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UCL Culture Blog


News and musings from the UCL Culture team


England Looking Outwards

By Nina Pearlman, on 28 October 2011

Our regular readers will by now be familiar with the delight we take in talking about our Pop-Up Exhibitions. The reason we like talking about them is because this simple low tech platform offers huge possibility for new ideas to emerge. Research is a strange beast. It’s origins never singular. An argument can develop out of a hunch or a passion and upon occasion even an obsession. Mix in a welcome happenstance or two, and you are on your way to a great idea! The colour mauve wasn’t discovered by someone who was looking for a colour, and photosynthesis was discovered by someone who was not a botanist at the time – he simply went on holiday to a country house to escape the grind of his day job (which if my memory serves me correctly had something to do with the chicken pox vaccine (?)).

Anyway…. as I ramble on…the bottom line here really is that research doesn’t come from nowhere, and neither do interdisciplinary collaborations, so you really need an environment that is conducive to this type of thinking. The Pop-Up set up offers just that. To our guest curators we say – bring your passion or even your research driven agenda to our rich and vast collections of print and drawings and see what happens!

Our recent Pop-Up exhibition by Professor Helen Hackett was all about cultural promiscuity. Yes, the hybrid, the appropriation of images and ideas in support of often competing ideologies… all this was present hundreds of years ago, way back in the Early Modern Period. We didn’t invent it. Helen’s Pop-Up impressed further  these ideas, starting with the Albrecht Dürer’s Whore of Babylon. It’s relevance to issues confronting contemporary British politics was recently highlighted in this blog by Lara Carim (Editor, UCL News). I hope you enjoy the read.

Alex Sampson’s Pop-Up exhibition is on Tuesday 15th November 1-2pm.

Pop-In for 10min or more!