British photographic history

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cfp: The Art and Science of the Moon / proposals by 15 May 2019

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of humanity’s first footsteps on another world, Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG) will host a major exhibition exploring our evolving relationship with the Moon across times and cultures. The Moon (19 July 2019 – 5 January 2020) will present a scientific and cultural history of our nearest celestial neighbour, exploring its role as a mirror for humanity’s dreams, obsessions and endeavours.

This conference considers cross cultural relationships with the Moon and invites various responses to our cosmic companion.  In keeping with RMG’s interest in interrogating the collision of science, history and art, The Art and Science of the Moon will explore how the Moon’s motions and phases have influenced human activities, beliefs and behaviours; how sustained scrutiny and mapping of the lunar surface have enabled us to understand more about ourselves and our place in the universe; how attempts, imaginary and real, to reach this other world have fostered creativity and technological progress; and how in the 21st century we are reflecting on the past and rethinking our relationship with the Moon for the future.


Plenary lecture by Professor Paul Murdin, Senior Fellow Emeritus, Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge.

We are particularly interested in papers that explore the interface between art, in its widest sense, and science, particularly lunar studies, and those which interrogate issues such as:

  • Myths and folklore of the Moon
  • The Moon as muse: how different cultures have responded to the Moon in various artistic forms
  • Exploring the perception and nature of moonlight
  • Using art to help us interpret and understand the complex nature of the Moon’s motion
  • Scrutinising, imaging and mapping the lunar surface
  • How different and changing technologies, techniques and traditions of observation and representation have shaped how we understand the Moon
  • The cultures of professional and amateur astronomy and their interactions within the context of lunar observation and research
  • The Moon and the imagination – getting there, lunar life, and the possibility of the Moon as home
  • How art and popular culture impacted on the endeavour to reach the Moon and vice versa
  • What are the reasons for our renewed drive to explore the Moon?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities of returning the Moon?

We’d like to invite academics, artists, curators and creative practitioners to submit their proposals for 20-minute papers. We particularly welcome submissions from early career researchers. 

If you are interested, please send a 250 word abstract and short CV to research@rmg.co.uk by 5pm on Wednesday 15 May 2019. The conference will take place on 14-15 November 2019 at Royal Museums Greenwich. 

Image: Warren De la Rue (British, 1815-1889) and Robert Howlett (British, 1831-1858)
[The Moon (left) Feb. 27, 1858; (right) Sept. 11, 1859] / The Moon, negative February 27, 1858 and September 11, 1860; print about 1862, Albumen silver print
5.8 × 5.8 cm (2 5/16 × 2 5/16 in.), 84.XC.729.479
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

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