Upcoming Events

Experiments in Art Writing

Podcast – Roger Robinson

  • 5 May 2021
  • Podcast to be released at 10.00am on the date above.
    The British Art Talks podcast is an audio series from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. It features new research and aims to enhance and expand knowledge of British art and architecture.

In this series art historians and writers describe key literary, poetic, fictional and art materials that have shaped the form of their writing.

Lively questions of the material form of art studies have re-emerged in recent years: of creative process, of the weight of words and voice and of possibilities of historical speculation. Creative Writing and Art History (2011) edited by Catherine Grant and Patricia Rubin features a range of essays exploring both historical and contemporary modes of creative writing about art. Fictions of Art History (2013) edited by Mark Ledbury, considers the ways in which the discipline of art history, the writing of fiction and the making and viewing of art are comingled. A range of events and sessions have reflected on art history as a literary practice – as ‘fiction with footnotes’, on the mode and potential of ekphrasis, and on diverse practices of ‘art writing’.

This vital activity in the domain of art historiography arises as a range of erstwhile critics and historians are taking leave from established epistemological modes to participate in formal experimentation.

This series hones in on the work of a set of innovative and distinctive UK based art writers, asking them to describe core encounters, materials, voices and texts that have shaped the very form of their writing, and their performance of it, throughout their careers to date.

About the speaker

  • Black and white head and shoulders portrait.

    Roger Robinson is a writer who has performed worldwide. He is the winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize 2019, RSL Ondaatje Prize 2020 and RSL Fellow. He was chosen by Decibel as one of fifty writers who have influenced the Black-British writing canon. His latest collection A Portable Paradise was a New Statesman book of the year. He is an alumnus of The Complete Works and was shortlisted for the OCM Bocas Poetry Prize, the Oxford Brookes Poetry Prize, commended by the Forward Poetry Prize and shortlisted for the Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry 2020. 

    He has received commissions from the National Trust, London Open House, BBC, the National Portrait Gallery, V&A, INIVA, MK Gallery and Theatre Royal Stratford East where he also was associate artist. 

    He is an experienced workshop leader and has toured extensively with the British Council. His workshops have been part of a shortlist for the Gulbenkian Prize for Museums and Galleries and were also a part of the Webby Award winning Barbican’s Can I Have A Word. He is co-founder of both Spoke Lab and the international writing collective Malika’s Poetry Kitchen. He is the lead vocalist and lyricist for King Midas Sound and has also recorded solo albums with Jahtari Records.