London 18th-Century Postgraduate Reading Group – 3 March 2017 3.30pm

London 18th-Century Postgraduate Reading Group, 3rd March 2017

Christopher Smart & Empiricist Devotion

All welcome at this term’s second session of the London 18th-Century Postgraduate Reading Group, 3.30-5 pm on Friday 3rd March. We will be in room 1.21 of the Franklin-Wilkins building, at King’s College London’s Waterloo Campus (map here).

Continuing with the theme ‘the everyday’ with readings put together by Ari Messer (PhD candidate, English & Humanities, Birkbeck), we will be looking at Christopher Smart’s The Hop-Garden (written 1742-43; first published 1752) – a georgic poem in blank verse about growing hops – and a chapter from Courtney Weiss Smith’s recent book that argues for an alternative view of the eighteenth-century georgic as an empirical-devotional mode. The readings are:

Christopher Smart, The Hop-Garden, in The Poetical Works of Christopher Smart, ed. Karina Williamson and Marcus Walsh (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980-96), IV, pp. 41-65

Courtney Weiss Smith, Empiricist Devotions (London: University of Virginia Press, 2016), pp. 173-210.

Those with more time may also wish to look at a short chapter from Chris Mounsey’s book on Smart, which situates the poem as a comic, non-religious response to John Philips’s Cyder (1708):

Chris Mounsey, Christopher Smart: Clown of God (Lewisburg, Pa.: Bucknell University Press, 2001), pp. 64-80.

All the readings are available online here.

The georgic was an ‘everyday’ mode of conversing about natural subjects such as agriculture in eighteenth-century Britain, but one which has only recently been put under the lens of historical poetics. Does The Hop-Garden participate in what Weiss identifies as ‘meditative empiricism’, or is it just a funny poem about farming?

The London 18th-Century Postgraduate Reading Group is a student-run reading group organised in collaboration with the Centre for Enlightenment Studies at King’s and Birkbeck Eighteenth-Century Research Group. Staff and students at all London universities are very welcome. The reading group concentrates on a different theme each academic year, with an emphasis on primary texts and recent criticism. For more informations, view the reading group’s blog.

If you have any queries about the readings or the reading group, please contact Robert Stearn ( or Ari Messer (

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£200 Grant for Research Students: The Ruskin Society – deadline 1 May 2017

The Ruskin Society is able to offer a grant of £200 to graduate students organizing an event related to the life, work, or legacy of John Ruskin. A single award will be made to an event taking place before 8 February 2018. To apply, please send an application of no more than 500 words describing the event and giving an outline budget of how you would use the grant. Please include details of the organizers and their academic affiliations.

Applications should be emailed to by 1 May 2017.

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Corkscrew – Show and Tell 27 February 2017 2-5pm

Corkscrew: Show and Tell

Hosted by Bruno Roubicek, artist and Birkbeck PhD student, show and tell sessions invite practice-based research students to present work in progress. It’s an opportunity to share your emerging practice and receive feedback in a supportive environment. Sessions through the year will consider how practice and scholarship can work together to generate insight and understanding. What is “doing knowledge” and how can practice be made evident to examiners?

On Monday 27 February, 2-5pm, join us for the spring Show and Tell session. Alongside presentations, we will discuss Sophie Hope’s article ‘Bursting paradigms: a colour wheel of practice-research’, Cultural Trends, 25, 2 (2016), 74-86 (NB. Senate House Library membership needed for access via this link).

Show and Tell takes place in G10, School of Arts.

The summer date will be announced later in the year.

RSVP to Bruno here.

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Postgraduate Training Day: Conducting Fieldwork in Latin America and the Caribbean 23 Feb 2017

Postgraduate Training Day:

Conducting Fieldwork in Latin America and the Caribbean 

23/02/2017, Senate House, Room G22/26

 Cost: £5 with lunch included

 This one day training event is for postgraduate students embarking on fieldwork in Latin America and the Caribbean. Hosted by the Institute of Latin American Studies, the event features experienced researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds. The event will introduce students to a range of strategies and techniques to design and execute their future research trips effectively, will prepare students for challenges they may encounter in the field, and will provide them with the opportunity to discuss their plans with experienced researchers.

