Saturday programme: 17 July, 10.30-17.30
10.30: Brian Dillon and Javier Moscoso - Opening
11.00: Walter Bodmer - Why are we naked?
11.40: Coffee break
12.05: Glenn Smith - Whatever happened to Byron's Pool?
12.45: Philip Carr-Gomm - Ordinary heroes: how nakedness can
be used to enlighten, empower and entertain
14.25: Jill Burke - Renaissance art exposed
15.05: Michael Yorke - The skyclad ascetics of India
15.45: Coffee break
16.10: Roundtable discussion
16.45: Brian Dillon - Concluding remarks
17.00: Drinks reception
18.00: Wellcome Collection closes
Tickets must be booked in advance.
£30 full price/£20 concession for both days, including
refreshments and lunch.
Please call 020 7611 2222 to book.
To accompany our 'Skin'
More about the sessions
Why are we naked?
What was the special advantage to humans of becoming naked of hair?
Was it temperature adjustment, resistance to parasites, sexual
selection, social organisation or some combination of all of these?
Were neanderthals naked and what can studying their genome and that
of chimpanzees tell us about these questions? Did evolution of dark
skin colour have anything to do with nakedness? There are many
questions and few definite answers. With Walter
Whatever happened to Byron's Pool? A journey into the
relationship between naturism and sexuality
Organised naturism argues that social nudity is asexual. The
public, and the authorities, remain sceptical. This talk is a
personal and historical journey into the experience of naturism and
its relationship with sexuality. It suggests that this relationship
is more complicated, and that neither extreme view - naturism as
asexual or as a 'ruse for randy men' - offers a helpful way
forward. The talk concludes that naturist environments could
provide a unique place to enhance sexual wellbeing in modern
society. With Glenn Smith
Ordinary heroes: how nakedness can be used to enlighten,
empower and entertain
How many of us are comfortable
enough in our own skins to feel free of any sense of embarrassment
about our bodies? Despite the religious, legal and cultural
restrictions that surround its display, nakedness has been used
creatively by mystics, political protestors and artists for
centuries. Today it is also being used by 'ordinary people' to
break free from feelings of 'body shame' and from the tyranny of
stereotypical ideas about beauty. With Philip
Renaissance art exposed: sexual culture and the birth of
the artistic nude
Recent research on Renaissance sexuality can be startling: in the
15th century, about half of Florentine men were indicted for
sodomy; the term 'courtesan' was coined, in 1501, to describe the
naked women attending the Pope's parties. At the same time, a
revolution in the representation of the naked body was taking
place. Focusing on work by Michelangelo and Raphael, this talk will
place the emergence of the Renaissance nude in its cultural
context, and ask what effect this new type of idealised figure had
on the body image of the viewer. With Jill
The skyclad ascetics of India - better known as naked
A presentation of the story of Vasistha Giri and other Naga Baba.
Nineteen years ago a 16-year-old Indian boy called Vasistha Giri,
ran away from his family in central India and joined the radical
sect of Hindu ascetics called the Juna Akhara. After his first 12
years of training he finally became a Naga Baba - a full member of
his monastic order. He must now be 'Digamabara', or 'skyclad'. When
not in public he does not wear any clothes but covers his body in
the holy ash from his sacred fire. With Michael
Find out about the speakers