The Group's conferences are where members meet to study buildings and discuss their findings. Conferences are open to members and guests only.
In the spring members and guests 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.
Spring Conference 2019
- The next spring conference will be held in Cornwall on 23-27 April 2019.
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. Further information on how to apply in 2019 will be made available here in due course.
Previous Spring Conferences
- 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
- 2014 - Gloucestershire
- 2015 - Cumbria
- 2016 - Lincolnshire
- 2017 - Hertfordshire
- 2018 - North Wales
The winter conference takes a theme of current interest and explores it in depth through papers given by experts in the field.
Winter Conference 2019
- The next winter conference will take place on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 January 2019 at College Court, Leicester. Vernacular buildings have for the most part been studied in isolation from their wider historic setting, a trend which reflects how our study of the past has been fragmented into sub-sets of buildings, sites, landscapes and documents. This conference will aim to explore the relationship between the house and its curtilage, settlement, community and wider landscape or ‘country’. It will focus therefore on questions of setting, the wider organisation of public and private space in communities and the identities that can emerge from such distinctive patterns. ‘Landscape’ will be interpreted broadly to include urban and rural contexts.
Many fertile lines of enquiry are capable of emerging from this focus. How were houses and other buildings orientated in relation to plots, roads, communal spaces and key buildings such as the parish church? Do these relationships enable us to predict the use of certain buildings simply, or mainly, from their position? How do such patterns vary from region to region? To what extent did the positioning of entrances and windows facilitate or frustrate particular movements or sightlines? How far, and in what ways, was the design of buildings manipulated to achieve a calculated impact on those approaching or passing? What was the boundary between public and private space and how was it expressed? What inferences can we draw from the distribution of houses of different function, form and scale within communities? How far can we rely upon the depiction of such relationships in historic maps? What other sources illuminate these relationships? Is there evidence for the manner in which people viewed, appreciated, ‘read’ or invested with meaning familiar landscapes? Full details and booking form will be available in autumn 2018.
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. Further information on how to apply in 2019 will be published here when available.
Previous Winter Conferences
- 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
- January 2014 - Attention to Detail
- January 2015 - Farmsteads in Focus
- January 2016 - Vernacular Boundaries
- January 2017 - Seeing the wood and the trees: the management of timber from source to building site
- January 2018 - Vernacular Survival: the vernacular architecture of the ‘long eighteenth century’
Oxford Weekend Schools
The Group contributes to occasional weekend schools held in Oxford and run by the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education. Previously run annually, the weekends are now arranged on an ad-hoc basis. They are open to the public and will be advertised here as they become available.
Previous Oxford Weekend Schools
- 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
- Workers' Homes: Improvement and Technology
- Vernacular Revivals
- Recording Town Buildings
- Cruck Buildings: Origins, Distribution, Significance and Derivatives
Tip: if all the residential places on Oxford 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 France 2016
The VAG arranged a trip to the Maine region of France on 23-27 June 2016. A full report is available on the Members' Area.
Visit to Denmark
The VAG organised a trip to Denmark on 8-14 June 2014, visiting a number of historic towns and some of the many long-established folk museums, where historic buildings have been collected together to illustrate the regional differences.
Saeters and Stave Churches
The group organised a tour to Norway on 16-26 June 2011 to visit some of its notable timber buildings. A full report is available on the Members' Area.