William Durden

A Lens-Based, Non-Profit, Start-Up: FotoFocus in the Realm of the International Art Fair

THURSDAY 2 JULY 2015, 18.00


The FotoFocus Biennial launched in 2012 to present a month-long celebration of photography and lens-based art in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a non-profit organization, FotoFocus is dedicated to sponsoring and providing funds to institutions to produce photography exhibitions and events that are artistically and intellectually engaging, while also being enriching to a large and diverse public. For example, most recently FotoFocus was a proud supporter of the Screenings during Paris Photo LA in April 2014. In this lecture, the Executive Director of FotoFocus introduces the project, examines its contributions to date, and considers and its position as an international art fair.

Mary Ellen Goeke has worked for over twenty-five years with museums and art organizations in New York, Chicago, Hartford and Cincinnati. She has held a number of positions at the Cincinnati Art Museum and at the American Federation of Arts in New York, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, and the Terra Museum of American Art/Musée d’Art Américain in Giverny. She established a private consulting practice in Cincinnati in established 2001. She graduate with an MA in Art History at Richmond University in 2006. Her thesis examined fine art museums and early 20th century photography: Aesthetics, Taste and Cultural Distinction: The Museum of Modern Art and An American Place Gallery, New York, 1929.

All are welcome. Wine will be served.

Richmond’s Dr Martin D. Brown writes for the London School of Economics’ EUROPP Blog

The battle for history: why Europe should resist the temptation to rewrite its own communist past

Earlier this month the Czech and Slovak governments criticised the airing of a Russian documentary on the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, with the Slovak ministry of foreign affairs describing it as an attempt ‘to rewrite history’. Martin D. Brown writes that while the documentary was undoubtedly flawed, the diplomatic spat was symptomatic of a situation in which Russia has increasingly adopted a resolutely Soviet view of history, while post-Soviet states have supported the construction of a consciously anti-Soviet history built around the concept of totalitarianism. He argues that there is little to gain from EU states rewriting their own past simply to counter the Russian narrative.


William Durden

Richmond’s Prof George Zhang spoke on frameworks of standards for Chinese language learning and teaching

Dr George Zhang delivered a presentiaon on frameworks of standards for international Chinese language learning and teaching at the 13th New York International Conference on Teaching Chinese (http://clta-gny.org/15conf/program.html) held in early May at Pace University and organised by the Chinese Language Teachers’ Association of Greater New York. Professor Zhang’s presentation compared various frameworks of standards for Chinese language learning and teaching which has witnessed a rapid growth in the last five to ten years in the UK, Europe and the USA. At the conference, Professor Zhang also chaired the panel on Assessment and Standards. On the 7th May Professor Zhang also gave a talk on the same subject at the University of Columbia at the invitation of the university’s Chinese programme team.


Richmond Student Works on Documentary about Colombia’s Paramilitary at Guardian News Media

Richmond student Blanca Lantero was recently hired to help make an important Guardian News Media documentary about Colombia’s Paramilitary death squad and its alleged connection to BP.  The documentary was released on 22 May to coincide with a high court case in London against BP and can be seen here:



About her experience working with the Guardian team on this project, Blanca Lantero commented:

‘Through my professor’s working relationship with Guardian, I got a paid gig to work on this documentary.  My job involved translating interviews and using video editing software. I loved working on this amazing project and doubt I would have gotten this experience had I not studied video production and cinema at Richmond.”

Richmond Shield

Round-table discussion on the general theme of migration

As part of the activities of the School of Business & Economics’ Wellbeing Research Cluster a round-table discussion on the general theme of migration has been arranged for Friday June 5th on the University’s Richmond campus (Lycett Room). The session will aim to address (through discussion rather than individual presentation of papers) a number of themes of wider interest, some of which have made headline news both nationally and internationally in recent weeks.

Program starts at 1000 and expected to end by around 1230.

The following non-exhaustive list of topics will feature:

1.       Migration (political and neoclassical motivations)

2.       Variations in migration patterns and links to climate change.

3.       The political and economic need for measuring migration flows, and

4.       Issues of data accuracy.

If you wish to attend please let Jacqui Ryan know (ryanj@richmond.ac.uk)

William Durden

Student Government Election Results are in

Congratulations to the following candidates who have been elected to office for Fall 2015.

Louise Kofoed-Dam

Synthia Hynes

Damien Ashton-Wellman

Jimmy Enhammar

Karen Chaberman-Fisman

Arielle Medrano

APRIL 2015

Prehistoric Avebury Trip

Students from the MA in Art History and Visual Culture, MA in Visual Arts Management and Curating, and undergraduate programmes in Communications and Psychology, were lead on a trip to the World Heritage Site of prehistoric Avebury in Wiltshire, by Dr Robert Wallis, on Fri 17 April. The group first visited the atmospheric site of Fyfield where glacial boulders were quarried in the Neolithic for use in monument building.

