The research network Internationalism and Cultural Exchange, 1870-1920 (ICE) is an interdisciplinary project which explores the interface between internationalism and the arts at a crucial historical moment.
It brings together academics and curators from across the world to debate the problems and possibilities of artistic and cultural exchange and encounter in the period, and to explore the implications of ‘transnational history’ for teaching, research and display in the arts and humanities.
The years 1870–1920 were characterised by national consolidation, empire-building and catastrophic war. As part of the same process of collective encounter and self-definition, they were marked by international cooperation, proposals for world government, and transnational communities which challenged the normative nature of the nation state. The arts were undoubtedly central to the formation of national identities, and artists, writers, musicians, dramatists were expected to shore up national traditions.
However, their lives were often cosmopolitan and their practices shaped by cross-cultural collaboration. ICE takes the elements of nationhood (eg race, place, language) and examines the alternatives which were debated by artists at the turn of the twentieth century. It asks:
Three themes structure our enquiry: