Bye Bye Bauhaus Symposium
Image: Paul and Marjorie Abbatt Play Tray, designed by Freda Skinner, c. 1935
Bye Bye Bauhaus Symposium
Saturday 30th November 2019
University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5LS
Led by: Alan Powers and various expert speakers
As the Bauhaus Centenary year comes to its close, what is left to say? The Bye Bye Bauhaus day symposium, organised by Alan Powers for the Twentieth Century Society and hosted by the University of Westminster, offers new perspectives and stories that have not yet been told, concerning design in Germany and Britain during the past century.
The programme begins before 1914, with expert speakers on two major figures with accidental Bauhaus connections – Henry van de Velde (speaker Richard Hollis, author of a compact new study of the Belgian Art Nouveau designer) and Heinrich Tessenow (Gerald Adler, the English expert on an architect whose quiet virtues have been overshadowed).
The theme moves on to two papers on different aspects of the Bauhaus itself. David Haney, architecture and landscape historian and author of When Modern was Green, 2007, considers the afterlife of the Trade Union School at Bernau by the second Bauhaus director, Hannes Meyer, and Frederic Schwartz of UCL asks ‘What was the Bauhaus?’ – a question that becomes more difficult to answer the more we know about it.
The afternoon programme begins with Valeria Carullo, Curator, The Robert Elwall Photographs Collection, RIBA British Architectural Library, speaking on the RIBA Refugee Committee that helped many architects to emigrate to Britain in the 1930s. The next group of speakers is concerned with aspects of textiles, with Tanya Harrod, pre-eminent historican of British crafts, on the Bauhaus enthusiasms of the handweaver, Ethel Mairet; Sophie Jump, theatre designer and scenographer, on When Marcel met Motley, an account of the collaboration between Marcel Breuer and the costume design group, Motley, in 1930s London; and Anna Nyburg, historian of émigré art publishing, on ‘Exiles and Textiles’, the little-known story of official British support for manufacturers fleeing Nazi Germany.
The final session brings together expert speakers on five lesser-known Bauhäusler in Britain, each of whom has a fascinating story that broadens our appreciation of the achievements of the original school. Jilly Allenby will speak on her grandfather, the sculptor Johannes Ilmari Auerbach; Marcus Williamson on René Halkett, painter, designer broadcaster and lyricist for the punk band Bauhaus; John Allan on the graphic designer George Adams (Teltscher), Rachel Dickson on puppeteer Werner ‘Jacky’ Jackson and Danyel Gilgan on his grandfather, the maker and teacher Wilfred Franks.
Full speaker schedule announced soon.
Students with valid ID: £25
Tickets include refreshments with sandwich lunch and post-conference drinks.