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UCL Culture Blog


News and musings from the UCL Culture team


Bringing plaster sculptures to life

By Jenny M Wedgbury, on 29 July 2015

One of our volunteers, Agata Matusielanska, MA in Cultural Heritage Studies at University College London, writes about her experience of working on the Flaxman app over the summer.

As a volunteer at UCL Art Museum I’ve recently been working on uploading information into the new Flaxman app, which highlights the work of artist John Flaxman (1755 – 1826) in the Art Museum’s collection. The main place you can see Flaxman’s work is in the Flaxman Gallery, a space in the Main Library. The gallery is probably best known to students as a place to have a lunch or ring friends during periods of studying crisises. Probably not many of them pay attention to the amazing 39 plasters displayed on the wall. UCL Art Museum contains the world’s largest single holding of Flaxman material. The subjects of the plaster casts in the Flaxman Gallery vary from studies for memorials and monuments to bible scenes.

Flaxman app screenshot

Flaxman app screenshot


Re-Launch in conversation – artist Julia McKinlay

By Jenny M Wedgbury, on 4 June 2015

Julia McKinlayHere’s our second Re-Launch in conversation interview, this time with artist Julia McKinlay.

Can you tell us a little about you as an artist and your current practice?

My work often begins with a research expedition to a museum or particular landscape. At the moment I am in Iceland to see the unique volcanic landscape there and hopefully this research will lead to some new work. I move between sculpture and printmaking. My main interest is in trying to create another world in the gallery through using space and structures to display a collection of objects that I have made to represent different elements of an environment. Here’s a link to my blog for my Boise Travel Scholarship funded time in Iceland.


Re-Launch in conversation – artist Kate Keara Pelen

By Jenny M Wedgbury, on 2 June 2015

Kate imageIt’s been great working on the Re-Launch exhibition this summer term. To give you more of an insight into the artists whose work is included in the show I’ve interviewed some of them to find out more about their practice and connection to UCL Art Museum and the Slade School of Art. Below is the first artist interview with artist Kate Keara Pelen.


Work Experience at UCL Art Museum

By Martine Rouleau, on 14 July 2014

This blog was written by Ellie who is in year 10 at Kingsmead School. She was on work experience at UCL for a week between 7th-11th July. She spent a day shadowing Dr Martine Rouleau, Learning and Access Officer at UCL Art Museum.

LDUCS-2176_IMG1 - TurnerAs I’m on work experience here, I didn’t know anything about UCL Art Museum. I’ve been here for 2 days and I now know a lot of information about the history and collections at the art museum.

I’ve learnt that there are over 10,000 pieces of art here created by a variety of artists, some that are very well known and some that aren’t. They’re very different and they all have different meanings and explanations of why they were produced. However, they have one thing in common and that is being under the same roof.

UCL has the artwork of Turner, de Wint, Cox and Rowlandson. They also have work by students that have won competitions such as best art work in their year at University (the William Coldstream Memorial Prize).


Reflections on Kevin Guyan’s work and Black Bloomsbury events at UCL Art Museum

By ucwchrc, on 6 December 2013

Kevin Guyan speaking with participants on his Bloomsbury walking tour, outside Paramount Court

Kevin Guyan speaking with participants on his Bloomsbury walking tour, outside Paramount Court

Throughout this term, Kevin Guyan, PhD candidate at the UCL history department, has been working with the Art Museum to create events that compliment the current ‘Black Bloomsbury’ exhibition. His own research has allowed him to take themes from the exhibition in thoughtful and unusual directions for these workshops at the Museum. His events have included interactive investigations around 1940s music and dance, and exploring ideological boundaries within the Bloomsbury area through a walking tour.

Kevin’s own research explores how domestic spaces impacted upon the production and reproduction of masculinities in the post war period (c.1945 – 1966). Although this work focuses on a different time period to ‘Black Bloomsbury’, (1945-1966 rather than 1918-1948), he has drawn upon common themes running through both eras, including space and identity, and methodologies of how historians perceive and ‘see’ into the past. For a more detailed analysis of his research and its links to the ‘Black Bloomsbury’ exhibition, please see his article ‘Engaging with Black Bloomsbury’, published on the Student Engagers website here.

Curious to hear more about his work and the way he thinks up – and thinks about – the nature of his events with the Art Museum, I asked him a few questions.  (more…)

Reflections on ‘Plaster reproduction in the context of 3D printing’ Pop-Up Display and Lecture

By ucwchrc, on 22 November 2013

Mona Hess, Research Assistant for 3D imaging and project co-ordinator of the Petrie Museum’s 3D imaging project, curated a Pop-Up display this November on 3D printing and scanning at UCL Art Museum. 3D printing is a new and high profile phenomenon that started in 2007. The aim of the Petrie research has been to make use of the opportunities this technology creates in the museum space, such as engaging with a diverse and wide audience through the creation of 3D objects.

