Forthcoming Events and News

The Skin of Objects

The Skin of Objects: Rethinking Surfaces in Visual Culture

Conference 27th June 2015

Organised by University of East Anglia, Sainsbury Institute For Art and Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery. Call for Papers.

VENUE: Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery

Call for Papers

Histories and theories of visual representation have often reduced the meaning of ‘surface’ to superficial elements rather than recognising them as a component which feeds into and activates the visual artwork’s significance. In the visual arts surface has often been seen as sources of meanings and visual information or a self-contained aesthetic whole, exclusively associated with decoration or ornamentation. Jeff Koons prompts us to grapple with what is manifest in the world of objects: skins, materials, even picture planes and varnishes. Koons’ metal ‘balloon animals’ and ‘cartoonish’ mirrors can offer a point of departure to think about the wider field of the weight of surface effects. While certain kinds of object are often treated as if they lack a surface, or are read as entirely ‘surface’. Certain objects prompt us to think about the skin that enfolds them and yet others seem to blind us to their interior. From new developments in Phenomenology and Affect Theory to New Materialism and Thing Theory, we welcome papers which challenge received ideas concerning ‘surface’ in a variety of historical and contemporary contexts.

The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art, UEA and Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery welcome diverse papers on art historical and visual cultural subjects, thinking through the idea of ‘Surface’. We encourage submissions which critique the idea of surface as supplement, and which engage related concepts such as: friction, edge, depth and (in)visibility.

This one-day conference will include guest speakers and an introductory tour of Norwich Castle Museum’s new Jeff Koons exhibition, as well as coffee, a drinks reception and an optional lunch.

To submit a proposal for a 20-minute presentation, we require an abstract not exceeding 300 words and a brief professional biography of 100 words by 25th March 2015.

All submissions should be sent to

Museums conference 2015 text

Museums. Coastlines and the Sea

Conference 20 - 22 May 2015

This conference explores the role of the museum in relation to human engagements with the sea and major water courses such as lakes, lagoons and large river systems.

It primarily intends to address questions in the cultural rather than the scientific or ecological spheres, though it will include responses to environmental factors and climate change.

Participation is welcome from museum professionals, academics in relevant disciplines, artists and others with an interest in how humans in the present and past have conceptualised, encountered, represented and exploited water masses and adjacent shore-lines and coast-lines. It is intended that the conference should be trans-disciplinary in character.


For more details visit the conference website

Abstraction and the Art of John Golding exhibition

Abstraction and the Art of John Golding

14 February - 27 September 2015

Showcasing the diversity and variety of modes of abstraction, the exhibition explores key elements of natural, geometric and lyrical abstraction alongside associated movements including Cubism, Vorticism, Orphism, Purism, De Stijl, Suprematism, The Bauhaus, and Minimalism.

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts - Admission FREE

Abstract art was a great invention of the twentieth century. Abstraction and the Art of John Golding is an exhibition in two parts; first, it surveys the origins and full development of abstract art at the beginning of the century, and then displays a selection of works of the artist John Golding following the gift of the artist's works to the Sainsbury Centre in 2014.

As painter, teacher and scholar, John Golding held a lifelong fascination with the origins and evolution of abstraction. His seminal text 'Cubism: A History and an Analysis' 1907-1914 was published in 1959.Golding's personal journey as a painter progressed through figuration into abstraction, culminating in emotively-charged and predominantly large-scale canvases imbued with colour, energy and a renewed sense of painterly freedom.

His works are meditations on human experience relating to the body, landscape, light and the elements. Intellectually and artistically, John Golding has made a significant and influential contribution to our understanding of the history of abstract art in the twentieth century.


A Path to the Absolute

A Documentary about John Golding by Bruno Wollheim

An extended version of the documentary can be viewed at the exhibition.


Sonia Delaunay. 

Project for a cover for Vogue. France. 1916.

Gouache and pencil on paper. h. 34.5 x w. 23.3 cm.

UEA 31174. © L & M Services B.V. Amsterdam


Third Thursday Lecture

SISJAC Third Thursday Lecture

Every Third Thursday of the month, the Sainsbury Institute hosts a lecture on a topic related to the art and culture of Japan. Talks begin at 6pm (50-minute lecture followed by refreshments).