A small charge of £5 will cover the cost of catering.

Registration is essential. Please sign up at:


10.30-10.45 Welcome and Introductions Prof Linda Newson (ILAS Director) and Dr Niall Geraghty (ILAS)

10.45-11.30 Exploring Latin American Archives Prof Linda Newson (ILAS), Dr Kathryn Santner (ILAS) and Dr Elena McGrath (ILAS)

11.30-12.15 The Seven C’s of Interviewing Dr Asa Cusack (LSE)

12.15-13.00 Lunch

13.00-13.45 What do we do when we do Ethnography? Dr William Tantam (ILAS) and Dr Mark Thurner (ILAS)

13.45-14.30 Dealing with Challenges in the Field Dr Chandra Morrison (LSE)

14.30-14.45 Coffee

14.45-15.30 Fieldwork in Literature, Cinema and the Arts Dr Niall Geraghty (ILAS) and Dr Giuliana Borea (ILAS)

15.30-16.30 General Q + A

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CFP: Cultural Resilience/ Resilient Cultures – deadline 24 March 2017

CMCI PhD Conference 2017

Cultural Resilience/ Resilient Cultures: the art of resistance in changing worlds

King’s College London Culture, Media and Creative Industries Conference 2017

King’s College London, Waterloo Campus, 13th-14th June 2017.

In recent times the world has experienced fundamental and ongoing changes of society on a global scale, such as political isolationism, regional conflicts, and the displacement of refugees and/or immigrants. In this atmosphere of uncertainty, culture has a role to play in reflection, diversification, debate, and even reconciliation in transformation processes and the public sphere of communities. Culture and cultural industries can, and should, act as a platform for discussion, analysis and critique of societal shifts. Through this interdisciplinary conference we seek to address questions of resistance and resilience through the lens of culture, media and creative industries. What does the current economic, social and political climate mean for creative industries? How does cultural policy negotiate changes and unpredictability? What is the role of culture in societal shifts? We invite speakers to consider examples of cultural resilience, the instrumentality of culture for resistance or mediation, and the diversity of perspectives that can be used to frame debate.

Cultural Resilience / Resilient Cultures is the fourth annual CMCI PhD conference, following last year’s successful event (In)Visible Cultures. We welcome researchers to engage with questions of resilience and resistance in our society, culture, media and the creative industries, and to share their ideas with the colleagues from around the world in a friendly and stimulating environment. Submissions from post-graduate researchers and early-career researchers as well as established scholars are welcomed. Keynote speakers TBC.

Papers are welcomed in line with the following topics, but are not limited to these:

  • Cultural and creative resilience – past, present and future
  • Media intertextuality – globalized resistance
  • Mediatisation of protest
  • The art of protesting: cultural and creative modes of activism
  • Cultural perspectives on power
  • Cultural diplomacy and international cultural relations in periods of change
  • Cultural politics in identities: gender, ethnicity, diaspora, migration and transnationalism
  • Creative industries in periods of change
  • Instrumental uses of culture
  • Inequality and marginalised communities
  • Remembering and forgetting: resistance through memory and commemoration

Please send a 300-word abstract, along with your name, e-mail address, academic affiliation (and department) and short bio to

The deadline for submissions is Friday 24th March 2017. For more information please visit our Facebook:

Please note that while letters of acceptance are available for accepted speakers, we are unable to provide any additional support for visa applications.

