British Association for Victorian Studies Annual Conference: 'Composition and Decomposition'

1-3 September 2011

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Nineteenth-century Birmingham was considered a triumph of industrialization and celebrated as the ‘workshop the world.’ It was a city intimately connected with industry and manufacture; techniques and processes were invented in the city that allowed its firms to lead the world in the manufacture of a wide range of products. Of these, one of the most famous was pens. This conference celebrates the double meaning of composition, focusing on both the artistic practice and on of what things are made. At a time when the country as a whole, and this city in particular, is reflecting upon the legacy of industrial decline, the conference also considers the inverse of composition: decomposition and processes of decay.

Call for Papers

Please send proposals (500 words) to by 31 March2011.  Click here to download the full call for papers.


You can download the program from here when it becomes available.


Registration will be via the University shop.  A link will be made available here once registration is open


En-suite accommodation at the Vale will be included in the registration fee.  There will also be a conference-only package for those who prefer to make their own arrangements.


The conference will be held in the Arts Building on the Edgbaston campus.  Directions can be found here.

Organizing committee

Katy Birch, David Gange, Paul Horn, Nicola Gauld, Jim Mussell, Kate Newey, Sarah Parker, Claire Robinson, Marion Thain, Peter Yeandle.


Any queries, please contact the conference organizers