The Arc of History Lecture Series: Vienna 1900 – Cracks in a Beautiful Façade

Ticket quantity

You can book a maximum of two tickets per event. If you require more tickets or would like to make a group booking, please contact

The Arc of History Lecture Series: Vienna 1900 – Cracks in a Beautiful Façade

  • Wed 19 Jun 2024
  • 7:00PM

The Arc of History Lecture Series: Austria 1900 - 2020

We are excited to launch a new series of lectures held throughout 2024, reflecting on Austrian history, identity and creativity over a turbulent 120 year span.

The lectures will be of particular interest to those who have recently acquired Austrian citizenship, or are considering applying.

For new Austrian citizens only: In case the event is sold out, please write an email to to join the waiting list.

Lecture 2: Vienna 1900Cracks in a Beautiful Façade

By Dr Niccola Shearman

The lecture will take a closer look at the decades surrounding 1900, as a tottering Austro-Hungarian Empire struggled to maintain its decorative appearance.

Connecting the ideas and influence of figures including Sigmund Freud, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Gustav Klimt, Rosa Mayreder, Arthur Schnitzler and others, this lecture introduces the new generation of artists, architects, writers and campaigners all engaged in tearing down façades in order to confront the modern age on its own terms.

Dr Niccola Shearman is an independent art historian, writer and translator, specialising in German and Austrian twentieth-century art. She has held academic teaching positions at The Courtauld Institute and the University of Manchester and is a regular lecturer for Courtauld Short Courses, the V&A and Morley College London. Her research interests lie in histories of modernist printmaking, in theories of perception originating in the Gestalt school and in the careers of women artists and writers; in Berlin, Vienna and in exile in the UK.

Katherine Klinger is the initiator of the lecture series The Arc of History. Previously, she was director of Second Generation Trust, a UK-based charity specialising in post-Holocaust generational consequences. She organised a number of ground-breaking conferences in London, Berlin and Vienna in the nineties, aimed at bringing together descendants of both victims and perpetrators. Katherine ran the Education Department of the Wiener Holocaust Library for a decade. She has recently acquired Austrian citizenship.

About the Arc of History Lecture Series:

The series commences with the last decades and the onset of Modernity from 1900. This was a profoundly significant period both artistically and intellectually, with far-reaching influence and importance, both nationally and internationally. Against this backdrop, the lectures consider significant Jewish contributions to the period, alongside the darker forces gathering momentum, culminating in the tragic fate of Austrian Jewry and other victims.

Austrian complicity, together with a postwar victim narrative, led many to shun a country that formally had nurtured some of the greatest achievements and minds of the early 20th century. With a growing recognition of the need to reassess its history, Austria finally commenced, in the mid-nineties, its own unique process to repair some of the mid-century rupture. The announcement in 2020, enshrined in law, that all Austrian descendants of NS persecution have the right of citizenship, is an important and significant contribution to this process. To date over 35,000 people from across the world, have acquired Austrian citizenship and it is estimated the numbers will rise considerably in the next decade.

The final lecture in the series will reflect on the implications and meaning of citizenship in a country where connection has often been associated with tragedy and ambivalence, and many have rarely, if ever, even visited. As a new chapter opens, perhaps a new sense of purpose, opportunity and responsibility emerges.

Further lectures in the series (TBC):

  • The Development of the Ringstrasse - A Jewish Boulevard
  • Margarete Schutte-Lichowski - The Frankfurt Kitchen

© Niccola Shearman


Austrian Cultural Forum London
28 Rutland Gate
London SW7 1PQ