State of the Art

Via Aaron Glass, University of British Columbia
Collecting art and national formation c. 1800–2000
A three-day international conference at the
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Wednesday 18 July to Friday 20 July 2007
Since the development of the public art gallery and museum in the early 19th century, art and the collecting of art in Britain have been closely linked to the articulation of national identity and the construction of nationhood. They have thus interleaved with debates on national morality, class, race and gender, and the social and civic functions of culture. In recent years ‘cultures of collecting’ have been subjects of considerable study in art history, museology and other forms of cultural studies. This international conference will build on this research, drawing together a range of academics and curators from national and international institutions, to consider the issues surrounding art collecting and nationhood across a variety of locations and cultures.
It will also develop these issues away from a purely Eurocentric focus upon the history of nation formation and the role of art and collecting in the evolution of European nationalism, to explore the significance of art collecting within the history of empire, and for emergent nation-states outside the European arena. It will also confront the complex and contentious issues within those larger histories, of the role of war and looting, and of art and its collecting as both victim and accomplice of international conflict and conquest.
The conference will complement Art for the Nation, the recently opened display in the Queen’s House of the various oil paintings collections that make up the National Maritime Museum’s total holding. One of the principal aims of the exhibition is to consider the history of these collections and how they relate to the historical definitions of Britain’s maritime and imperial identity.
A number of student bursaries for this conference will be available: please see registration details below.

To download the program click here:
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Registration information
Wednesday 18 July 17.45-21.00
Thursday 19 July 09.00-17.45
Friday 20 July 09.00-17.30
The Lecture Theatre, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF.
Wednesday 17.45-18.15
Thursday 09.00-09.30
Friday 09.00-09.30
Registration fee: £60.00
Early registration is advised. The conference fee covers registration, refreshments, the evening wine reception, lunches and conference materials. VAT at 17.5% is included in the fee.
A number of student bursaries are available supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. Please enquire for further information.
Payment must be received in pounds sterling. Cheques should be made payable to ‘National Maritime Museum/CONF’. Payment may be made by Mastercard or Visa.
A refund of fees (less 20% administration charge) will be given, provided that notice of cancellation is received in writing on or before 4th July 2007. After this date no refunds will be given. Substitutions may be made at any time but please advise conference staff as soon as possible.
Mrs Janet Norton, Research Administrator
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF
Tel: 020 8312 6716. Fax: 020 8312 6592
E-mail: Web site:
For accommodation in the area, please contact: Greenwich Tourist Information Centre, Pepys House, 2 Cutty Sark Gardens, Greenwich, London SE10 9LW
Tel: 0870 608 2000. Fax: 020 8853 4607
E-mail: Website:
Further information about accommodation in central London can be found on the University of London accommodation