Event 2: Plymouth University Conference and Victoria and Albert Museum Workshop

The second event of the network included a major three-day international conference, which was preceded by a one-day workshop at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)  in London to work with curators on the recently opened European Galleries, 1600-1800, as well as an early modern gloves masterclass held at the V&A’s Clothworkers Centre led by Susan North, Curator of Fashion 1550-1800. The conference then moved to Plymouth, where it ran from the 7 to 9 April 2016, with a formal dinner hosted by the earl of Devon at Powderham Castle, which included a personal guided tour by the earl of the house, which focused on the network themes of gender, power and materiality.

The conference programme can be viewed via this link – gender-power-and-materiality-conference-programme.

Speakers included:
Tara Hamling (University of Birmingham)
Joanna Norman (Victoria and Albert Museum)
Ulinka Rublack (Cambridge University)
Merry Wiesner-Hanks (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)

The conference included papers that explored the relationships between gender, power and ‘materiality’ – a term that is broader than ‘material culture’, in that it opens up spatial sites and material texts – defined both in terms of objects or the physical features of texts and the social and cultural practices, and spaces in which they were produced, consumed, exchanged and displayed. Papers focused on different forms of power (political, social, economic and cultural) across the early modern period in Europe, and encompassed formal and informal power. In viewing power and materiality through the lens of gender, the organisers encouraged transdisciplinary approaches to bring into dialogue historians, art and architectural historians, literary critics, material culture specialists, anthropologists, archaeologists, curators, archivists and conservators.