Consuming (the) Victorians

2016 Annual Conference of the British Association for Victorian Studies

Category: Updates (Page 1 of 3)

Imitation or Homage?

img_4902University of Leicester PhD researcher Katie Bell has written a reflection on the Dickensian capsule exhibition and the ‘My Dickens Project’ panel that took place at BAVS 2016. She takes Dr Holly Furneaux’s argument that Dickens fan fiction (such as Dickensian) can function as literary criticism – since ‘[w]hat contributes to the memorable quality of his characters is that his works have been reimagined numerous times, and perhaps due to this, his characters can easily be extracted from their original works and viewed as part of our families’ – and unpacks it.

Below is an excerpt of the full post, which you can find over on Victorianist:

Charles Caleb Colton made the famous assertion ‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’, to which Oscar Wilde cunningly added, ‘…that mediocrity can pay to greatness’.  Wilde’s addition gives a new take on the term ‘reboot’ and he more than likely would have applied his addendum to the modern film market whose current muse appears to be the never ending superhero chronicles.  Do film and television adaptations cross the line from creatively exploring a new way of seeing a well-loved story, such as Colton surmised, or are they merely rehashing old plot lines as a way to avoid bringing a new story line to the market, as Wilde suggests?  Further, is this act of recycling truly creative or is it merely imitative; if the former, how far can we, as well-read writers, move from imitating those authors who truly inspire us?

Read more at the link.

Re-Live ‘Consuming (the) Victorians’ on Storify

IMG_6487It’s been almost a week since the 2016 British Association for Victorian Studies annual conference, ‘Consuming (the) Victorians’, officially closed at Cardiff University.

Whether you were able to join us in person or only online, now you can re-live the experience from the comfort of your own home. We have compiled some of our favourite memories into a Storify thread for each day of the conference, so you can re-live them along with us. BAVS Postgraduates representative Emma Butcher has also put one together for the PGR/ECR workshops on 31 August:

BAVS 2016 – PGR/ECR Workshops

BAVS 2016 – Day One (31 August, 2016)

BAVS 2016 – Day Two (1 September, 2016)

BAVS 2016 – Day Three (2 September, 2016)

BAVS 2016 – Aftermath

We couldn’t have achieved all this without our team of bursary tweeters, who volunteered their skills in exchange for a small subsidy (graciously provided by BAVS and Cardiff University). They produced around a third of the live tweets during the conference. One even put together a drawing of her experiences:

Image by @KeiWaiyee ('Marxist Baking'), BAVS 2016 delegate

Image by @KeiWaiyee (‘Marxist Baking’), BAVS 2016 delegate

We hope you all had a lovely time at BAVS 2016: ‘Consuming (the) Victorians’, and wish you all a wonderful year to come. See you again at BAVS 2017: ‘Victorians Unbound’!


Thank You!

FullSizeRender 6BAVS 2016 has officially wrapped!

We want to give a massive ‘Thank You’ to everyone who made this event possible, from the organisers and staff, to the team of Cardiff University volunteers, to the presenters, chairs, and delegates themselves. You have been a lovely, lively, witty group of people, who make us very glad to call ourselves Victorianists.

Thanks also to the many people following (and tweeting about) the conference! Stay tuned for the various conference reports and retrospectives that will be following in the coming weeks, and do take the opportunity to scroll back through the #BAVS2016 Twitter feed. On the first day of the conference our hashtag was trending among the top 50 topics in the UK!

We wish you all safe travels home, and a wonderful weekend. See you again at BAVS 2017: Victorians Unbound!

Programme Changes (Wednesday, 31 August)

All changes are also reflected in the conference programme on this website.

