Yesterday, at our second seminar of the term, we heard a fascinating paper by Annika Forkert on the complex and sometimes collaborative relationship between the composer Elisabeth Lutyens and her husband, sometime conductor and musical programmer Edward Clark, whom she called her ‘yardstick’. This paper and the discussion following raised a number of challenging questions as to how we classify and research collaboration between artistic couples. There will be a conference exploring precisely these questions at the University of Bristol in April 2017, and the call for papers can be found here.
More information on the conference and how to submit a proposal can be found on the conference website.
Beyond Genius and Muse: Collaborating Couples in Twentieth-Century Arts
18th-19th April 2017
Victoria Rooms, Queen’s Road
Department of Music
University of Bristol, BS8 1SA
Common perceptions of the artist still picture a lonely genius in a room of his own, writing, painting, or composing great works in isolation while amanuenses or, more likely, his wife takes care of worldly matters. Conversely, cultural history can sometimes cast artists as vessels floating on a tide of external events. Reality is more complex, especially in the twentieth century: here, the pace of change in societal and relationship dynamics render both these imaginary positions problematic. Examining collaborating couples can force us to rethink the paradigms of working relationships in the arts. Whether couples collaborated or hindered each other, what are the means to describe such complex creative partnerships? How can feminism, gender theories, and queer studies help shift perceptions and rediscover hidden powers and intimate connections? What methodologies can we use to research and write about intra-art and interdisciplinary couples? How do such couples perceive themselves and their work? This conference seeks to engage with all kinds of collaborating couples, be it cases where traditional roles are intact, reversed, or changed otherwise.
Prof. Frances Spalding CBE, FRSL
Anthony Payne & Jane Manning OBE
Organiser and Programme Committee
Dr Annika Forkert (Organiser; Music, University of Bristol)
Dr Adrian Paterson (English, NUI Galway)
Dr Sarah Terry (English, Oglethorpe University)
Dr Tom Walker (English, Trinity College Dublin)