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In 1949, Yorkshire-born modernist Herbert Read, alongside Bonamy Dobrée, Professor of English at the University of Leeds, proposed a Department of Fine Art to the University. It is now the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies and also includes museum, heritage and curatorial studies.
Seventy years later this exhibition reflects on their radical plan, which asked the questions:
What is the role of art practice at the heart of a research university? What is the role of the university in the education of fine artists? And, what is the relation of the university to the culture of the city and the region?
The exhibition paints a portrait of their unique experiment. It brings together the art and the ideas of many artists, thinkers and students who have shaped and expanded the School over seven decades.
Also addressed are the current debates about the value, uses and abuses of culture and unease about the promotion of science and technology over arts and humanities.
Experimental in form, the show offers a chorus of voices and media across campus. It is co-curated by Sam Belinfante and Griselda Pollock.
Highlights include works by Terry Atkinson, Turner Prize-winners Elizabeth Price and Lubaina Himid. Himid was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2019 for her contribution to the University over forty years.