Mourning and Morbidity: Death and British Art

One-day Workshop

Tuesday 10th March 2015

University of York

A one-day workshop investigating the relationship of Death and British art, to be held in the Treehouse of the Berrick Saul Humanities Research Centre at the University of York, on Tuesday 10th March

Art in Britain has always been concerned with mourning and morbidity, and with death as a social, cultural and ritualistic process. This event will consider the extent to which death and its visual cultures have impacted the production and reception of art in Britain—from the architectures of church, chapel and mausoleum, to funerary monuments, rituals, parades and protests, and beyond.

In light of recent work on the sculptural quality of the funerary monument, we ask how art in Britain might be seen in relation to longer histories of death and mourning. How has the complex religious landscape of the British Isles and its former colonies differently figured the cultural experience of death? Can the representation of death and the dead body be understood as integral or as an adjunct to personal or national self-definition? Can a nation mourn?

In collaboration with the University of York’s Death Studies Network, the British Art Research School will host an informal workshop which aims to facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration and new thought on the topic of death and British Art. We invite short position papers or provocations (no longer than 15 minutes) that consider the visual and material manifestations of death in British culture, by researchers of all levels whose interests are connected with British Art.

Subjects may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • The depiction of death and chronic illness in works of sculpture, painting, print, photography and film.
  • Official, personal and dissident memorials to the dead and their relationships to national identity.
  • Spaces or sites of death within both the British landscape and elsewhere, including death as an imagined space.
  • Relics and the reification or appropriation of the dead by the living.
  • The dead or dying artist.
  • Material culture connected with funerary rituals and remembrance of the dead. The processes of mourning, melancholia and haunting.
  • Disputes over the cultural representation of death in light of global, international, post-colonial and multicultural histories.
  • The imagery of death in British popular cultures and youth cultures.
  • Participants are invited to send titles of their presentations to

The deadline for submissions is January 20th, 2015.

Mourning and Morbidity Poster CFP (2)