Call for Papers: Literary Networks 2016 – deadline 10th June 2016

Literary Networks and Cultural Collaborations: From 19th Century to the Present Day

Birkbeck, University of London, Saturday 29th October 2016

Confirmed keynote speaker: Dr. Joanne Winning (Birkbeck College)

Pierre Bourdieu’s work on an ‘expanded field of cultural production’ has done much to widen our understanding of the full range of cultural practitioners who ‘make’ a text, including publishers, patrons, reviewers, salonnieres as well as the writers themselves. The shift away from focusing on the work of the singular artist to a more collaborative understanding of cultural production has also served a recuperative, often feminist agenda that has helped to bring the works of obscure or “lost” cultural practitioners to light. For example, Gillian Hanscombe and Virginia L. Smyers in Writing for Their Lives (1987) explore the ‘hidden network’ of women who formed an alternative cultural alliance to the well-documented Bloomsbury Group in the first half of the twentieth century.

Yet there remains more work to be done to fully understand and conceptualise the strategies, technologies and spaces that enable cultural and literary networks to operate. How can we map and make sense of these relationships and the enabling forces that brought them into being? How have these changed over time? After the intense ferment of activity, collaboration and mutual service and reciprocity that is known to have characterized modernist relationships in the early 20th century, how do networks of writers and other cultural figures operate in today’s digital, hyper-global, fast-paced world?

For this one-day conference at Birkbeck, we invite 300 word proposals for previously unpublished 20-minute papers that inspire new thinking about how we imagine, understand and position the network in relation to literature and other forms of cultural production.

With the rise of inter- and trans-disciplinarity as a site of study, the network provides an opportunity to bridge gaps between literary theory and exciting developments in cultural theory, anthropology, social science, medical practice, and more. We might therefore ask: what does Foucault’s theory of ‘constellations of power’ mean in the context of cultural networks? How can Bruno LaTour’s ‘actor-network-theory’ be used to re-interpret and re-assess modes of cultural collaboration? What new avenues of thought might Tim Ingold’s anthropological definition of ‘the meshwork’ take us down?

We welcome papers that offer new perspectives on well-known networks as well as those that uncover unusual or less well-known alliances, relationships and cultural constellations. Topics may include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Network theory as applied to literature – social, anthropological, scientific, cultural and political
  • Representations of ‘networked thinking’ in literature
  • Clinical networks in the field of medical humanities
  • Mutual influence, reciprocity and support between groups or writers or cultural practitioners
  • The cultural significance of friendships
  • The politics of patronage
  • Salon and coterie culture
  • Epistolary networks
  • Postcolonial networks
  • Digital Humanities and the network
  • Technologies, spaces and geographies that enable networks
  • National and transnational networks

Submission details:

Proposals for 20-minute papers should include a 250-300 word abstract and short bio. Please send your proposal to

Submission deadline: Friday 10th June 2016

Conference organisers: Leonie Shanks and Laura Cushing-Harries

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Events and call for papers at Renaissance Centre Warwick, May – July 2016

Registration is now open for the following events:

IANLS Vacation School. ‘Neo-Latin Studies Today: tools, trends and methodologies’ 7-9th July 2016, Venice, Italy. More details on website.

‘Neapolitan Phoenix: Heritage and Renewal in Renaissance and Early Modern Naples’ (1442-1647). Thursday 26th May 2016 at Compton Verney Art Gallery (Warwickshire).  Full details on website. 

‘Fate and Fortune in Renaissance Thought,’ 27th May 2016, at the University of Warwick. Student bursaries are available.  Full details on website.    

‘The Musical Humanism of the Renaissance and its Legacy.’ A University of Warwick Conference taking place at their premises in Venice, 2-4 June 2016. More details on website. 

‘Medieval Material Matters’ 18th July at the University of Warwick. This one-day interdisciplinary research day aims to cultivate research links between medievalist postgraduate communities, and the conference will be a free public event.  More details on website.

Call for papers

‘Devotional Writing In Print and Manuscript in Early Modern England, 1558-1700’ on the 20 July, 2016, at the university of Warwick. Please send abstracts of 250 words, for 20-minute papers by 3 June 2016.  Full details on website.

Stvdio and other seminar speakers next term so far include:

  • Alessandra Panzanelli (University of Oxford; British Library): ‘Towards the corpus of texts printed in the fifteenth century: The Text-inc database: how it works and some first results’ Tuesday 3 May
  • Daniel Javitch (NYU) ‘The Emergence of Genre Theory in Italy: The Role of Orlando Furioso.’  Wednesday 4 May
  • Grace Allen (Warburg Institute): ‘Aristotelianism in Giovanni Cavalcanti’s Trattato Politico-Morale’ Tuesday 10 May
  • Richard Serjeantson (Cambridge) ‘Thomas More’s Utopia and the Politics of Civic Panegyric’ Thursday 2 June
  • Earle Havens (JHU) draft title- ‘the Elizabethan English Catholic underground (book smuggling and illicit printing between England and Spanish Netherlands/France)’. Tuesday 14 June


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Conventions of Proximity in Art, Theatre and Performance. 5 & 6 May 2016

Thursday 5 May 1-6pm & Friday 6 May, 10am-6pm
School of Arts, Birkbeck College, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD

Immersive and curatorial strategies are highly current in contemporary theatre, visual art and exhibition culture – bringing audiences into close and often interactive relationships with artistic work. But how else do art, theatre and performance engage ideas of proximity, and how have they done so in the past?


