Continuous Page. Scrolls and scrolling from Papyrus to Hypertext (Courtauld Institute, deadline for applications, 17 April 2015)

Great roll of the pipe, National Archives
Great roll of the pipe, National Archives

Continuous Page.

Scrolls and scrolling from Papyrus to Hypertext

UPDATE: Programme

Open to all, free admission, but advance booking required by 21 June:


09.30 – 10.00


10.00 – 10.10

Jack Hartnell (The Courtauld): Welcome

10.10 – 11.10


Rachel Warriner (University College, Cork): ‘This fragile thing – with bite’: Nancy Spero’s feminist scrolls

Luca Bochichio (University of Genoa): Scrolling the Ephemeral. The revenge of endless paintings in the post-World War II European avant-gardes

11.10 – 11.40

11.40 – 12.40


Yasmine Amaratunga (The Courtauld): The Post-Internet Scroll

Kristopher Kersey (Smithsonian/University of Richmond): The Paginated Scroll Discontinuity, Chronology, and Memory in the Eyeless Sūtras

12.40 – 13.40
LUNCH (provided)

13.40 – 14.40


Pika Ghosh (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill): Pleasures of Scrolling. Hand-scrolls, Temple Walls, Graphic Novels and Oil Paintings

Eva Michel (Albertina, Vienna): Scrolling the Emperor’s Life and Triumph

14:40 – 14:50

14.50 – 15.50


Michael Hrebeniak (Magdalene College, Cambridge): ‘Literally one damned thing after another with no salvation or cease’: Jack Kerouac’s On the Road as Textual Performance

Stacy Boldrick (Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh): Speaking Scrolls, Death and Remembering

15.50 – 16.20

16.20 – 17.20


Katherine Hindley (Yale University): Prayer Rolls, Birth Girdles, and Indulgences. Scrolls in Medieval Medicine and Religion

Helen Douglas (artist/ Camberwell College of Art) and Beth Williamson (independent scholar): From hand scroll to iPad app

17:20 – 17:50
Closing Discussion

17:50 onwards

Original call for participants

Scrolls encompass in one sweep the oldest and the most contemporary ideas about images and image-making. On the one hand, some of the most enduring artefacts of the ancient world adopt the scroll form, evoking long-standing associations with the Classical tradition, Eastern and Middle Eastern cultures, theatrical oration, and the word of the law. Yet today, scrolling is also the single most common interaction between people and their digital media: fingers routinely swipe across trackpads and touch-screens through reams of infinite hypertext. In between these two extremes too, we find a plethora of different artists and craftsmen turning and returning to the medium, from medieval medical treatises and Japanese emakimono to 19th-century wallpaper or Jack Kerouacs continuously-typewritten draft of On The Road.

Participants are sought to take part in a collaborative investigation into the intriguing format of the scroll and the act of scrolling across different cultures and periods, considering both the timeless material object and its infinite conceptual space. Participants are sought from any field or discipline, and are likely to be academics (at all stages of their careers), museum professionals, or practicing artists.

Meetings and Outputs

The project is formed of two parts. The first is a pair of two-day workshops based at The Courtauld Institute of Art, including keynote lectures, handling sessions in London museums, and fifteen-minute papers from participants on their research. Papers might consider – but are by no means limited to – the following ideas:

Workshop 1- Scroll as Object

(22-23 June, 2015)

  • Dead Sea Scrolls, Egyptian papyrus, Torah
  • Medieval genealogical rolls, legal rolls, medical rolls
  • Japanese Emakimono, Chinese handscrolls
  • Fabric rolls, wallpaper, other decorative rolls
  • Newspapers, type-written rolls, and other production line objects
  • Canvas rolls, 70s cut-to-order painting
  • Hypertext, online scrolling, Internet art


Workshop 2 – Scroll as Idea

(21-22 September, 2015)

  • Continuous page, continuous narrative, continuous text
  • History, law, authority
  • Papyrus, paper, pixel
  • Infinity, digital, touchscreen
  • Speech, theatre, oration
  • Mass creation, production lines, rolling type

The second element of the project will be the creation of an online exhibition to be launched in December 2015 entitled Continuous Page, presenting a series of digitised scrolls from a variety of places and periods. Drawing on the research and expertise of the workshop participants, the exhibition will be a critical online resource and lasting record of the project, showcasing the potential for combining new media practices and digital scrolling with the continuous page of the material scroll. Over the course of the workshops we will also be developing plans for a publication to coincide with the project.

Interested participants should send a short statement of interest in the project (no longer than one page) outlining your current research and the ways it aligns with the projects themes, workshops, and outcomes, as well as a full academic CV, to (Project convenor, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow) by Friday 17 April 2015.

Limited funds may be available to support participation from scholars based outside the UK.


Published by James Alexander Cameron

I am an art historian working primarily on medieval parish church architecture. I completed my doctorate on sedilia in medieval England in 2015 at The Courtauld Institute of Art.

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