October 26, 2022
In the past twelve months, the academic community in the United Kingdom has been the subject of attacks and vitriol to an escalating degree. We at the University of York have watched our peers in universities across the country lose funding, faculty positions, and freedom to share research and knowledge. The humanities have been particular victims of this antagonism, with the history of art central among them. In the context of this climate, it feels especially important that Aspectus continue to publish free, digitally accessible art historical research.
The editorial board is thrilled to share Issue IV of our journal. The journal was honoured to receive a York Open Research Award from the University of York this year, in recognition of our ongoing commitment to open-access research. The journal has always been, and continues to be, free to access for all. We firmly believe that it is our responsibility to promote the accessibility of new knowledge in all ways possible. The editorial board would like to thank the History of Art department for its continued support of Aspectus. In particular, Professor Liz Prettejohn, Head of Department, deserves thanks for her support and help with the journal’s publication. We would also like to thank the founders of Aspectus, Caitlin Doley and Dr. Blair Apgar, as well as past editors in chief, especially Charlotte Davis and Dr. Marte Stinis, for their continued support and mentorship of this year’s editorial board.
Issue IV examines a breadth of artists, time periods, styles, and ways of being. A central theme running through the issue is that of Britishness—what counts as “British” in 2022? Why? What does it mean to engage with the porousness of the boundaries around that term? Another theme grappled with in this issue is gender—not only the impact of the traditional divide between male and female, but also the fractured and relative nature of those categories. Who decides where to draw the line around a gender identity? These questions have provoked fascinating new research and thinking, and they speak to the vital challenges of this moment in history.
Thank you to all who made this issue of Aspectus possible—not least our readers. We hope you find this issue thought-provoking and stimulating. We look forward to continuing to share open-access art historical research with you in the future.