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
- 2013 - South Wales
Future spring conferences include:
- 2014 - Gloucestershire: 8-12 April 2014
- 2015 - Cumbria
- 2016 - Lincolnshire
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 2014 Spring Conference will be published here in due course.
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 at Stamford Court Conference Centre and John Foster Hall, University of Leicester, Oadby (map and directions), on 4-5 January 2014. The 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. For further details, see the conference programme.
Winter Conference Bursaries 2014
The Vernacular Architecture Group is able to offer to offer TWO bursaries to assist a registered student and a professional in the early years of their career to attend the Winter Conference. The Committee is aware that the cost often makes attendance difficult for students who might benefit from the lectures and discussions. The bursary will cover the full cost of the conference fee but not travel costs.
Applicants must normally be students of vernacular architecture or a related discipline. They should send brief details including a resume of academic courses and any special reasons for attending this conference that may help in the selection of an appropriate candidate to Mrs L J Hall, Secretary VAG, Sunnyfield, 3 Church Row, Redwick, Magor, Monmouthshire NP26 3DE, email email@example.com, to reach her no later than Saturday 30 November 2013. Any application from a student must be endorsed by their course tutor and any other financial support available to the applicant for attending the conference must be declared.
Students who are already members of the Group and propose to attend the conference with or without the support of a bursary should ensure a place on the conference by booking in the normal way. Any student member who has reserved a place at full cost but subsequently obtains a bursary will receive a full refund. Recipients of bursaries may be asked to give occasional assistance with the conference organisation, including projection facilities and write a resume of the conference for the VAG Newsletter.
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
- Getting About: Buildings and Inland Transport
The next weekend school will be held in autumn 2014. Further information will be published in due course 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 University-Rooms.
Other Conferences and Visits
Visit to Denmark 2014
The VAG is organising a trip to Denmark on 8-14 June 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).