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Art History celebrates 50 years at University of Aberdeen

by Rory Buccheri

picture courtesy of the author.

An event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the department of art history in Aberdeen took place this afternoon in King's College Conference Space.

The faculty recently changed its name from "history of art" to "art history" to adapt to standard naming of other faculties across the UK.

Head of Art History Dr Joanne Anderson opened the event with kind words about the department, and introduced the main speaker, Professor Martin Postle.

Alumnus of Nottingham University and Paul Mellon Centre deputy director, Postle said it was "a true honour" to participate to the celebration.

He then went on to present his current research, the Catalogue Raisonnee of British artist Joseph Wright of Derby.

Professor Postle spoke fondly of David Mannings, co-founder of the faculty at Aberdeen University. Mannings was appointed to write a new catalogue on Sir Joshua Reynolds. At the same time, Postle was doing his PhD on Reynolds. It is then that their paths crossed, and the final catalogue published by Yale books bears both their names.

While most current members of the department attended, a student told the Gaudie "it was really gutting" to see past lecturers still working at the University absent from this celebration.

Another 3rd year student said it was "really great" to celebrate this anniversary in person, and that "it wouldn't have been the same having it online like most things last year".

The Gaudie was present to join in the celebration, showing once again its support for the faculty, after having worked alongside staff on many occasions.

A webpage narrating the history of the department from its infancy was put together by staff member Hans Hones and Nicole Cogan McLellan.

The Gaudie features prominently in the webpage, denouncing cuts from University administration and advocating to "save our faculties".

The event was a joyful occasion for students and staff to come together, and the good weather aided many sunny conversations outside.

One small note is to be made, and that is about the university's commitment to accessibility. For an event marking such an important milestone, I was surprised to see there was not a BSL interpreter. This is not uncommon of the University, but it is certainly an improvement of all events big and small for the future.


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