Conventions of Proximity in Art, Theatre and Performance investigates forms of nearness and distance from numerous perspectives: dramaturgical, curatorial, affective, social, conceptual, virtual, geographical. Over a day and a half, artists and writers will share their work on proximity as an idea and as a practice. From the early modern to the contemporary, in examples drawn from southeast Asia to the global north, the symposium explores proximity in relation to a diverse range of topics, including digital networks, architectural design, home, public space, cinema, loneliness, friendship, listening, darkness, museum display, and music.

Conventions of Proximity combines papers, workshops from guest artists in the School of Arts’ studio space, film screenings in Birkbeck Cinema, performance installation, and an exhibition of contemporary art in the Peltz Gallery.

On Thursday 5 May, researchers and practitioners will share their work in parallel panel presentations, from which attenders can make a selection.

On Friday 6 May, film screenings, panel presentations, workshops and a performance installation will run in parallel, from which attenders can make a selection.

Contributors include:
Silke Arnold-de Simine (Birkbeck, University of London)
Maaike Bleeker (University of Utrecht)
Fiona Candlin (Birkbeck, University of London)
Sheila Ghelani
Alison Green (Central Saint Martins)
Peader Kirk & Teoma Jackson Naccarato
Nicholas Ridout (Queen Mary, University of London)
Victoria Walsh (Royal College of Art)

Conventions of Proximity takes place on Thursday 5 May, 1-6pm and Friday 6 May, 10am-6pm. It is free of charge to attend but places are very limited, and booking is essential. The schedule can be seen here.


Co-hosted by Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre and Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Research in Media and Culture, and supported by Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities and Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image.

Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre

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CFP: What Things Are and What Things Do – deadline 30th April

CfP for the event ‘What things are, and what things do’, Friday 27th May 2pm – 8pm

Keynes Library & Birkbeck Cinema, School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square

Research students and post-docs are invited to submit papers for a BIRMAC sponsored interdisciplinary seminar, programmed to debate and discuss the role of ‘structuring structures’ in society, – thinking beyond human agency.

Applicants are asked to respond to the following question: how do complexes of structures – systems and technologies of production, circulation, affiliation and definition – determine culture narratives and shape the way we understand, interpret, act and communicate in everyday life?

What things are, and what things do hopes to foster opportunities for engagement in alternative modes of discourse. By encouraging interdisciplinary practitioners to come together discuss and debate the thematic considerations, it is hoped that novel dialogues and interpretations will emerge. To this end we have invited two speakers, Dr Emily Barge and Dr Maan Barua, both of whom are working across disciplines.

What things are refers to material structures and their affordances: as city planning is to free movement; as media technologies are to broadcast; as hardware is to software, code and communities.

What things do refers to the sociological, affective and soft cultural consequences of infrastructure; all of which relate to power.

Dr Emily Barge: Emily is a writer and researcher based in London. She has a PhD from the RCA, where she is currently a visiting lecturer. She contributes to esse arts + opinions and teaches occasionally at Kingston University and Christie’s Education, London.

Dr Maan Barua: Maan is a Research and Teaching Fellow at Sommerville College, Oxford. His research interests include cultural geography, postcolonial environmental history and political ecologies of biodiversity conservation. His doctoral research was on ‘The Political Ecology of Human-Elephant Relationships in India’ and his current postdoctoral research focuses on the fields of human and environmental geography. His current research engages with political economies of nature through ‘more-than-human’ perspectives.


Submissions from researchers working across the spectrum of humanities, social sciences and beyond are welcomed. Presentations can take any format deliverable via the facilities available in the Keynes Library, and should be around 20 minutes in length. Should you have any specific AV requirements please state them in your proposal so they can be arranged.

The seminar will be followed by a drinks reception, and an evening film screening of Dog Day Afternoon (d. Sidney Lumet, 1975).

If interested, please send your 250 word abstract by 30th April to – we will have informed the applicants by 4th May.

Organisers: Hannah Barton & Güneş Tavmen (Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies)


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Digital Aesthetics Reading Group, 4 May 2016

Beautiful dataThe inaugural meeting of the Digital Aesthetics Reading Group will meet on Wednesday 4 May from 6-8pm. The reading group is organized by the Vasari Research Centre for Art and Technology and meetings will be held in the Vasari (basement of 43 Gordon Square, below the cinema). The reading group is an opportunity for Birkbeck students and staff interested in digital culture and aesthetics to gather and discuss relevant texts, artworks and developments in the field.

