Symposium: William Morris in the 21st Century

Saturday, 5 September 10am-5pm

The Birmingham and Midland Institute, 9 Margaret Street, Birmingham, B3 3BS

Speakers: Jan Marsh, Chair (National Portrait Gallery and President, WMS), Ruth Levitas (University of Bristol), Tony Pinkney (University of Lancaster), Patrick O’Sullivan, Owen Holland (University of Cambridge), David Mabb (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Organised by The William Morris Society for our Diamond Jubilee Year

Ticket details: Symposium £30, or £10 concession for students and unwaged
To purchase tickets or for further information please contact the office at Kelmscott House –
Tickets can also be purchased via our Eventbrite page (subject to booking fee)

This symposium, to be chaired by the Society’s president Jan Marsh, will examine various aspects of Morris’s legacy. The aftermath of the general election provides a very appropriate opportunity to explore Morris’s political ideas and their contemporary relevance. Martin Stott, Chair of the Society will introduce the symposium as a celebration of the Society’s 60th year. Ruth Levitas, a former chair of the Society, looks at the recent general election from a Morrisian standpoint, whilst Tony Pinkney re-assesses Morris’s Marxism. The explosion of ‘new nature writing’ has been the publishing phenomenon of the past decade and Patrick O’Sullivan will speak on William Morris and nature. Education is always politically controversial and, Owen Holland, the new editor of the Society’s Journal, re-examines Morris’s views on education. David Mabb will speak about his exhibition at the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, which celebrates the utopian ideas of Morris and the Russian artist El Lissitzky through their seminal book designs.

The nearby Birmingham Art Gallery is currently hosting Jeremy Deller’s exhibition Love is Enough and there will be time for participants to attend the exhibition during the lunch break.

The Society hopes that the location of the event in the heart of the country will enable a greater number of people to take part in this exciting jubilee event.

Notes on the participants
Jan Marsh: President of the William Morris Society, author of numerous works on the Pre-Raphaelites and of Jane and May Morris: A Biographical Story, 1839-1938 (1986)
Ruth Levitas: Former chair of the William Morris Society, known internationally for her work on utopia, particularly The Concept of Utopia (1990), and for her research into poverty and social exclusion.
Tony Pinkney: Senior lecturer at Lancaster University, author of a well-known blog on Morris and utopianism, Other publications include William Morris in Oxford: The Campaigning Years 1879 – 1895 (2007) and We Met Morris: Interviews with William Morris 1879 – 95 (2005). Patrick O’Sullivan: Outgoing editor of the Society’s Journal of William Morris Studies, lecturer on environmentalism and environmental philosophy, Patrick has written and lectured extensively on environmental themes in the life and ideas of Morris.
Owen Holland: Newly appointed editor of the Society’s Journal. Owen recently completed his doctoral thesis on William Morris’s Utopianism and the Politics of Mundane Intervention.
David Mabb: Reader in Art at Goldsmith’s, UoL, David has exhibited internationally with almost 30 solo exhibitions. He has been working with the designs of William Morris for some 15 years and curated William Morris: ‘Ministering to the Swinish Luxury of the Rich’ at the Whitworth Art Gallery (2004).

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