discussion will feature a short talk by three content creators @daisyBow_Craft, @SteelAndStich and @ArtistColette exploring connections between craft and social media, with a focus on the home as a site for this creative practice.

Child-led Creative Disruption in the Lockdown Family Home

As well as the merger of spheres and the new visibility and acceptance of children in the background during defined 'work' time in households lucky enough to be able to work from home, the Covid-19 lockdowns brought children and their rhythms to the fore of our everyday: having to rethink habits and priorities, learning to work together and play together, and embracing the collaborative meaning-making made possible by 'letting go'. This discussion-based research event between researchers and parents Anna Johnson and Lina Hakim proposes to look into this phenomenon and, drawing on insights from the perspectives of the speakers' research interests and pursuits, to consider whether it might provide an opportunity to rethink the role of children as meaningful contributors in creative/research practice.

Date: Thursday 26 May 2022, 1 to 2.30pm
: Online.

Crafting materials such as needle and thread and scissors with examples of crafters' instagram profiles shown on mobile phones.

Art School Archives

Part of The Henry Moore Institute's Researching Women in Sculpture Research Season.

By the early twentieth century, women constituted over forty percent of new entrants to the sculpture profession, marking a substantial increase in the number who had completed formal training in the previous century. The establishment of the Slade School of Art in 1871 made history by offering women an art education on equal terms to their male counterparts and in some institutions women even outnumbered men among groups of art students.

Given the large number of women who undertook training in art schools, the archives of such institutions provide a crucial resource for locating women's sculptural practices. In this workshop, held at Kingston University's Archive in the RIBA Stirling Prize 2021 Town House building, speakers Fran Lloyd, Dayna Miller (both Kingston School of Art, Kingston University) and Althea Greenan (Women's Art Library) will discuss the role of art school archives in research and the structures of support provided by such institutions.

Date: Wednesday 11 May 2022, 2.15 to 6pm
: Town House, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road

Black and white photo of sculpture studios at Kingston School of Art in 1948.
Sculpture Studios, Knights Park, 1948. Photograph courtesy of Rose Konstam

Women's Studio Museums

Part of The Henry Moore Institute's Researching Women in Sculpture Research Season.

Dorich House is the former studio-home of the sculptor Dora Gordine and her husband, the Hon. Richard Hare, scholar of Russian art and literature. Completed in 1936 to Gordine's design and now Grade II listed, the museum forms a rare example of a preserved modern studio-house created by and for a woman.

In this workshop, held in Gordine's former studio-home, Fiona Fisher (Curator, Dorich House Museum) and Jonathan Black (co-author of Dora Gordine: Sculptor, Artist, Designer) explore the practice and career of Dora Gordine. The speakers will also consider the museum's role as a centre to support contemporary women's creative practices and the representation of women in studio museums more generally.

Date: Wednesday 11 May 2022, 9.30am to 12.30pm
: Dorich House Museum

Sculptures at Dorich House Museum
The Gallery, Dorich House Museum. © Dorich House Museum. Photo: Ellie Laycock

Curating Home

In this first of a three-part online public event series taking place over May–June 2022 on the theme of HOME, members of KSA's Visual and Material Culture Research Centre will be in conversation with guest speakers on the theme of curating the home. The conversations will be followed by a panel discussion and opportunity for audience questions.

'Stay Home' rapid response collecting project, Museum of the Home

The Stay Home Collection is a digital collecting project at the Museum of the Home that explores people's experiences of home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since April 2020, the project has received over 400 submissions including questionnaires, photographs, oral recordings and diaries, all of which document how the pandemic has impacted on home life – from the challenges of isolation, home-work and home-schooling to building new relationships and community support. In this conversation between Véronique Belinga (Collections Assistant, Museum of the Home) and Annabelle Wilkins (post-doctoral researcher, Kingston University and Queen Mary), we will explore how the project has enabled the museum to engage with the changing meanings of home in its exhibitions and collections, as well as reflecting on collaborative practice with participants, creative practitioners and researchers.

Curating Home: a conversation with emerging artists

This conversation between artists Omalola Mau, Husna Memon and Helen Potkin (Associate Professor, Kingston University) will focus on a recent exhibition on the theme of home that took place at One Paved Court Gallery in Richmond in January 2022. We will explore how the curators and artists individually and collectively addressed the themes of home, identity and cultural heritage, the curatorial decision-making process and audience responses.

Date: Monday 9 May 2022
: This event is online.

