4th December 2006
HISTORY TOLD THROUGH ART
A University of Lincoln lecturer and his team have been awarded a £400,000 Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) grant for a research project.
The project is entitled ‘Changing landscapes, changing environments: enclosure and culture in Northamptonshire, 1700-1900’
Ian Waites, senior lecturer in History of Art, and three colleagues from the University of Hertfordshire and English Heritage won the bid out of 120 applicants.
The AHRC project will explore the ways in which communities responded culturally to changes in their physical environment brought about by parliamentary enclosure, focussing on the county of Northamptonshire between 1700 and 1900.
Parliamentary enclosure has played a crucial role in the evolution of English landscapes. Northamptonshire is the most heavily enclosed county of all; the enclosure of open fields, commons and wasteland meant the number of landowners fell and the poor lost common rights.
Ian’s role within the project is to examine pictorial and literary representations of Northamptonshire’s landscape before, during and after enclosure. He will examine the work of regional artists such as George Clarke and William Turner and the literary work of poet John Clare.
The project will run over three years; in the final year of the project Ian will curate an exhibition of George Clarke’s work.
Ian said: “This research is important because it helps us to understand how important common land was to people in the past, not just agriculturally but socially and culturally also.
“We only have to look around Lincoln, at the west and south commons that still exist here, to realise this. After all, the university is built on common land, on what used to be called the Holmes Common.”
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