Open Call for Applications: ICA Student Forum – Deadline 14th November 2016

FAO: Research students working on the contemporary:

If you are interested in the opportunity below and wish to apply please discuss with your supervisor:


Interested in co-curating public events for the ICA programme?

Want to become part of a wider student community?

Keen to engage with contemporary art practitioners, student peers and ICA staff?

We are looking for dynamic students to join our Student Forum and help to shape a public programme of events in response to the ICA exhibition programme, film screenings, talks and performances.

Working closely with ICA staff and your peers, students will engage with contemporary art practitioners as well as participate in current debates around art practice, devising, planning, and co-producing a number of collectively conceived events over a year to forge an interdisciplinary programme of events.

Student Forum members also benefit from a year’s ICA Membership, learn to work with the practical and budgetary constraints of an institution, and conceive of events that respond to the overall vision of the ICA.

The ICA is a multi-disciplinary art institution that has been at the forefront of radical art practices since its inception in 1946, presenting an innovative and challenging programme of visual arts, contemporary music, international cinema, performance, live arts, talks and debates.

The ICA is hoping to work with approximately 10-15 new participants to the Student Forum. We are seeking a balance of interests, creative disciplines, undergraduates as well as postgraduates.

The ICA is committed to Equal Opportunities and Diversity. If your application is shortlisted you will be invited to attend an open meeting of the ICA Student Forum towards the end of November 2016.

If you are interested, please send us a few lines on your current activities, the focus of your course and years of study, and up to 250 words in response to each of the following questions:

What type of events have you attended at the ICA?

What projects have you curated or been involved in recently?

What are your experiences of collectivised decision making/collaborative working?

What would you like to gain from joining the ICA Student Forum?

Please e-mail your responses to:

Deadline is Monday 14 November at 5pm.

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BISR: Learn to Enjoy Public Speaking and Presenting 13th December 2016

Birkbeck Institute for Social Research: Developing Your Research Career

Learn to Enjoy Public Speaking and Presenting

Tuesday 13 December 2016| 10am – 5.00pm | Birkbeck, University of London.

Presenting your research is an important aspect of completing your PhD. This training will give you the chance to learn how to communicate your research effectively at conferences and seminars.

This one-day interactive workshop will cover the following key aspects of presenting:

  • Making a persuasive case through the structure of your presentation
  • Using visual aids with impact
  • How to develop your personal presence
  • Managing nerves

In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to give a 3-4minute presentation. You will then receive feedback and have the chance to revisit a section of the presentation, incorporating the recommendations you received into your performance.

This will be a hands-on workshop for a maximum of 8 people and you will need to have prepared the short presentation in advance.

This workshop is free and open to all Birkbeck PhD students: To apply for a place please complete the short application form (attached) and email it to Madisson Brown by Monday 14 November.

The workshop will be led by Karen Glossop from Resonance Training. Karen is a coach and lecturer in public speaking at UK business schools, and for a range of clients across the public, corporate and voluntary sectors. Since 1997, she has delivered courses that focus on areas such as communication, understanding your audience and making an impact. As well as working as a training consultant, Karen is co-artistic director of award-winning theatre company, Wishbone –

Developing Your Research Career is a series of  seminars and workshops organised by the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research, and supported by the Birkbeck Graduate Research School, which aim to enhance the research skills and contribute to the career development of PhD students conducting social research at Birkbeck.

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ArtLess: The imagery of conflict and public engagement: Jane Quinn (PhD History of Art)

The imagery of conflict and public engagement: the ArtLess bursary

The art of conflict which has been produced since the First Gulf War in 1991, 25 years ago, has changed exponentially in its approach, the techiques used, and the varied texture of the experience which the artists are dealing with. The nature of the conflict is different, with asymmetrical warfare replacing the major world wars; the techniques used are different – traditional oils and sketches jostle with CGI, photographs, video, installations; and forensic layering brings together multiple media and delivery mechanisms as a way of representing and monitoring conflict.

However many from the older adult audience, when asked about war art, are likely to think of the output of established artists such as John Singer Sargent or, more recently Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London, or possibly PhotoOp by kennardphillipps. And the younger audience, with 16-24 year olds now spending an average of 27 hours a week online 1 will be forming their view of war through games and videos on the internet, as well as instant news, building a very different view of the nature of conflict.