Crossing the ridgeway, the oldest trackway in Europe, the group examined the so-called ‘Sanctuary’ where the dead may have been excarnated, and then walked up part of the West Kennet Avenue which once connected the Sanctuary and Avebury henge. The megalithic avenue guided the group into the henge itself which contains three stone circles and other complex megalithic settings such as the Obelisk and Cove.

The group then travelled back towards the ridgeway, passing the largest human-made mound in Europe, Silbury Hill, and walking to West Kennet Long Barrow, a funerary monument.

Wallis encouraged the students to consider each of the monuments as part of a wider landscape which may have been considered animate and sacred over thousands of years, with changes in funerary practice from communal burials at West Kennet in the Early Neolithic to the individual burials in Bronze Age round barrows.

Dr Wallis trained in archaeology at the University of Southampton. He is Professor of Visual Culture, Associate Dean of MA programmes and convenor of the MA in Art History and Visual Culture at Richmond.

A visit to The National Archives

Students enhance their research skills at The National Archives

Led by tutor Dr Judith Carmel-Arthur, three classes of students from Academic Research and Writing, Principles of Academic Research, recently visited The National Archives in nearby Kew.

The trip was held in conjunction with class lessons on Judging the comparative values of primary and secondary research sources, and used the British Suffragette Movement of the early 20th century as a model research subject for the day. Before the visit, students discussed film clips from two related secondary sources:

  • The 2013 Channel 4 documentary presented by Clare Balding on the Suffragette, Emily Wilding Davison’s interruption of the Epsom Derby in 1913 (Secrets of a Suffragette)
  • The Hilary Swank film about American suffragettes, Iron Jawed Angels

At The National Archives students visited the museum and worked with the Education Department, learning basic document handling procedures, membership and document request protocols and how to use the reading rooms. Each student then received an individual file of original documents to analyse, compare and discuss, including prison medical reports, police records, prison warden reports, Home Office records, family correspondence and original news items of specific events, such as the 1913 Epsom Derby.

All students who took part in the visit now hold Reader’s tickets to The National Archives, encouraging them to return for further research in their own time. Here’s what some of our students said about the visit:

The National Archives visit was really fun! Getting access to primary sources and actually holding the fragile documents for myself gave me a greater appreciation for my topic. I found that reading and handling original documents made my research more meaningful and further inspired me to gather information from other sources (e.g., medical reports, prison documentation, photographs). The whole experience opened my eyes to how important and interesting research can be and I’m grateful to have a Reader’s ticket so that I can visit The National Archives again on my own time.

The trip to The National Archives proved not only incredibly informative but also fascinating. I was able to read and handle the original hand-written Metropolitan Police report surrounding Emily Davison’s collision with the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby. This was a truly unique experience, I will DEFINITELY be going back!

Handling original documents was such a humbling experience. Seeing hand-written medical reports, pleas from suffragettes and witness accounts of the way these activists were treated allowed me to really become involved in the topic and come away with a much greater respect for the whole movement and the rights the suffragettes fought for. I’ll definitely be going back for research in the future!

Richmond University students at Hever Castle

A Tudor experience at Hever Castle

On March 27th 2015 a group of students, led by Sally Holloway and Neil Mackie, visited Kent’s Hever Castle – the childhood home of Anne Boleyn; who was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536.

During the trip, the group engaged with this fascinating Tudor world alongside other students with an interest in history, who joined the group to share in the experience.

The group thoroughly enjoyed the visit and were extremely impressed with how well everything was restored and displayed throughout the grounds. The gardens and lake are very peaceful and the route through the castle is very well set up. As you walk through the grounds and castle you can really picture the world of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, with tour guides dressed in period clothes really bringing the atmosphere to life. The castle has three floors which contain antique furniture and items dating back to the 15th century, including Anne Boleyn’s prayer books, instruments of torture and a large collection of Tudor paintings. You can even find some of the original country house’s timbers in the stone walls. The gardens on the grounds are in an Italian style and feature beautiful roses, herbs, statues and the gatehouse, which still stands to this day and is completely original.

Walking through Hever and its grounds almost takes you through a timeline where you are able to experience the Tudor world being recreated, while being able to glimpse into the lives of the American Waldorf Astor family from the early 20th century – who restored the castle to what we see today.

Richmond University’s International History Society are proud of how integrated we have become within disciplines, as well as excited for our future as a club, with events including more students and allowing them to further ignite their curiosity for history and learning. We are so thankful to Student Affairs in arranging this trip and look forward to many more.