Research in Translation
In a previous post I talked about a series of workshops, called ‘Research in Translation’, which I had the opportunity to participate in, which examined the translation of research into exhibition. The meetings held for the event were extremely productive and thought-provoking, bringing together early career researchers from across the humanities and sciences. We had chance to visit museum installations and store-rooms and talk to curators and exhibition designers. The end result, a series of mini-exhibitions, one by each participant, is now on display in Leicester from June 2015 util February 2016 (some images available here). This therefore seems like a good opportunity to present my part of it, reflect on the process and signpost what lies ahead for a larger project, which grew out of these workshops and my Bilderfahrzeuge work, especially as my time with the prjoject is now concluded.
The David Talbot-Rice Archive
The exhibition I intended to present went through various development stages, most of them trying to do too much and say too little. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to work on an archive which I had discovered while working at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham. This was the archive of the art historian and archeaologist David Talbot-Rice. Although most of his collected papers, art works and books were left to the University of Edinburgh where Talbot-Rice spent most of his career,in 1972 his widow, Tamara Talbot-Rice (also a prominent art historian) gave some of his notes and photographs to the Barber Institute of Fine Arts and the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, both at the University of Birmingham. These were materials most colsely connected to his work on Byzantine art, and especially to excavations he was involved with between 1927 and 1957 in the eastern Mediterranean. Many sites Talbot-Rice worked on have since been lost, buried or restored so heavily that they are unrecognizable. His photographs are a record of lost archaeological discoveries. In the background of many are also images of vehicles, people, buildings and street activities giving a glimpse into the changing face of the eastern Mediterranean at a time of intense change. His notes and letters record unpublished details of the excavations and evolving debates with other scholars of the region.