Meeting Architecture III: Fragments

The events of human life, whether public or private, are so intimately linked to architecture that most observers can reconstruct nations or individuals in all the truth of their habits from the remains of their monuments or from their domestic relics.’

Honoré de Balzac

Our current Architecture Programme Meeting Architecture III: FRAGMENTS considers how ideologies are shaped, memories evoked and emotions stirred by buildings, their contents and their ruins. 

We are now halfway through the programme having hosted the following lectures and exhibitions at the BSR in 2015-16:

  • Robert Bevan, ‘Culture and genocide’
  • Akram Zaatari, ‘The Archaeology of Rumour’
  • Francesco Bandarin, ‘The past as hostage. Heritage, conflicts and international organisations’
  • Dor Guez, ’40 Days’
  • Eyal Weizman, ‘Only the criminal can solve the crime’

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If you were not able to make it to any of these events, full video recordings are available of the lectures by Robert Bevan, Francesco Bandarin, Dor Guez and Eyal Weizman on our YouTube channel.

We very much look forward to seeing what the second half of this programme will bring!

Photos taken by Antonio Palmieri and  Giorgio Benni


Six Nations

In the days after many celebrate the highly successful partnership of Italy and England on the football fields of Leicester, we thought we would take a look at the BSR’s many international relationships.

The BSR was delighted to be part of the global Shakespeare 2016 Anniversary events. Here in Italy, we enjoyed a week-long series of events entitled Shakespeare Memory of Rome 2016, in which the BSR and the British Council were official partners. We are very grateful to Maria del Sapio and Maddalena Pennacchia, from Università Roma Tre, and Iolanda Plescia, from Sapienza, Università di Roma, for their collaboration in organising one day of the conference in front of a packed Sainsbury Lecture Theatre at the BSR. Andrew Hadfield from Sussex University, a previous Society for Renaissance Studies lecturer at the BSR, and Lisa Hopkins from Sheffield Hallam University were among those staying at the BSR for the events. We also invited Roy Stephenson from our own partner institution, the Museum of London, who gave a brilliant lecture on Shakespeare’s London.

The conference was complemented by a splendid performance by Shakespeare’s Globe of Hamlet at Palazzo della Cancelleria, organised by HM Ambassador to the Holy See, Nigel Baker.

The same week we were delighted to host Paul Binski (Professor of the History of Medieval Art, and Head of the Department of History of Art, University of Cambridge) to give our annual W.T.C. Walker Lecture in Architectural History on ‘Rome and England in the Gothic Age’. Rome may not be the first city that comes to mind when thinking about the gothic, but, with his trademark silver-tongued erudition, Paul demonstrated stamps and echoes of romanitas in some of England’s most familiar Gothic cathedrals.


It was a delight see former award-holder Marcella Sutcliffe (University of Cambridge) return to the BSR earlier this month to give a lecture on humanities activists in the Great War, including the role played by the BSR’s third Director Thomas Ashby in the British Red Cross on the Italian front.


The opportunity for a senior scholar researching Anglo-Italian artistic and cultural relations or Grand Tour subjects to join our community is currently being offered in the form of a fellowship offered by the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art – details can be found here The deadline for applications is 23 May 2016. You can read what this year’s Paul Mellon Centre Rome Fellow Caspar Pearson had to say about his time at the BSR here:

Lest we should appear too Anglocentric: on the awards front, our Arts Council of Northern Ireland Fellow Damien Duffy continues to enthral us; we have just had an early visit from Kelly Best, who will be our inaugural Creative Wales-BSR Fellow next year. We were excited to be invited to hear about the history of the Venerable English College – the oldest continuously existing English and Welsh institution abroad – at their sede around the corner from Campo de’ Fiori recently. Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee, visited to present an AHRC-funded project on early video art in Italy, and we shall soon host the Glasgow School of Art who will be presenting their major restoration project to a large Rome audience. A conference on the fascinating sixteenth-century figure of Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone takes us across the Irish Sea. To cap our Six Nations, we are currently enjoying a successful collaboration with our French colleagues at the Villa Medici on our recent architecture programme Meeting Architecture: Fragments.

Christopher Smith (Director) and Tom True (Assistant Director)