Historic Interiors Affiliate Group (HIG) of the Society of Architectural Historians
Fall 2023 Newsletter and Calendar
October 16, 2023
Now in its third year as an organization, HIG continues to build community and promote the advancement of the study of historic interiors, both within existing SAH membership and beyond. Its mission is to gather people together to foster scholarly inquiry on the history of the interior within and beyond the SAH, supporting teachers, researchers, curators, archivists, librarians, publishers, and practitioners.
Our membership currently rolls at 270+. We look ahead to Fall 2023 HIG with new co- presidents, advisory board members and new working committee members. Our goals continue to be to provide more programs, better communications to our members, and increased involvement in our working committees.
Our new leaders, co-presidents Anca Lasc and Patricia Lara-Betancourt, were elected at our HIG General Business Meeting at SAH Montreal on Friday April 14th. Their mission includes to continue HIG’s valuable work for the study of Historic Interiors with a stress on a more global reach. They will support work along the three main lines defined in HIG’s bylaws: research, pedagogy, and conferences/events to further disseminate the work of scholars working within the field of interiors. For further detail of their profiles please check, Announcing HIG’s New Co- Presidents! – SAH Historic Interiors Affiliate Group (hcommons.org)
Forthcoming Events 2023-2024
- November 9: HIG Research Roundtable, Interior Provocations: Interior Design on Edge
- The HIG Research Committee is working with Erica Morawski and Pratt Institute’s Interior Provocations Committee on an event focused on researching historic interiors from different interdisciplinary viewpoints. The event will foreground the upcoming Interior Provocations book, Interior Design on Edge. The event is currently scheduled on Nov. 9, 2023 10:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada). https://sahhistoricinteriorsaffiliategroup.sah.hcommons.org/2023/10/16/hig-research-roundtable/
- December 1: Pedagogy Committee Event
- The event is organized by Karen White and William Littmann and will consider new challenges in the context of teaching the history of interiors, such as Artificial Intelligence.
- April 17-21: Society of Architectural Historians 2024 Annual International Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. HIG Endorsed Session, Lost Interiors: Interpreting the Ephemeral.
- Working within the intersection between architectural history, material culture, decorative arts, and the history of design, historians of interiors face a significant challenge: ephemerality. The evidence and archive typically left behind is fragmentary and by its nature, always already outdated. Re-design and adaptive re-use, if not outright destruction, overlay each other, resulting in an interior palimpsest which poses as many questions as it does answers. How can we better interrogate the changing design, meaning, and use of interiors over time? This session invited papers that addressed the lifecycle and experience of ephemeral interiors through new methods, theories, archival sources, and innovative technologies. How might such approaches enable us to preserve and document patterns of design and inhabitation, not only for the homes of the wealthy, but diverse groups of people including servants, white-collar workers, the enslaved, the immigrant, and the working poor? Proposals dealing with any period or geographical location were welcomed. (The session was submitted by Paula Lupkin, former HIG President, and will be chaired by Anca Lasc, current HIG Co-President.)
- Accepted papers include:
- Marie Saldaña, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA. Interiority and Mestizaje: Entanglements in the Tejano Borderlands
- Karen R White, Humber College, Canada. Ephemeral but Entangled Interiors in Corporate Modernism: Knoll Canada.
- Timothy Rohan, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA. Ephemerality, the Photograph, the Projected Image, and the Archive: Researching Late 1960s “Instant Interiors.”
- Hugues Lefebvre Morasse and Olivier Vallerand, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada. Queer Mappings: Imagining Lost Interiors.
- Yang Yang, UCLA, USA. Disposable Interiors: The Trend of Rental Housing Makeovers in China
- April 19: HIG Business Meeting (Exact Day/Time TBD)
Past Events 2023
- February 18: HIG Meet-up Beyond CAA – HIG at the Met’s Rethought Period Rooms: Drinks and Discussion
- After the College Art Association Conference concluded, people were invited to join the SAH Historic Interiors Affiliate Group (HIG) for an informal visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s rethought period rooms, including the new Afro-Futurist room, Before Yesterday We Could Fly, with remarks by Met curators Sylvia Yount and Sarah Lawrence. The visit was followed by discussion and drinks in the American Wing Cafe. The event was organized by the HIG Events and Conferences Committee, especially Timothy Rohan, Imogen Hart and Angelica Ponzio.
