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February 2022 Message from the Executive Director

Daphnes in bloom outside 64 The Close

The Sainsbury Institute treasures our relationship with our main strategic partners, the University of East Anglia, the British Museum and SOAS, University of London. We are delighted to be reconfirming our links with SOAS with the advertisement of a new Sainsbury Lectureship in Japanese Arts at SOAS, supported by the Sainsbury Institute, an appointment which we hope will herald a new phase of cooperation and collaborative working.

In the autumn, we welcomed Professor Adam Habib, the new Principal and Director of SOAS, to the first in-person meeting of the Sainsbury Institute Board since the start of the pandemic, where our proposals for renewing these links were met with unanimous approval. Some readers may recall that the Institute maintained offices in the Brunei Gallery at SOAS in our early years, and we worked closely with the then Head of our London Office, Dr John Carpenter, now Mary Griggs Burke Curator of Japanese Art at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and Timon Screech FBA, Professor of the History of Art, who retired from SOAS last year. We are hugely grateful to them both for all that they did in shaping the Institute in its early years, and now look forward to forging strong links with a new generation of Japanese art specialists at SOAS. The Institute has supported the development of the Japanese art collections at the SOAS Library since our establishment, as well as a series of collaborative research projects. One of the most recent of these, on Okinawan art, led by Dr Eriko Tomizawa-Kay, a SOAS alumna and now at the University of East Anglia, is leading to the publication of a new volume in the Institute’s e-book series arising from a major conference held in Norwich in October 2019.

Plans are well developed for hosting three important events in Norwich later in February: the British Association for Japanese Studies and Japan Foundation Postgraduate Workshop at the University of East Anglia on 25 February, preceded by the Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship Alumni event the day before, and a Discover Japan Day for the public at the Forum in the city centre on 26 February. It is wonderful to be able to once again plan for in-person activities of this kind and we will report fully in future e-bulletins.

Since the start of the new year, our Lecturer in Digital Arts and Humanities, Dr Ryoko Matsuba, has been at the British Museum and the V&A with some of our MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Arts students, photographing some of their collections, and providing an exceptional opportunity for our students to gain first-hand experience with Japanese artworks. We will bring you the highlights from their diaries in a subsequent issue of our e-bulletin.

Our February Third Thursday online event travels with our Research Director, Professor Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere, to the east coast of the United States, home to one of the most influential figures in 19th century Japanese studies, Edward Sylvester Morse, and his Japanese colleague Matsuki Bunkyo. I very much hope you can join us for that.

Professor Simon Kaner
Executive Director

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