April 18, 2005

Arts Management & Cultural Policy at Duke University

During spring semester 2005, I have been working with a faculty group that is evaluating research and curricular possibilities in arts management and cultural policy for Duke University in the US. The group represents many disciplines across the university, mostly the arts and social sciences. Our discussions have focused on developing an undergraduate certificate in arts management and cultural policy; an undergraduate certificate at Duke is interdisciplinary and requires one more course than a minor. Many courses already in place could qualify for such a certificate. Research and a graduate certificate may be in the future. Anyone wishing to learn more about this effort is invited to email me.

November 22, 2004

Royal Leamington Spa

Yesterday I created a new gallery of images on this blog of Royal Leamington Spa, the town in England where I'm living now. I've only posted a few and will be adding to this gallery.

November 12, 2004

William Morris on the arts in society and public support

I'm presently about to revise an article that examines William Morris's statements and ideas about the arts in society and the impact of his statements on the case for public support of the arts in Great Britain. The article will be published in a fall 2005 issue of the journal, History of Political Economy, published by Duke University Press. I welcome ideas and comments about this aspect of Morris's thought.

November 11, 2004

Oxford University

Yesterday I traveled to Oxford for my first visit there. What a fantastic city. It's beautiful and has a cosmopolitan feeling that I've only encountered in London till now. I spent several hours looking around at the colleges and taking pictures, especially visiting Exeter College (William Morris) and Balliol College (Vincent Massey). I can imagine the effect that the place would have on an undergraduate. From a visitor's perspective, what a romantic place.

I also heard more American accents than I have anywhere outside London. Met an American woman working in Starbucks who has just moved to Oxford with her husband who is doing a PhD.

I spent a couple of hours in the Ashmolean Museum, where I saw a collection of Italian Renaissance ceramics that was simply amazing. I don't think I've ever seen any ceramics like that before — I can't think of any similar collections that would be in the US. It was intricate, colorful, and beautifully rendered. I also saw early pre-Raphaelite paintings and some Walter Sickerts that were revealing.

A fantastic day, and I plan to return.

November 08, 2004

Work on Canada chapter

I'm now working on my first draft of chapter about Vincent Massey and the establishment of the Canada Council. In the past week, I have written to Massey College, graduate facility at University of Toronto, to request information about summer accommodation there; got the info I need. Also wrote to chief librarian at Victoria College, UToronto, whom I met a Bloomsbury conference last June. Inquired about access to UToronto archives and received reply about access procedures. UToronto also has some Bloomsbury materials, and Kenneth Clark correspondence (mostly with Bloomsbury Group). These are all inquiries towards spending June/July 2005 in Toronto and Ottawa on primary research. Massey papers at UToronto, possibly National Archives as well.

November 01, 2004

The British and the US presidential election

US friends sometimes ask me if the British care at all about the US presidential elections. Well, our election has led their television news programs every day for the past week! The BBC, Channel 4, the Guardian, and no doubt others, have their own news crews following the candidates. Last Thursday night, a popular TV show called "Question Time" which covers news and current events in the UK, was broadcast from Florida about the US election! There have been hour-long documentaries about the election, our voting psychology, the Christian neo-conservative influence, and tonight, a documentary that argues that our electioin is a "sham" of democracy, decided by a small group of people who feel threatened and badgered and vote with their fear.

Most Brits are terribly worried about a second Bush term, because they feel he's a destabilizing influence. Michael Moore is practically a British national hero. I voted by absentee ballot about a month ago, and the two friends whom I asked to witness it for me were thrilled to participate in OUR process in even a small way. It's not uncommon to hear that this is such an important election, that the rest of the world, or at least the Brits, feel they deserve to vote in it, too. There is no question that the world is watching, and they're pretty anxious.

October 30, 2004

Tate Gallery research

I spent two days this week at the Tate Britain archive researching Vincent Massey, who was Canadian High Commissioner in London from 1935–45. I was tracing his relationship with Sir Kenneth Clark, the English art historian, who left his papers to the state and they're housed in the archive at Tate Britain. I finally got a photocopy of the Massey Report, named for V. Massey because he chaired the committee that examined the relationship between the Tate, the National Gallery, the V&A, and the British Museum. I also read correspondence between Clark and Massey, and what I found agrees with Finlay's assertion in "The Force of Culture" that Massey and Clark were friends. Their correspondence was infrequent after Massey left London, but continued until his death in 1967. In fact, he sent Clark a note late in 1967 stating that he would be in London for Cmas and hoped to see Clark. The sad fact was that Massey died in London only a few weeks later on that trip.

Food in UK: Potato chips

Food in the UK is more interesting than you probably think. The different flavors in potato chips, or "crisps" as they're called here, are seemingly endless and not remotely like anything we have in the US. In addition to the typical varieties like sour cream and chive or cheese and onion (like we have), there are exotic flavors like chicken-flavored, beef-flavored, even lamb and mint-flavored. Thai sweet chili-flavored was really popular in the dorm. Today I bought goat's cheese and olive-flavored (made with olive oil, so they're healthy), and they're pretty good. A "seasonal" item now in the market is cranberry, thyme and sage-flavored potato chips (all three in one chip), and I HAD to try those. Very sagey. Easy to resist at home, I find these exotic varieties hard to resist, only because I'm so curious about them.

Film review: Finding Neverland

Finding Neverland is the story of J.M. Barrie, the playwright who wrote "Peter Pan." Who knew that Peter Pan came from the Brits, too???? An article by A.S. Byatt in the Guardian attracted me to this movie, which is the story of Barrie and the family who inspired him to write "Peter Pan." Set in 1903 in London, this film hit all my hot buttons, ie, Johnny Depp, the clash of Victorian morality and Edwardian opulence and informality, the misunderstood artist, and the tragedies of life. Only "inspired by true events," reviewers have pointed out that it's not entirely accurate, but it's not documentary, right? Johnny Depp manages a pretty good Scottish accent. Kate Winslet, Julie Christie and Dustin Hoffman fill out the adult leads. Even the children are pretty good. It appears to be really shot in London and England, so there is period architecture and furnishings, etc. Images from Barrie's fantasy life are cut through the scenes, a technique that I really liked. This is one you can take your mother to see-no sex, violence, or bad words-but make sure that you're both well-equipped with tissues before you enter the cinema.

October 23, 2004

Looking for a British perspective on world events?

The Guardian, a daily newspaper

The BBC Homepage will take you to any number of BBC outlets, including Radio 4

Channel 4 is a commercial network here that has interesting news coverage, I think.

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