Welcome to our Early Bird programme. The full programme will be released at the end of March.
Renowned painter of the exquisite and other-worldly The Kiss, Gustav Klimt is the crowning jewel in Austria’s symbolist movement. Join Brandon, Dautch and Quraishi as they present their poetic answers to Klimt’s masterpieces, specially commissioned by Bradford Literature Festival. The poets will discuss how Klimt’s work inspired their own, as well as the social and artistic context in which the paintings were created. This one-of-a-kind event marries the contemporary with the historical to mark the centenary of Klimt’s death.
What happens when you bring together two people at the top of their game but from different spheres? Shuckburgh is a climate scientist and deputy head of the Polar Oceans Team at the British Antarctic Survey. Haughton is a designer, author and illustrator of numerous publications including A Bit Lost, Oh No George! and Shh! We Have a Plan. They have collaborated to create an original piece of work that will explore the issues around polar science and climate change. The Trans.MISSION project was created to bring science and culture together with the aim of communicating cutting-edge science to new audiences through new methods. More information about the Trans.MISSION project can be found here.
Inspired by Dulle Griet (aka Mad Meg), Pieter Bruegel's 16th century painting of a "strong, intense woman striding determinedly across a violent landscape", Dull Margaret is the first graphic novel by Academy award-winning-actor Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones) and artist Dix (best known for his comics in the Guardian). The Dulle Griet painting shows a breastplated woman with a sword in one hand in front of the mouth of hell. Broadbent uses that single, vivid image as a launching point to explore what the rest of Dull Margaret’s bleak existence may have been like. Chaired by Georgina Godwin.
At a time when so many aspects of our lives are changing at a relentless speed and on an unprecedented scale, design is increasingly seen as a way to help us benefit from the opportunities created by those changes (and to avoid their dangers). One of the world's leading design and culture commentators maps with resourcefulness and creativity how design is responding to an age of intense economic, political and ecological instability. Public interest is soaring as a new generation of designers is using advanced technologies to pursue their political and environmental objectives in increasingly ambitious projects, as well as to reinvent the objects and spaces we use every day.
In this lavishly illustrated talk, Miles presents his latest book, St Petersburg –Three Centuries of Murderous Desire, an epic tale of massacre, madness and murder played out against the splendour of a city risen from the frozen marshlands on the western edge of Russia – a city created to be a daring new capital of an old country.
Joseph Banks accompanied Captain Cook on his first voyage round the world from 1768-1771. A gifted and wealthy young naturalist, Banks collected exotic flora from Madeira, Brazil, Tierra del Fuego, the Society Islands, New Zealand, Australia and Java, bringing back over 1,300 species that had never been seen or studied by Europeans. On his return, Banks commissioned more than 700 superlative engravings between 1772-1784. Known collectively as Banks’ Florilegium, they are some of the most precise and exquisite examples of botanical illustration ever created. Studholme introduces a selection of the images and explains the process of producing them.
From the earliest archaeological relics and rituals, through the development of writing and state, to the advent of empire, Harrison-Hall, head of the China section at The British Museum, charts the country's transformation from ancient civilisation to the world’s most populous nation and influential economy, showing us a myriad historical insights and cultural treasures along the way.
Walking from Capel-y-Ffin chapel, the cultural historian talks about Try the Wilderness First: Eric Gill and David Jones at Capel-y-Ffin, looking at the landscape as inspiration for the artistic community based here. A member of the Brecon Beacons National Park team will join the walk.
Dripping with blood and gold, fetishised and tortured, gateway to earthly delights and point of contact with the divine, forcibly divided and powerful even beyond death, there was no territory more contested than the body in the medieval world. The art historian uncovers the complex and fascinating ways in which the people of the Middle Ages thought about, explored and experienced their physical selves.
The development of painting in London from the Second World War to the 1970s is the story of interlinking friendships, shared experiences and artistic concerns among a number of acclaimed artists, including Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, David Hockney, Bridget Riley, Gillian Ayres, Frank Bowling and Howard Hodgkin. Drawing on extensive first-hand interviews, many previously unpublished, with important witnesses and participants, the art critic Martin Gayford teases out the thread connecting these individual lives and demonstrates how painting thrived in London against the backdrop of Soho bohemia in the 1940s and 1950s and ‘Swinging London’ in the 1960s.
