Following up on last month’s list of conference reports from our PG and ECR bursary winners, here are the latest BAVS 2016 updates from the Victorianist, the official British Association for Victorian Studies postgraduate blog.
If you attended the BAVS conference held in Cardiff earlier this year, you may have had time to explore the gallery of screaming Victorians adorning the walls of the registration room. If not, it is worth taking some time to get acquainted with the fascinating legion of howling, devastated, vindictive and enraged men, women and children that populate artist Anthony Rhys’s collection of work.
Lindsay Wells has penned a response to two BAVS 2016 conference papers by Camilla Adeane and Kumiko Tanabe, on John Everett Millais:
What I enjoyed most about both Dr. Tanabe and Adeane’s papers was the thoughtful insight they offered into the latter half of Millais’s professional life. The Boyhood of Raleigh, The North-West Passage, and Bubbles constitute an important facet of the artist’s career that, like his Pre-Raphaelite endeavors of the 1850s, is intellectually rich and innovative. In their arguments, both Dr. Tanabe and Adeane called for a reexamination of our preconceived notions about Millais’s mature work. They each offered a refreshingly perceptive interpretation of their selected paintings, all of which touch upon sentimental and aesthetic themes beyond their literal subject matter.
Flore Janssen’s conference report explores ‘Consuming Beings, Being Consumers: Consumption and Identity in the Victorian Period’:
In his introduction to The Oxford Handbook of the History of Consumption, Frank Trentmann described how, since the 1970s, scholars in the social sciences ‘have studied the creative, ambivalent nature of consumption and reclaimed it as a fertile ground for subcultures, hybridity, self-fashioning, and transgressive identity politics’.In other words, consumption functions as an expression of identity, and studying habits of consumption can reveal a great deal about the ways in which people choose to present themselves. The theme of this year’s BAVS conference, ‘Consuming (the) Victorians’, provided a helpful way in to two major questions surrounding material culture in historical research: how did the Victorians build a sense of self through material culture and consumer goods, and how do these objects determine our understanding of the Victorians today?
Last but not least, Kirstin Mills recorded a video blog during the conference, in which she interviews a series of international delegates to find out where they’ve travelled from and why they decided to come to BAVS in Cardiff:
Be sure to check the Victorianist for more reports on BAVS 2016, and to read more about the exciting research BAVS postgraduates are currently conducting.