Maddie Boden

Maddie Boden

I'm an associate lecturer in the History of Art department at the University of York. I'm proud to call Yorkshire home - it's one of the best places to look and learn about art!

Location York


  • That's okay! Why not?

  • Thanks for sharing!

  • All excellent and relevant considerations. I think all of these issues will be on the mind of whoever assumes the role!

  • Excellent idea - the University currently has a writer-in-residence programme but no artist equivalent!

  • Great point - the need for a new campus stemmed from an increase in international student numbers. A relevant question is how the university should represent its local roots but also appeal and welcome the international community.

  • To some extent, departments do consult students on what content their courses include. While they might not get a deciding vote or final say, students get to give feedback on all modules they take and there are periodic reviews where student representatives can voice their opinions on the content and structure of their degree courses. Similarly, each degree...

  • You're right to point out that sculpture, and art more generally, seems to be an easy target. Why do you think this is where student media have directed their attention rather than other areas of the university's budget?

  • You raise some great points here. No easy answers, but this case study is designed to make you consider the status of 'public' art and what the public's role in decision making should be.

  • Hi Edith. That's odd! I get a copy of the weekly e-mail when it's sent out and I received the one for Week 4. Did you start this course on 29 June? If you started any time after that, the e-mails might be delayed to coincide with your start date. If that's not the case, you can get in touch with FutureLearn through their customer feedback page to ask for the...

  • Hepworth's editions are an interesting case for discussing multiples and copies as she often worked across different materials. In the case of Antiphon, a boxwood original and subsequently seven bronze casts. I think we can draw out different lines of analysis thinking about this as a wooden object and a metallic one. Moving between materials is clearly...

  • Look forward to welcoming you to York soon. Here is a sculpture trail of campus that some History of Art students produced.

  • Happy reading - the Hepworth scholarship is a treasure trove!

  • I'm glad that you learned something about your personal encounters with art.

  • Great example. I would consider Blue Planet a piece of art - in the sense that it's a documentary with some of the most beautiful shots of nature captured on film. Is this an example then of art provoking a response to the issue of single-use plastic?

  • Great point. There are pieces by students around campus. For example, a lovely painting of York's skyline which hangs outside the History of Art department. However, since the University doesn't have a fine arts department, examples like this are surprisingly rare. However, the Norman Rhea Gallery sometimes exhibits student's work and colleges often hold art...

  • Thanks Edith, you've been keeping me on my toes during this run! I've got to get in touch with FutureLearn to make these changes so they might not show up immediately, but I've noted them.

  • Great example - we also saw this on the original campus, combining the Tudor-era Heslington Hall with the new CLASP buildings.

  • I'm not sure about the answer to this - I'll do a bit of digging and see if I can come up with some information. If we have any woodcarvers on the course, please jump in!

  • Thank you for sharing! This is such an important topic that those who are interested in art should know more about.

  • Thank for sharing! That's great you've got a creative outlet. The ceramics studio on campus is popular with students for similar reasons.

  • Thanks for raising this course! A slightly different perspective on the arts and well-being but nevertheless an important one.

  • Hi all, I'd suggest we keep the discussion focused on this article about consulting students on arts acquisition. There is room for this discussion in Week 2's article on monuments. I'd ask that everyone voice their opinions respectfully and disengage if things get too heated.

  • How do you think the consultation could work? A poll of all students? An art acquisition committee? Other learners should feel free to jump in with their ideas in the comments!

  • Do you think students have any ownership over the campus or its appearance while they live and work there? I'm asking this in a more general sense rather than a literal question of budget and land rights.

  • Great point - I think most students would agree with you that the arts is worth supporting.

  • Thank you for pulling together some recent and historical examples. You've shown us how these issues are not isolated incidents, but inherent to the notion of 'public' art.

  • @DonaldMcKay I quite agree! I think it can be argued that without animals, there would be no art full stop. You just have to think about the many ways animals are vehicles of expression and creativity. More literally, the paintbrush is typically made from animals' hairs. Marble is composed of dolomite and limestone (the skeletons of marine creatures).

  • Excellent example! The artist Andy Holden recently staged a fascinating exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery exploring the artistic inclinations of the bowerbird and other aspects of bird culture.

  • Thanks for the recommendation. Gompertz's book is an accessible text for understanding the famous developments in twentieth-century art.

  • Looks wonderful. hope the course has put you in the right frame of mind for an enjoyable visit!

  • @LeslyeSlater I think that Barlow's statement is intentionally obtuse - leaving space for debate and discussion to take place over the course of the festival, from a number of perspectives.