Conference welcome and keynote 1: please note the change of venue:

Julian Hodge (NOT Law LT)


Julian Hodge

LT 0.01

Conference Welcome

Damian Walford Davies, Head of School of English, Communication and Philosophy

Ann Heilmann, Chair of the Organising Committee


Julian Hodge

LT 0.01

Keynote 1

Chair: Ann Heilmann

Patricia Duncker (University of Manchester): ‘Imagining George Eliot’

1F: Visual Culture strand (1): Victorian Illustration

Chair: Rose Roberto (University of Reading)

  • Will Finley (University of Sheffield): ‘“Vehicles for pretty prints”: The consumption of image and text and the transformation of topography 1835-1850’
  • Bethan Stevens (University of Sussex): ‘Greedy rats: The business of Victorian wood engraving’

(Moved from 8G) Katherine Ford (Science Museum, London): ‘Demons, devils and dragons: Representations of pterosaurs in 19th-century science and culture’

1H: Consuming Otherness strand (1): Consuming 19th-century France

Panel convened by Kate Griffiths (Cardiff University)

Chair: Kathy Rees

  • Richard Leahy (University of Chester): ‘Frameworks of desire and mass consumption: Networked society in the works of Émile Zola’
  • Kate Griffiths (Cardiff University): ‘Translating Zola for 21st-century television: Audience, consumption, context and The Paradise (BBC, 2012)’
  • Andrew Watts (University of Birmingham): ‘Consumed by Spirit: Reincarnating Balzac in Charles d’Orino’s Tales from the Beyond (1904)’

Please note Andrew Watt’s change of title.

 1M: Consuming Christ: Ethics and Faith

Chair: Rosemary Mitchell (Leeds Trinity University)

  • Keri Cronin (Brock University, Canada) and Maria Power (University of Liverpool): ‘Christ in the laboratory: Religious ethics and the anti-vivisection movement in late Victorian Britain’
  • Melissa E. Buron (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Birkbeck College): ‘Proselytizing or profiteering? James Tissot and the commercialization of the Bible’

Please note that due to unforeseen circumstances Nele Pollatschek is no longer able to attend.

 2F: Visual Culture strand (2): Behind the Scenes at an Exhibition

Chair: Kate Newey (Exeter University)

  • Helen Kingstone (Leeds Trinity University): ‘“First, climb to the roof”: Making contemporary history consumable’
  • (Moved from 5F) Ciarán Rua O’Neill (University of York): ‘Consuming Classical and Renaissance sculpture: The Caryatid in Victorian Britain’
  • Anthony Walker-Cook (Durham University): ‘The museum and its various metaphors in Victorian literature’. Please note that due to illness this paper will be read out by Ann Heilmann

2K: Digitisation strand (1): Roundtable: Digital Visualisation and Victorian Studies   

Convened by Christopher Donaldson (Lancaster University) and

Joanna Taylor (Lancaster University)

Chair: Anthony Mandal (Cardiff University)

  • Zoe Alker (University of Liverpool): ‘Building Bentham’s panopticon’
  • Christopher Donaldson (Lancaster University): ‘Deep mapping mobile geographies’
  • Les Roberts (University of Liverpool): ‘The Cestrian Book of the Dead: Digital necrogeography and spatial anthropology’
  • Matthew Sangster (University of Birmingham): ‘Accruing Romantic London’
  • Joanna Taylor (Lancaster University): ‘Walking, writing and mapping the English Lake District’

Zoe Alker has withdrawn.

Your Guide to BAVS 2016

BAVS poster_castleJust over a week now to the start of BAVS 2016: ‘Consuming (the) Victorians’!

To help you navigate your way around the conference and the conference website, we’ve prepared a brief summary of all the things you’ll need to make your BAVS experience a success.

Getting to Cardiff

We have provided a handy travel guide on our website with instructions for getting to the city of Cardiff by air,­ rail, coach, and car.

Most of ‘Consuming (the) Victorians’ takes place in the Cardiff Business School’s flagship Postgraduate Teaching Centre (PTC), which is a short walk (15 mins) away from Cardiff city centre. The first two keynotes will take place in the Julian Hodge building. Please note that this information supersedes our previous message about the first keynote taking place in the Law Lecture Theatre; we have now been able to move the first keynote to the Julian Hodge, but will only get access to the lecture theatre at 1.  The Julian Hodge building adjoins the PTC and can be reached from the PTC side exit near the Ground Floor seminar rooms. Please see the PTC Ground Floor and Julian Hodge floor plans at the back of the Programme booklet.

You can download a location guide of the conference venue and surrounding area at this link. Floor plans for all the venues are available in your delegate packs, and on the ‘Conference Venue’ page of our website.

Time and Location of Registration

Registration will take place on in the concourse of the Cardiff Business School Postgraduate Teaching Centre, the main conference venue. There will be signs directing you to the appropriate locations.

Registration will open in the PTC in 0.04 on 31 August at 8:30 a.m., and will continue throughout the day.  For delegates arriving on Tuesday 30 August we will have early registration (again in 0.04) between 2 and 4 p.m. (Delegates who arrive a day in advance are welcome to attend the Dickens roundtable in the PTC Lecture Theatre 0.16 at 6 p.m.) For delegates only attending the second or third days of the conference, registration will be open throughout the conference day on September 1st and 2nd, starting at 8:30 a.m.

Please note that the BAVS 2016 PGR/ECR workshops will start at 9 a.m. sharp on the 31st. if you are attending these workshops you will need to register early, either the day before or on the day by 8:45 a.m.

The Programme

The most current version of the programme, with up-to-the-minute revisions, is available on the conference website. Here you can also find information on the keynote speakers, special sessions, musical interludes, and various exhibitions that will be taking place at BAVS 2016.

Please double-check the venue on the website or your revisions sheet before you proceed to a location – for example, the first keynote now takes place in the Julian Hodge building, and not the Law Lecture Theatre. Again, you will find a floor plan for each venue in your programme booklet.

You will also find printed copies of the programme and abstracts booklets in your delegate pack.

Please note that papers are limited to 20 minutes. In order to allow space for introductions and discussion, we encourage you to aim for no more than 18 minutes.

Curving glass roof and arched Venetian windows of the Morgan Arcade, a restored Victorian shopping arcade in Cardiff, Wales

Curving glass roof and arched Venetian windows of the Morgan Arcade, a restored Victorian shopping arcade in Cardiff, Wales

Getting online

Free internet will be available at the conference venue, with instructions for getting online available in your delegate packs. In addition to our conference website, you can find us on Twitter at @BAVS2016. We will be tweeting live from the conference using the hashtag #BAVS2016 – please feel free to join the conversation! You can also check in at our Facebook Event, ‘BAVS 2016’.


For those staying in University accommodation, your buildings can be found in either Colum Hall on the opposite side of Colum Road, in Aberconway Hall, or in Talybont; for Colum Road and Aberconway Hall breakfast takes place in the refectory of the Julian Hodge building; delegates staying at Talybont will have breakfast served in Talybont.

Please see our accommodation page for key pickup instructions and contact information for the accommodation halls.

Emergency Contacts

We will do everything in our power to ensure a safe, secure, and welcoming environment for you at BAVS 2016. In case of emergencies, however, here are some helpful contacts:

  • South Wales Police – 999
  • South Wales Fire & Rescue Service – 999
  • Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust – 999
  • Cardiff University Security – 029 2087 4444 (24-hour security control room)
  • Dragon Taxis – 029 2033 3333 |
  • Cardiff Bus – 029 2066 6444 |
  • DAN 24/7 Drug and Alcohol Helpline – 0808 8082234
  • LGBT Cymru Helpline – 0800 023 22 01
  • Nightline – 02920 870 555
  • Sexual assault referral centre (SARC) – 02920 335 795

Make Yourself at Home

Once you’re in Cardiff, you might find our suggestions for eating out and things to do in the neighbourhood useful. If you’re looking to learn a few words of Welsh, you can find a handy list of phrases (with pronunciation guide) here – or here if you’re looking for something student-oriented.

