Artist Talks

Image of the libraray at the Wisbech and Fenland Museum
Sabine Bürger

The Wisbech & Fenland Museum/UK

Behind the Scenes at the Museum

Film screening and artist talk with Sabine Bürger (Essen)
18th November 2016, 10-12h, R12 R04 B21, Campus Essen

On Friday, 18 November 2016, 10-12 am, multimedia artist Sabine Bürger will present Great Expectations, her 2013 video about the Wisbech & Fenland Museum. The film screening will be followed by an artist talk, in which Sabine Bürger elaborates on her exploration of the museum's collections and archive, and her interview with former curator David Wright.

The Wisbech & Fenland Museum is one of the oldest museums in Britain. It holds a substantial collection from the Chauncey Hare Townsend bequest (which was divided up between the Victoria & Albert Museum and the museum in Wisbech), including the original manuscript of Charles Dickens's novel Great Expectations. The fascinating video provides an insight into the museum's diverse collections while deconstructing the role of museums today. The Artist Talk is part of Prof. Dr. Patricia Plummer's seminar "Colonialism's Heritage in Museums and Archives," which has been awarded funding within UDE's 2016 Teaching Diversity (Lehre Divers) scheme.

Behind the Scenes at the Museum: The Wisbech & Fenland Museum/UK

Making a Difference

Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846) - Abolitionist

Artist Talk with Sabine Bürger (Essen)

7 January 2016, 14-16h, Bibliothekssaal, Campus Essen

On January 7th 2016, Sabine Bürger, an Essen-based media artist who trained at Düsseldorf Art Academy, will talk about the abolitionist Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846). Born in Wisbech, East Anglia, Clarkson became aware of the injustice of slavery in his student days at Cambridge. The talk focuses on Clarkson’s contribution to the Abolitionist movement, and introduces the Clarkson display at Wisbech & Fenland Museum, one of the oldest museums in England, simultaneously reflecting on the artist’s engagement with the museum. Great Expectations (2013) is Bürger’s filmic portrait of the museum, and its curator, David Wright. The film was screened at the Department of Anglophone Studies in July 2014 as part of the ongoing collaboration between Sabine Bürger and Prof. Dr. Patricia Plummer, Chair of Postcolonial Studies at Duisburg-Essen University.

The talk takes place in the context of Professor Plummer’s current lecture course “Narrating Slavery in Colonial and Postcolonial Contexts.“ Excerpts from the video will also be included in the talk, which will be followed by a discussion.

A thematic exhibition of selected photographic works by Sabine Bürger, including information on Thomas Clarkson and the Wisbech & Fenland Museum will be on display in the university library (Essen Campus, level 1, room BC) until 12 February during opening hours.

"Making a Difference: Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846) - Abolitionist", Werkstattgespräch mit Sabine Bürger

Great Expectations (2013), a video by Sabine Bürger

Film Screening in the Presence of the Artist

3.7.2014, 12-14h (Bibliothekssaal)

The film Great Expectations by the Essen-based artist and filmmaker Sabine Bürger is a portrait of the Wisbech & Fenland Museum/UK. It revolves around two pivotal figures: Charles Dickens whose manuscript for Great Expectations the museum owns, and Thomas Clarkson, a key figure in abolishing the slave trade in the United Kingdom, who was born in Wisbech. The film intersperses an interview with the museum’s curator David Wright with striking footage of the museum’s exhibits. Viewers gain an insight into less familiar parts of the building such as the extensive library and the normally off-limits basement storage area with its unseen treasures. The highlight of the film is perhaps the sequence of atmospheric close-ups of Dickens’ manuscript, accompanied by readings of passages from the novel.

After its premiere at the Luxe Cinema in Wisbech, the screening at Duisburg-Essen University will be the first screening of the film in Germany, before touring to the Rencontres d’Arles International Photo Festival. The exhibition in Arles, from 22-26 July 2014, will include a photographic installation and an accompanying lecture on Charles Dickens by Prof. Dr. Patricia Plummer.

"Great Expectations"