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CFP: No Way Out: Theatre as a Mediatised Practice Deadline 24 February 2017

Call for Papers / Presentations

No Way Out: Theatre as a Mediatised Practice

TaPRA Performance & New Technologies Working Group Interim Event

20th April, Birkbeck College, University of London

21st April, London South Bank University (LSBU)

Call deadline: 24 February

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Prof. Matthew Causey (Trinity College) (20th April @ Birkbeck College) & Prof. Andy Lavender (Surrey) (21st April @ LSBU)

Book Launch & Wine Reception

Launch of Intermediality and Spectatorship in the Theatre Work of Robert Lepage: The Solo Shows (Aristita I. Albacan, 2016). Wine reception and conversation with Professor Christopher Balme (Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich) (21st April, LSBU)

Mediatisation – the increasingly pervasive influence of new media technologies in the form of social institutions and ideological apparatuses on society, culture and consciousness since the late twentieth century – has radically shaped our everyday lives and relationships. Mediatisation as a social and cognitive phenomenon has changed the way theatre and performance are produced, shaped, performed and perceived. This shift has led to a state where there is nothing left outside of mediatisation. Hence, we argue, all contemporary theatre and performance today is mediatised.

The mediatised theatre and performance of the 21st century propose a practice, and offer ground for the development of a scholarship, in which ontological boundaries between media and performance, live and mediatised, analogue and digital, are no longer useful or even possible to consider. Mediatisation lies within the aesthetic and political [un]consciousness of the works, whichever form or manifestation those choose to take. It is, directly or implicitly, embedded within their architectures, dynamics, and processes; we might even argue that, in some ways, mediatisation is the works.

This two-day symposium seeks to investigate the processes and practices of mediatised theatre and performance in the 21st century with a particular interest in such questions as: How does the mediatised theatre and performance of the 21st century engage with digital culture and labour as, partly, products of capitalist ideology and economy? Is there potential for resistance (in the wider understanding of the term) within theatre as a mediatised practice? Or, to use Stiegler’s analogy, can theatre and performance approach the digital as a pharmakon in order to engender social ‘remedy’, opening up critical spaces for resistance and dissensus in contemporary neoliberal culture?

We invite submissions for research papers and presentations that explore theatre/performance as a mediatised practice. Submission can respond –but are not limited to – to the following areas of investigation:

  • Aesthetics and politics of mediatisation in contemporary performance
  • Forms and practices of resistance in contemporary performance
  • Postdigital performance
  • Alternative modes of writing for/in mediatised theatre
  • Text and immateriality in mediatised theatre and performance
  • Emerging critical mediaturgies
  • New methodological approaches, and practice-as-research methodologies
  • Mediatised performance as a response to ‘postpolitical’ times
  • Spectatorship and structures of power in mediatised performance
  • Digital (cheap) labour and performance
  • Embodiment and materiality in mediatised performance

Submissions can include papers, practice-as-research presentations and/or demonstrations, sharing of work in progress, provocations and other scholarly interventions.

Please send 250 word abstracts along with a short biography (50 words max) to and by February 24, 2017.  Please include full details of any technical and other requirements for presentations with your submission. The exact format and duration of the presentations will be decided as appropriate to the work in agreement with the event conveners.

The Interim Event is Organised and Convened by

Dr Maria Chatzichristodoulou (LSBU) & Dr Seda Ilter (Birkbeck)

The TaPRA Performance and New Technologies WG Conveners are:

Dr Jem Kelly, Dr Christina Papagiannouli, Dr Jo Scott

This TaPRA Interim event is supported by the School of Arts and Creative Industries and the Centre for Research in Digital Storymaking at London South Bank University; the Birkbeck Centre for Technology and Publishing; Vasari Research Centre for Art and Technology (Birkbeck College, University of London); Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Research in Media and Culture (BIRMAC), and Department of English and Humanities (Birkbeck College, University of London).

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Medical Humanities Reading Group – 23 February 2017

The next session of the Birkbeck Medical Humanities Reading Group explores the theme of surgery.

Henry Marsh’s Do No Harm (2014) is an account of his work as a neurosurgeon in the NHS. We will also read a short extract from Samer Nashef’s The Naked Surgeon (2015), which details his experiences working as a heart surgeon.

Do No Harm is available for around £5-10 online (including postage); the extract from The Naked Surgeon is available via the Reading Group’s shared dropbox folder (for further details of how to access, please contact Heather on

We will meet on Thursday 23 February, 3-4.30pm, in Room B02, 43 Gordon Square .

