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British Art after Britain

BAN Annual Conference 2023

Michelle Hannah, Still Life, 1660/2023, photomontage from the series Para. Courtesy of Michelle Hannah

24–25 November 2023

Kelvin Hall, Glasgow

The British Art Network’s Annual Conference 2023 considered the cultural legacies of devolution. The conference took place on Saturday 25 November, with a supporting programme beginning on Friday 24 November.

As questions about statehood, democracy and (dis)unity rose anew in the year of a Coronation, British Art after Britain reflected on the influence of regionalisation since the historic moment of the Good Friday Agreement and founding of parliaments in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Converging with these pathways of self-determination, a decentralising agenda backed by lottery funds established new galleries and arts centres across the country at the turn of the millennium. As these organisations and their buildings approached their quarter-centenary and with a renewed levelling-up plan incentivising relocation outside of London, this conference called for a conversation about the changing provisions for art, its histories, and audiences outside of the metropolitan centre and amidst the challenges of economic and ecological permacrisis. Imagining futures beyond endurance, it asked how approaches to exhibition-making, collecting and curatorial work might negotiate, trouble and respond to the changing relations of Britain to its constituent nations and the world beyond.

British Art after Britain was guest convened by Dr Marcus Jack in partnership with the Hunterian Art Gallery.


Friday 24 November 2023

16:00-17:00, various venues
The British Art Network offered a number of small-group tours on Friday 24 November 2023.

Public Screening and Q&A: History of the Present
18:00-19:30, Kelvin Hall, Glasgow
With BSL interpretation
The British Art Network was delighted to present the Glasgow premiere of History of the Present. Following the screening, co-directors Maria Fusco and Margaret Salmon were present to participate in a Q&A chaired by Dr Marcus Jack.

Saturday 25 November 2023

Conference Day: British Art after Britain
09:45-17:00, Kelvin Hall, Glasgow

With BSL interpretation and live captioning
The conference day brought together curators, artists, art historians and a range of culture professionals from across geographies in an imaginative and cross-disciplinary dialogue, including:

  • The poor, by the way: Working-class-ness as Method, a keynote in three acts delivered by Professor Maria Fusco (Professor of Interdisciplinary Writing at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee). Fusco embodied the uses and methods of working-class-ness, the failures of social mobility, the asceticism of subjective writing, the somatic envy mood, the diacritical first person voice, the unnecessary trampling of coats, the symbolic spatialisation of anxiety, the side eye, the sucking of jelly cubes, the gulping of leftover full fat milk, the militant cherishing, the proof of our survival, the something to be made.
  • Interventions from Glasgow-based artists Michelle Hannah, and Dr Jude Browning with vocalist Natalie McGhee.
  • Devolving Art’s Histories: regionalism and reception – paper presentations and panel with Clare Carolin (Kings College London), Gareth Bell-Jones (Flat Time House) and Dr Alice Correia (Curator and Art Historian).
  • Instituting Amongst: curating at the peripheries – paper presentations and panel with Jonathan P. Watts (Independent Curator and Artist), Dawn Bothwell (Independent Curator), Gayle Miekle (Newcastle University) and Emma Nicolson (Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh).
  • Roundtable discussion with Sepake Angiama (Iniva), Beth Bate (Dundee Contemporary Arts) and Nigel Prince (Artes Mundi), chaired by Dr Kirsteen Macdonald.

Visiting Dundee
Travelling to or across Scotland for the conference and thinking to add on some time for gallery visits?  
The Cooper Gallery (DJCAD, University of Dundee) kindly offered to open for conference delegates on Sunday 26 November.

Read more about the Cooper Gallery