Christopher Sheldon awarded Helene Roberts Bursary

Thank you to all who applied to the Helene Roberts Bursary, generously offered by Taylor & Francis in memory of Helene Roberts, the former editor of Visual Resources who died in 2008.

We were showered with applications and it was a very difficult choice, but we are pleased to announce that the Bursary has been granted to Christopher Sheldon a PhD student at the University of York. Christopher’s statement addressed directly the principal themes of the conference and presented a compelling case.

Here is his statement:

As the conference aims to explore several aspects in common with my existing research, I would very much appreciate the opportunity to engage with the multiple perspectives offered by the programme. The intimate but invisible dance between nineteenth century accelerative technologies, methods of art production and changing visual cognition has clearly suffered neglect as a systematic study. My research seeks an integrated, cross-disciplinary methodological approach to studying the emerging influence of photography and railway travel on the perception of Time and art in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Thus, one of the many common points of interest between my project and the event is the need to delineate nodal points in technological, cultural and social networks.

The effect of such mobility on art has profound similarities to the introduction of moveable type printing or the emergence of the internet. Questions abound where multi-dimensional networks are under pressure to accommodate such fundamental reshaping. Did the increased velocity of art and audience disrupt the ‘steady state’ relationship of observer and medium? What of moving observers struggling with their perceptions of static media? Beyond that, what of static observers confronting moving media?

Clearly, modes of perception disrupted and reconstructed by the long nineteenth century currently suffer incomplete process mapping. As a result, I would relish attending the conference, and the chance to investigate a fuller spectrum of the evidential fabric. I hope that a successful application will allow me to listen, reflect and join with others to create new ways forward for the subject.

And his biography:

CHRISTOPHER SHELDON is a Postgraduate student in the History of Art Department at the University of York, where he is studying the effect of photography and the railways on the perception and depiction of Time in Avante-garde art. Some of his research is being undertaken through the Institute of Railway Studies, a joint initiative of the University of York  and the UK National Railway Museum. His bachelor’s degree in English Literature was earned from Southampton University in 1979.




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