6 April 2011

LUNÄ Talks: Radical Protest Movements and the Enlightenment

Spike Island, Bristol, UK

Initiated by: Marjolijn Dijkman

Involved: Richard Sheldon and Macolm Dick

Location: Spike Island, Bristol, UK

Thanks to: Helen Legg and Spike Island

LUNÄ, initiated and produced by Marjolijn Dijkman, 2011

The second LUNÄ Talk event at Spike Island is hosted by Marjolijn Dijkman and Helen Legg with guests Richard Sheldon, Lecturer in Social and Economic History at the Department of History, University of Bristol. He chairs a discussion around radical protest movements and the Enlightenment, and is joined by historian Malcolm Dick from the University of Birmingham.

LUNÄ rises out of the fascination with the eighteenth century Enlightenment. Also known as the Age of Reason, the Enlightenment stressed the importance of rationality and science and so challenged long standing institutions and traditional values. Faith in logic and technology led to belief in the possibility of progress and mankind’s ability to conquer nature. The framework for Western thought and culture as we know it today was largely developed during this period and Dijkman’s frequent references to it convey her overarching interest in why we think and behave the way we do.

LUNÄ is a facsimile of the original table around which an influential group of industrialists and thinkers known as the Lunar Society would meet each month in Birmingham. Members included James Watt, Josiah Wedgwood, Matthew Boulton, Joseph Priestley and Erasmus Darwin and they forged strong links with Bristol based contemporaries including Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Thomas Beddoes. The flat pack version of their grand dining table collapses the optimistically progressive value systems that were enthusiastically promoted during the Enlightenment into the mass production and globalised retail environment that can be seen as their legacy today. LUNÄ will be used for an ongoing series of discussions updating topics that occupied the Lunar Men.