Summer Party: Finding Old Masters among the Contemporaries

It was enormous fun to see so many former students gleefully exploring every nook and cranny of the Courtauld Institute this year at the annual Courtauld/CAFS Summer Party. A number of features marked the event out as a unique experiment in the history of the parties. In former years the party has been held in the gallery where we are strictly limited to a capacity of 200, meaning that on occasion we have not been able to hold all the people who would like to attend. This year we opened the doors to the Institute, so that all of the over 300 people who accepted invitations could be admitted. The focus for the party became Culture Bound, the Seventh East Wing Collection – a student-curated exhibition inhabiting the entire Institute, including a screening of innovative films by artist Olga Chernysheva, important work by Courtauld alumnus Jeremy Deller, fellow Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry and many of the most interesting artists at work today.

In seminar rooms one and two, former students were able to meet their old tutors such as Professors John House, Chris Green and Aileen Ribeiro – and look at a number of recent publications by faculty members including Professor Ribeiro’s acclaimed Fashion and Fiction: Dress in Art and Literature in Stuart England and Professor Green’s innovative exploration of Picasso in Picasso: Architecture and Vertigo.

Half-way through the evening the Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre filled to hear a welcome address from the Märit Rausing Director of the Courtauld Institute, Dr Deborah Swallow and Chair of CAFS Robin Simon. Dr Swallow noted how appropriate it was to be talking to so many alumni in what is the academic heart of the Institute today and thanked the alumni not only for frequently coming back to the Courtauld but for every other area of Courtauld life they continue to contribute to – whether it be giving careers advice to students, personally recommending the Courtauld to potential students and professionals or simply by putting their education here to such good use that it continues to reflect well on the Institute.

We continue to look for ways to increase the provision and balance of the types of events we offer. It was good to see an increased number of recent alumni attending this year; 40 per cent of the guests graduated in 2000 or later! In 2007 we will be implementing new reunion events on both sides of the Atlantic, so we’ll hope to see even more of you, even more often. Special thanks this year go to alumna Sabrina Harcourt-Smith who provided food for all of the guests in the Institute’s café.

DAVID WHITAKER  Alumni Relations Manager

Aileen Ribeiro and Gail Mooney
John House and Robin Simon
Chris Green with Narissa Chakrabongse, Dr Jill Lloyd-Peppiatt and Ariane Bankes
Mr Johannes Wimmer, Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum, Her Excellency Dr Gabriele Matzner-Holzer, and Dr Deborah Swallow


Breakfast at the Courtauld


On Saturday 14 October, to coincide with this year’s Frieze Art Fair, we put the call out to alumni of the MA programme in Contemporary Art at the Courtauld to join us for breakfast to meet up with Dr Deborah Swallow, Professor Mignon Nixon, Dr Sarah Wilson and Dr Julian Stallabrass. Former students got the opportunity to see old friends over coffee and pastries and hear about the East Wing Collection, Immediations – a journal devoted to graduate research at the Courtauld, and the Courtauld’s continuing involvement in Contemporary Art, both educationally and curatorially. Alumni also had the opportunity to make suggestions for increasing the Institute’s involvement with the Contemporary Art world and improving its links with alumni working in the field. If you could not attend but would like to contribute ideas you can email We look forward to hearing from you.

We want to make sure you and your contemporaries hear about all of our new ventures and events. If you have missed an event or know someone who did not hear about a reunion please get in touch with us at or call David Whitaker the Alumni Relations Manager on 020 7848 1082.

DAVID WHITAKER  Alumni Relations Manager