The English Georgian North, 1714-1830: Rethinking Cultures and Connections
An in-person symposium hosted by Durham University’s
Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)
15 September 2023
There will be no registration fee for this event. Teas, coffees, and a light lunch will be provided.
This symposium builds on conversations which have been taking place at Durham University over the last fifteen months as part of the IMEMS research strand ‘The Georgian North’, designed and led by Professor Fiona Robertson: https://www.durham.ac.uk/research/institutes-and-centres/medieval-early-modern-studies/research-strands/the-georgian-north/.
The symposium sets out to develop new approaches to the intellectual and creative cultures of the northern counties of England in the Georgian period, 1714-1830. Important contributions to knowledge, interpretation, creative practice, and scientific advance were made in the north country during this still largely rural and early industrial period in its history. They took shape in social, professional, and discursive networks of considerable complexity and reach, bringing together artists, abolitionists, antiquaries, architects, writers, theologians, musicians, astronomers, philosophers, mathematicians, botanists, landscape designers, linguists, clergy, social and political reformers, actors, and archaeologists. Yet there has been little connected cross-disciplinary exploration of these cultures, their significance, and their legacies.
We invite proposals for 15-minute papers or presentations to contribute to a day of informal and investigative discussion. Topics of interest include, but are not restricted to:
- Environment and conservation
- Abolition, reform, and intervention
- Originality and innovation
- Scientific enquiry, speculation, and new worlds
- Practices of collecting, curation, and display
- Performance: players, theatres, audiences
- Composition: music, painting, poetry, prose fiction, architecture, design
- Ancient pasts: theories and artefacts
- Cultures of belief
- Depletion and rediscovery (buildings, communities, habitats, traditions)
- International and intercultural connections; connections across languages and traditions
- Conversation and exchange (social, professional, and discursive networks, philosophical and historical societies, bookshops, print cultures)
The region under discussion comprises the historic counties of northern England – County Durham, the North Riding of Yorkshire, Northumberland, Cumberland, and Westmorland. Of particular interest, because especially under-researched, is present-day County Durham and the areas immediately bordering it, but we welcome work on all relevant locales and communities. Of the many individuals active in the intellectual and creative cultures of the period, some were permanently settled in the northern counties, while others were here for shorter periods, often under-researched relative to the wider body of scholarship on their work. They are all of significance to our discussion, as are, also equally, the natural and constructed environments of the northern English counties – private and public buildings, landscapes and treescapes, theatres and observatories. All these environments helped shape the formation and development of ideas and many are now lost or under-regarded.
This is an in-person symposium, open to researchers across disciplines, with papers and roundtables and an emphasis on discussion and exchange. There will be at least one online-only follow-up session later in 2023.
We invite 300-word proposals for 15-minute papers or presentations. Please submit your proposal via this form by 14 July 2023: https://tinyurl.com/GeorgianNorth
Image: Wiki Commons