- February 24: SAH HIG and William Morris Society Book Event on 19th-century interiors
- The book event, also organized by the HIG Conferences and Events Committee, included a discussion of The Radical Vision of Edward Burne-Jones (2022) by Andrea Wolk Rager and Temple of Science: The Pre-Raphaelites and Oxford University Museum of Natural History by John Holmes (2020). https://sahhistoricinteriorsaffiliategroup.sah.hcommons.org/events/event/sah-hig-and- william-morris-society-book-event/
- April 12–16: Society of Architectural Historians Annual Meeting, Montréal
- HIG-endorsed Paper Session: Material Religion Through the Sacred Interior, chaired by Tania Kolarik, University of Wisconsin, Madison. The panel session was chaired by Tania Kolarik, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Following the Protestant Reformation, clerics and church officials stripped the interior spaces of many western medieval churches of their polychromy, textiles, choir screens, side altars, and sculptures, fundamentally changing the sensorial experience of worship for both clergy and laity. These changes had an impact on how scholars approached medieval church interiors, causing some to overlook the presence of furniture and other portable furnishings. Instead, art and architectural historians have emphasized architectural structure, frescos, and painted altarpieces. Other scholars analyze aspects. https://sahhistoricinteriorsaffiliategroup.sah.hcommons.org/2023/03/01/hig- sponsored-paper-session-to-be-held-on-friday-april-14th-at-sah-2023-in-montreal/
- April 15: HIG Bar Crawl Through Montréal
- HIG members met in the lobby of the Bonaventure Hotel. People crawled through the historic, drinking holes of Montréal exploring historic taverns in the old working class and red-light districts of the city.
- May 1: HIG Research Committee Event – Flow: At the Intersection of Historic Interiors and Archives
- Meral Ekincioglu developed an international online roundtable on Interiors and Archives with SAH-HIG Research Committee members, Jennifer Kaufmann-Buhler, Paola Ardizzola, Cameron Macdonell, Evan Pavka, Eva Storgaard and Elizabeth Carroll. The event featured archivists from India, Germany, and the United States in conversation about the role of the archive in the history of interiors. https://sahhistoricinteriorsaffiliategroup.sah.hcommons.org/events/event/flow-at-the- intersection-of-historic-interiors-and-archives/
- May 20: VAF 2023 Paper Session 1.1 – Vernacular Interiors: Past Present and Future
- Chaired by HIG members Paula Lupkin (University of North Texas) & William Littmann (California College of the Arts), this panel invites participants at the Vernacular Architecture Forum’s 2023 Conference to consider the interior as an overlooked category in the study of vernacular architecture. Paper Presentations include: Mania Taher (University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee) World-making through Everyday Objects Inside the Dwellings of Bangladeshi Immigrant Women in New York, Aimée L. Keithan (Pejepscot History Center) In Plain Sight: Re-visioning Servant Spaces as Vernacular Architecture, and Paula Lupkin (University of North Texas) Vernacular Interiors: Surveying a Field. https://www.vafweb.org/Paper-Poster-Sessions2023
- June 9: Fourth Annual Emerging Scholars Symposium
- Delving Inside: A New Research Symposium on Interiors, organized by HIG’s Emerging Scholars Committee in collaboration with the Chelsea College of the Arts, London. This was HIG’s Third Annual Emerging Scholars Event and our second collaboration with another organization. https://sahhistoricinteriorsaffiliategroup.sah.hcommons.org/events/event/delving- inside-a-new-research-symposium-on-interiors/
HIG New Advisory Board Members
Huge welcome to our new Advisory Board members, Paula Lupkin (College of Visual Arts and Design, University of North Texas), Megha Rajguru (Co-Director Centre for Design History, Brighton University UK), Mimi Hellman (Charlotte Lamson Clarke ’53 Chair in Art History, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs) and Sarah Lawrence (Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Curator, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). They will be joining our current members who have renewed their service period for another two years: Lizabeth Cohen, Tara A Dudley, Fredie Floré, Mark Hinchman, Joanna Merwood-Salisbury, Scott Perkins, and Kristina Wilson.