    A straightforward interpretation might be, as you said, that all 3-D objects are anthropological. I think the statement asks us to reflect on sculpture as a cultural...

  • Interesting comparison. What is it about Hirst's cow that is more interesting to you?

  • Amazing! What was her studio like?

  • The omissions in these types of dictionaries are often revealing!

  • That's great that you went away to look up the definition. Sometimes these terms can be a bit obtuse until you dig deeper into their meanings.

  • @SueJansons @PhilippaGodwin You might be interested in this piece by Hepworth, a bronze cast of her left hand.

  • Thank you for raising these connections - you can see the parallels running across the work of different artists around the same period.

  • That sounds like an excellent resource. Happy reading!

  • I'm sorry that this podcast wasn't what you were expecting. Luckily, there are so many excellent resources on Hepworth. The Hepworth Estate has compiled a list of books, articles and films to guide your learning.

  • How do you think the statement relates to sculpture? What conclusions might we draw as anthropologists studying human culture using sculpture as data?

  • Do you think considering the bias of the critic will make you read exhibition reviews differently in future?

  • I think you've really thoroughly parsed Barlow's statement here, using Searle's review to great effect! I think Barlow was reflecting on the throwaway nature of modern society as well as the permanence and object-hood of sculpture. Perhaps then the YSI was quite an accurate window onto 21st century culture!

  • I think you've parsed Barlow's statement really well. Why do you think that the idea doesn't apply to modern art?

  • Interesting point about the meaning of Barlow's phrase. Do you think modern sculpture also tells us about modern society through an anthropological lens?

  • Thanks for picking up on the typo!

  • We ask students in the art history department to reflect on single objects from the art collection, but there hasn't yet been a survey of the wider university population! Students from any degree can join the art history society or the Norman Rhea Gallery so there is wider interest in the arts on campus.

  • Do you think that this area has influenced Hepworth and Moore's sculpture?

  • I'm glad to hear you've visited - hopefully that means you've seen some of the sculptures we look at on this course! This week we're learning about why this area around YSP and other cultural institutions in Yorkshire are so important to the history of modern sculpture.

  • @InekeFioole I think it depends on how we think of the University in relation to galleries and museums. Is the University a cultural institution in the same way they are? If so, what are there overlapping priorities in regards to art? If not, what separate spheres of culture do they cover?

  • Other art historians have certainly suggested this sort of reading for the holes in her work. Particularly the idea of communion and the light being 'held' in the centre of the holes. Hepworth often resisted religious readings of her work, but was interested in the spiritual potential of sculpture.

  • Morris Singer has a fascinating history and decades-long relationship with Hepworth. If you get a chance to visit the Hepworth Wakefield, they have a number of letters from Hepworth to the foundry.

  • Thanks for sharing! This was put together by students from the History of Art department. Another example of how the department uses the sculpture collection as a teaching tool.

  • @dorothygoode Glad that you're visiting the other episodes. This is a fantastic series put on by the Paul Mellon Centre - a research body that explores all aspects of British art.

  • Thank you for sharing - a great insight into the different editions of this work.

  • Yes, her work is exhibited in museums and private collections across the UK, including the Royal Collection.

  • Great question. To give you an example, the sculptor Giuseppe Penone is best known for his works of a large trees, typically made from gold and bronze. I think it would be accurate to describe his sculpture as figurative since it references an object derived from the real world, ie. a tree. But if you wanted to distinguish it from statues and sculptures of...

  • You've drawn our attention to the angle of the photograph - which is something that can really influence our interpretation of the sculpture. Photographs are art objects in themselves and things such as angle, lighting, and editing can completely transform our encounter with the sculpture it depicts.

  • This is an excellent visual description, Michael. Great use of the art historical terminology we picked up in the first week.

  • @HilaryBourdillon This is the central debate we'll be having this week. A lot of people argue there is an inherent Yorkshireness to their work, but can is it fair to tie this sort of regionalism to the wider influences in twentieth century sculpture?

  • @PaulGarwood There is an excellent essay on this subject by Hepworth's granddaughter, the art historian Sophie Bowness in the book 'Barbara Hepworth The Plasters: The Gift to the Hepworth Wakefield' (Lund Humphries, 2011).

    She goes into some detail about the materials Hepworth worked with at different stages in her career. Hepworth was interested in the...

  • Thank you for sharing these links!

  • Another connection through location. Troika Pottery was located in St. Ives in the 1960s which is also where Hepworth lived.