Every Third Thursday of the month, the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures hosts a lecture on a topic related to the art and culture of Japan. Talks begin at 6pm (50-minute lecture followed by refreshments). Speakers are all specialists in their field and the talks are intended to be accessible to those with no prior knowledge of Japanese history.

Admission is free and all are welcome. Booking essential.

To book a seat email us at or fax 01603 625011 up to two days before the lecture stating your name, number of seats required and a contact number. The lecture will be held at the Weston Room, Cathedral Hostry, Norwich NR1 4DH. The Third Thursday Lecture series is funded by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Yakult and the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Charitable Trust.

For more information on the lectures and to book seats:


19 February 2015
Rediscovering Forgotten Modern Japanese Painters: The Charles Stewart Smith Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Dr Eriko Tomizawa-Kay
Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellow

About the Lecture

From 1892 to 1893, whilst on his honeymoon with his third wife, Charles Stewart Smith (1832-1909) bought several thousand Japanese prints, as well as Japanese ceramics and paintings, from the Irish journalist and collector Francis Brinkley (1841–1912). Perhaps most significant among the pictorial works is an a group of 100 album paintings by highly acclaimed Meiji artists such as Hashimoto Gahō (1835-1908), Kawabata Gyokushō (1842-1913), Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831–1889), and Watanabe Seitei (1851-1918), as well as works by relatively unknown artists such as Okada Baison (1864-1913), Ōide Tōkō (1841–1905), and Seki Shūkō (1858- 1915). This lecture explores works by the artists represented in this “Brinkley album,” who were once highly acclaimed but now are almost lost in the Japanese art history canon. It will address who they were, why works by these various artists were eventually collated into an album and how they were connected within the Meiji art world.


About the Speaker

Eriko Tomizawa-Kay obtained her Ph.D. in 2013 from the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, specializing in the Japanese style painting, Nihonga. Eriko was co-organizer of the International Japanese Modern Art History Symposium (JAMAHS) held at SOAS, June 2013. Following the completion of her doctorate, she was awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Art History Fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where from September 2013 to August 2014, she focussed on the Museum’s collection of modern Japanese paintings and prints, and the Art Market of the United States during the late-19th to early-20th centuries.



Cat Watching a Spider, Ōide Tōkō, c. 1888–92. Metropolitan Museum of Art


For more information on all the lectures above and to book seats:

Sainsbury Institute, 64 The Close, Norwich, NR1 4DH
T:  01603 597507 | E: | W:

The 2014 Martindale Lecture

The 2014 Martindale Lecture

6.00pm 26 November 2014

Making Giants for the City of London, c. 1400-c.1800: Sculptors, Printers, Performers.

Dr Alixe Bovey, Senior Lecturer, University of Kent will be giving this years Martindale Lecture.

Elizabeth Fry Building, Lecture Theatre 01.05   ADMISSION FREE

More Information

SIfA PhD student curates exhibition at Norwich Castle Museum

SIfA PhD student curates exhibition at Norwich Castle Museum

28 March 2015 – 6 March 2016

PhD student, Sarah Moulden, has curated a new in-focus exhibition at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery as an output of her AHRC Collaborative Doctorate Award.

'Almost too daring for an individual' : John Sell Cotman's one-man exhibition, 1806–7

Opening on 28 March, the exhibition re-imagines one of the schemes from a large one-man show that the Norwich born artist, John Sell Cotman (1782–1842), staged in the city during the winter of 1806–7. With a dense hang of 500 artworks, it was one of the largest solo shows ever to have been staged by a British artist, making it a key event not only in Cotman’s own career but in the history of British exhibition culture. Drawing on the Museum’s rich holdings of the artist's early work, the exhibition conjures a visual spectacle akin to that experienced by visitors to the show some two hundred years ago, and highlights the enterprising ways in which Cotman used his artwork to present himself as an ambitious and varied artist at a turning point in his career.


Sarah Moulden is completing a PhD, entitled Survival in the British Art World, 1800–1840: The Art and Career of John Sell Cotman, in the Department of Art History and World Art Studies supervised by Dr Sarah Monks of UEA and Dr Andrew Moore formerly of Norwich Caste Museum. She was recently appointed Curator of Art Collections (London and East) at English Heritage.


Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

28 March 2015 – 6 March 2016 

Included in museum admission - Adult £7.95, Conc. £6.50, Child £5.20

John Sell Cotman, Behold Yon Oak, 1804, Norfolk Museums Service (Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery).