A touching portrait of the family of the artist Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625) by his close friend and collaborator Peter Paul Rubens

News Archive 2020

Open Courtauld Hour: New Free Digital Events Series

23 Apr 2020

A crop of the Art in Isolation advert, showing a close up of the hands in Peter Paul Rubens's Family of Jan Brueghel with 'Art in Isolation' across it in white writing.

To Celebrate Art History Research, Curation and Conservation

The Courtauld Institute of Art is today launching Open Courtauld Hour, a month-long programme of digital mini festivals, every Thursday evening from 30 April to 21 May. An action-packed hour of short talks from expert speakers, live performances and explorations of individual works, Open Courtauld Hour is open to everyone and will explore and celebrate The Courtauld’s collection, research in art history, curation and conservation in creative new ways.

Exploring the weekly themes of Art in Isolation, Art and Wellbeing, The Future of Art History and Women Artists, speakers will include The Courtauld’s own experts, alongside invited guests including founder of @TheGreatWomenArtists Katy Hessel; curators from The National Gallery and The Bethlem Gallery; and poets including Shagufta K Iqbal, Jasmine Cooray, Jade Monserrat and Muneera Pilgrim. Through these sessions, Open Courtauld Hour aims to examine the impact of the current Covid-19 crisis on artistic practice, evaluate how artists and galleries are adapting to the digital world, and provide a platform for art historical research creative practice in lockdown – all in ways that are easily accessible to anyone with an interest in the field.

This weekly online event (hosted on Zoom) will launch on Thursday 30 April, 8.05 – 9.00pm. Details on how to join will be sent to all those who have registered 48 hours before each episode. Registration is free but must be pre-booked via the weblinks below, as there will be a limited number of places for each session.

Open Courtauld Hour is the latest initiative as part of The Courtauld’s work to increase access to its expertise and collections via digital channels, and is delivered by The Courtauld’s Research Forum. Other highlights include virtual tours of The Courtauld Gallery before it closed, or of the recent temporary exhibition of prints– Impressions of Modern Life.

Those interested in art history at all levels can access free recordings of art history research events, online books, blogs and short courses.

Open Courtauld Hour – Programme Information


Episode 1: Art in Isolation

Thursday 30 April, 8.05 – 9.00 pm

Lockdown has been transformational in how artists, galleries and museums are adapting to an online world to continue showcasing and making art. Why does art matter in quarantine? Join Alixe Bovey (Head of Research at The Courtauld Institute of Art) in exploring the importance of creative practice and artistic consumption in a time of isolation. Alixe will examine this issue through discussions with The Courtauld’s own Barnaby Wright (Deputy Head of The Courtauld Gallery), the National Gallery’s Caroline Campbell (Curator of Italian Paintings) and Underpinning’s Lorraine Smith (Co-founder). The hour will include a one-off poetic reinterpretation of Paul Cezanne’s ‘Montagne Sainte-Victoire with Large Pine’ by award winning poet Shagufta K Iqbal.

Watch the recording here.


Episode 2: Art and Wellbeing

Thursday 7 May, 8.05 – 9.00 pm

Over recent years, there has been a growing appreciation of the potential impact that art can have on health and wellbeing. In our second session, we will investigate the powerful supplementation of arts alongside medicine and care to foster an environment that improves health — both inside and outside of healthcare settings. Join Rebecca Chamberlain (Lecturer in Psychology at Goldsmiths University), Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz (Chair of Cancer Research UK and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge), Michaela Ross (Research Lead, Bethlem Gallery) and Jasmine Cooray (poet and counsellor) in discussions and performances exploring access to the arts in healthcare environments, the power of ‘Slow Art’ within galleries and museums and to debate on the subject of mental and physical health and artistic practice.

Watch the recording here


Episode 3: The Future of Art History

Thursday 14 May, 8.05 – 9.00 pm

In this session experts will discuss The Courtauld’s ever-changing approach to the online publication of its extensive photographic collection (via the development of an ambitious digitisation project encompassing 3.3 million prints and negatives), the implementation of scientific techniques of conservation and the challenges/opportunities this pandemic may provide those working in the field. In light of the changing art historical landscape, the audience will be joined by Aviva Burnstock (Professor and Head of the Department of Conservation and Technology at The Courtauld Institute of Art), Theo Gordon (Sackler Postdoctoral Fellow 2019-20 at The Courtauld Institute of Art), Tom Bilson (Head of Digital Media at the Courtauld Institute of Art) and artist and poet Muneera Pilgrim.

Watch the recording here


Episode 4: Women Artists

Thursday 21 May, 8.05 – 9.00 pm

Our fourth Open Courtauld Hour will focus on Women Artists, addressing gender imbalance in the art world, expanding on notions of public and private and reinserting women of all backgrounds back into the canon of art history. Hosting the evening will be Katy Hessel of @thegreatwomenartists — an account and podcast series which celebrates women on a daily basis. She will be joined by Jo Applin (The Courtauld Institute of Art) who will highlight her vast research into contemporary women artists, Ketty Gottardo (Martin Halusa Curator of Drawings at the Courtauld Institute of Art) who will be virtually opening up our object study room and allowing the audience to see, close-up, a number of works by Helen Saunders and other academics and curators focusing on women artists. Stuart Hall Foundation Scholarship Jade Montserrat. Jade will be reclaiming women’s narrative through a one-off poetic take on Paul Gauguin’s Te Rerioa.

Watch the recording here


Please note that programme is correct at the time of going to print, but may be subject to change.