Picture this: postcards and letters beyond text

University of Sussex

March 24, 2011 – March 26, 2011


Picture this: postcards and letters beyond text invited researchers, creative writers, visual artists, publishers and curators to come together to consider letters and postcards from a range of critical perspectives, and through creative practice. We welcomed broad explorations of postcards and letters – as mediated exchanges, dramatized inscriptions, and treasured material objects – as well as close attention to epistolaries that break into drawings, photographs or other media. 

The conference hosted panel presentations, keynotes, discussion and other forums and investigated: letters and postcards as embodied, inhabited objects, including in museums and archives; postal delivery systems and diaspora; reciprocal relations between verbal and visual arts; and mutating epistolaries in fiction, from the eighteenth century to contemporary novels and through recent theorizations.

Our innovative mixed-media Postcards Competition, run in collaboration with the publishers Myriad Editions, invited experimental interaction between the verbal/written and the visual and with the postcard form. We also hosted a Research Skills seminar at Brighton Museum, Creative Practice Workshops to broaden our explorations and a Careers Round Table. All aspects, including the post-event reviewing process, were designed to make the conference particularly welcoming for early-career postgraduate researchers.

Keynote speakers: Ann Dumas (Curator of The Real Van Gogh, Royal Academy); Professor Nicholas Royle (University of Sussex); Professor Marcus Wood (University of Sussex).

The Postcards Competition was judged, in correspondence, by Nicola Barker, whose latest novel Burley Cross Postbox Theft (2010) is a wickedly comic novel in letters.

Conference registration closed on the 17/03/11.

Our web pages are still being regularly updated. Please visit them to find out more about our events and publications. And please feel free to write to us with any questions.

Organizers: Katie Reid and Bethan Stevens

Committee: Nicola Ashmore, Robin Bagon, Naomi Booth, Martin Eve


Conference Information



AHRC Beyond the Text