December 2021 Message from the Executive Director

Last month the Sainsbury Institute marked two decades of researching Japanese arts and cultures from our home in the historic Cathedral Close in Norwich with an ‘open house’ event at our headquarters, and our first Third Thursday Lecture held on the University of East Anglia campus. President of the Royal Academy of Arts, Rebecca Salter, gave the 5th Robert Sainsbury Lecture, an opportunity to celebrate our links with the Sainsbury Centre, the Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, and the Faculty of arts and Humanities at the University of East Anglia. In this month’s e-bulletin we report on both of these events, which provided […]

Twenty years at 64 The Close

The morning after the Robert Sainsbury Lecture, the Institute held an ‘open house’ for some very special guests to mark two decades of the Sainsbury Institute’s occupancy of 64 The Close. The pandemic meant that regrettably we had to limit the guest list, but it was a great pleasure to welcome to our Institute’s home old friends and representatives of some of the organisations that have provided such wonderful support to the Institute over the years. We showcased our new Timeline of the Sainsbury Institute, and invite you to pay a visit, scrolling through to rediscover some of what we have achieved over the past twenty years. We took the […]

Update on our Online Jômon Matsuri

The archaeology of the Jômon period of Japanese prehistory has been a major area of research for the Sainsbury Institute for the past two decades, and continues to be so. While most of us are unable to travel to Japan for our usual programme of field research and museum visits, we have continued to connect with our Jômon networks and follow the latest discoveries as best we can online and through our contacts in Japan. Here is just a small selection of our current Jômon initiatives. We invite you, as this second pandemic year draws to a close, to join us in making some Jômon-themed seasonal decorations. We also encourage […]

Report on the 5th Robert Sainsbury Lecture (2021) “The Presence of Absence” with Rebecca Salter, PRA

The artist Rebecca Salter, the first woman President of the Royal Academy of Arts and the first to be fluent in Japanese, started her Robert Sainsbury Lecture on 18 November 2021 with an intriguing notion: ‘Failure is an artist’s best friend’. She continued: “because it means you’re still growing; you’re still experimenting.” This insight is inspired by the Japanese saying: ‘Failure teaches success (Shippai wa seikō no moto)’ and her own experience of living in Japan for six years, first arriving there in 1979 with not enough Japanese language ability to understand anything. She was struck by an enormous sense of dislocation and unfamiliarity. This was the beginning of her […]