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Mr Benjamin Angwin

Research project: Omega Beyond the Workshops: towards a relocation into the modernist field of artistic and cultural production

Abstract

My research project avoids retelling the Omega Workshops' narrative.This is not a study which is object-led, confined to the things themselves. Instead, this project returns to the Omega with broader scope and with renewed vision. It considers the strategies and agency of the Omega Workshops and focuses on investigating how they operated within – and, at times, outside – highly modernised external systems and commercial frameworks, as well as more informal networks of patronage. I investigate Omega as an active agent within metropolitan London's rapidly developing marketplace for modernist painting, so-called ‘advanced' decorative aesthetics, and modern international commercial styles of fashion and interior decoration during the early twentieth-century.

My thesis presents discourse-changing research on Omega among its British and international contemporaries, Omega's problematic relationship with its patrons, Omega's engagement with modern British theatre, and Omega's ambitious transatlantic ventures – all of which saw Omega presented to new and developed audiences.

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: Omega Beyond the Workshops: towards a relocation into the modernist field of artistic and cultural production
  • Research supervisor: Professor David Cottington
  • Other research supervisor: Professor Penny Sparke

Biography

I have been a Collections Researcher and Acting Assistant Curator at Tate Britain, working on displays and exhibitions including 'Kenneth Clark: Looking for Civilisation' (2014), 'Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World' (2015) and 'Spaces of Black Modernism: London 1919–39'. I have worked as an Art History Specialist and Collections Researcher for Southwark Art Collection and Cuming Museum (2014–15). I continue to be involved in curatorial projects: Mantelpiece Modernism: The Omega Workshops, Bloomsbury and Gordine – co-curated with David Herbert – Dorich House Museum, London, (2018); Postgraduate Research Exhibition (co-curated with Dr. Rob Knifton), Platform Gallery, Kingston University (2016). Previous roles also include a Research Assistant for Prof. David Cottington's forthcoming publication (Yale University Press). I have experience of assessing historical and contextual studies modules for Interior Design, BA Hons (Kingston University, London). I welcome research and curatorial proposals.

Areas of research interest

  • British modernism
  • Modern interiors
  • Artist interiors
  • Early Twentieth-Century British theatre
  • Avant Garde theatre
  • Female patronage
  • Anglo-American cultural exchange
  • Modern painting and the decorative arts
  • Modern art and craft
  • Networks of modernism

Qualifications

  • MRes Art History, Kingston University, London (2012)
  • BA Hons Museum and Gallery Studies, Kingston University, London (2011)

Funding or awards received

  • Research Travel Bursary: The Decorative Arts Society, UK (2017)
  • Research Travel Award: Modern Interiors Research Centre [MIRC] (2017)
  • KSA Faculty Research, Event and Conference Fund (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
  • KSA Faculty Funded PhD (2016–completion)
  • AHRC Funded Masters by Research (2011)
  • The Art Society, Kingston (2018) [in collaboration with Dorich House Museum]

Publications

Mantelpiece Modernism: The Omega Workshops, Bloomsbury, and Gordine [exhibition catalogue] (independently published by Kingston University, London 2018)

"From Ancient to Modern: The Omega Workshops' experiments in lustre, c.1914" [co-authored with David Herbert] in Mantelpiece Modernism (2018), pp.12–23

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