Increasingly the humanities have recognised the value of objects within historical narratives. The historians whose research is on show today are amongst those who are taking objects seriously as historical sources whilst recognising the challenges they bring. From the beginning the aim of this project has been to address these challenges from new perspectives whilst opening up a discussion about the place and significance of physical remnants of earlier times in contemporary society. The eight artists exhibiting today have produced works inspired by a historical object that is central to the research of their historian partner. From the eighth to the seventeenth century, and from Anglo-Saxon Northumbria to the Gujarat, India, the objects that have inspired these artworks cover a broad stretch of time and space. With the talent of the artists showing today we knew we would be exhibiting some beautiful works, however we hope that we can also measure the result and success of this project by the collaborative discussions that have brought up new questions and inspired reinvigorated approaches to the materials of the past.
We would like to thank all those who have helped bring this project to fruition. We are very grateful to the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies and the Centre for Public Engagement at Queen Mary for their sponsorship, and to Professor Kate Lowe, Dr Federico Botana and Dr Eyal Poleg for their advice and support. We would like to extend our thanks to Dan Taylor of the CPE and Carla Valentine at Barts Pathology Museum for helping us to open up the exhibition to a wider audience.
Ella Kilgallon and Hannah Lee Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies & Centre for Public Engagement, Queen Mary University of London