The Humboldt Forum: Lessons for Scotland and the world

Architectural model of the new building for the Humboldt Forum.

Architectural model of the new building for the Humboldt Forum.
Image: Wikimedia Commons (Jean-Pierre Dalbéra)

Sometimes one is presented, unexpectedly, with visions of such ambition and worth that they leave you reeling. It seemed fitting on the first day of spring that we should be presented with one such vision by Professor Dr Hermann Parzinger, President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation at a workshop co-hosted by the Centre for Cultural Relations at the University of Edinburgh, the National Museums of Scotland and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Continue reading

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Thinking forwards in New York

Knickerbocker Club, New York. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Knickerbocker Club, New York.
Image: Wikimedia Commons (bit.ly/knickerbocker-club)

Two weeks ago (hot on the heels of Storm Jonas), at a dinner hosted by the University of Edinburgh’s North American Office at the Knickerbocker Club in New York, I was delighted to have the opportunity to share my sense of excitement at the enormous potential and energy which resides in our School at this crucial moment, five years after the merger of the schools of architecture, art and design at the former Edinburgh College of Art and the schools of architecture, history of art and music at the University in 2011. It seems apposite, as spring starts to send out early shoots over the Meadows, to re-boot this blog with some of the good news. Continue reading

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Time for research

"British Design: Tradition and Modernity after 1948" cover

“British Design” cover

A number of personal research projects of mine have culminated in publication this autumn.

British Design: Tradition and Modernity after 1948 marks the end of a project that began with my co-curation of the British Design: Innovation in the Modern Age exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2012.

The exhibition raised many questions about the particular relationship between place, time and space that characterises much of the UK’s design culture, and a conference during the exhibition’s run produced the chapters in this book. Continue reading

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Luxury Part Two: The Spaces of Luxury

The Shard from Tower Bridge. Image courtesy of Loco Steve (bit.ly/the-shard-from-tower-bridge), used under a Creative Commons License

The Shard from Tower Bridge. Image courtesy of Loco Steve (bit.ly/the-shard-from-tower-bridge), used under a Creative Commons License

Following the session in Florence last year, the Leverhulme funded International Network on Luxury and the Manipulation of Desire met for its final open conference at the University of Warwick Business School in the Shard, London last week. For three days delegates met to consider The Spaces of Luxury: Places, Spaces and Geographies from the Renaissance to the Present. Continue reading

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Visiting Shanghai

Shanghai Fashion Week, 2014

If I was a much younger man looking for metropolitan thrills and a glimpse of a future self, I think that Shanghai might be my choice of escape. New York and Berlin (the destinations for my generation) seem so twentieth-century by comparison. Continue reading

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Luxury and Greed

View of Florence. Image by Artur Staszewski, used under a Creative Commons license: http://bit.ly/view-of-florence

View of Florence by Artur Staszewski http://bit.ly/view-of-florence (Creative Commons License)

Last week, as a member of the Leverhulme Trust International Luxury Network, I attended the latest of a series of Network conferences. This one was hosted at the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at the Villa I Tatti and the European University Institute at the Villa Schifanoia in Florence. Continue reading

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Poster Art of Modern China

Chinese Poster

Part of a Chinese poster from 1964, depicting a harvest scene.
The caption reads ‘Achieve great harvest every year’.

Last Friday morning I opened an international conference at ECA focusing on Poster Art of Modern China and coinciding with the continuing exhibition on the same theme in Chambers Street. Continue reading

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