There is a burgeoning literature on end-of-life writing, on grief, bereavement and memorial. Edmund de Waal talks about mortality and how it is reflected across different genres and art-forms from the poetry of Anne Carson and Max Porter, the memoirs of Paul Kalanithi and Marion Coutts, to the writings of Atul Gawande and Julia Samuel. He will also discuss his own porcelain installations and collaborations that explore ideas of memorial. The Wellcome Book Prize lecture aims to celebrate the place of medicine, science and the stories of illness in literature, arts and culture, and how these stories add to our understanding of what it means to be human. Edmund De Waal, chair of judges for the 2018 prize, is an artist and writer, author of The Hare with the Amber Eyes and The White Road.
The artist, co-creator of the Book of the Year, talks about the extraordinary project to reclaim and celebrate The Lost Words whilst she paints live onstage. She is accompanied by the music and song of Kerry Andrew performing the spells. All over the country, there are words disappearing from children’s lives. These are the words of the natural world – dandelion, otter, bramble, acorn – all gone. The rich landscape of wild imagination and wild play is rapidly fading from our children’s minds. Morris and her poet-spellcaster, Robert Macfarlane, have created a joyful celebration of nature words and the natural world they invoke. They capture the irreplaceable magic of language and nature for all ages.
Sponsored by Richard Booth’s Bookshop, which is hosting an exhibition of Jackie’s work until 31 August 2018
Radiocarbon dating recently identified a manuscript in the University of Birmingham’s Cadbury Research Library as possibly the world's oldest fragment of the Qur’an, showing it to be at least 1,370 years old and attracting unprecedented international interest. Similarly, the earliest Latin commentary on the Gospels was rediscovered in a manuscript in Cologne Cathedral Library after being lost for 1,500 years and published for the first time last year with an English translation. How are such texts identified, authenticated and catalogued? What measures are taken to preserve them and make them available for scholarly research and public interest? What are the cutting edge technologies being used to analyse, protect and recover key historical documents?
Sarah Kilroy is Head of Conservation and Programming and Hugh Houghton is Director of Research at the Department of Theology and Religion and leads Birmingham's Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing.
The Cambridge astronomer introduces his ground-breaking survey that celebrates the popular subject of astronomy through 300 images created by those who have tried to understand – or who have been inspired by – the beauty and mystery of stars, planets, and beyond. The selection includes paintings, photographs, sculpture, animation, prints, sketches and digital renderings with iconic works by renowned photographers, artists and astronomers alongside previously unpublished finds.
To recreate the past as a living, breathing place, the historical novelist has visited churches, archives, museums and art galleries all over Italy. In this lecture, she tells the story of her discoveries; how the decoding of old paintings alongside the work of the most modern historians helped her to penetrate hidden worlds inside the Renaissance, finding wonder and drama in ordinary lives and exploring the complexities of politics and religion along with emotion, the senses and the heady appetites of body and soul. Dunant’s novels include the acclaimed trilogy The Birth of Venus, In the Company of the Courtesan and Sacred Hearts, her two novels about the Borgias, Blood and Beauty and her latest In the Name of the Family.
The illustrator is a graduate of the Royal College of Art and the winner of the V&A Book Illustration Award. Her work has appeared iVogue, the Guardian and the New York Times. Her books include The Promise by Nicola Davies and The Iron Man by Ted Hughes, which was awarded an honourable mention in the Bologna Ragazzi Award fiction category.
In 1954, following her death, Frida Kahlo’s possessions were locked away in the Casa Azul in Mexico City, her lifelong home. Half a century later, her collection of clothing, jewellery, cosmetics and other personal items was rediscovered. Wilcox, curator of the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the V&A, offers a fresh perspective on the life story of this extraordinary artist, whose charisma and entirely individual way of dressing made her one of the most photographed women of her time. Specially commissioned photographs show her distinctive Mexican outfits alongside her self-portraits, an unprecedented pairing that is enriched by iconic images taken in her lifetime. Chaired by Tristram Hunt.
The new blockbuster show at the V&A begins to imagine where our society might be headed. Cute but intelligent robots, massive unmanned aircraft that deliver internet access, crowdfunded buildings, tools printed in space, mysterious black boxes that understand human genetic codes – how can these objects affect the way we live, learn and love? And how are they challenging our understanding of what it means to be an individual, a citizen, a crowd or a species? Hunt is the Director and Hyde is the Curator of Contemporary Architecture and Urbanism at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Artist and illustrator of The Lost Words, written by Robert Macfarlane, The Ice Bear, Tell Me a Dragon and Song of the Golden Hare leads an art and story workshop in the landscape, for adults. Sketchbooks and pencils will be provided but bring your own if you wish. The workshop will be by the River Wye looking at river wildlife (but there is a wet-weather plan should it rain).