The Group's conferences are where members meet to study buildings and discuss their findings. Conferences are open to all members.
In the spring we meet in a different part of the country each year to visit a selection of buildings in the local vernacular tradition. Local experts are on hand to explain the background and more experienced members help others to interpret them. In the evenings, lectures and discussions allow the day's findings to be explored further.
Recent spring conference venues:
- 2000 - Staffordshire
- 2001 - Suffolk
- 2002 - Ireland-Dublin
- 2003 - Essex
- 2004 - Yorkshire
- 2005 - North Wales
- 2006 - Somerset
- 2007 - Cambridgeshire
- 2008 - Devon
- 2009 - Jersey
- 2010 - Northumbria
- 2011 - Oxfordshire
- 2012 - East Midlands
Future spring conferences include:
- 2013 - South Wales: 25-29 June 2013 (note later-than-usual date)
- 2014 - Gloucestershire
- 2015 - Cumbria
- 2016 - Lincolnshire
Summer Conference 2013, Tuesday 25 to Saturday 29 June
This year's spring conference (to be held for this year only in the summer rather than spring) will be based at the Carmarthen Campus of the University of Wales Trinity St David on 25-29 June 2013. Wednesday's programme will take us east into Breconshire, with visits to Hay and Brecon. Thursday will include Carmarthen and south Ceredigion mansions and cottages. Friday will be in Pembrokeshire with an emphasis on vaults, first floor halls, and Flemish chimneys. Speakers will include Eurwyn William, Ken Murphy, Judith Alfrey, Richard Suggett, and Geoff Ward. For directions, follow the link above or see the campus map and road map.
Spring Conference Bursaries
Bursaries are offered each year to enable a registered student or a professional in the early years of his or her career to attend the spring conference. Details on how to apply for a bursary for the 2013 Spring Conference are available here.
The winter conference takes a theme of current interest and explores it in depth through papers given by experts in the field.
Recent winter conference themes include:
- December 1999 - The Use of Tree-ring Dating for Research
- December 2000 - Vernacular Architecture and Related Fields
- December 2001 - The Transition from the Medieval to the Early-Modern House Revisited
- December 2002 - News From the Regions
- December 2003 - VAG 50th Anniversary Conference: Celebration and Speculation
- December 2004 - Vernacular Buildings and the Church
- December 2005 - Buildings, Rebuildings and Vernacular Thresholds
- December 2006 - Houses of Mud and Earth
- December 2007 - Towns and Town Houses 1000-1700
- December 2008 - Marginal Architecture
- December 2009 - The Polite Threshold
- January 2011 - Service Rooms, Servants' Chambers, and Storage
- January 2012 - Where, When and Why? - Themes and Ideas in Vernacular Architecture Studies inspired by J T Smith
- January 2013 - The Medieval Peasant House Revisited
Winter Conference 2014
The next winter conference will be held in Leicester on 4-5 January 2014. The planned theme is Attention to Detail, with the aim of discussing various ways in which close examination of buildings can produce new insights and understandings that may not otherwise have been noticed.
Winter Conference Bursaries
Bursaries are offered each year to enable a registered student or a professional in the early years of his or her career to attend the winter conference. Details on how to apply for a bursary for the next Winter Conference will be published here in due course.
Oxford Weekend Schools
The Group contributes to an annual weekend school held in Oxford in the autumn and run by the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education. It is open to the public and topics have included:
- The Vernacular Workshop - from craft to industry, 1400-1900
- Housing for the Masses, 1800-2000
- Diffusion and Invention - vernacular building in England and the New World
- Estate Building: The Impact of Estates on the Built Landscape
- Vernacular Interiors in the British Tradition
- Markets and Market Places
- Medieval Domestic Cultures
- The Eighteenth Century Town House
- Medieval Communal Life and its Buildings
The next weekend school will be held on Friday 27 to Sunday 29 September 2013 on the topic Getting About: Buildings and Inland Transport. Further information can be found on the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education web pages.
Tip: if all the residential places on weekend schools are already taken, you may be able to find alternative student accommodation in Oxford at various prices via budgetstayuk.
Other Conferences and Visits
Visit to Denmark 2014
The VAG is organising a trip to Denmark for the summer of 2014. We are hoping to visit a number of historic towns like Nyborg and Aarhus, and some of the many long-established folk museums, where historic buildings have been collected together to illustrate the regional differences. Denmark is also a country well-served by early brick architecture, which we hope to sample.
Visit to France 2016
We hope to arrange a VAG trip to the Maine region of France in 2016.
Saeters and Stave Churches
The group organised a tour to Norway on 16-26 June 2011 to visit some of its notable timber buildings - and also see something of the scenery and the country. These images of Norwegian houses and scenery were sketched by VAG member Malcolm Birdsall some twenty-five years ago (copyright reserved).