Legacies of Civilisation

This event was held on 10 March 2018

Saturday 10 March, 11am–4pm

Sainsbury Wing Theatre

William Fowler, Matthew Harle, John-Paul Stonard, and John Wyver 

Adults: £35
Concession: £30
National Gallery Members & Patrons: £25 
BFI Members: £25 
Association for Art History Members: £25 
Students: £10 

Join art and film experts to spend the day exploring Kenneth Clark’s groundbreaking 1969 BBC series, ‘Civilisation’.

Using rare footage from the BBC and BFI National Archive, we find out what Clark’s ambitions were and how this landmark series shaped arts documentaries for many years to come, paving the way for programmes such as 'The Ascent of Man' and 'Shock of the New'.

Kenneth Clark

Kenneth Clark was Director of the National Gallery from the age of 30, and went on to create the Arts Council and Independent Television. He was one of Britain’s most recognisable arts broadcasters of the 1950s and 60s.

Clark's great ambition was to bring art to the public, but whose culture was he presenting? And what are the ramifications of his 'civilising mission'?


11am: Welcome

11.05am: Part one: The road to Civilisation

Introduction by John Wyver 

  • 'An Edwardian childhood: Kenneth Clark', 1974. (30 mins)
  • 'Civilisation: A personal view by Kenneth Clark', 1969.  (1 hour – compilation of clips)
  • 'Richard Hamilton', Arts Council, 1969. (25 mins)
1.15pm: Lunch (not provided)

2.15pm: Part two: Legacies of Civilisation

Introduction by John-Paul Stonard

  • 'Shock of the New: Episode 1: The Mechanical paradise', 1979. (15 mins clip)
  • 'Ascent of Man: Episode 11: Knowledge of certainty', 1973. (15 mins clip)
  • 'Arena: Edward Said: The idea of empire', 1993. (15 mins clip)
  • 'Civilisation: Episode 13: Heroic materialism', 1969. (51 mins)
4pm: Close

The programme is subject to change.

Image above: Kenneth Clark in 'Civilisation' (1969) © BBC