News Archive 2021

Big Draw Festival returns to lead an exciting autumn of programming at the Research Forum

17 Sep 2021

The Courtauld Research Forum is pleased to announce its autumn digital events programme, including The Big Draw Festival 2021 and Series 6 of Open Courtauld Hour, our weekly digital installment on all things art history.

More than 35,000 people have taken part in and enjoyed Open Courtauld Hour to date, and the latest episodes take in the work of photographer Anthony Kersting, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works in The Courtauld collection, and much more. Details of our key events for autumn are below – with more to follow, so please do continue to check our events listings online.

Art History Festival: Hidden Figures: Unlocking The Courtauld Collection – 20 Sept 2021, 7-8pm

Ahead of The Courtauld Gallery’s reopening in November, join the team at The Courtauld in unlocking the hidden figures of its collection. The Courtauld team will delve into both the pictorial and material to unearth the stories of people of colour usually on display at their home in Somerset House.

The session will be made up of short lightning talks from members of the Courtauld community – Sussan Babaie (Professor in the Arts of Iran and Islam), Ketty Gottardo (Martin Halusa Curator of Drawings), Maureen Cross (Lecturer of Conservation and Technology) and Leyla Bumbra (Research Forum Programme Manager) – and will end with a panel discussion and Q&A where the audience will be invited to pose their questions to the speakers.

Open Courtauld Hour – 30 Sept 2021 – 16 Dec 2021

Open Courtauld Hour is an online miniseries providing one-hour packages of pop-up talks, performances and in detail object study sessions that explore and celebrate The Courtauld’s collection, research in art history, curation and conservation.

Events this autumn will include:

  • Open Courtauld Hour: Captured! on 30 September, which will examine 20th Century British photographer Anthony Kersting- the most prolific and widely travelled architectural photographer of his generation- who will be the subject of the inaugural display in the new Project Space when The Courtauld Gallery reopens. For this hour we are delighted to be collaborating with Tom Bilson (Head of Digital Media at The Courtauld), Caterina Domeneghini (Postgraduate Scholar in the Humanities, Wolfson College, Oxford and previous student at The Conway Library), Carla Iessa (Born in North Iraq and now settled in the UK) and Phil Dimes (Courtauld Volunteer and Photographer).
  • Open Courtauld Hour: Restaged! on 28 October is devoted to unpicking the ‘restaging’ of our cherished Impressionist and post-Impressionist works (as well as showing us rarely seen and displayed works). Experts and curators will look back at the physical journey of the collection during theGallery’s closure and in contextualising the LVMH Great Room. The hour will reveal the team’s secret discoveries and interrogate the revamped curatorial story. For this hour we are joined by Barnaby Wright (Deputy Head of The Courtauld Gallery and Daniel Katz Curator of 20th Century Art), Karen Serres (Curator of Paintings), Ketty Gottardo (Martin Halusa Curator of Drawings) and Alexandra Gerstein (McQueens Curator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts).
  • Open Courtauld Hour: Can Can! on 25 November will see the electrifying entertainment of the can-can and cabaret of The Courtauld’s collection take centre stage, taking inspiration from the night-time entertainment in Belle Époque Paris. These spaces allowed bohemians and aristocrats (both men and women) to rub elbows, revel in exuberant shows and proliferated revolutionary thought. Bringing together experts, creatives and figures from across the Courtauld community this hour will capture the excitement and spectacle of bohemian Paris in the 1890s.
  • The final session of 2021 will be Open Courtauld Hour: Dress-up! on 16 Dec. The Courtauld’s collection is often used as a tool to discuss how historic fashions, such as the glamorous outfits worn in Renoir’s La Loge, can be understood by a modern audience. This hour will read the fashion depicted in our collection to evaluate how our collection can (and has) been used to encourage ethical consumerism, support small businesses and inspire contemporary practitioners to get creative. From what to wear to what jewellery to gift, this Open Courtauld Hour will be your ultimate art historical guide to the festive season.

The Big Draw Festival – 2 Oct 2021 11am – 2pm

The Big Draw Festival: MakeTheChange! is a timely development on last year’s exploration into the relationship between people and our living environments. In 2021, we are partnering with The Big Draw team to take action, to explore and to discover ways to live in balance with the world around us. This year’s exciting selection of workshops will run from 11:00 – 14:00 on 2 October, featuring reworking The Courtauld’s collection to focus on protest art, sustainable art practices and ideal and imaginary worlds. The second half of the day will allow rare up-close and personal object study sessions with experts. Read more about the festival here.


Centre for American Art highlight event online – 13 Dec 2021, 5-6.30pm

This year’s Centre for American Art highlight on 13 December is African Diasporic Modernism: The Far-Reaching Tropicality of Black Geographies, presented by Samantha A. Noël – Associate Professor of Art History, Wayne State University, Michigan. This online event will examine the creative manifestations of black modernism, and explicates how tropicality functioned as a key unifying element in African Diasporic art. By examining the art of Aaron Douglas and Wifredo Lam, as well as the performances of Josephine Baker, Maya Angelou and early twentieth-century Carnival masqueraders in Trinidad, Professor Samantha A. Noël will explicate how their representations of tropicalia are reflective of the unique yet complex relationship that black people of these respective regions have with the terrain they inhabit – land on which many of the enslaved ancestors laboured.