It is in this space that my recent public engagement exercise, funded by an ArtLess bursary, positioned itself. My background lies in running national, pan-platform campaigns across television, online and events for the BBC on topics such as adult literacy and creative arts for young people, with the aim of encouraging large numbers of the viewing audience to take action. From the start, these campaigns worked to a small number of sharp aims which drove and determined all the public engagement which took place. Essentials in running these campaigns were identifying the target audience, researching their demography, deciding which media suited their needs and ability, and being clear on what we wanted them to do e.g to read more with their children, or to take part in a fashion or film workshop.

The outreach process I used for the ArtLess bursary work drew on this body of knowledge. I wanted to use some of these public engagement techniques to test out how young people react when faced with images of war developed by artists and photographers who have produced them deliberately to make us contemplate a war, or warfare. Once invited to participate, it was important for them to feel informed enough, and confident enough to give their views on the images in front of them. Would they understand the visual references? Would they need much more information to be able to do so? If so, what kind of information, and how should it be delivered? How do these images resonate with young people used to dealing with virtual violence on both the big screen and their PDAs?

In June 2016, I ran a series of interviews with a group of sixth form students from Corelli College in South London. This is a large Cooperative Academy with a specialism in the Arts and a diverse student body. The students were drawn from English and Photography courses, so they were famiiar with visual conventions and creative constructs, but hadn’t specialised in any way in images of war. The interviews were filmed, and subsequently edited, and have been posted on the imagesofconflict site which is part of my research project.

The students’ initial responses to the images they were shown – Simon Norfolk Bleed, John Keane Kneel, Kennard Phillips STOP: Know Your Enemy (image below): Langlands and Bell The House of Osama bin Laden (on a mobile), Don McCullin Shell Shocked Soldier and John Keane’s Scenes on the Road to Hell 1 were filmed using a single camera. Then each student was given more detailed facts about the intentions of the artist, and their secondary responses were also captured.


Kennard Phillips STOP: Know Your Enemy


Kneel c. John Keane

This has provided a rich seam of information about the effects of images of war on this age group. Although a small sample of five students, they demonstrated responses ranging from sensitive and thoughtful analyses of what the image showed, to approaches which were ‘safer’ and which fitted the image into their existing world view. Images which might have been assumed to be heavy with meaning, such as the jumpsuit in John Keane’s Kneel, were not immediately obvious to the participating student until explained. And then their full impact was felt. In all but one case, the additional, narrated information extended the reach of the artwork and added to its effect on the viewers.

This kind of small group research has proved to be helpful in starting to uncover audience responses to images of conflict. To be doubly powerful in understanding the social context of war art these interviews could be run alongside the responses of the over 50s for example, a geographically diverse group or a group of ex-service men and women.

This exercise will feed back into my research and enrich my analysis of the life cycle of images of conflict. The films of the interview also involve a second type of public engagement – with an invited audience, mainly academics, on the website. I am hoping this will become a space where interested users will give their comments and views on the growing body of video and text content available there.

1 OFCOM’s Media Use and Attitudes Report 2015

Jane Quinn

PhD student in the History of Art department, Birkbeck, University of London.


Biographical information

Jane Quinn is in Year 3 of a part-time, practice-based PhD in the History of Art department at Birkbeck. The components of her work are a written dissertation and an accompanying website,

Prior to beginning her PhD, Jane had variously been a book editor with Macmillan and an executive producer with the BBC, overseeing many factual and educational programmes and latterly planning and running national, pan-platform public engagement campaigns. In 2008-09 she lived and worked in Guyana, South America as an advisor to the government on the establishment of a multi-media centre to develop digital learning materials for the country’s schools. She is the author of a book on equal opportunities, and a contributor to the Huffington Post.






































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Black History Month Seminar Series: Dr Carmen Fracchia 4th November 2016




Depicting the Emergence of the Afro-Hispanic Subject and the Formation of the Black Nation in early modern Spain Dr Carmen Fracchia, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Cultures and Languages

6.30pm-8.30pm on Friday 4 November 2016, in the Keynes Library (Room 114), Birkbeck, University of London, 43 Gordon Square. London WC1H 0PD