The first meeting will include a discussion on a chapter from Orit Halpern’s recent book Beautiful Data: A History of Vision and Reason since 1945 and a screening of a selection of the film work of the designers Ray and Charles Eames.

If you would like to receive a PDF of the Halpern chapter or have any questions about the reading group, please feel free to contact Joel McKim (

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Digital Aesthetics Reading Group: 4th May 2016

School of Arts Research Students are invited to attend the inaugural meeting of the Digital Aesthetics Reading Group on Wednesday 4 May from 6-8pm. The reading group is organized by the Vasari Research Centre for Art and Technology and meetings will be held in the Vasari (basement of 43 Gordon Square, below the cinema). The reading group is an opportunity for Birkbeck staff and graduate students interested in digital culture and aesthetics to gather and discuss relevant texts, artworks and developments in the field.

For this first meeting we will discuss a chapter from Orit Halpern’s recent book Beautiful Data: A History of Vision and Reason since 1945 and screen a selection of film work produced by the designers Ray and Charles Eames.

Please find attached reading here: Halpern Beautiful Data

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Dandelion Journal: Call for Editors – deadline 20th April 2016


The Dandelion Journal seeks EDITORS to assist in the compiling and editing of the journal’s ‘NOSTALGIA’ issue.

We invite all Birkbeck School of Arts Postgraduate Students to join the Dandelion Journal Editorial Team. No prior experience of publishing or editorial is necessary: you will learn editorial skills as you go. We particularly require editors whose expertise lie in the fields of: History of Art, Screen Media, English and Humanities.

As a Dandelion Subeditor, you will be required to edit and copyedit two or three articles (between 3000 – 8000 words) between late-April 2016 and June 2016. We ask that you attend one or two editorial meetings with the rest of the team during this time. You will also be welcome to contribute to the team in any other ways you desire (e.g. events planning, design, typesetting etc).

We encourage you to send us an email explaining why and how you would like to be involved and detailing any relevant experience you have by 20th APRIL 2016:

We look forward to hearing from you,

The editors:

Robyn Jakeman, Rebecca Sykes and Tom Travers

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Art in the Archives: Insights into the 18th century Art Collections at Longford Castle, Wiltshire with Amelia Smith

Current Birkbeck History of Art PhD student Amelia Smith will be presenting Art in the Archives: Some Insights into the 18th century Art Collections at Longford Castle, Wiltshire

Amelia Smith is currently writing a PhD on ‘Patronage, Acquisition and Display: Contextualising the Art Collections of Longford Castle during the Long Eighteenth Century’, a collaborative project between the National Gallery and Birkbeck, University of London. She is co-supervised by Dr Kate Retford and Dr Susanna Avery-Quash (the National Gallery). Kate is the History of Art Head of Department and you can read her blog here.

There will be an illustrated talk on the art of Longford Castle on Thursday 12 May 2016, at 7pm, at Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre. While the talk is FREE it is essential to book a ticket in advance, from (or tel 01249 705500), to avoid disappointment. Tickets will be allocated on a first come, first served, basis.

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Call for Papers: 3rd International Postgraduate Conference on Modern Foreign Languages, Linguistics and Literature – deadline 21 April 2016

Call for Papers
The University of Central Lancashire will host the 3rd International Postgraduate Conference on Modern Foreign Languages, Linguistics and Literature on 20th June 2016. The keynote speaker will be Professor Hayo Reinders.

Abstract submission guidelines
Abstracts should be no longer than 400 words (excluding title, keywords, and references) and should be submitted as a word attachment to the conference email address ( using participant’s university email. The submission email should contain the participant’s name, affiliation and email address.

The abstract should be written in Times New Roman, 12 pt, single spacing but should not include the author’s name or any other identifying information. The deadline is 21st April 2016.

Papers may be submitted in three strands: research (reporting on data arising from field testing), conceptual (theoretical studies) or poster presentations. No late submissions will be accepted. All submissions will be blind peer-reviewed. Accepted abstracts will be allotted 20 minutes for presentation and 10 minutes for discussion.

Information on registering for the conference will be available by 30th April 2015. The conference is free for participants and presenters and refreshments will be provided.

Key dates
Abstract submission: 21st April 2016
Notification to presenters: 30th April 2016
Conference: 20th June 2016

Publication guidelines
Presenters will also be invited to submit their papers for publication in a special edition of the peer-reviewed Journal of Second Language Teaching and Research (

Conference Address
Adelphi Building, School of Journalism, Language and Communication, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, PR1 2HE, United Kingdom.

Please register as a conference participant by following the link below. A copy of the event ticket will be requested at the conference.

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