Black, white and brindle: Aboriginality in an age of unreason

Black, white and brindle: Aboriginality in an age of unreason

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. 


Classicism and nationalism: the Greek body in Enlightenment Europe

Classicism and nationalism: the Greek body in Enlightenment Europe

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. 


Collecting Indigenous Australian art

Collecting Indigenous Australian art

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. 


Conquering heroes and objects of desire:Greek bodies on display in the Roman Empire

Conquering heroes and objects of desire:Greek bodies on display in the Roman Empire

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. 


Creating a digital (Coptic) Old Testament

Creating a digital (Coptic) Old Testament

Friday 5 June 2015, 18.30
BP Lecture Theatre
£5.00, Members/concessions £3.00

Professor Heike Behlmer, University of Göttingen, speaks on a new project to create a complete digital edition of the Sahidic Coptic Old Testament, making use of a virtual research environment to facilitate cooperation with other international projects and scholars. 


Curator's Introduction to Larrakitj

Curator's Introduction to Larrakitj

Thursday 9 April 2015, 13.30
Stevenson Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

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. 


Curator's introductions to Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation

Curator's introductions to Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation

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. 


Curators' introductions to Defining beauty: the body in ancient Greek art

Curators' introductions to Defining beauty: the body in ancient Greek art

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. 


Herakles and the heroic body

Herakles and the heroic body

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. 


Indigenous Australia and Captain Cook

Indigenous Australia and Captain Cook

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. 


Jerusalem's first mosque and the entrance to Bayt al-Maqdis in the 7th century

Jerusalem's first mosque and the entrance to Bayt al-Maqdis in the 7th century

Thursday 7 May 2015, 16.00-17.00
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

Beatrice St Laurent, Bridgewater State University, considers the architectural projects of Mu’awiya, first Umayyad caliph of Jerusalem, challenging previous scholarship on the legacy of the Dome of the Rock as the oldest surviving Islamic monument. 


Languages of Indigenous Australia

Languages of Indigenous Australia

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. 


Name and identity in Kemet: the person and the human in ancient Egyptian writings and artefacts

Name and identity in Kemet: the person and the human in ancient Egyptian writings and artefacts

Thursday 7 May 2015, 13.30
Stevenson Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

Egyptologists have often emphasised personal names as an essential aspect of identity in ancient Egyptian society. Stephen Quirke, UCL, asks how stable a name was in ancient Egypt, how might it change over a lifetime, and how it related to other identities such as ka, ba, and ib, and to other African traditions of name and person. 


Napoleon the Great

Napoleon the Great

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.  


New Stories from Sutton Hoo

New Stories from Sutton Hoo

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.  


Not for the greed of gold:a tribute and biography of the life and career of J L Starkey

Not for the greed of gold:a tribute and biography of the life and career of J L Starkey

Thursday 11 June 2015, 16.00-17.00
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

James Leslie Starkey was Director of Lachish between 1932 and 1938, when he was murdered on the road to Jerusalem. He left behind a widow and three young sons who had lived with him at Lachish. In this lecture John Starkey offers a personal view of his father, examining his career before and during his time at Lachish. 


On beauty

On beauty

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. 


Reconciling different values in Indigenous collections:Australia and the UK

Reconciling different values in Indigenous collections:Australia and the UK

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. 


Sex and the Greek body: the art of being a man in the classical Greece

Sex and the Greek body: the art of being a man in the classical Greece

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. 


Socrates and the visual culture of Golden Age Athens

Socrates and the visual culture of Golden Age Athens

Friday 15 May 2015, 18.30
BP Lecture Theatre
£5, Members/concessions £3

Historian, author and broadcaster, Bettany Hughes, reflects on Socrates’ Athens, the agora, gymnasium, river banks and streets where he philosophised during the city’s ‘Golden Age’. BSL interpreted 


The British in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania)

The British in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania)

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. 


The Munich Doryphorus: venerated, surpressed, forgotten

The Munich Doryphorus: venerated, surpressed, forgotten

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. 


The er-Ram stone mask in context: pre-pottery Neolithic masks, fiction and facts

The er-Ram stone mask in context: pre-pottery Neolithic masks, fiction and facts

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. 


The medals of the Sun King

The medals of the Sun King

Saturday 27 June 2015, 13.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

Mark Jones, University of Oxford, will talk about the extraordinary medallic history produced by and for Louis XIV of France – a unique and fascinating self-portrait of the regime that dominated Europe for nearly 60 years. 


Waterloo: four days that changed Europe

Waterloo: four days that changed Europe

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.

Please arrive punctually to guarantee admission.  


Wellington and the French: a family view

Wellington and the French: a family view

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.