The Afro-Hispanic proverb Black but Human will serve as a lens through which I explore the ways in which certain early modern visual representation of slavery both embody and reproduce hegemonic visions of subaltern groups and at the same time provide material for critical and emancipatory practices by African slaves and ex-slaves themselves in Habsburg Spain. My paper will argue that deep ethnic prejudices against black slaves and ex-slaves in the crowns of Castile and Aragón did not prevent the emergence of the ‘Afro-Hispanic subject’ in the visual form articulated by a range of artists from Spain, the Spanish territories in Europe, and New Spain (Mexico). I will focus on the extraordinary seventeenth-century case of the portrait of the slave Juan de Pareja by his celebrated slave owner, Diego Velázquez and the self-portrait of freedman Juan de Pareja in his paintingThe Calling of St Matthew. This paper will also explore the ways in which the Black but Human topos codifies the multilayered processes through which a ‘black nation’ forges a collective resistance and the ways in which it is articulated in Pareja’s 3-metre long masterpiece for the Habsburg court in Madrid (now in the basement of the Prado Museum).

*The Seminar is convened and chaired by Dr Mpalive Msiska (, Reader in English and Humanities, Birkbeck, University of London, United Kingdom.


No booking required

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Corkscrew: Invitation to group crits for writing-led practices

Invitation to group crits for writing-led practices.

‘I am looking to establish a small group of practitioners with similar specific or thematic concerns to present work for critical feedback. In addition to Birkbeck research students, I am also inviting practice-based research students in the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, too.

We would conduct crit-like sessions, with a small number of people presenting work for feedback from the group. Over a number of sessions everyone would have a chance to present. The idea is to generate a community that can offer specific technical advice, as well as more general feedback.

The focus of the group is writing – specifically the production of text for the gallery or other curated spaces. This could be text to be read, performed, listened to or watched onscreen. We would book rooms at Birkbeck for optimum viewing conditions: the cinema, the performance space, the gallery or academic seminar rooms.

If you’d like to participate, please contact Sally:

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CFP: Visual Pleasure: Acts of Looking in Narrative Culture – Deadline 15 November

Following the screening of Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen’s groundbreaking avant-garde classic film ‘Riddles of the Sphinx’ [1977], introduced by Mulvey, and held in the new Curzon Goldsmiths in September, I am writing to announce the call for papers for this year’s annual GLITS symposium, ‘Visual Pleasure: Acts of Looking in Narrative Culture.’ Marking a continued interest in the cinematic and critical works of Laura Mulvey and their application, this symposium seeks interdisciplinary responses to her work and its legacy. Please see below for the CFP.

We invite abstracts of 350 words or less for 20 minute presentations; submissions will be open from now until November 15th. The symposium will take place on December 9th (venue to be confirmed and will be formally announced shortly).

Cambridge Scholars have expressed an interest in publishing the proceedings of this event and abstractsalong with a series of invited essayswill be considered as an element of a book proposal following the symposium.

Please address all abstracts, alongside a brief biographical note, to, or contact for further information.

‘Visual Pleasure: Acts of Looking in Narrative Culture’

This conference seeks to explore the ways in which the political “act of looking” in Laura Mulvey’s writing and its legacies can be extended to a broader discussion of narrative and critical cultures in contemporary society.  Whether we are exploring the nature of academic discourse and authorial identity, the function of autobiography and confession in contemporary literary culture, or the determinacy of canon and the anxiety of influence, the conflict between active and passive renditions of criticism relative to the force of narrative can be everywhere encountered. Mulvey’s work amplifies such collisions and, given her interest in the power of entertainment technologies, she offers an insight that is as relevant today as it was to the development of film criticism in the 1970s.

When we consider the role of culture in contemporary society, similar concerns plague the author and the academic—apprehensions about gazing backwards rather than broaching new territory, or the anxiety of influence as inveighing on original perspective proves to problematize conceptions of originality, authenticity and creativity in contemporary critical and creative practices. Often, the attempt to wring originality from existing traditions results in the inescapable realisation that critical work is contingent on second hand material. Conversely, criticism resumes to be perceived as a creative action that is unique to the personality engaging with the object of their attention. In this conference, we aim to encourage reflections upon the significance (and definition) of ‘originality’ and authorship in film, literature, and criticism. This approach ought to cast the role of the critic in renewed light, resulting in a reassessment of the standing that film and literary criticism dons in present-day narrative cultures.

This conflict is crucial to our self-definition in the academy—we let our interests define us, to then be defined by our interests, readily identify personality with product, and professionalize an engagement with culture. Scholarly response is either a product of its source or a procreant and provocative exercise that reclaims, reframes, and unsettles tradition. These polarised views of the critic are central to the work of Laura Mulvey in her exploration of active and passive manifestations of critical observation in cinema. In her canonical essay ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ (1975), Mulvey explores the segregation of the director and their audience – the cinema and its spectator – to underscore the manner in which representation on and off the screen is determined by an intermingling of social and personal pressures that, in turn, mould our reading of the text.

