National identity and local pride. Interurban cultural and artistic differences in Belgium during the long 19th century (9-10 November 2015, Ghent and Antwerp) PhD Specialist Course

In 19th-century Belgium, Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent were the major cultural centers that distinguished themselves by flourishing art academies, a range of exhibition possibilities for artists and thriving art markets, the establishment of local and national museums, the activity of local art and cultural societies and a high number of local private collectors, among others. Moreover, each of these cities had a renowned and age-old artistic tradition, and the academies of Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent each developed a distinct artistic profile and aspirations. Consequently, not solely the capital was the protagonist for the arts and cultural production. Instead of a national discourse exclusively linked to the capital, the situation in Belgium was much more complex.

In this two-day, intensive specialist course, we wish to focus on the dialectical interplay between an emerging national identity and long-engrained local identities in 19th-century Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent and how these shaped the cultural production, canon, criticism and reception. Attention will be paid to the common and divergent characteristics of the three Belgian cities, the role of city councils, cultural institutions, artistic organizations and societies, as well as to the impact of these aspects on artists, writers, commissioners, critics, collectors and the broader public. For this we will bring together for the first time a group of interdisciplinary researchers from different universities and academic backgrounds to shed light on and contextualize the diverse cultural milieus that shaped the local differences between the 19th-century Belgian cities.

Further information and registration
Applicants who wish to participate in the PhD specialist course are requested to register by 23 October 2015 via this link, mentioning the course title, your name and providing a title and abstract of ca. 150 words outlining how your PhD research relates to the topic of the course (maximum number of participants: 15).
Prior to the course, the organizers will circulate a number of reading materials, i.e., articles or book chapters related to the course topic, which the enrolled participants will be required to read in advance of the sessions, in order to stimulate fruitful discussions.

Please find the full programme and details here: Invitation PhD Specialist Course national-local identities UG-UA

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