Summer Symposium 2018 (Re-)Forming Sculpture

June 26, 2018

Summer Symposium 2018 (Re-)Forming Sculpture
26 – 27 June 2018, University of Leeds & The Hepworth Wakefield

Keynote Speakers
Martina Droth, Deputy Director of Research, Exhibitions, and Publications | Curator of Sculpture, Yale Center for British Art.
Rebecca Wade, Assistant Curator (Sculpture), Leeds Museums and Galleries, based at the Henry Moore Institute.

The Association for Art History’s Summer Symposium is a two-day annual conference that highlights current doctoral an dearly career research. This year’s event will focus on research in the field of sculpture, within its broadest art historical remits. This conference aims to continue to re-form previous narratives that have focused on monumental, figurative and free-standing sculpture, created in traditional ‘higher’ materials of plaster, marble, or bronze.

The Summer Symposium 2018 will take place, and is supported by, the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies (FAHACS) at the University of Leeds, and The Hepworth Wakefield. The event looks to unite the academic and curatorial disciplines of sculptural studies.

Summer Symposium 2018 will take place over two days, and will include a free out-of-hours tour of the Sculpture Collection, see details below. Here is the provisional 2-day programme.

Tickets and bursary opportunities 

(Re-)Forming Sculpture are delighted to have been awarded an Educational Programme Grant from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and a Henry Moore Foundation Grant which will fund 20 conference bursary places and a networking wine reception.

*If you are a current PhD researcher or an Early Career Researcher within three years of receiving your doctorate who is unable to receive support from an institution to attend, then you are eligible to apply for one of 20 bursary supported tickets (which will cover your £20 ticket and £30 travel). How to apply for a bursary ticket.
Deadline for bursary applications 21 May.

  • Standard ticket £50
  • Member ticket £40
  • Student/Early Career Researcher ticket £30
  • Student/Early Career Researcher Member ticket £20
  • Bursary supported ticket (for those eligible*)

Book your tickets via Eventbrite
Tickets cover two days and includes keynotes, receptions, lunch and refreshments, but excludes accommodation and evening meal.

Exhibition Tour of the Sculpture Collections – 9 am Wednesday 27 June

Join The Sculpture Collections co-curator and Summer Symposium Keynote Rebecca Wade for a special out of hours tour at Leeds Art Gallery. This exhibition showcases for the first time the outstanding Leeds sculpture collection across the entire Henry Moore Institute and Leeds Art Gallery spaces, including works from the eighteenth century to the present day. FREE, but Pre-booking necessary. Max 30 people.

Please note that galleries at the Henry Moore Institute remain open until 8pm on a Wednesday and delegates are welcome to visit the exhibition after Day 2 of the conference.

As a socio-cultural space Leeds is celebrated for the study, production and display of sculpture. Artists such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth shared a gratitude to Leeds as a place of noteworthy influence on their work, and succeeded in leaving behind a significant legacy. A sustained interest in sculptural studies has continued, demonstrated by the formation of the Henry Moore Institute as the Henry Moore Centre for the Study of Sculpture within Leeds City Art Gallery in 1982, alongside associated initiatives including the Henry Moore Sculpture Studio, Dean Clough (1989), and the MA in Sculpture Studies at University of Leeds in 1990.

In more recent times, 2011 witnessed the opening of the The Hepworth Wakefield, and in 2013 a partnership of the Sculpture Triangle was established between the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Looking to the future, how can we best reconcile sculptural, scholarly, and curatorial practices, within Britain and further afield?


Considering the sculptural aspects inherent within painting, architecture, decorative arts, photography, and film, how might we think differently about sculpture as an art historical category in its own right? For example, how do wider notions of sculpture and its relationship with other art forms intersect with discourses relating to histories of collecting, display and place-making? How best can sculpture be re-formed (re-thought?) within academic and curatorial disciplines? In light of these questions, this conference hopes to re-consider the boundaries and hierarchies of sculpture within art history and visual culture, broadening how it is understood in terms of its medium, form, materiality, and cultural significance.

The Summer Symposium is organised by the Association for Art History’s Doctoral and Early Career Research Network. The 2018 organisers are Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth (University of Leeds) and Clare Nadal (University of Huddersfield/ The Hepworth Wakefield).


Please note that this event will be photographed for use by the Association for Art History. If you have dietary requirements please make them known.

Image credit: Installation view of Lynda Benglis at The Hepworth Wakefield, 6 February – 1 July 2015. Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York.