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About The Event
KILLING TIME: THE VICTORIAN WORLD OF WORK An exhibition that analyses how the ideology of work is portrayed in Victorian periodicals and trade magazines and how this might influence our attitudes to work today.
Ours is an age of work. We are told there is lower unemployment than for decades and that that is a good thing. We are told that Universities and School’s must educate students and pupils for the world of work, and these establishments are measured accordingly. We live in a culture of long hours at work, which we are told is damaging our health. But what exactly is “work”? And how do we understand it today?
We can perhaps think of “work” as transforming something or someone through effort. Parents work to bring up children just as a jeweller or miner transforms a mineral into something useful, a shopkeeper transforms a can on a shelf into something that someone can eat, or a writer uses words to change their audiences.
By examining images and text from a number of Victorian Periodicals and Trade Magazines, this exhibition suggests that ideas that the Victorians promoted through the mass media of the time – mainly magazines – are still with us even while what we actually do on a day-to-day basis has changed dramatically. Have a look at the images exhibited. You probably won’t see much that you recognise from your daily lives, but you may recognise many of the same relationships between machines and people, men and women, adults and children.
Above all, you will see the sacrifice that work of all types involves. We aren’t talking just of terrible working conditions where children worked in noxious mines and factories, surrounded by dangerous machinery. Work for the Victorians meant sacrifice in a very wide sense – sacrifice of time, sacrifice of our identities and desires, and even sacrifice of our lives. Do we still think that?
This exhibition is designed to get us thinking about how we think about work. What are we sacrificing today?
The exhibition has been created by Professor Andrew King, who is a Professor of English Literature and Literary Studies at the University of Greenwich, and is curated by Connie Gallagher.
The exhibition will be held in The Mews Classroom, Old Royal Naval College Visitors Centre and will be open to be viewed throughout the Greenwich Book Festival days.