Human Kind: keynote speakers and session chairs

Confirmed keynote speakers

Session chairs

  • Mark Hallett, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London

Keynote speakers

Professor Emeritus David Solkin
Professor Emeritus David Solkin

Professor Emeritus David Solkin

Courtauld Institute of Art, London

One of the world's leading authorities on the history of British art, David Solkin is Walter H. Annenberg Professor of the History of Art at The Courtauld Institute of Art, where he has taught since 1986.

In addition to numerous articles, Solkin has published four important books: Richard Wilson: The Landscape of Reaction (London, Tate Gallery 1982); Painting for Money: The Visual Arts and the Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century England (New Haven and London, Yale University Press 1993); Painting out of the Ordinary: Modernity and the Art of Everyday Life in Early Nineteenth-Century Britain (New Haven and London, Yale University Press 2008); and Art in Britain 1660-1815 (New Haven and London, Yale/Pelican History of Art series, 2015). Solkin was the guest curator of the exhibition Art on The Line: The Royal Academy Exhibitions at Somerset House 1780-1836, which took place at The Courtauld Gallery in 2001-2002. He also edited and co-authored the collection of essays that accompanied the exhibition, for which he was awarded the inaugural William M.B. Berger Prize for British art history. More recently David curated Turner and the Masters, the hugely successful exhibition which opened at Tate Britain in the autumn of 2009, before going on to the Grand Palais in Paris and the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid.

Having just completed his monumental Pelican History, Solkin is now turning his attention to an exhibition of Thomas Gainsborough's portraits of the artist and his relations, entitled Gainsborough's Family Album, which is scheduled to open at the National Portrait Gallery in autumn 2018. David was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2012, and will be retiring from The Courtauld at the end of the current calendar year.

Dr Martin Myrone
Dr Martin Myrone

Dr Martin Myrone

Lead Curator, Pre-1800 British Art, Tate Britain, London

Martin Myrone works with the team of curators responsible for the development of and research into Tate's holdings of artworks from the sixteenth to the early nineteenth century. He has delivered a range of exhibition and display projects at Tate Britain, including Gothic Nightmares: Fuseli, Blake and the Romantic Imagination (2006), William Blake's 1809 Exhibition (2009) John Martin: Apocalypse (2011-12) and British Folk Art (2014).

He is co-editor of the forthcoming Yale University Press essay collection, Court Country City: British Art and Architecture 1660-1735. His current research focuses on the cultural politics of the emerging liberal state in the early nineteenth century, and he is working on book-length studies on the 'bio-politics' of art education in the period, and on the history and portrait painter Henry Perronet Briggs (1792-1844).

Dr Kate Retford
Dr Kate Retford

Dr Kate Retford

Senior Lecturer, Department of History of Art, Birkbeck, University of London

Kate Retford joined the Department of History of Art at Birkbeck in 2003. She researches eighteenth-century British art, particularly the portraiture of the period, issues of gender, and the country house art collection. Kate has written a number of articles and her book, The Art of Domestic Life: Family Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century England, was published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art by Yale University Press in 2006, and was runner-up for the Longman History Today Book Award that year.

Kate is currently Head of Department, and blogs about its activities on the History of Art at Birbeck website. She is also a member of the Birkbeck Eighteenth-Century Research Group, which recently organised a number of events for Birkbeck Arts Week 2015. Podcasts of many of these are now available on the Birkbeck Arts Week 2015 web page.

This keynote lecture is supported by the Macgeorge Bequest.

Associate Professor David Hansen
Associate Professor David Hansen

Associate Professor David Hansen

Centre for Art History and Art Theory, Australian National University, Canberra

David Hansen has worked as a regional gallery director, a State museum curator and an art auction house researcher and specialist; in 2014 he was appointed Associate Professor at the Centre for Art History and Art Theory at the Australian National University. With over 30 years' professional experience in the visual arts and museums sectors, Dr Hansen has curated more than 80 exhibitions, and his writings on art have been widely published in newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, exhibition catalogues and books. He has a special interest in colonial art, particularly in the work of the Anglo-colonial Picturesque landscapist John Glover and in early settler representations of Aboriginal Australians.

Dr Anne Gray
Dr Anne Gray

Dr Anne Gray

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Anne Gray has had 40 years of art museum experience. She joined the National Gallery of Australia as Head of Australian Art in February 2001, a position she held until April 2016. She was previously Director of the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery at The University of Western Australia, Head of Art at the Australian War Memorial, and Educator at the Art Gallery of Western Australia. She has curated around 40 exhibitions including, most recently, Tom Roberts (2015-16). For the National Gallery of Australia she also curated Face: Australian portraits 1880-1960 (2010), as well as The Edwardians: Secrets and Desires (2003), Constable: Impressions of land, sea and sky (2005), George W. Lambert Retrospective: Heroes and Icons (2007) McCubbin: Last Impressions (2009), Out of the West: Western Australian Art 1830s-1930s (2011-12) and Sydney Long: The spirit of the land (2012). She was co-Curator of Australia (2013), at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, an exhibition of more than 200 works covering more than 200 years of Australian art.

Gray has written widely on Australian art and artists including George Lambert 1873-1930, Catalogue Raisonné, and Australian Art in the National Gallery of Australia (ed.). She has presented many public lectures and conference papers, including the 2009 Mayne Centre Lecture at the University of Queensland on 'Beyond the Archibald: Aspects of Australian Portraiture 1880-1960' and 2013 Menzies Lecture in London on 'Building a Cultural Capital 1913-2013'. She compiled Yours truly, Arthur Streeton, a music and words performance about the relationship between Arthur Streeton and his wife Nora Clench. She has a PhD in Fine Arts from The University of Melbourne and a MA in Aesthetics from The University of Western Australia. She has been a Harold Wright Scholar in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, London and has held fellowships with the Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven and the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies at Kings College, London.

Session chairs

  • Professor Mark Hallett, Director of Studies, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, will introduce a panel debate about portraits.

Further details about session chairs will be posted closer to the conference.

Joshua Reynolds (English 1723-92) 'Miss Susanna Gale' c. 1763-64

Joshua Reynolds (English 1723-92)
Miss Susanna Gale
c. 1763-64
Oil on canvas
210.0 x 118.8 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Felton Bequest, 1934 (158-4)