You can e-mail us at or tweet to us at @BAVS2016 during the conference with any queries. Conference organisers and volunteers will also be on hand to answer questions during ‘Consuming (the) Victorians’. You will recognise us by our red lanyards.

We look forward to seeing you soon!


Cardiff Bay

Special Session: Sidney Paget

Two of our three special sessions at BAVS 2016 are now full, but there are still a few spaces left in Kurita Kuusisto’s Sidney Paget exhibition (Friday 2 September, 10.30-11.20):

220px-SidneyEdwardPagetSPECIAL SESSION 3

Sidney Paget exhibition

Curated by Kurita Kuusisto (Cardiff University)

Special Collections (Arts and Social Studies Library)

Friday 2 September, 10.30-11.20

This session is limited to 16 attendees. Attendance by prior registration (e-mail:

This exhibition showcases the illustrative work of the artist and illustrator Sidney Paget (1860-1908), concentrating on his work for the Strand Magazine.

The exhibition shows examples of Paget’s work on Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and ‘Rodney Stone’ stories, while exploring how the changes in the publication process affected the appearance of the illustrations throughout the years. The exhibition also gives visitors a chance to look at bound volumes of the Strand Magazine housed in the Special Collections and Archives.

Biographical details: Karita Kuusisto is a PhD student at the School of English, Communication and Philosophy at Cardiff University. She has a BA in History of Art from the University of York and an MSc in Modern and Contemporary Art from the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on the work of the artist and illustrator Sidney Paget and the role of the illustrator in the process of making illustrated periodicals in the late Victorian era. Her research interests include illustration, periodical press and photography in the nineteenth century.

Cardiff’s Victorian Arcades

wales238Caroline Langley, researcher (via the CUROP initiative) on the BAVS2016 Arcades Tour, has been blogging about her work on the history of Cardiff’s Victorian Arcades. Interested to learn more about the mystery of Cardiff’s ‘royal’ baby, or crime in the Cardiff Arcades? Carrie has a short post on each.

Below is an excerpt from ‘Changing Forms of Retail in the Arcades’:

There are similarities between the type of goods that are sold in the arcades in Cardiff today and those that were sold in 1909. The arcades were filled with milliners, drapers and dressmakers selling items which are in many ways similar to the items sold in clothes shops today. Despite this, however, the Cardiff Directory from 1909 suggests a completely different approach to retail with a far bigger emphasis on the individuals who own the businesses than we see now.


There’s still time to join Martin Willis, Ruth McElroy, and Caroline Langley for a series of Cardiff Arcades tours. The tours will take place on September 1st (day two of BAVS 2016) at 1.45pm and 2.30pm, starting at Castle Arcade. They take around 40 minutes. More information can be found in our original post, and you can book your place here (limited availability):

If you can’t make it on the tour, or if you’re looking to whet your appetite in advance of the conference, you can read more at: Carrie will continue to update the blog over the coming weeks.

Menu Options (Reception and Conference Dinner)

The BAVS 2016 conference reception and dinner will be held at the National Museum in Cardiff.


The reception will involve the following canapees:

· Chicken and leek tart with truffle mash
· Crispy Pembrokshire Potao, Caerphilly Cheese & Chives (V)
· Polenta and laverbread nuggets with pepper marmalade (V)
· St Fagan’s sausage with caramelised black pudding and apple
· Welsh goats cheese herb & sunblushed tomato tart (V)

Three additional trays will cater for delegates with the following dietary requirements: vegan, gluten free, dairy-free, no lactose, allergies.

Conference Dinner

We have taken care to provide an authentically Welsh menu. If you booked the conference dinner during registration, we invite you to select your menu preferences using the following survey: Please ensure that you read carefully and fill in your choices correctly – orders will be made on the basis of these choices, so no changes are possible after you have submitted your selection.

Any food allergies or intolerances you have indicated previously will be taken into account. Please note that the vegetarian starter and main are vegan and gluten free, and no dish contains nuts. Variations are possible: e.g. the barigoule can be served without aioli, and the strawberry desert can be served with dairy-free chibouche or with no chibouche. Please advise on special requirements in the Notes section of the survey.

