Association for Art History Annual Conference

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesInvited talk


Thursday 5 April 2018
18.00 – 19.00 Opening Keynote – Sonia Boyce, MBE, RA, (artists and Professor of Black Art and Design at University of the Arts London) in conversation with Dorothy Price (Editor, Art History and Reader in History of Art at the University of Bristol).
19.00 – 20.30 Drinks Reception, The Courtauld Gallery

Title: Sonia Boyce (MBE, RA) in conversation with Dorothy Price (Editor, Art History)
Sonia Boyce biography
Sonia Boyce (MBE, RA) is an artist who lives and works in London. She is Professor of Black Art and Design at University of the Arts London. Her research explores art as a social practice and the critical and contextual debates that arise from collaboration and participation. Boyce has been working closely with other artists since 1990, often involving improvisation and spontaneous performative actions. Her work involves a variety of media, such as drawing, print, photography and video and explores the interstices between sound and memory, the dynamics of space, and incorporating the spectator. She has taught Fine Art studio practice for over thirty years in various art colleges across the UK. Since 2015 she has been Principal Investigator on a major three-year AHRC-funded project, Black Artists and Modernism, which seeks to investigate the often-understated connections, as well as points of conflict, between Black-British artists' practice and the art-works' relationship to modernism. In 2016 Boyce was a recipient of the prestigious Paul Hamlyn Foundation Artists Award, and was elected as a Royal Academician. In March 2018 a major retrospective of her work is opening at Manchester Art Gallery. She was awarded an MBE for services to art in 2007.

Dorothy Price biography
Dorothy Price is Reader in History of Art at the University of Bristol, and Editor of Art History. She is a founder member and inaugural director of the Centre for Black Humanities at the University of Bristol, as well as research lead for the Transnational Modernisms research cluster. Her research asks how human subjectivity is constructed, performed, negotiated, challenged and changed through the production of visual art within different historical, geographical and cultural contexts. A particular focus for this has been art made in Germany between the wars, and aspects of gendered, black, Asian and diasporic art made in Britain after 1945. She is author and editor of numerous books, articles and catalogue essays. Together with Sonia Boyce, she is currently co-editing a special issue of Art History arising from the AHRC-funded Black Artists and Modernism project.

Abstract for the in conversation
Born in London, Sonia Boyce emerged as one of the leading figures in the Black-British arts scene in the 1980s. Working across several media, including photography, drawing, installation and video, her early work spoke about race and gender. Recent projects have taken a new direction, working with improvised performances and collaborations. Exquisite Cacophony (2015) saw her bring together free-style rapper Astronautalis with experimental vocalist Elaine Mitchener, to create a linguistic tour de force. Paper Tiger Whisky Soap Theatre (2016) involved Astronautalis again, this time collaborating with choreographer Vânia Gala and the art students of the Villa Arson in Nice, to produce an improvised work resulting in a multi-screened video installation. We Move in Her Way (2017) involved the exploratory vocal and movement performances of Elaine Mitchener, Barbara Gamper and the dancers Eve Stainton, Ria Uttridge and Be van Vark, with an invited audience at the ICA, London. Over her thirty-year career, Boyce has achieved international and critical acclaim. She is represented in the permanent collections of Tate and Arts Council England, amongst many others. She has exhibited widely, including at Barbados Museum and Historical Society, Moscow Museum of Modern Art and the 56th Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art. This 'in conversation' will reflect on Sonia's career as an artist-researcher, teacher and collaborator. It will also discuss some of the key questions that have
motivated the Black Artists and Modernism research project, reflect on what the project has achieved, and how as a discipline we can all learn from its findings.
Period4 Apr 2018
Event typeConference
LocationLondon, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Sonia Boyce
  • Black British Art
  • Manchester Art Gallery
  • Six Acts
  • Hylas and the Nymphs