Conceiving Histories

23 Nov 2016

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Senate House

England, United Kingdom


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We’re pleased to announce that Conceiving Histories is part of the Being Human Festival programme in November 2016.


Whether hoping for or fearing pregnancy, the wait to find out can be difficult. What was it like for people in the past, before home pregnancy testing was available? What hopes, fears, dreams and fantasies attended the wait historically? Explore the history of pre- and early pregnancy with artist Anna Burel, and literary historian, Isabel Davis. Conceiving Histories is a new dialogue between disciplines which discovers some of the creative possibilities of archival materials detailing the ambiguities of the un- or just-pregnant body. At this Being Human Festival event, we will explore two extraordinary case studies through short historical talks and contemporary artwork: a strange eighteenth-century fashion for simulating pregnancy and a dark nineteenth-century fantasy of an experiment which would solve the mysteries of conception.

This event will include contemporary artwork, short talks and a wine reception.

Please be aware that the artwork in this event tackles the emotive subject of the female body in relation to pregnancy. Some people may find the images that will be presented disturbing. Click here to see the character of the work, although not the specific images involved in this event.

Day and time: Wednesday 23rd November 2016, 18:00-20:00. Venue: Senate Room, Senate House, Malet Street, London. WC1E 7HU. 

This event is part of the Being Human Festival 2016. The project Conceiving Histories is funded by Birkbeck, University of London and the Wellcome Trust. It is partnered by Fertility Network UK and the Birth Rites Collection, in Salford.

Image: ©Anna Burel 2016


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