“Sonorities and Stained Glass” — 2022 Conference Webpage

Sonorities and Stained Glass: Aestheticism, Sensation, and the Arts of Sensing in Victorian Britain | Richmond, Indiana, May 6 – 8

Saint Cecilia by Edward Burne-Jones and Morris & Co., from Second-Presbyterian Church, Chicago, Illinois, installed 1903.

Few societies both honored and changed art as much as the Victorians. In expressing their stances on music, art, architecture, and literature, the Victorians filled tomes on both their value and impropriety, spirituality, and decadence. What was the role of the arts in the lives of individuals and their societies? What did it mean to be surrounded by works appealing to the senses – aural, visual, or other? The MVSA leadership is excited to return to meeting in person this year, with a conference featuring papers and panels exploring the arts, aesthetics, and the senses in Victorian Britain from a variety of disciplines and perspectives. Click the following link to register, or download the draft program.

Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church (view from pulpit)

As in previous years, the 2022 MVSA conference will also feature Saturday morning seminars open to graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars. Unlike previously, this year’s seminars are not limited to specific themes. Instead, seminars are accepting works-in-progress addressing any topic related to the field of Victorian Studies, broadly construed. Click the following link for more information about participating in this year’s seminars

Sensitive to everyone’s health and safety, the conference will have multiple COVID safety measures in place, including a vaccine requirement for in-person registration. Our hosts Alisa Clapp-Itnyre and Tyler Groff are creating a conference “bubble” which will meet in one location throughout the weekend, including onsite catered meals, with the exception of a Friday-night banquet, which will be held at a restaurant with a separate banquet room (accessible by a separate entrance). Thus, conference registration includes three lunches and two dinners, with breakfast available at both the conference hotels.

We realize, however, that some members of the organization still may not be comfortable joining us in person, due to ongoing public health concerns. For this reason, we have arranged to make the annual Jane Stedman Plenary Lecture and the Friday Roundtable, “Engaging the Victorian Salon,” available remotely to all members in good standing. Finally, please note that in attempt to minimize the conference’s environmental impact, our hosts request that all attendees bring their own travel or coffee mugs for coffee-drinking; pens, notepads, and bags for the conference; and possibly even a blanket for Saturday’s picnic lunch.

Conference Highlights

— Friday, May 6

10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. |  Registration
10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. |  Conference Welcome & Session #1
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. |  Lunch (catered buffet)
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. |  Session #2
3:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. |  Session #3
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. |  Jane Stedman Lecture – Christina Bashford
6:30 p.m. |  Dinner at Old Richmond Inn

— Saturday, May 7

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. |  Registration
8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. |  Seminars
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. |  Session #3
10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. |  Session #4
12:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. |  Box Lunch (picnic at Wayne County Museum, if weather allows)
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. |  Session #5
3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. |  Session #6
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. |  Organ Lecture Recital – Fred Chatfield 
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. |  Dinner & Business Meeting (catered)

— Sunday, May 8

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. |  Registration
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. |  Session #7 
10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. |  Session #8
12:15 p.m. |  Lunch & Concluding Remarks

Plenary Lecture

The annual Jane Stedman Plenary Lecture will be delivered this year by Christina Bashford of the Department of Musicology at the University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign. Professor Bashford is the author of The Pursuit of Higher Culture: John Ella and Chamber Music in Victorian London (2007), and the co-editor of Music and British Culture, 1785-1914 (2000), The Idea of Art Music in a Commercial World, 1800-1930 (2016), and Over Here, Over There: Transatlantic Conversations on the Music of World War I (2019). The title of her talk is “Forgotten Voices, Hidden Pleasures, and Unsung Legacies: Violin Culture in British Working-Class Life.”

Friday Roundtable

Friday’s program will also feature a special panel: “Engaging the Victorian Salon.” Organized by Elizabeth Howard, and chaired by Linda Hughes and Phyllis Weliver, this hybrid event considers the space and experience of the Victorian salon from a variety of disciplines and approaches to explore the sensory nature of the salon, its political role, its forms of intimacy, the activity of voicing poetry or performing a musical work, and the porousness between audience and performers. The panel features presentations by Elizabeth Howard, Mary Arseneau, Veronica Alfano, Vincent Lankewish, and Kathleen McCormack, and will conclude with an abbreviated salon experience of brief musical performances and poetical recitations.

Saturday Picnic and Optional Tour of the Wayne County Historical Museum

Weather permitting, Saturday’s catered lunch will be a picnic held on the grounds of the Wayne County Historical Museum – a former nineteenth-century Quaker Meeting House – with free entrance to its exhibits for conference attendees. The museum’s collections include many items from the nineteenth century, such as children’s toys and clothing, women’s fashions, furniture, as well as a number of items owned by the famous Wright Brothers, Wilbur and Orville, who lived in Richmond for a number of years. Conference-goers will also have the option to participate in a walking tour of the historic block where the Reid Presbyterian Church and Wayne County Museum are located, which will highlight the district’s Victorian and fin-de-siècle architecture.

Interior detail, Reid Church’s Tiffany stained-glass windows

Saturday Organ Lecture Recital

Local organist and church musician Frederick Chatfield will speak about Reid Memorial’s historic Hook and Hastings organ, followed by a performance. Now retired, Mr. Chatfield was formerly the Organist and Director of Music at Christ United Methodist Church in Kettering, Ohio, where he served for thirty years. Mr. Chatfield holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory (1972) and a Master’s in Religion, Music, and Worship from Yale University (1985). 

Venues and Hotel Accommodations

The conference will take place in a historic Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church and Community Center (built in 1906), with beautiful Tiffany stained-glass windows and a historic Hook and Hastings organ. The church is located at 1004 North A Street, Richmond, IN, 47374. Free onsite parking is available. However, shuttle services will also be provided to transport attendees between the Reid Memorial Church and the two conference hotels.

Blocks of rooms have been reserved at the following area hotels:


Richmond is accessible from both the Dayton (OH) Airport (30 minutes east), and the Indianapolis Airport (1.5 hours west). Please find information on shuttle and taxi services at each airport via the corresponding links.

In addition, Alisa Clapp-Itnyre has volunteered to pick up a small group of people flying in to Dayton on Thursday, May 5, and drive them back to the airport after the conference concludes on Sunday, May 8. Those interested should contact her via e-mail at aclappit@indiana.edu.

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