Curating Home
Credit: Museum of the Home

Between the Visible and Invisible

Maraya Art Centre is pleased to announce its exhibition, 'Between the Visible and Invisible' curated by Dr Azadeh Fatehrad. It features the works of a group of seven international artists that includes Pia Sandstrom (Stockholm), Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin (London), Chooc Ly Tan (Paris), Nikolaus Gansterer (Vienna), Leah Fusco (London), Vladimir Nikolic (Belgrade) and Oliver Ressler (Vienna). The exhibition's opening will be held on Saturday 15 September, 2018, at 7pm and will host a live performance by Chooc Ly Tan at 8pm. The show will run until Saturday 24 November 2018.

Date: 15 September - 24 November 2018
Location: Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah, UAE

Between the Visible and Invisible

The Echo of Your Departures

The Echo of Your Departures is a multimedia installation comprising a five-channel sound and two-channel video piece reflecting on Azadeh Fatehrad's current research project Double Agency: The Formation of Diasporas.

The installation has been inspired by a series of in-depth anthropological interviews in the context of women in diasporas, and covers questions regarding gender, identity, femininity, emotion, desire, fantasy, body language, clothing norms and moral values, among other things. Fatehrad has taken fragments of the interview transcriptions and combined them with imaginary elements of self-reflection to create an ephemeral constellation (of sound and video) through which she seeks to represent the notions of uncertainty and in-betweeness in the diasporic experience.

'The Echo of Your Departures' is the result of a three-month residency at St John's College, University of Oxford in collaboration with students and staff.

Date: 1420 June 2018
: the Barn Gallery, St John's College, University of Oxford


The Echo of Your Departures
Azadeh Fatehrad, 'Falling series'., photography, C-type print, London, in collaboration with Stella Drim and Heather McCalden
Artistic Research Will Eat Itself

Artistic Research Will Eat Itself

The ninth edition of the SAR International Conference on Artistic Research is organised by Geoff Cox, Azadeh Fatehrad, Allister Gall, Laura Hopes, Anya Lewin and Andrew Prior in partnership with Society for Artistic Research represented by Johan Haarberg, Gabriele Schmid and Geir Strøm. The conference is hosted by the Arts Institute at the University of Plymouth with additional support from Visual and Material Culture Research Centre, Kingston University and the Contemporary Aesthetics and Technology research programme, Aarhus University, Denmark.

Conference: 1113 April, 2018
Workshops: 811 April , 2018
Location: University of Plymouth, UK


This live event will comprise readings of new translations of Artaud, as well as talks addressing specific aspects of his work.

With contributions from:

  • Stephen Barber
  • Ros Murray
  • Samantha Marenzi
  • Paul Buck
  • Ed Atkins
  • Richard Hawkins

Spaces limited. RSVP essential to art@cabinetltd.demon.co.uk

Date: Saturday 24 March 2018, 2.30pm
Location: CABINET, 132 Tyers Street, Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, London, SE11 5HS


Berlin Bodies – Anatomising the Streets of the City

Professor Stephen Barber's new book Berlin Bodies presents an original conception of the corporeality of urban cultures, focusing on Berlin's scarred strata, manifested in film. The public event included screenings of rarely-seen Berlin films from the 1890s onwards and a Q&A.

The Whitechapel Gallery, 20 April 2017

 Berlin Bodies – Anatomising the Streets of the City
Eadweard Muybridge in Kingston, 1894-1904

Eadweard Muybridge in Kingston, 1894-1904

New research from experts in the field drawing upon Eadweard Muybridge's personal archive of documents, projection devices and slides, bequeathed to Kingston Museum.

Speakers: Stephen Barber; Becky Beasley; Andrew Carnie; Barnaby Dicker; Patrick French; Stephen Herbert; Seoyoung Kim; Robert Knifton; Esther Leslie; Fran Lloyd; Joana Neves and Charlotte Samuels. Supported by The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

Normansfield Theatre, Langdon Down Centre, Hampton Wick, 4 November 2016

Thinking through Making: 140 Years of Kingston School of Art

A Heritage Lottery-funded documentary film, directed by David Kew, focusing on the history of Kingston School of Art. Panel discussion led by project leaders, Professor Fran Lloyd and Dr. Robert Knifton, focused on the art school experience. Speakers: John Carter RA (Fine Art alumnus), Mike Nelson (Professor of Fine Art) and Elinor Renfrew (Head of Fashion).

London Film Premiere at the ICA, Friday 6 November 2015

Thinking through Making: 140 Years of Kingston School of Art