1. Severn and Wye smoked and Atlantic salmon fishcakes with lemon and horseradish sauce

2. Vegetable ceviche salad


1. Roast rump of Welsh lamb with a confit shoulder bon-bon, Duchess potatoes, minted pea puree and Chantanay carrots

2. Leeks & artichoke barigoule (casserole) with toasted sour dough and aioli


1. Bara brith bread pudding with berry sauce and Pembrokeshire ice cream

2. Balsamic strawberries with black pepper chiboust


Please click through to the survey to see extra, allergy-related options:

Major Updates

The_White_Rabbit_(Tenniel)_-_The_Nursery_Alice_(1890)_-_BLA few major updates before the registration deadline for BAVS 2016 is upon us (31 July – just under a week).

Update the First. The final version of the programme for BAVS 2016: Consuming (the) Victorians has gone to the printers, and is now available on our ‘Programme‘ page! You can  download a PDF version of the programme at this link, and a PDF of the abstracts and biographical notes at this link. We have also added more information on the keynote speakersspecial sessions, musical interludes, and various exhibitions that will be taking place at BAVS 2016.

Update the Second. You can now sign up for a tour of Cardiff’s many Victorian arcades, to take place on September 1st at 1:45 pm and 2:30 pm. Please reserve your (free) place using this link: More information here.

Update the Third. Registration for our pre-conference PGR/ECR workshops has closed, but we are still taking reservations for the three special sessions at BAVS 2016 itself. To register for one or more of these sessions, please send us an e-mail at

Update the Fourth. Our ‘Press & Media‘ page has been updated with some additional goodies, including posters and tote bag designs.

Happy browsing, and we look forward to seeing you soon at BAVS 2016!

Cardiff Arcades Tour

Arcade2Join Martin Willis, Ruth McElroy, and Caroline Langley for a series of Cardiff Arcades tours. The tours will take place on September 1st (day two of BAVS 2016) at 1.45pm and 2.30pm, starting at Castle Arcade. They take around 40 minutes.

Book your place here (limited availability):


Cardiff’s Victorian Edwardian Arcades

Cardiff’s Arcades embody the emergence of a truly Victorian city: built on industry and entrepreneurship, by workers and owners alike. The Arcades were a symbol of Cardiff’s status as a city born of and in nineteenth-century capitalism. They were the naves of those new cathedrals of consumption, department stores, and also the city’s arteries carrying people, produce and culture back and forth across the urban landscape. They remain, in the twenty-first century, at the very heart of Cardiff society and culture as well as inspiring its urban regeneration.

Blue = Castle (1887)              Purple = Duke Street (1902)   Red = High Street (1886) Yellow = Morgan (1899)     Orange = Royal (1870)      Green = Wyndham (1887)

Blue = Castle (1887)              Purple = Duke Street (1902)   Red = High Street (1886)
Yellow = Morgan (1899)     Orange = Royal (1870)      Green = Wyndham (1887)


These arcades, a recent invention of industrial luxury, are glass-roofed, marble-panelled corridors extending through whole blocks of buildings, whose owners have joined together for such enterprises. Lining both sides of the corridors, which get their light from above, are the most elegant shops, so that the arcade is a city, a world in miniature, in which customers will find everything they need. [Benjamin, arcades project]

SIR,- I have not been in the Royal Arcade since till opening day until this evening, and I can assure you I was quite surprised and disappointed to see the class of persons who frequent it. I really consider it a pity that such an improvement to our town should be spoilt and disgraced at the very outset by a rabble such as I saw tonight. There seems to be no order whatever. Children and roughs are allowed to perambulate at will. I was stopped for several minutes by a crowd collected to witness a fight (or, what I think more likely, a sham fight got up for the purpose of robbery)!! [South wales echo, 1870]

You can download the tour leaflet here. Please e-mail for more information.


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