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Autumn Art Lectures British Modernisms Modernisms: Decolonising art's history


Wills Memorial Building  |  Free

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Two leading curators will discuss the many facets of 'British' Modernism in art.

Jane Alison: In Search of a Postwar Sensibility

Drawing on research conducted during the making of her Barbican exhibition Postwar Modern: New Art in Britain 1945-1965, Jane Alison will outline what she feels to be the defining qualities of a postwar sensibility in art in Britain between 1945 and 1965.

She will explore the central significance of loss, trauma and displacement set against the shadow of war and the promise of a better future. Borrowing the term ‘rough poetry’ from artist Alison Smithson, she describes the ’strange universe’ of art in Britain in the postwar years.

Hammad Nasar: Curating Britishness

Hammad Nasar will draw on his ongoing research and curatorial work to consider questions of curatorial agency in how ‘Britishness’ is curated within institutional frames.

This conversation is presented with an introduction by Dr Elizabeth Robles (History of Art, University of Bristol), who will also moderate the Q&A with the audience.

The Autumn Art Lecture series is hosted by the University of Bristol’s Faculty of Arts with support from the Centre for Black Humanities and Bristol Ideas. It will be held in the Reception Room of the Wills Memorial Building at the University of Bristol.

For other events in this series, click here.

Jane Alison was, until very recently, Head of Visual Arts at the Barbican, a post she held for ten years. She is now working independently as a curator, writer and consultant. Her recent exhibitions have included (in chronological order): The Surreal House; Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde, and Postwar Modern: New Art in Britain 1945-1965.

Hammad Nasar is a curator, researcher, and strategic advisor. Recent exhibitions he has curated/co-curated include: British Art Show 9 (2021-22); Turner Prize (2021); Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition (2018-19); and Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play – the UAE’s pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017). Presently, he is Senior Research Fellow, Paul Mellon Centre (London) and Lead Curator, Herbert Art Gallery & Museum (Coventry). Earlier, he was Principal Research Fellow, UAL Decolonising Arts Institute; Executive Director of the Stuart Hall Foundation, London; Head of Research and Programmes at Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; and, co-founded Green Cardamom, London. He is a Board Member of the Henry Moore Foundation (UK) and Mophradat (Belgium).


Booking for this event is via Eventbrite and managed by University of Bristol’s Faculty of Arts. Please use the contact function in Eventbrite to contact them with any questions.

Tickets are free but booking is essential. Please ensure that you arrive in time to secure your place. Latecomers will only be let in if places are still available.


  • There is level access via double doors to the left of the main entrance and a lift to the Great Hall and Reception Room.
  • There are accessible toilets for public use on the ground floor.
  • Guide and assistance dogs are welcome.
  • There is free disabled on-street parking available on University Road.
  • More information here.

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