Friday 22 May 2015,18.30 BP Lecture Theatre £5, Members/concessions £3
Acclaimed Australian writer Melissa Lucashenko, of Goorie and European heritage, considers what ‘being Indigenous’ means in contemporary Australia. She writes: ‘Since 1788, Aboriginal people have been pinned relentlessly beneath the microscope of the European gaze. Today, that same gaze asks: our skin too pale, our English too accomplished and our minds too modern, who are we to claim that we are people of the First Nations?’ In association with the Australia & New Zealand Festival in London.
Friday 26 June 2015, 18.30 BP Lecture Theatre £5, Members/concessions £3
This discussion will reflect on the rediscovery of classical Greek art in the 18th century and how this influenced both the cultural and political landscape of Western Europe. Features Matthew Bell, King’s College London, Katherine Harloe, University of Reading,Athena Leoussi, University of Reading, and author and historian Dominic Selwood.
Friday 3 July 2015, 18.30 BP Lecture Theatre £5, Members/concessions
Renowned dealer in Australian art Rebecca Hossack chairs a panel discussion considering contemporary Indigenous Australian art and collecting, exploring the position of this work in the broader contemporary art market with its related constraints and possibilities.
Thursday 4 June 2015, 13.30 BP Theatre Free booking essential
Catharine Edwards, Birkbeck College, University of London, looks at Roman admiration for Greek statuary. Although some Romans were highly critical of the seductive effect these works might have on Roman morals, Greek forms served as models for some kinds of Roman portrait, especially the heroic ruler.
Wukun Wanambi is a contemporary Aboriginal Australian artist from northeastern Arnhem Land, whose art is highly innovative within a traditional framework. Wukun makes hollow log works known today as memorial poles, painted with clan designs, and a selection of these are on display in Room 3 from 12 March to 17 May. His work relates to a specific sacred place, Trial Bay in Arnhem Land, and the ancestral stories related to it, but it is also intended to communicate aspects of the Aboriginal worldview. This talk explores some of the levels on which Wukun’s work operates.
Various dates, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
Thu 7 May, 13.30 GS Sat 16 May, 13.30 RM Thu 25 Jun, 13.30 GS Thu 16 Jul, 13.30 RM
Exhibition Curators Gaye Sculthorpe (GS) and Rachael Murphy (RM) give a 45-minute illustrated introduction to the exhibition. The event on 16 July will have speech-to-text transcription for deaf and hard of hearing people.
Friday 17 April, 13.30 (IJ) Thursday 23 April, 13.30 (CF) Friday 8 May, 13.30 (IJ) Thursday 18 June, 13.30 (CF) BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
Exhibition Curators Ian Jenkins (IJ) and Celeste Farge (GF) give a 45-minute illustrated introduction to the exhibition Defining beauty: the body in ancient Greek art.The event on 18 June will have speech-to-text transcription for deaf and hard of hearing people.
Thursday 14 May 2015, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
Herakles is the ultimate Greek hero, the strongman monster slayer par excellence. In modern popular culture this fundamental characterisation is conveyed via the modern medium of a particular body type, exemplified by a succession of bodybuilders cast in the role, from Steve Reeves and Arnold Schwarzenegger to Lou Ferrigno and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. In this lecture, Emma Stafford, University of Leeds, asks if such an image does justice to the ancient Greek hero.
Thursday 21 May 2015, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
Indigenous Australians have had many things to say about the British navigator and explorer Captain Cook. Since his voyage along the east coast of Australia in 1770 and after British occupation in 1788, Cook was woven into their interpretations of the colonial encounter and its legacies. In this lecture, Maria Nugent, Australian National University, will use objects and artworks to examine Australian Indigenous people’s representations of Captain Cook over time.
Friday 5 June 2015, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
It is estimated that in the late 18th century there were about 350 languages spoken on mainland Australia. At the start of the 21st century, fewer than 150 Indigenous languages remain in use, and almost all are highly endangered. Peter K Austin, SOAS, examines whether Indigenous Australian languages have elements in common, and how concepts of ‘country’ and Dreamtime are represented in the languages, songs and oral literature of the continent. Sign interpreted.
Friday 19 June 2015 , 18.30-19.30 BP Lecture Theatre £5, Members/concessions £2
Award-winning historian and writer, Andrew Roberts, talks on Napoleon: military genius, astute leader of men, and one of the world’s greatest soldier-statesmen. Roberts’ Napoleon the Great is the first one-volume biography to take advantage of the recent publication of Napoleon’s thirty-three thousand letters, which radically transform our understanding of his character and motivation. Roberts shares some of his research for the book that took him to fifty-three of Napoleon’s sixty battle sites and even included the long boat trip to St. Helena, the site of Napoleon’s final exile and death.
