Research on Sikh gurdwaras in England and the 18th century wallpaper trade to be presented

Two recent PhD graduates from the University of Leicester will be delivering lectures on their respective specialist areas of Sikh gurdwaras in England and the English wallpaper trade as part of the University’s Doctoral Inaugural Lecture series.

Organised by the University’s Doctoral College, academics from the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities Dr Clare Canning and Dr Phillippa Mapes will share their research on Wednesday 7 February.

Commencing at 5pm, the free public lectures will be held in the George Davies Centre, Lecture Theatre 1, with a reception following the event.

Dr Clare Canning’s lecture is entitled ‘Religious heritage in transition: Sikh places of worship in England’. During her lecture, Dr Canning will discuss the value of gurdwaras in England to those who use and manage them. Focusing on narrative experiences, Dr Canning will then consider the nuanced, complex and highly contextual relationship between social and religious values and the physical fabric of a gurdwara building, as is explored in her research.

Dr Canning said: “The development, character and significance of minority religious space in the 20th and 21st centuries has, until recently, been overlooked in heritage debates. In this lecture, I will discuss findings of a PhD study, completed in 2017, which considered Sikh gurdwaras in England as heritage places.

“The implications of this research relate to a need to more fully debate how a range of values and understandings of place can be acknowledged within heritage practice, ensuring the appropriate future recognition and management of perceived heritage places.”

Dr Phillippa Mapes will be discussing her research on the English Wallpaper Trade 1750-1830.

Dr Mapes said: “Historic wallpapers are normally seen as mere backdrop to the domestic interior and often go unnoticed in historic house interiors and historic pictures, and can often be inaccurately represented in period film sets and recreated room displays in museums. Yet wallpapers were one of the many new luxury goods that were developed, celebrated and produced in quantity during the eighteenth century to satisfy the demands of a growing number of upper and middle class consumers, and they can tell us much about people's attitudes to fashion, status and their own homes at that time.“

She added: “My research examines the structure of the wallpaper trade in the eighteenth century and the business practices of those involved, in order to establish a deeper understanding of the market for this product and the consumer demands that drove its manufacture.”

Professor Dave Lambert, Doctoral College Director, said: “This is an important event showcasing the very best in our PGR population”.

Professor Julie Coleman, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of College commented: “This is a great opportunity to learn about two fascinating research projects that are pushing back the boundaries of their disciplines.”

You can book your seats here