The Herbert Read Archive: To Hell with Culture

Part of the Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute Speculative lunch Series 2018-19

An event seeking colleagues interested in exploring Herbert Read’s networks of influence and unity of purpose.

Event Conveners: 

Timothy Procter (Special Collections), Mark Westgarth (FAHACS) & Richard Brown (English)

Event Synopsis:

The Dictionary of National Biography describes Read as ‘poet, literary critic, and writer on art’. This hints at the range of his influence but falls short of the ‘half-a-dozen fields’ that he half-joked had made his legacy hard to characterise. ‘[I]n dissipating my talents’, he wrote, ‘I have made it difficult for my contemporaries to recognize the underlying unity of my purpose and my practice. I am left with the hope that someday someone will take the trouble to trace ‘the figure in the carpet’.’

Special Collections at the University of Leeds holds the Archive and Library of Herbert Read. Read’s archive is as varied as his many projects and interests – documents within the collection reveal the full extent of Read’s influence on British/European/Transatlantic/International cultural development of the twentieth century. This under-used resource has huge potential to reveal the scope of Read’s influence on 20th century cultural life, and the breadth of the networks within which he operated.

To realise that potential, Special Collections is bidding to the Archives Revealed programme to fund a major cataloguing project to surface Read’s archive. But we need to demonstrate the impact this will have, and how our constituencies will use the archive for creative projects, research, in-depth cultural analysis, inter-disciplinary connections, and more. We need your help to define what those projects might look like.

The event is open to members of academic staff, postdoctoral researchers, and postgraduate researchers from any discipline or Faculty. It is an opportunity for researchers with an interest in this area to meet, pool ideas, and contribute to the project.

Lunch is included in this event. Places for this event are limited to 16 and are on a first come first served basis.

If you would like to attend this event, please register your interest by emailng the LAHRI administrator.