Open Courtauld Hour: British – Art, Immigration and Migration

Open Courtauld Hour – The Courtauld’s digital series on all things art history – is back for monthly instalments this Autumn!

From migration and makers to immigrants and innovation the landscape of British art has undeniably been moulded by the movement of people. A cornerstone of British art, this hour will both trace and celebrate these voices, stories and perspectives which have often been hidden or displaced from the mainstream narrative of ‘art history’. We will consider the cultural obstacles immigrants and migrants faced and face when arriving in the UK — some artists unable to gain access to mainstream art institutions because of social discrimination towards migrant communities. The complex fabric of what constitutes ‘British’ art, visual culture and the buildings we live, work, learn and socialise in, scrutinised in the context of 2020.

For these critical conversations we are teaming up with Anna Eavis (Curatorial Director at English Heritage), Farhanah Mamoojee (Founder of Ayah’s Home) and Sarah MacDougall (Director Designate at Ben Uri Gallery). We end the hour by joining Thembe Mvula (South African writer, poet, performer, facilitator) for a one-off poetry performance that will reinterpret our collection.

This online mini series will provide concise one hour packages of pop-up talks, performances and in detail object study sessions that explore and celebrate our collection, research in art history, curation and conservation.

The series will touch on pertinent issues — magnifying contemporary thinking in society through the field of art history. These episodes will explore how the public, artists and galleries are adapting to a digital world, showcasing art historical research in light of this global pandemic and providing a platform for creative practice in the age of social distancing.

Most importantly, as art is relevant to all, these informal sessions will give attendees the chance to access, engage and read art and art history through a different lens— revamping and rethinking art historical discussions through retelling hidden stories. These episodes will platform new perspectives, new ways into art practice, looking at art and reading its history through themes that impact us all.