Masterpiece Symposium| Kaleidoscopic Conversations | Panel Discussion: The Chromatic Museum

In our memories, perhaps, museums sometimes exist in black and white – or in sepia tones. But working with colour – working in colour, even – is fundamental to museum installations and displays. And interpreting the historical meaning of colours is vital to how collections are communicated to the public. Richly coloured objects may be eye-catching, certainly, but how do curators and museum professionals translate that into significance for as broad an audience as possible? And how far do decisions made by curators and exhibition designers affect how we perceive and appreciate colour – or even reconstruct it – in the museum? This panel will explore: communicating the history of colour and its relationship to materials in the museum; lighting and colour; white cubes and wall colours; and how far new technologies can help in the understanding of colour.

Emerson Bowyer | Searle Associate Curator of European Painting and Sculpture, Art Institute of Chicago
Lisa O’Neill | Projects & Company Director, Centre Screen
Philippa Simpson | Director of Design, Estate and Public Programme at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Jennifer Sliwka | Deputy Director of the VCS project, Senior Research Fellow and Visiting Lecturer at King’s College London

Emerson Bowyer
Emerson Bowyer is currently Searle Curator of European Painting and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago. A specialist in 18th- and 19th-century French and British art, he has previously worked at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the Metropolitan Museum in New York. As a Mellon Fellow at the Frick, in 2013 he curated the exhibition David d’Angers: Making the Modern Monument, which was the first exhibition devoted to the Romantic French sculptor in North America. In San Francisco, he curated Luminous Worlds: British Drawings, 1750-1900, and at the Met he was a co-curator of Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body. He is currently working on two exhibitions: Antonio Canova’s clay sculptures and a retrospective of Camille Claudel, both scheduled for 2023.

Lisa O’Neill
Lisa is a company director at Centre Screen ( Centre Screen specialises in creating AV software from concept through to on-site installation for the leisure heritage sector. Lisa is a highly experienced project director and skilled project manager who has worked in the museums sector for 18 years. She has worked on heritage projects all over the world, creating captivating and compelling storytelling across a variety of media platforms and subject matter. She has successfully produced projects from large-scale immersive films and costume dramas to 4D experiences and multi-sensory exhibitions using AV, audio and interactive elements.

Philippa Simpson
Dr. Philippa Simpson is Director of Design, Estate, and Public Programme at the V&A. Philippa studied at the Courtauld Institute of Art and the University of Edinburgh, where she gained her BA Hons and MSc Res in History of Art. Having worked for a short time in the commercial art sector, she moved into museums as a curator at Tate, working on a range of international exhibitions and gallery projects while completing her PhD at the Courtauld. She then moved to Royal Museums Greenwich to establish and manage an international touring exhibition programme. In 2014 Philippa joined the V&A to deliver a number of capital projects, including the Exhibition Road Quarter.

Jennifer Sliwka
Dr. Jennifer Sliwka is a Lecturer based at King’s College London where she is responsible for the collaborative MA Christianity & the Arts with the National Gallery. A specialist in Italian Renaissance and Baroque art, Jennifer is also interested in transhistorical studies, making connections between historic and contemporary art in particular. She received her PhD from the Johns Hopkins University and MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art. From 2007-17 she worked as a Curator at the National Gallery, curating exhibitions including: Devotion by Design: Italian Altarpieces before 1500 (2011), Visions of Paradise: Botticini’s Palmieri Altarpiece (2015- 16) and Monochrome: Painting in Black and White (2017-18). Her next exhibition The Woman at the Window opens at Dulwich Picture Gallery in 2022.
share: Alternate Text Alternate Text Alternate Text


Create your account to access your personalised dashboard.

Already have an account? Log in here

Confirm password is wrong

What are your areas of interest?

Antiques Classical Art Clocks & Watches Contemporary Art Design
Fine Art Jewellery Modern Art Photography Silver, Ceramics & Objets d’Art

I’d like to receive news and updates from Masterpiece I agree to Masterpiece London’s Privacy Policy

This field is required.

Please check your email and activate your account

Account already registered to this email. Click here to Login



If you don’t have an account, sign up to explore exhibitors’ artworks and register for exclusive events and benefits.
Create An Account Forgot password

Username not found

Password sent to your email


Your Account Successfully Activated
Click here to Log in

Please check your email and activate your account

Something went wrong