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Stateside spotlight on York's arts and humanities

Posted on 15 April 2013

Leading scholars will showcase the University of York's research strengths in the arts and humanities at a series of events in the USA this week.

Minster stone detail. Photo by John Houlihan

They will highlight topics including the conservation of one of Europe’s great cathedrals, the surprising cultural links between Boccaccio and Chaucer and the impact of immigration to the British Isles between 1330 and 1550.

At an event at Christie’s in New York to mark the University’s 50th Anniversary, archaeologist Dr Kate Giles and stained glass specialist Sarah Brown will deliver a joint lecture titled: Preserving the Heavenly Jerusalem: Stone and Glass Conservation and Research at York Minster, the largest gothic cathedral in northern Europe.

It will focus on the role the University is playing in both the restoration work the Great East Window of York Minster – the largest medieval stained glass window in the world – and the conservation of the Minster’s spectacular stone facade. The event is hosted jointly by the University, the Chamberlain of York Minster, Dr Richard Shephard, and Mr Hank Slack.

Dr Giles, of the University’s Department of Archaeology, is one of the UK’s leading buildings archaeologists and has developed a particular expertise on the archaeology of ‘public’ buildings in pre-modern England. As York Minster Archaeology Fellow, she is part of the ten-year programme to conserve and enhance understanding of archaeology and stone conservation of the East Front including the analysis of its weathering, historic mortars and coatings.

Sarah Brown, an internationally-leading conservator of stained glass, is course director of the University of York’s MA in Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management, which attracts students from all over the world. She combines this role in the Department of History of Art with her responsibilities as Director of the York Glaziers Trust. will deliver a similar lecture at Columbia’s Avery Hall  and NYU Institute of Fine Arts.

A joint lecture by fellow University of York scholars - historian Professor Mark Ormrod and English scholar Professor Helen Fulton - will draw on pioneering research at the University of York that questions cultural stereotypes about the British Isles in the later Middle Ages.

The lecture, which will take place at both Columbia and NYU, will show that far from being isolated from continental Europe, the British Isles were in constant interaction with other peoples, events and trends in Europe and beyond.

Professor Ormrod, of the Department of History, draws on his major project 'England, Immigrants, 1330-1550', to show that English contact with foreigners was a reality in the age of the Hundred Years War, the Black Death and the Wars of the Roses. Professor Fulton, of the Department of English and Related Literature, builds on her current work on the use of Middle English in Medieval Wales, and on the relationship between the British Isles and the Italian Renaissance, to explore cultural exchange within and beyond the British Isles in the age of Boccaccio and Chaucer.

Researchers in the arts and humanities at York are reframing understandings of historical, artistic and philosophical figures and concepts, redefining major artistic and intellectual movements and helping to shape the future of our disciplines

Professor Mark Ormrod

Professor Ormrod, who is also the University’s Academic Co-ordinator for Arts and the Humanities, said: “Researchers in the arts and humanities at York are reframing understandings of historical, artistic and philosophical figures and concepts, redefining major artistic and intellectual movements and helping to shape the future of our disciplines. But we are also committed to taking the best of our research to communities beyond the academic environment in ambitious and productive ways and we therefore invite our research to engage positively with the contemporary world.

“Working in partnership with many voluntary and public organisations – including the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, York Museums Trust, Tate Britain and Tate Modern, the British Library, the Churches Conservation Trust, the National Centre for Early Music, English Heritage and the British Film Institute – we are able to share mutually enriching areas of expertise with highly trained professionals from the cultural industries and so find wider audiences for our work.”

Later in the week, in Washington DC, Jim Walvin, an Emeritus Professor in the Department of History at the University of York, will lead a discussion titled: Looking at Slavery: Tarantino, Spielberg and the historians.

Notes to editors:

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153

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