This Pop-Up workshop wove together film clips of high resolution colour laser 3D scanning to demonstrate how different types of technology works, as well as addressing techniques first-hand with the use of a mini hand scanner with the use of a low cost hand scanner based on near-infrared detection originally used for motion tracking.  (more…)

Guest blog: Hogarth through American eyes

By Krisztina Lackoi, on 14 November 2012

Guest Blog by Rebecca Gleichenhouse

I’m a student at Wake Forest University in North Caroline studying History of Art. I’m in my third year and was very excited to have the opportunity to study in London for a semester. I’ve been interning at UCL Art Museum for the past month now and I’ve been doing a wide variety of activities within the museum. Other than the day-to-day work that I help with, my main project has been to sort through and catalogue new prints that have come in to the Museum through a major donation.

print from Hogarth's series Industry and Idleness

William Hogarth, Industry and Idleness – The Good ‘Prentice

Thus far, I’ve looked through a box of about 70 William Hogarth prints, as well as material by little-known caricaturist C.J. Grant, and these have been interesting boxes to sort through because both artists criticise social and political aspects of their time. They made art not only for wealthy patrons, but made prints that were more affordable for the growing middle class. So far I’ve found Hogarth’s prints the most interesting – most of them are satirical images that criticise the lifestyle of different classes during his time. (more…)

Volunteer success

By Krisztina Lackoi, on 23 August 2012

August has been a great month for UCL Art Museum, with two of our volunteers securing prestigious internships. Susie Stirling (MA History of Art, UCL) has been volunteering with us for a year, working closely with artist Nadine Mahoney on her Portraits research project. Susie will go on to work at the White Cube Gallery in Shoreditch from September. Lucy Wheeler (MA History of Art, UCL) has been assisting with digitisation projects, research visits and classes, and will be taking up a paid internship at Jerwood Visual Arts in London, installing the latest Jerwood Drawing Prize exhibition. A big thank you to Susie and Lucy for all their hard work, dedication and enthusiasm over the past year, congratulations, and best of luck for the future from the whole team!


Guest post: Central Saint Martins at UCL Art Museum

By Krisztina Lackoi, on 15 August 2012

Guest post by Mary Evans, Central Saint Martins

artwork on wall consisting of nails hammered into symmetrical discs of waffle

Artwork inspired by the cross-hatching in Van Dyck’s etchings, (c) Mary Evans installation photograph


In the spring term 2011/2012 a group of second year Fine Art students from Central Saint Martins embarked on a research project at the UCL Art Museum. The project was part of the Expanding Practice unit which is designed to support and broaden students’ approaches to practice and resources for research, production, and reception of works of art. The whole second year cohort across all Fine Art pathways participates in projects in collaboration with other art institutions in London to give students the opportunity to work in new ways and develop new skills. The Guardian Archive, The Petrie Museum, Camden Arts Centre, The Wellcome Collection and UCL Art Museum among others were our collaborators this year.

Curator Andrea Fredericksen expressed what the UCL Art Museum collection had to offer our students thus:

What happens when you have a collection of 10,000 world renowned prints and drawings, dating from the 1490s to the present day, at your fingertips during the development of your artistic practice? Be inspired at UCL Art Museum – home of old master prints by Durer, Van Dyck and Turner as well as innovative works by Slade artists – where you can have hands-on access to this remarkable collection of old and modern treasures. UCL Art Museum invites you to revisit the past masters within their collection to create new work in response; to continue to develop your own practice using contemporary media and contemporary modes of thinking while taking time to consider and appreciate what has gone on before – all in the context of a traditional print room. (more…)

Guest blog: The mysterious American Travel Album

By Krisztina Lackoi, on 10 August 2012

Guest blog by Erin Schuppert, University of Boston and Intern, UCL Art Museum

I began my five-week internship at UCL Art Museum in the beginning of July and I have been busy ever since. I have assisted with a photography project, been introduced to collections care, done copyright research and been in contact with copyright holders, made preparations for researchers and a class, taken inventory, and performed other daily tasks. Despite this long list of experience I’ve gained here at UCL, I still had time to do some of my own research. It all started with the last day of photography, when in the back of the room, Krisztina opened the small corner cabinet and pulled a rather large box from the bottom, placing it on the table and informing me that the museum knows very little about this object.

We slowly opened the lid of the custom-made box and inside was large, brown and green leather-bound book entitled “Travel Album.” I wasn’t too sure what to expect from the inside of the tome, but it looked old and almost forgotten, and so, being hopelessly nostalgic, it intrigued me. Krisztina opened it up to one of the middle pages and I saw before me two sepia-toned images of Yosemite. I had recently travelled to Yosemite National Park in Northern California, so I recognized the landmarks shown in the pictures. I carefully flipped through the next few pages and saw Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and Glacier Point. Then, just a few more yellowing pages after that, I saw an image of Palace Hotel in San Francisco… I stayed there only two years ago! It did of course look a bit different in the photograph, which I have dated roughly back to the 1890s, than it did when I saw it in 2010, but as soon as I read the inscription in the album and recognized it as the same Palace Hotel in which I had rested my head, I was instantly inspired to find out more about this object. (more…)