Sunday 13 November 2022

Designing Preservation: Waterways in the Works and Patterns of William Morris

Designing Preservation: Waterways in the Works and Patterns of William Morris
A lecture by Professor Elysia French

Monday Nov. 21 at 7:00 pm EST
Zoom Lecture

‘Wandle', furnishing fabric, William Morris 


Historians have demonstrated awareness of William Morris’s environmental ideologies yet have widely ignored this aspect of his work. Morris’s writings on the environment have commonly been described as romantic, escapist, and utopian; if this remains how they are interpreted, historians risk losing valuable insights into the innovative and progressive qualities of Morris’s environmentalism. William Morris’s environmental ideologies were innovative for his time and applicable for today. Through an exploration of his designs, in which he employs the Thames River as a tool of ecological commentary, it will become clear how Morris’s concerns for environmental preservation, freedom, and justice were embedded within his art.

Dr. Elysia French is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at Brock University. French is trained as an art historian and studies contemporary environmentally and socially engaged work. Her research is focused on intersections between art and the environment with a particular interest in climate change, the culture of oil, and multispecies relationships.

    She is interested in how cultural producers—those operating within the realms of art and visual culture, community and participatory arts, and activism—are making climate change discourse accessible and relevant to the growing public concern. In recent work, French demonstrated how art is a vital field of inquiry in understanding environmental loss through an exploration of the connections that exist between species and stories. Her current multifaceted and collaborative project, Making (Eco)Logical, brings together diverse perspectives from contemporary artists, activists, curators, scholars and theorists, who explore the ways in which art informs perceptions and communications of environmental and social injustices associated with environmental change.

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