Letter to an Unknown Soldier


J. Chapman - letter to an unknown soldier

In a year jammed-full of WW1 commemoration the ‘Letter to an Unknown Soldier’ project invites everyone to step back from the public ceremonies and take a few private moments to think.  

If you could say what you want to say about that war, with all we’ve learned since 1914, with all your own experience of life and death to hand, what would you say?

If you were able to send a personal message to one of the men who served and was killed during World War One, what would you write?

Professor Jane Chapman, a comparative media historian, specializing in gender, newspapers and comics/cartoon archive culture, penned a moving letter to the unknown soldier, contributing to a permanent archive in the British Library http://www.1418now.org.uk/letter/professor-jane-chapman/.

Professor Chapman wrote the letter alongside a soldier cartoon produced during the Great War for a trench newspaper and draws upon her wealth of knowledge and expertise in this area to inform the reader about forms of communication at that time.

New ‘Finding the Value’ exhibition to open at York St Mary’s

York St MarysNew work by artist Andrew Bracey will go on show as part of a new exhibition opening in York this week.

Finding the Value is a new installation at the medieval York St Mary’s church, which is inspired by the £2million Madsen Banquet. Andrew Bracey, who is Programme Leader for Lincoln’s MA Fine Art and MA Contemporary Curatorial Practice, is one of five artists who have been invited to create new work that responds to the collection of a local man who bequeathed his estate to York Museums Trust.

Peter Madsen and his sister Karen Madsen left their estates to York Museums Trust in 2011, providing the £2 million financial trigger needed to instigate the £8 million development of York Art Gallery, which is due to reopen in 2015. Included in Peter Madsen’s estate was his own varied collection, which is the stimulus for Finding the Value.

This new exhibition will explore the idea of inheritance of cultural values and the meaning of value, with Andrew choosing a selection of paintings from the Madsen collection with which to create new artworks. HisReconFigure Paintings feature an additional, abstract painted structure superimposed upon the human figures in the paintings.

Andrew has worked with different styles and types of figurative paintings to show the diversity of the Madsen collection, and he will create an intimate space to house his paintings – a ‘white cube’ within a mirrored structure that reflects the unique architecture of the church and also the viewer.

The other commissioned artists who will show their work as part of the installation are Alison Erika Fode, Yvette Hawkins, Susie MacMurray and Simon Venus. The majority of the new works will be for sale, and all proceeds will go to the York Art gallery redevelopment fund.

Dr Janet Barnes, CBE, chief executive of York Museums Trust, said: “We have been extremely grateful for the generosity of Peter Madsen and Karen Madsen, without which it would not have been possible to redevelop York Art Gallery on this scale. The financial value of their estates is very obvious, but Peter Madsen was also generous in leaving us his collection of paintings, prints, books and ethnographic and decorative art. We acquired some items for the collection as a permanent record of Peter Madsen’s generosity and the rest was sold at auction to raise funds for York Art Gallery. The residue that was left was of much lesser value so wedecided to take these works, both images and objects, as the raw material for new works. It is intended that the new works should respond to, investigate and develop the values and cultural meaning of the original works. It may even be the case that the financial value of the new works will greatly exceed the present value of the original material. It is hoped to be a creative questioning of, and experiment in, the inheritance anddevelopment of cultural values.”

The exhibition will take place in York St Mary’s from Friday 4th July to Sunday 2nd November 2014. It will be open daily 10am – 5pm and entry is free.

Humanities Fellowships at the National Humanities Center, USA

NHC USAThe National Humanities Centre in the USA is seeking applicants for academic-year or one-semester residencies in 2015/16.  Fellowship applicants must have a PhD or equivalent scholarly credentials. Emerging scholars as well as senior scholars from all areas of the humanities are welcome. The Center does not normally support the revision of doctoral dissertations.

Located in the progressive Triangle region of North Carolina, the Center affords access to the rich cultural and intellectual communities supported by the area’s research institutes and universities. Fellows have private studies; the library service delivers all research materials. Scholars from all parts of the globe are encouraged to apply; travel expenses in addition to a stipend are provided. The deadline for applications is October 15, 2014. For further information please see http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/fellowships/appltoc.htm.

AHRC: Open World Research Initiative Launched


Our ability to fully appreciate the richness of world history, literature and belief requires the research expertise and language skills to better understand the cultures, art and traditions the world around us. The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is pleased to announce details of its major new funding initiative aimed to enhance the UK’s research strengths in this area: the Open World Research Initiative. The initiative will be looking to fund exciting and ambitious new investigations rooted in language expertise in cultures from across the world, ultimately helping to inform what it means to be human in a global world.

The initiative is central to AHRC’s wider strategy for language-led research – research that is rooted in a deep appreciation of the language and literary traditions of human cultures. The AHRC will invest around £20m on at least five research programmes over four years from 2016. Programmes will be expected to develop innovative ways of working and to achieve wider impacts by engaging extensively with public audiences, policy bodies, private enterprises, the third sector and international partners. The Research Organisations involved in a programme will be required to demonstrate longer-term strategic commitment to the initiative, including sustainability beyond the initial funding period.  It is expected that after the four-year period of Research Council funding, there will be a clear and sustainable legacy of the work, including partnerships, and on-going impact both within and beyond academia.

For further press information from the AHRC, please contact Danielle Moore-Chick on 01793 41 6021 or d.moore-chick@ahrc.ac.uk