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Warwick/Queen Mary Friendship Collaboration

In May 2013, Warwick and Queen Mary partnered together to lead a series of workshops on the theme of Friendship in the long eighteenth century. The intention of the partnership was to bring scholars and PhD students working across the humanities at the Eighteenth Century Centre at Warwick and Queen Mary Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies to a series of workshops exploring concepts and practices of friendship across the long eighteenth century. The exploratory workshops were a great success, one held at Warwick in Februaryand the other in London in May, with presentations on a number of themes and useful conversations on a range of methodologies and techniques for the study of friendship.

The outcome of the network was to debate and extend current scholarly work on friendship (broadly conceived) in the long eighteenth century, and to establish an agenda for future research by identifying patterns of friendship formulation; analysing the discourse of friendship across genres (including letters, literature, material culture, medical writing and philosophy); exploring the networks created by friendship in politics, religion, trade and science; and testing methodological approaches from different disciplines.

Sessions at the first workshop included presentations on clubs and societies, technologies for research, friendships in religion, friendships in moral philosophy and conduct literature and media facilitating friendship. The second workshop included discussions on methodologies and networks of friendship, scientific friendships, international friendship, political friendships, trading coteries and gift-giving.

Following the success of the workshops, the organisers hope to continue the network through compiling collaborative readings lists and bibliographies, as well as future activities such as an international conference, library visits and further workshops to bring together scholars from other institutions. The participants were invited in July 2013 to visit the eighteenth century gardens at Stowe in Buckinghamshire, which was an ideal opportunity to continue to discuss and explore some of themes that emerged from the friendship workshops.

Workshop 1: University of Warwick, Friday 8 February 2013

Workshop Poster

To be held in Wolfson Research Exchange- Seminar Room 3

11.00 Registration and coffee

11.15 - 11.35 Introduction: participants introduce their research, PIs lead a survey of scholarship to identify gaps, opportunities, problems

11.35 - 1.00 People 1: Clubs, Societies and Pressure Groups

Presenters: Jon Mee and Georgina Green

Please note that participants are requested to click on the link above to access readings for discussion

1 - 2 LUNCH

2.00-2.30 Quakers as Friends

Presenter: Naomi Wood

2.30- 3.45 Reading Group: Friendship in Moral Philosophy and Conduct Literature

Texts are available here - again, participants are requested to click on the link to access readings for dicussion

3.45 - 4.10 TEA

4.10 - 5.20 Sources 1: Media Facilitating Friendship (letters, poetry etc)

Presenters: Markman Ellis, Tessa Whitehouse

5.30 – 6.30 Roundtable: questions, comments and future directions

7 – 9.30 DINNER

Workshop 2: Queen Mary, London, Friday 24 May 2013

The workshop will be held at Queen Mary's, London. For directions click here.

10.45-11.00 Registration and Coffee

11.00-11.15 Introduction: Summary of previous discussions and the aims of the day

11.15-12.15 Methodologies - Networks

Presenter: Astrid Köhler

12.15-12.45 Scientific Friendships and networks

Presenter: Hanna Hodacs, "Making friends on the field - Friendship and excursions in 18th century Linnaean natural history".

12.45-1.45 LUNCH

1.45-2.45 Friendship across borders

Presenters: Elodie Duché, Chris Reid

2.45 -4.00 Reading Group. Please read the texts so that we can have a collective discussion about them.

4.00-4.20 TEA

4.20-5.20 Friendship and money

Presenters: Spike Sweeting, Mark Knights

5.20-6.00 Roundtable (with wine!), including input from QM Innovation

6.30-9.00 Dinner in the Mile End / Victoria Park area.


Richard Courbould, Heroick Friendship, c.1780-1810

© Trustees of the British Museum


Robert Sayer, The Two Friends, c. 1786

© Trustees of the British Museum


Edward Bell, Mutual Confidence, or, the Sentimental Friends, 1797

© Trustees of the British Museum