Since a year and a half, Dr. Naomi Billingsley and I have been running the Visionary Artists, Visionary Objects (1800-now) research network (VAVO). It aims to bring together (early career) researchers working at the intersection of modern/ contemporary art and religion, by exploring the potential of the visionary as a conceptual approach.

We are thinking about questions such as: What does it mean to call an artist or artwork visionary? How does this relate to artists’ personal biographies and societal contexts? And how do we deal with artists’ and objects’ visionary character in museum and gallery settings?

In February 2018, we’ve had our kick-off meeting in Manchester, with several scholars from across the UK and The Netherlands. Given the fact neither Naomi or I have full institutional backing for the network, we’ve been looking for opportunities to continue and shape it ever since.

In September 2018, several of our network members have contributed to a joint panel at the ISRLC conference in Uppsala. The conference theme “Truth” was especially apt in the context of visionaries and their artistic production.

More recently, Naomi and I were invited to present the VAVO network, its aims, and activities during the 2019 kick-off meeting of CenSAMM, the Centre for the Critical Study of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements. Read about our contribution to the meeting in the blog post on the VAVO research blog.

To be continued!

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