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Strange Universe: Explorations of the Modern in Postwar Britain 1945-1965

An image of the Postwar Modern exhibition

This one-day symposium uses the themes and works included in Postwar Modern: New Art in Britain, 1945-1965 to explore the 'strange universe' of British art in this period.

This collaboration between Barbican and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, brings together artists, scholars and curators to explore how art making and the art world was remade and reimagined in the twenty years following the Second World War.

The day will be structured around four different conversations, in which panellists have been invited to select two works of art or objects that speak to the notion of a postwar sensibility. The day will be introduced by the curators of the exhibition and will also include a discussion with Associate Artist to the exhibition, Abbas Zahedi.


9-10am: Private view of Postwar Modern

10-10.30am: Curators Welcome

Jane Alison (Head of Visual Arts, Barbican), Charlotte Flint (Assistant Curator, Barbican), Hilary Floe (Assistant Curator, Barbican)

10.30-11.45am: Panel 1

Chaired by Lynda Nead (Pevsner Chair of History of Art, Birbeck University of London), Isobel Whitelegg (Director of Postgraduate Research, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester), Giulia Smith (Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow, Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford)

11.45am-12pm: Break

12-1.15pm: Panel 2

Chaired by Gregory Salter (Lecturer, University of Birmingham), Maryam Ohadi-Hamadani (Lecturer in History of Art, University of Edinburgh), Ming Tiampo (Professor, Carleton University)

1.15-2.15pm: Lunch

2.15-3.30pm: Panel 3 

Chaired by Ben Highmore (Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Sussex), Deborah Sugg Ryan (University of Portsmouth), Claire Zimmerman (University of Michigan)

3.30-3.45pm: Break

3.45-5pm: Panel 4

Hammad Nasar (Senior Research Fellow, Paul Mellon Centre), Jane Alison (Head of Visual Arts, Barbican), Abbas Zahedi (Associate Artist, Postwar Modern, Barbican)

5-5.30pm: Wrap up

5.30-6.30pm: Reception


Frobisher Auditorium 2