Past ASTENE Conferences:
Twelfth Biennial ASTENE Conference
University of East Anglia and Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Norwich, 21st – 24th July, 2017
‘What office is there which involves more responsibility,
which requires more qualifications, and which ought, therefore,
to be more honourable, than that of teaching?’
– Harriet Martineau (b. 1802, d. 1876)
‘ASTENE’s 2017 conference at the University of East Anglia in Norwich took the locally born Victorian traveller, Harriet Martineau, as its thematic role model. Martineau, who is often cited as the world’s first sociologist, developed her interest in society and social beings during her trip to Egypt in 1845. Martineau was a traveller who embodied many of the qualities that represent the ASTENE’s widespread interest in travellers to Egypt and the Near East. She was a woman driven by curiosity, a strong intellect, a sense of justice and reform, and perhaps most importantly, the willingness to travel in open dialogue with the country she visited. The papers from this year’s conference represented an array of those qualities – and so much more – by providing a unique overview of the exciting developments in this field of study.
The strength of the research into visual culture of the Near East was apparent throughout the conference, and also in the trip to Norwich Art Gallery where members were introduced to watercolours by the Rev Edward T Daniell. John Frederick Lewis was once again a predominant interest for delegates.
Once again, evoking Harriet Martineau, female travellers were a frequent topic of discussion during the conference proceedings. A panel on Day 2 entitled ‘Women Travellers’ introduced women who had a range of different experiences.
This year’s conference was a testament to the depth and breadth of research amongst the ASTENE community. ASTENE thrives on sharing knowledge, discussing ideas, and revelling together in new discoveries. As Harriet Martineau so neatly put it, ‘Readers are plentiful; thinkers are rare.’
Review of the Norwich conference by member Madeline Boden, PhD Candidate, History of Art, University of York (to read her full review of the conference, see Bulletin 73).
Eleventh Biennial ASTENE Conference
Exeter University, Exeter, 17th – 20th July, 2015
2015 saw ASTENE celebrate its 20 year anniversary; having been formed after a successful international conference in Durham in 1995, members once again for the eleventh biennial conference which was held at Exeter University. Papers on early travellers from round with world were shared, with a interesting collaboration by several members on the life, travels and works of painter John Frederick Lewis.
Tenth Biennial ASTENE Conference
Aston University, Birmingham, 12th – 15th July, 2013
In 2013 ASTENE celebrated its tenth conference. The Tenth biennial conference took place at Aston University, Birmingham. The high volume of papers had once again required parallel sessions. There were strong papers both in the Egyptian and the Near Eastern sessions making it difficult to point out highlights. Literary readings and interpretations of the Orient were excellently presented, as were selected painters.
Ninth Biennial ASTENE Conference
St. Anne’s College, Oxford, 15th – 18th July, 2011
ASTENE’s ninth biennial conference was held at St. Anne’s College, Oxford. The Conference continued to explore the impact of travellers – of Egypt and the Near East, Turkey, the Ottoman Balkans and Greece, from earliest times to the middle of the twentieth century.
Eighth Biennial ASTENE Conference
Durham University, Durham, 10th – 13th July, 2009
In 2009, The ASTENE biennial conference returned to Durham for its eighth incarnation. Among its highlights was the session on “Absorbing Eastern Life” or the many contributions focusing on Greece and areas other than the typical Egyptian and Levantine fare.
Seventh Biennial ASTENE Conference
Southampton, Summer, 2007
The Seventh biennial conference was organised in Southampton and brought together papers covering the complete ASTENE territory, although still with a relatively strong Egyptian bias. It also demonstrated clearly that ASTENE conferences exceeded collecting biographical and factographical details and strived to capture different travel cultures.
For a full report see Bulletin 32.
Sixth Biennial ASTENE Conference
Manchester, 14th – 18th July, 2005
The Sixth biennial conference was held in Manchester. The majority of papers for this conference focused on the unexpected and untoward aspects of travel, including disease, dangers and annoyances. The lighter side of travel was also highlighted – satire and humour among travellers. Again, several strong papers on women travellers were included.
Fifth Biennial ASTENE Conference
Worcester College, Oxford, 11th – 14th July, 2003
The Fifth biennial conference took place in Oxford, this time in Worcester College. The conference covered a vast range of travel-related topics both geographically and culturally. A number of interesting papers were dedicated to women travellers and residents in the Orient.
Fourth Biennial ASTENE Conference
Pollock halls, University of Edinburgh, 11th – 15th July, 2001
The Fourth Biennial conference was held in Edinburgh. The system of ASTENE biennial conferences was thus firmly established. ASTENE had become increasingly international, participants coming from 18 countries with several countries (and continents) been represented for the first time. The conference programme included early travellers as well as colonial visitors. Scottish travellers and collectors were among the conference highlights.
Third Biennial ASTENE Conference
Newnham College, Cambridge, 15th – 18th July, 1999
The Third conference in Cambridge (Newnham College) followed two successful meetings in Durham (1995) and Oxford (1997). The Cambridge conference was the first held under the aegis of the newly established ASTENE and concentrated on the interaction of travellers – with the visited countries, people and amongst other travellers themselves.
Details of the Conference programme are published in Bulletin No 8.
Second Biennial ASTENE Conference
St Catherine’s College, Oxford, Summer, 1997
In July, 1997 the decision to formalise ASTENE was taken at the Second Biennial Conference on Travellers in Egypt and the Near East, held at St Catherine’ s College, Oxford. The programme introduced the ‘Descendants’ Evening’, to which descendants of the travellers are invited to meet people who are doing research on their forebears. On that occasion the descendants included those of Charles Irby, Joseph Bonomi, Linant de Bellefonds, Nathaniel Pearce and Mohammed Ali.
First ASTENE Conference
The Oriental Museum, Durham, Summer, 1995
The First Conference in Durham was in fact one of the events, which initiated the idea of ASTENE. The meeting in Durham in July 1995 brought together people interested in individual travellers, early travel to Egypt, Egyptomania and the remarkable figure of E.W. Lane. In the early days it was mainly travellers in Egypt who were the focus of attention.
Exchange of ideas and research resources fostered further communications. Sharing resources led to an early version of our Bulletin (Notes and Queries, see under Publications). ASTENE was not yet born, but certainly conceived.