Invitation to join a Working Committee – Open invitation
In early September HIG sent out a Call inviting members to join our established working committees and help advance our goals. For further details and to see a description of the mission, goals, expectations, and application instructions for each group please click the link below. Committee membership is generally expected to be a two-year commitment, with the option to renew for a second term.
HIG New Working Committee members
Huge and warm welcome to our new Working Committee members:
Events & Conferences Committee: Emily Orr (Cooper Hewitt); Anita Puig (Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile); and David Samson (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) are joining returning committee members Timothy Rohan, Imogen Hart, and Angelica Ponzio as new members of the Events & Conferences Committee.
Pedagogy Committee: Patrick Lee Lucas (College of Design University of Kentucky); Sara D. Reed (VCU Department of Interior Design); and Jennifer L. Fraser (Sheridan College, London, Ontario), are joining our returning committee members William Littmann, Karen R. White, Solmaz Kive, Karyn Zieve, Olivier Vallerand, Tara Dudley, and Katherine Papineau.
Research Committee: Michelle Jackson-Beckett (Columbia University); Nasim Shiasi; and Marta Peixoto are joining returning committee members Jennifer Kaufmann-Buhler, Meral Ekincioglu, and Paola Ardizzola as new members of the Research Committee.
Working Committee – Programs
The Events and Conferences Committee will send out an internal call to encourage HIG members to propose a panel for SAH 2025, which HIG would endorse. Committee member Angelica Ponzio created two eye-catching flyers for this Call. SAH 2025 will take place in Atlanta, Georgia, from April 30 to May 4, 2025. Those interested in proposing a session, are asked to send a title and brief description of the suggested topic to the Events and Conferences Committee: Timothy M. Rohan (email@example.com), Imogen Hart (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Angelica Ponzio (email@example.com) by October 31, 2023. The Committee is also working on a spring book event.
HIG Members in the News
In September 2023, several international conferences featured presentations by HIG members.
The 2023 Design History Society’s Annual Conference took place on 7-9 September 2023 in Porto, Portugal, Displaying Design: History, Criticism and Curatorial Discourses. https://displayingdesign.esad.pt/ In Session 4, Exhibitions Exploring the Curation of ‘At Home’ Through Histories of 20th Century Design Exhibition chaired by Harriet Atkinson, Cat Rossi presented “From Italy the New Domestic Landscape to At Home: Connectedness (and Commodification) in the Home.”
In DHS Session 5, Changing Spaces: Gender and Display in Interwar East-Central Europe chaired by Leah Armstrong, Michelle Jackson-Beckett presented her paper “Raumkunst for the People: Exhibiting ‘Spatial Art’ in Interwar Vienna.”
In DHS Session 21, Marketing Modernity: Commercial Design and Architecture Between the Wars chaired by Sally Huxtable, Vanessa Vanden Berghe presented her research paper “Locating Exhibition Design as a Means of Marketing Architectural Modernism in Inter-War Britain.”
In DHS Session 29, Promoting the Local, the National and the Future: US American Design Promotion in the 1960s and 1970s chaired by Dora Souza Dias, Jennifer Kaufmann-Buhler presented her paper “Federal Design Matters”: Promoting the US Federal Design Improvement Program
The international conference Educating the Interior Designer was held on 8 September 2023, in Ghent, Belgium. Benoît Vandevoort, Els De Vos , Fredie Floré and Sam Vanhee have written an engaging blog post about the event: https://sahhistoricinteriorsaffiliategroup.sah.hcommons.org/2023/10/08/review-educating- the-interior-designer-conference-in-ghent-september-8-2023/
In Session 2, chaired by Fredie Floré (KU Leuven) and Inge Somers (UAntwerpen), Interior Design as a programme in Higher Education: Content, Position, Evolution, Olivier Vallerand, Virginie Lasalle & Jean Therrien presented their paper “In-Between: Positioning Interior Design Education at Université de Montréal.”
SAH Virtual component of the Society of Architectural Historian’s 76th International Conference, online during 20-22 September 2023 (https://www.sah.org/2023/program) As part of PS 10, Open Session chaired by Cecilia L. Chu, Meral Ekincioglu presented her paper “Hacking MIT’s McCormick Hall’s Archive: Architecture and Wellness.”