The Strangers Come Amongst Us: Investigating the Kindred of the Kibbo Kift

ArKibbo Kift Kinsmen in camp, 1928 (c) Kibbo Kift Foundation.

Dr Annebella Pollen (University of Brighton)

Wednesday 27 January, 6pm, John Stanley Bell Lecture Theatre, Richmond Building, University of Bradford

This talk examines the beliefs and practices of the Kindred of the Kibbo Kift, a little-remembered but visually flamboyant group of English mystics, rebels and dreamers in the 1920s. Led by the charismatic former scout commissioner and commercial artist, John Hargrave, Kibbo Kift’s sometimes bewildering aims and methods ranged across health and handicraft, pacifism and propaganda, myth and magic, education and economics. The wide range of their interests and the large scale of their ambitions was necessitated, they believed, by the peculiar conditions of their time: so-called civilisation had been corrupted and was on the brink of collapse; the ‘mechanised death’ of the Great War had demonstrated the logical outcome of industrial modernisation; dynamic new dreams were needed to overcome the nightmares of early twentieth century existence. The idiosyncratic ideals of the group lasted little more than a decade but Kibbo Kift’s extensive archives are testament to their extraordinary productivity in designing every aspect of the world they expected to lead.

Dr Annebella Pollen is Principal Lecturer and AHRC Fellow in the History of Art and Design at the University of Brighton. She is the author of The Kindred of the Kibbo Kift: Intellectual Barbarians (Donlon Books) and the co-curator, with Whitechapel Gallery, of the exhibition of the same name (October 2015-March 2016). Her other books include Mass Photography: Collective Histories of Everyday Life (I. B. Tauris) and Dress History: New Directions in Theory and Practice (Bloomsbury).

A seminar series on arts media and visual culture

Run jointly by the Communication Culture and Media and Health Studies research groups at the University of Bradford, this regular seminar series explores the increasingly important relationship between arts, media, technology, culture and society. Bradford has a long tradition of operating across artistic and scientific academic disciplines and is expanding its creative portfolio.

All seminars are FREE and begin at 6pm, University of Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD7 1DP.

For more information on the series contact: Mark Goodall ( Tel +44 (0)1274 236071


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