We invite 20 minute presentations on subjects including, but by no means limited to:

  • Academic culture, authorship and authorial or critical identity
  • Film, and the evolution of film criticism in the twenty-first century
  • Creative responses to film and literature (for example, adaptation, commentary, or novelisation)
  • Realism, authenticity and originality in literature, cinema and popular culture
  • Documentary as intervention versus creativity as intervention
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Birkbeck Medieval Seminar: Medieval Textiles: Meaning and Materiality 25 November 2016

Birkbeck Medieval Seminar

Medieval Textiles: Meaning and Materiality

Friday 25th November, 2016

Birkbeck, University of London

Room 101, 30 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DT


On the occasion of the V&A Museum’s unprecedented exhibition of opus anglicanum, this one-day interdisciplinary conference brings together leading and emerging scholars working on questions of meaning and materiality in medieval textiles, both real and imaginary.

The conference is organised by Birkbeck Medieval Seminar and the History of Art Department with support of the Murray Bequest.

The programme, and details of how to book can be found at:

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Architecture Space and Society Centre Reading Group 2016-17

Architecture Space and Society Centre Reading Group – 2016-17

Birkbeck’s Architecture Space and Society Centre reading group, which had its first meeting in May, is a forum for wide ranging discussion of architecture, space and society, across periods, geographies and disciplines.

Each session is led by an ASSC member (or 2-3 members), who will assign preparatory tasks.  These will normally be texts to read, but preparation could also include a building, site, or set of images to look at, for instance.

All academics and research students at Birkbeck with an interest in the themes discussed are welcome to participate. We also extend a warm welcome to ASSC speakers from beyond Birkbeck, who are encouraged to invite their research students.

These are the dates and names for 2016-17.  Specifics about themes and texts, etc will be sent out closer to the time.  Scans of texts will be available.

All meetings are on Thursday, 3-4.30pm.

8 December: Leslie Topp – Keynes Library
9 February: Peter Fane-Saunders – B02, 43 Gordon Square
16 March: Mark Crinson – Keynes Library
11 May: Lesley McFadyen – G02, 43 Gordon Square
15 June: Tag Gronberg – Keynes Library

For details of the reading group and the texts/themes discussed in the first session, please see –

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Introducing the BFI: Student Open Day 26 October 2016

Introducing the BFI + Video Essay Masterclass with Kogonada + Nothing But a Man screening


We welcome all students to BFI Southbank for a special Open Day that showcases all the riches we have to offer anyone who loves film.

Students will have a chance to acquaint themselves with the essential BFI Reuben Library, browse the BFI Shop’s unrivalled selection, test-drive the Mediatheque, and enjoy several exciting sessions in glorious NFT1.

The Details

Wednesday 26 October 12:00-17:00
BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XT

12:00-12:30: Registration (main foyer)
12:30-13:00: Introducing the BFI + preview of what’s coming soon at BFI Southbank
13:00-14:30: Video Essay Masterclass with Kogonada
15:30-17:05: Screening of Nothing But a Man

Places are limited! To reserve a space for individuals or groups for the Introducing the BFI talk or Nothing But a Man screening, RSVP to to reserve a place for individuals or groups.

For the Kogonada masterclass, (free) tickets must be booked via the box office here.

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University of London Society of Bibliophiles Launch Party 28 October 2016

University of London Society of Bibliophiles Launch Party


Friday 28th October 2016, 7-9pm

Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square, WC1H 0PD

On Friday 28th October, there will be a drinks reception to launch the new UoL Bibliophiles Society. Hosted by the University of London, the society has been kindly sponsored by Bonhams, alongside the ABA Educational Trust, Maggs Bros Books and the Private Libraries Association.

The society is open to all and aims to provide an opportunity for those who are interested book-collecting – whether it’s rare books, comics, or classic Penguins – to meet up with like-minded people. Meetings will be held monthly and the programme of events will include talks and visits to Lambeth Palace Library, Peterhouse College, Cambridge and London Rare Books Week 2017, amongst others.

Please do join us on the 28th- we look forward to seeing you there!

If you have any questions or would like to register your interest in becoming a committee member, please do not hesitate to get in contact at:

Blog: www.


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