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 and 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 (e.g. race, place, language) and examines the alternatives which were debated by artists at the turn of the twentieth century.

Key research questions include:
  • what imagined communities did artists build to cross national boundaries?
  • what were their sites of operation?
  • how did they communicate?
  • what infrastructures did they develop?
  • what beliefs or practices held them together?
  • what histories did they construct for themselves, and what futures did they project?

History of Ice

The ICE Research Network was founded in 2009 by Grace Brockington and Sarah Victoria Turner. It grew out of a conference entitled Internationalism and the Arts: Anglo-European Cultural Exchange at the Fin de Siècle (Cambridge, 2006) and the resulting publication, and has given rise to a series of workshops in the UK and abroad. In 2012-2014, an AHRC Networking Grant made possible an expanded series of events, the development of this website, and a further collection of essays to be published by Peter Lang in 2016, as part of a designated ICE publication series. The network continues as an active forum for discussion and information, and colleagues are welcome to post information about events, publications and other research news on the website.




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