The McQueens Illuminating Objects Internship is a multi disciplinary programme offering postgraduates in fields outside of the history of art the chance to select, research and display a rarely seen work of art from the sculpture and decorative arts collections of The Courtauld Gallery. Through rigorous research into the presentation in the gallery and online, each intern has imprinted his or own perspective on ‘their object. Partner institutions have included King’s College, Goldsmiths College, Imperial College, Central Saint Martins, Royal College of Art, University College London and the University of Kent, with disciplines ranging from theology, anthropology, design, engineering and science communication. During The Courtauld’s temporary closure, the McQueens Illuminating Objects internship is being delivered in collaboration with the Science Museum, which is hosting three displays between 2019 and 2021.
This evening’s event is a collaboration between speakers selected by our current intern to reflect on the history and methods used in the displaying of the final object for the Science Museum, and the importance of using objects as vehicles for design research. The piece in question is a hand-painted silk that encapsulates a moment of artistic response to a long period of industrial change in Britain. Created within the Omega Workshops, this piece blends the realms of fine art and wearable clothing with an aesthetic that stood against the machine-made production of the time, weaving a story from its stitches to it strokes. The hand-painted silk will be displayed at The Science Museum in London from May 19th – September 2021
More information about the McQueens Illuminating Objects project can be found here.
Organised by Sophie-Nicole Dodds – McQueens Illuminating Objects Intern, The Courtauld
Sophie-Nicole Dodds – McQueens Illuminating Objects Intern, The Courtauld
Sophie-Nicole Dodds is a designer and making practitioner. She graduated from her MA Design: Expanded Practice, a radical post-disciplinary programme within the Fashions and Embodiment Studios, and gained her BA in Bespoke Tailoring at UAL: London College of Fashion. Her practice focuses on the everyday moments of garments in terms of repair, care, and wear, where she uses her tailoring background and drawing to inform her work. From working with fashion & textile objects in the Goldsmiths Textile Collection the importance of the ‘archive’ became central to her work, whether that be historical textiles or our own everyday garments.
Sophie has been part of the Illuminating Objects Programme at The Courtauld Gallery since March 2020. She was drawn to objects in the collection which could be described as fragments, and to the narratives they enclose or inspire, exploring conversations that may arise from them through gestures of movement and touch. The chosen object is a hand-painted silk created within the Omega Workshops by little known artist Jock Turnbull. The object is now on display at The Science Museum in South Kensington from May 19th 2020 when the museum reopens following the Covid-19 outbreak.
Dr Katy Barrett – Curator of Art Collections, Science Museum, London
Dr Katy Barrett is Curator of Art Collections at the Science Museum, London. Previously she was Curator of Art, pre-1800, at Royal Museums Greenwich, and has held various posts in national and university museums crossing the arts, sciences and material culture. She has higher degrees in History of Art and History of Science and is active on social media as @SpoonsonTrays. At the Science Museum, Katy is responsible for both collecting and commissioning art, advising across the Science Museum Group. Most recently she co-curated The Art of Innovation: from enlightenment to dark matter (2019-2020) and led the commissioning of new artworks for Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries (2019).
Katy has co-led the Illuminating Objects internship programme while it has been a collaboration with the Science Museum in 2018-2021, working closely with interns and Courtauld colleagues to develop the displays and online content.
Ben Angwin – PhD candidate Kingston University, London
Ben Angwin is a Ph.D. candidate at Kingston University, London. His thesis presents new research on The Omega Workshops and its engagements with modern British theatre, its complex relationships with female patrons, and its little-known transatlantic ventures. In 2018 he co-curated the exhibition Mantelpiece Modernism: The Omega Workshops, Bloomsbury, and Gordine at Dorich House Museum, London, with his friend and collector, David Herbert. Ben holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Museum & Gallery Studies and Art History and has previously held positions in curating and collections-based research on Modern British Art at Tate Britain and the Southwark Art Collection.
On The Omega Workshops, Ben has published in the journals Interiors: Design/Architecture/Culture as well as in the Charleston Press to accompany the 2019 exhibition Post-Impressionist Living: The Omega Workshops. In recent years Ben has contributed to discussions with Courtauld staff, Alexandra Gerstein and Guillaume Olive, on the Gallery’s new and forthcoming displays of its Bloomsbury collections.
Ruby Hoette – Senior Lecturer MA Design Expanded Practice, Goldsmiths, London
Ruby Hoette is a designer/researcher/educator seeking to expand what constitutes ‘fashion practice’ through inclusive and experimental modes of engaging with and producing fashion. By framing the fashion object as an artefact carrying traces of social, cultural and economic interactions, her work unpicks and reconfigures relationships between garment and system, theory and practice. Ruby’s practice is interwoven with her role as Senior Lecturer in Design at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she contributes to the MA Design Expanded Practice, a radical post-disciplinary programme including the Fashions and Embodiment Studio; a space to experiment with alternative ways of operating within and beyond fashion.
Following their talks, the four speakers will be joined by additional panellists for further discussion about the McQueens Illuminated Objects project.
Kate Edmondson, Conservator of Works on Paper, The Courtauld
Kate Edmondson is responsible for the care and conservation of the Prints & Drawings collection at The Courtauld. She joined the Gallery team in 2011 and since then has collaborated with colleagues and students on research projects, including the Illuminating Object Internships, with the close examination of a pair of late 17th century German miniature picture bibles.
Dr Alexandra Gerstein, McQueens Curator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Courtauld
Alexandra Gerstein oversees a wide-ranging collection ranging from Gothic ivories and Islamic metalwork to 18th century silver and late 19th century sculpture. She started the Illuminating Objects Internships in 2012 as a way of connecting The Courtauld to postgraduate researchers in fields outside the history of art.