‘Morris: A Ghost for Today’ – PhD researcher Diana Taylor’s symposium explores the relevance of William Morris in an age of instability

Banner image for Diana Taylor's symposium 'Morris: A Ghost for Today'

Morris: A Ghost for Today symposium
William Morris Gallery, London E17 4FP
Saturday 05 October, 10AM – 1PM
Free to attend – register on Eventbrite here.

Morris: A Ghost for Today is a symposium bringing together five contemporary, London-based artists to address the relevance of William Morris and why he matters particularly today, in these times of ecological and political instability.

This symposium has been organised by Diana Taylor, artist and PhD researcher at Sheffield Hallam University, working in collaboration with the William Morris Gallery. She lives and works in London and has invited fellow artists to discuss their individual interests in Morris. TC McCormack is the chair of the event.

Taylor’s preoccupation with anachronism and temporal constructs is explored through the merging of traditional crafts with mechanical and digital processes. This collapsing of hierarchies is key to Taylor’s research as to why Morris is a valuable ‘ghost’ for today.

What can we learn from returning to Morris and his preoccupations with time past, present and future, that may benefit us in an age of technological acceleration?

Our contemporary times are marked by a preoccupation with how we can define this temporality in which we live. In the unpacking of the contemporary condition, recent critical discourse has placed an emphasis upon the nature of contemporaneity as a-temporal and anachronistic; being out of time, rather than with the time, as is the actual etymology of the word.

Diana Taylor's It Could Be You, 2019. Screen print on ink-jet print.

Diana Taylor, It Could Be You (2019).  Screen print on ink-jet print.

The artists speaking in this event will present their ideas, many of which are echoed in current and urgent concerns regarding sustainability, labour and deskilling, and notions of temporal shifting.

These ideas were addressed by Morris himself, in his designs, writing and lectures 150 years ago, under titles such as, ‘How we Live and how we might live, ‘Signs of Change, and A Factory as it Might Be; questions which resonate with those being asked today.

The interchanging temporalities within News from Nowhere illustrates Morris’s anachronistic character and preoccupation with the past, in the hope for a more sustainable, Utopian future.

In an age in which the distinctions between temporalities and media are becoming increasingly merged, this is an interesting point from which to re-consider Morris, in how we live and how we might live.

Participating artist speakers:

Benjamin Deakin, Clare Mitten, Nicholas Pankhurst, Eva Sajovic, Diana Taylor.


TC McCormack.

Diana Taylor is an artist and PhD researcher at Sheffield Hallam University. Diana’s research investigates notions of repetition and anachronism within temporal constructs, through the merging of traditional, mechanical and digital technologies.