PMSA and 3rd Dimension Conference 2016


Venue: City and Guilds of London Art School (UK)

Date: 26 and 27 May 2016

gaudier brzeska bird swallowing a fish
Henri Gaudier-Brzeska with his sculpture Bird Swallowing Fish, 1913/1914

The Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA) and 3rd Dimension, in collaboration with the City and Guilds of London Art School, present a two-day conference in London on 26 and 27 May 2016, looking at the ways émigré sculptors working in Britain between 1540 and the present day have contributed to the development of British sculpture.

The conference has a broad remit, and we are interested in hearing from scholars exploring a wide range of themes relating to the experience, reception and artistic activity of émigré sculptors who came to Britain during this period. While this includes those who were forced to leave their home countries due to political, social or religious pressures, such as refugees fleeing Nazi persecution in the 1930s, we are also interested in papers on artists who chose freely to migrate to Britain, whether permanently or temporarily.

Topics of particular interest include:

  • The ways in which émigré sculptors from 1540 to the present day have contributed to the development of British sculpture.
  • Ways in which émigré sculptors ‘denationalised’ British sculpture and how this might be defined culturally.
  • What was the extent of the influence of émigré sculptors stylistically?
  • The politics of the émigré sculptor.
  • Questions of gender in the experiences and/or work of émigré sculptors in Britain.
  • To what extent émigré sculptors introduced new materials, techniques and approaches, and how influential were these?
  • Problems encountered and issues arising from the conservation of émigré sculpture
  • What difficulties and successes (if any) émigré sculptors experienced in penetrating and integrating with the established structure of British sculpture?
  • How, and to what extent, did émigré sculptors form networks of support for each other?
We are also interested in hearing from scholars whose research might fall outside the parameters of this list.

If in doubt please do contact us.


We welcome applications from affiliated and independent academic researchers interested in attending and speaking at the conference.

Papers will be a maximum of 30 minutes long and must be delivered in English. Digital image projection facilities will be available at our venue, which will be the studios of the highly regarded City and Guilds of London Art School in London SE11.

A selection of the papers will be published following the conference.

To propose a paper for presentation, please submit the following by email to arrive no later than 1 February 2016:

A summary of the content of the proposed paper of no more than 400 words. A current and brief CV (résumé) detailing your academic and publishing history. Your full contact details.

The decision of whether to accept a paper for the conference will be made by the members of the Academic Committee.

Please bear in mind the conference has a focus on sculpture and on the émigré experience of sculptors coming into Britain within the period 1540-2016. If you wish to discuss other practices or the experiences of émigrés in other countries in your paper, this focus should still be maintained.

Participation in the conference is free for speakers. A charge will be made for non-speakers wishing to attend.

Please note we do not issue letters of invitation and cannot get involved in any visa application processes. Speakers whose papers are selected for presentation at the conference will receive a letter confirming their participation and this can be submitted to those funding bodies or academic institutions requiring it.

There is no funding available from the conference organisers for people wishing to take part in this event.

Please send your proposal to deliver a paper at the conference to Joanna Barnes and Leonie Summers at: [email protected] with the subject line Émigré Conference.

Please also contact 3rd Dimension should you have any questions.


Benedict Read FSA (University of Leeds) – Chair

Joanna Barnes (3rd Dimension)

Katharine Eustace FSA (PMSA and Former Editor of the Sculpture Journal)

Thomas Groves (City and Guilds of London Art School)

Dr Michael Paraskos FRSA (SOAS University of London)

Leonie Summers (3rd Dimension)


The organisers for this event are 3rd Dimension, the PMSA’s online magazine, on behalf of the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA), a registered charity in England, registration no. 1064519, and the City and Guilds of London Art School, a registered charity in England, registration no. 1144708.

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