Thursday 5 April 2018

Event title: #LeaderImage – Exploring, analysing and challenging attitudes towards gender and leadership in images of politicians in the digital age

Speakers: Dr Fern Insh, Dr Kevin Guyan, Edwin Coomasaru, Yuwei Ge, Timothy Ellis, Phoebe Cunningham, Prof Mark Wheeler

Location: King’s College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS

ScotRes convened a session at the 2018 Association for Art Historians conference.

During the 2017 UK General Election campaign, Theresa May presented herself as ‘strong and stable’ to try and convince the public she was a suitable Prime Minister. May’s inference of physically masculine attributes was an attempt to instill confidence. Her actions resonate with themes discussed in Wendy Brown’s Manhood and Politics: A Feminist Reading of Political Theory.

In response to a culture whereby masculinity equates good leadership, digitally literate individuals are increasingly manipulating images of politicians to convey opinions on projected gender identities. For example, in 2017, supporters of Jeremy Corbyn Photoshopped his head onto the muscular body of James Bond, while doubters superimposed his face onto ‘weak and wobbly’ jelly. Using screen grabs, captions, memes or, like these examples, Photoshop, some individuals feel liberated to create an online war of pictures, informed by ideas regarding gender and leadership, in the run up to elections and referendums.

This session is an interdisciplinary summit engineered to highlight how femininity is portrayed and usually attacked in political imagery – official and homemade – in the UK and abroad. In addition to case studies analysing images produced during the Scottish Independence Referendum (2014) and the recent UK General Election (2017), papers also explore political imagery in Ireland and the USA.

The actions of 21st century digital image manipulators are placed in various contexts – historically, politically and in artistic practice – throughout the session. There is also exploration of the ‘culture of celebrity’ and its impact on elections, public opinion and gender stereotypes. Finally, this session questions whether it is the role of art historians today to help others navigate a largely confusing post-truth, image-saturated world.

Wednesday 14 February 2018 | 7.30pm

Event title: Sexy Sturgeon and Butch Ruth: Digitally manipulated images, genderbashing and politics in the imagery of a divided nation

Location: St Anne’s, 55 Dean Street, Soho, London, W1D 6AF

Dr Fern Insh, an art historian working as the Research Forum Programme Manager at the Courtauld Institute of Art (University of London), presented a preview of her academic paper ‘Sexy Sturgeon and Butch Ruth: Digitally manipulated images, genderbashing and politics in the imagery of a divided nation’.

Fern is an expert on Scottish visual culture and identity, having gained a PhD in this field from the University of Aberdeen in 2014. Since her PhD, Fern has departed from working on the imagery of early-modern Scotland to focus on the influence of technology on art and its theory.

This presentation also discussed the interdisciplinary research project #LeaderImage, which works to explore, analyse and challenge attitudes towards gender and leadership in images of politicians in the digital age. The full paper will be presented at the Association for Art History conference in April 2018.

Fern presented her preview paper at SNP London’s February meeting.



Sunday 22 October 2017 | 1.15pm – 2.45pm

Event title: Four Conversations: A United Kingdom?

Speakers: Prof Ewen Cameron, Dr Jennifer Thomson, Dr Daryl Leeworthy, Dr JD Taylor 

Location: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

ScotRes in association with Bloomsbury Festival 2017

The relationships between the constituent parts of the United Kingdom has arguably never been more divided, nor have demands for various forms of independence been more vocal. This in-the-round event brings together four speakers to ask each other how they perceive the United (or Disunited) Kingdom. Each speaker will have an association with either England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland and each will have varying specialisms. They will bring to the conversation a variety of constitutional standpoints.

Follow the conversation on Twitter @Scot_Res and the event hashtag #4viewsUK.



Monday 4 September 2017 | 6.00pm-8.00pm

Event title: Pathways to statehood: Scotland and Catalonia

Speakers: Chris Bambery, Alexandra Remond, Prof Josep Costa, Prof Josep Mª Reniu

Location: Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London, 67-69 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3JB

Scotland and Catalonia have a long history of professing their own national identity, culture, and language separate from the larger nation states within which they are located. This seminar marks an opportunity to discuss the legal and political obstacles and opportunities to independent statehood for Scotland and Catalonia. What are the prospects of becoming an independent Scotland or Catalonia? How would this be achieved? What would a future legal or political relationship with the United Kingdom or Spain look like? Are Scotland and Catalonia too small to survive on their own?

This event will be held in conjunction with the Centre for Small States and Delegation of the Government of Catalonia to the United Kingdom and Ireland.

There will be a drinks and canape reception for those in attendance.


Thursday 29 June 2017 | 6.00pm-8.00pm (proceedings start 6.30pm):

Event title: Liberalism versus nationalism? Scottish Home Rule in the late 19th century

Speaker: Naomi Lloyd-Jones (King’s College)

Covering the period 1886-1912, this talk will focus on the fractious relationship between those who campaigned for a Scottish parliament and the Liberal party, which dominated nineteenth-century Scottish politics. It will outline the contemporary arguments for devolution, before turning to the bitter conflict between the Scottish Home Rule Association and Liberal leaders in both Scotland and England, which in turn caused division within the Association’s own ranks. Considering the increasingly bellicose tactics adopted by the Association, and its increasing frustration at the seeming prioritisation of Ireland, the talk will highlight how, for many activists, the dividing line would become one of Liberalism or nationalism.

Naomi Lloyd-Jones will complete her PhD at King’s College London this autumn. She uses a four nations history framework to analyse reactions to proposals for Irish Home Rule in England, Scotland and Wales. Her work on Scottish Home Rule has appeared in the English Historical Review, and an article on Welsh Liberal Unionism was published in Historical Research. Naomi is co-editor of Four Nations Approaches to Modern ‘British’ History: A (Dis)United Kingdom, which will be published later this year. She will take up a Stipendiary Lectureship at Hertford College, Oxford in September.