Friday 27 March 2015, 18.30 BP Lecture Theatre £5, Members/concessions £3
The Sutton Hoo ship burial is one of the best-known and researched discoveries of the Anglo-Saxon Age–but it still has more stories to tell. On the first anniversary of the reopening of Room 41, the Sir Paul and Lady Ruddock Gallery of Sutton Hoo and Europe AD 300–1100, Curator Sue Brunning presents some newer insights into this spectacular assemblage, and what she hopes to explore next.
Friday 29 May 2015, 18.30 BP Lecture Theatre £5.00, Members/concessions £3
Greek ideas of beauty have profoundly influenced Western art and how we think about ourselves today. This panel discussion will consider Greek perceptions of beauty, and how ideas have changed, from Greek sculpture’s impact on art in the 19th century to recent neurological insights into how the brain generates experiences of beauty. Chaired by Charlotte Higgins, Chief Arts Writer at The Guardian, and featuring Michael Squire, King’s College London, Elizabeth Prettejohn, University of York, Jeremy Tanner, UCL, and Semir Zeki, UCL.
Friday 1 May 2015, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
Mathew Trinca, Director of the National Museum of Australia (NMA), and Peter Yu, Chairman of the NMA’s Indigenous Advisory Committee, discuss the ‘Engaging objects’ research project that has informed the BP exhibition Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation. A key part of the project has been visiting over 25 different Indigenous communities across Australia to talk about the objects held in London and document their responses. In addition, the project has supported a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artistic fellows, who have had direct access to the British Museum’s collection and have responded to elements of it through the production of new artworks which feature in the exhibition. Mathew and Peter will discuss the challenges, perspectives and new interpretations that have resulted from these cultural reflections.
Thursday 16 April 2015, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
Carrie Vout, University of Cambridge, discusses the ways in which Greek sculpture and painting did not just represent the male body but defined what it was to be a man. She considers the abundance of sexual imagery in the ancient Greek world and asks if these images were seductive, shocking or humorous, and whether they were they about sex or love. She examines how the body was regarded in art, and what this tells us about ancient attitudes to religion, politics, sex and gender.
Friday 19 June 2015, 18.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
Little more than 70 years after the British settled in Van Diemen’s Land (later Tasmania) in 1803, its Aboriginal population had almost been wiped out. Tom Lawson, Professor of History at Northumbria University and author of The Last Man, explores the history of this destruction and its reverberations up to the present day.
Thursday 11 June 2015, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free booking essential
The Munich Doryphorus is a bronze reconstruction of Polyclitus’ lost ‘Spear-bearer’, made in Munich from Roman copies between 1910 and 1921. Rolf Michael Schneider, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, will explore the bronze’s place in ancient art and its particular reception in Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany after the First and Second World Wars.
Thursday 9 April 2015, 16.00-17.00 BP Lecture Theatre Free booking essential
A rare group of enigmatic stone masks from the Judean hills and desert are the oldest human portraits known to us, sketching the cultural and spiritual world of the people who lived in this region 9,000 years ago. The masks were subjected to scientific examinations, together with a mask-like stone item from a private collection, and three masks from the Israel Museum. The results of this study enabled for the first time the examination of yet another mask, known since 1881 and reportedly from er-Ram north of Jerusalem, which has been housed since the turn of the twentieth century in the Palestine Exploration Fund, London. The purpose of the study was twofold: to verify the authenticity of the unprovenanced masks, and, if they were deemed authentic – to investigate their possible provenances through detailed analysis of the patina and sediments attached to them, which may be presumed to derive from their sites of discovery and dating. With Yuval Goren, Tel Aviv University. This lecture is jointly organised by the British Museum and the Palestine Exploration Fund.
Friday 26 June 2015, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
Tim Clayton, author of a new account of the Waterloo campaign and co-curator of the exhibition Bonaparte and the British: prints and propaganda in the age of Napoleon, talks about the difficulty of discovering the truth about the Battle of Waterloo, using newly published first-hand accounts.
Thursday 30 April 2015, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free booking required
The first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, never met his great military rival Napoleon Bonaparte, but his relationship with France began when, as a 16-year-old, he enrolled at the French Royal Academy of Equitation in Anger. His brother Henry and sister Anne were captured by the French in 1794 and remained imprisoned in the country throughout the height of the terror. His admiration for the French survived his campaigns in the Peninsular War and Waterloo. Lady Jane Wellesley, writer and descendant of the Iron Duke, explores his complex relationship with the country from his early years to his death at Walmer Castle on the Kent coast.