From Gawain to the Graphic Novel: A study-day on artists and narrative


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Clive Hicks-Jenkins, The Green Knight’s Head Lives (2017)

Saturday 9 June 2018

MOMA Machynlleth

Those inspired by our 2017 conference Word and Image may be interested in an upcoming study day at MOMA Machynlleth exploring how artists engage with text. The day will feature a historical contextual introduction by Olivia Ahmad (House of Illustration), as well as talks by contemporary illustrators, publishers and artists. Please see the below flyer for more details; to book please visit and scroll down to the 9 June Study Day. 


Conference Report: Word and Image

2017 Conference
Word and Image: The Second Modernist Network Cymru Conference
National Library of Wales/Aberystwyth School of Art, 12-13 September 2017
Emma West
Chair, Modernist Network Cymru (MONC)

On 12-13 September 2017, over 40 academics, curators, artists and enthusiasts gathered at the National Library of Wales to explore the connections between word and image in a range of modernist texts from Wales and beyond. The conference, the second organised by Modernist Network Cymru (MONC), had two aims: firstly, to bring together those engaging with (or making) literature and the visual arts; secondly, to bring those working on Welsh modernism into dialogue with works from other nations. The theme of Word and Image seemed a perfect way to bring together these different strands, not least because word-image crossovers seem especially pertinent to the art and literature of Wales. We could think of figures such as David Jones, Brenda Chamberlain and Margiad Evans who worked across art and literature, whether in poetry and painting or short stories and illustration, or texts such as Chamberlain and Alun Lewis’s Caseg Broadsheets, which juxtaposed modern poetry with experimental woodcuts. More recently, the photographer Aled Rhys Hughes and the Welsh National Opera have both produced multimedia responses to Jones’s prose poem In Parenthesis.

It was thus with great anticipation that the committee awaited the arrival of delegates on a stormy Tuesday morning in the National Library of Wales. Within a few minutes, the conference nerves subsided: the delegates were so enthusiastic and friendly that the area outside the Drwm was soon filled with excited chatter.

Accompanying Events

2017 Conference


Richard Pinkney, The Alphabet Twice, 1971

Please see below for information on exhibitions and activities taking place in Aberystwyth on 12-13 September. The Arts Centre, Aberystwyth University, and the School of Art, have both arranged to exhibit materials to accompany the conference.

National Library of Wales


  • Arthur and Welsh Mythology
  • Legends!
  • Cover to Cover
  • Fallen Poets: Edward Thomas and Hedd Wyn
  • Discover the Heart of Welsh Culture
  • Nanteos Cup

Weekly guided tours:

School of Art, Aberystwyth University 

The Future of Art History in Wales: A free roundtable discussion

2017 Conference, Events, News

A free roundtable discussion
The Drwm, National Library of Wales
12 September 2017, 5-6.30pm
Followed by a wine reception at Aberystwyth School of Art

Cliciwch yma am raglen Cymraeg.

In 2016, the successful campaign to stop A-level Art History being dropped demonstrated the enthusiasm for art history among students, artists and educators across the UK. Yet the future of art history in all its forms – whether in schools, universities, libraries, galleries, arts centres or community groups – remains uncertain.

If, as the artist Jeremy Deller has argued, ‘Art history is the study of power, politics, identity and humanity’, the study and appreciation of art is more vital than ever in the tumultuous 21st century. In Wales, art history is inextricably linked with the political: the lack of critical attention has led to Welsh artists being marginalised or excluded from the canon altogether. How can art history in Wales work to recover movements, groups, individuals or works that have been lost? How can it consider, contextualise and celebrate Wales’s rich and diverse art history, bringing it to new audiences? What are the shared experiences with other humanities subjects (such as literary studies), and what can these disciplines learn from each other?

Join us for a free roundtable discussion with leading artists, curators and historians to discuss the future of Welsh art history/art history in Wales.

Final Programme and Abstract Booklet

2017 Conference

We’re delighted to share the final programme and abstract booklet for the second MONC conference, Word and Image, to be held in Aberystwyth on 12-13 September.

PROGRAMME: Cliciwch yma am raglen Cymraeg. Click here to download a copy in English.

MONC Abstract booklet (bilingual)

Many thanks to Nathan Munday (Cardiff University) for providing the Welsh translation.

The conference hashtag is #monc2017 and the roundtable hashtag is #futurearthistory. Follow us on twitter for the latest updates and to take part.

Registration for the conference is now closed but free tickets for our roundtable discussion are still available here.

The conference is kindly supported by the Learned Society of Wales and Aberystwyth School of Art.

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CFP: Ian Hamilton Finlay: Little Fields, Long Horizons


University of Edinburgh 13-14 July 2017,

with an associated event at Little Sparta, 15 July

This two-day symposium will explore new critical and interdisciplinary perspectives on the Scottish poet, artist and avant-gardener Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006). As Finlay’s reputation worldwide continues to grow a decade after his death, we wish to ask searching questions about the boundaries of his practice, its philosophical, political and cultural dimensions, and its legacies and affinities across a range of media, disciplines and geographical boundaries. A number of attendees will also have the chance to visit Finlay’s poet’s garden at Little Sparta in the Pentland Hills for an event in its new workshop space.