Arts of the Air: an Evening at The Exchange

‘The Exchange’ is the University of Birmingham’s new building in the city centre, offering a public cultural programme alongside business courses and centres for research collaboration. Exhibitions and events are programmed around a new theme each season, starting with ‘The Air we Breathe’.

We are sorry that, due to unforeseen circumstances, ‘Arts of the Air’ has been postponed. We look forward to working with The Exchange in 2022.

Arts of the Air

The Old English ‘Storm Riddle’ takes us riding on the turbulent air of a thousand years ago. Shelley’s ‘Ode to the West Wind’ expresses the revolutionary inspiration that Romantic thinkers found in the weather. Virginia Woolf considered the changing air of each century and how it might influence life on the ground. The history of English literature is a history of air and human responses to it. Visual artists, too, have been gripped by this most elusive and omnipresent subject – from the earliest landscape painters to Peter Lanyon depicting the thermals under his glider, they have shaped our ways of seeing and feeling the air around us.

With help from friends and colleagues who will share their specialist insights, Alexandra Harris will explore some of the very different ways in which air has been perceived and represented in Britain. This atmospheric winter evening will carry us through gales to frosty sunsets – and perhaps a balmy breeze.

Constable, John; Rainstorm over the Sea; Credit line: (c)  (c) Royal Academy of Arts / Photographer credit: John Hammond /
Image: John Constable, Rainstorm over the Sea, ca. 1824-1828.
Oil on paper laid on canvas. © Photo: Royal Academy of Arts, London. Photographer: John Hammond.