Please note the date for our second reading session this term: Thursday 23 March, 3-4.30pm. It will focus on portraiture and illness and will be led by the artist Tim Wainwright, whose work is currently on exhibition as part of the Hunterian Museum’s show Transplant and Life (until Saturday 20 May 2017). More details of the reading will be circulated soon. Colleagues may also be interested in a forthcoming event at the Hunterian Museum that Tim and his collaborator John Wynne are participating in: ‘Transplant and Life – the artists in conversation’ (Thursday 23 February, 7-9pm). More information on this talk can be found on the Royal College of Surgeon’s website.

For more information please visit our website.

Please do circulate details of the group and readings to interested colleagues and postgraduate students.

Kind regards


Dr Heather Tilley

Birkbeck Wellcome Trust ISSF Fellow

Department of English and Humanities


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Writing Art: Women Writers as Art Critics in the Long Eighteenth Century – 25 February 2017

Writing Art: Women Writers as Art Critics in the Long Eighteenth Century
Saturday 25 February 2017

This one-day conference focuses on women writers as art critics in the late Georgian and early Victorian period.

Tickets: £35; Students/Friends £30 (includes lunch and refreshments)

Writing Art: Women Writers as Art Critics in the Long Eighteenth Century

Chawton House Library, 25th February 2017

Long thought to be the domain of wealthy men, art criticism and connoisseurship underwent a transformation in the late Georgian period. This one-day conference focuses on women writers as art critics in the late Georgian and early Victorian period. Bringing together leading art historians and literary scholars on women’s writing and art criticism, speakers will draw on travel writing and private letters, on diaries and on novels by major English and French authors. We will explore the role of women writers in the emerging field of art history, their contribution to an evolving language of taste, and the problems of trespassing on once-male territory. Can we find in women’s writing a distinctly female voice that engages with the making and the experience of art?

This conference is held in conjunction with the National Gallery, London—which hosts, on the 10th November 2017, a conference on women as critics of Old Master paintings in the Victorian period—and the Southampton Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

10.00 – 10:30: Registration and tea/coffee

10:30: Stephen Lloyd (Knowsley Hall)

Walking tour of portraits in the Chawton House Library collection.

11:30: Susanna Avery-Quash (National Gallery, London)

‘”I shall be truly proud if we succeed both in rescuing some examples, and in introducing them into England, where already there are a chosen few who adore them”: the contribution of Lady Eastlake and her women friends to a new taste for early Italian art in Britain’.

12:15 Lunch

1:15:  Emma Barker (Open University)
‘Statues and Pictures: Germaine de Staël on art’

2:00:  Isabelle Baudino (Ecole Normale Superieure, Lyon)
‘Women travellers as art critics in Continental Europe’

2:45 Tea

3:15:  Carl Thompson (St Mary’s, Twickenham)
‘Maria Graham as art critic and connoisseur’

4:00:  Departure

To buy tickets, please visit our website or call us on
01420 541010

Funding for this conference is provided by Chawton House Library, the Women’s History Network, and the Southampton Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Registered UK Charity: 1118201


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Seminar Networks for Art Historians – 3 March 2017

Seminar: Network Research for Art Historians: Why and How it is Important.

Led by Prof. Koenraad Brosens, University of Leuven

Respondent: Dr. Mark Westgarth, Lecturer, University of Leeds

Date & Time: Friday 3 March 2017, 3-7pm

3-4pm: Presentation by Koen Brosens
4-4.30pm: Response by Mark Westgarth
4.30-6pm: Discussion and workshop
6-7pm: Informal reception and drinks

Venue: Holden Room, Senate House, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU

Cost: £10 (full price); free for students

Networking is now recognised as a key avenue for understanding how artists,
dealers and collectors interact in the art market. At the same time, it is one of the
most difficult to define- how do you determine the value of relationships? What
connections are significant for an artist or craftsman? How can we understand the
links between different groups in the art market?

For the past ten years, Koen Brosens has been working on different ways to chart
such connections, drawing on many different disciplines to construct methods of
interpreting past relationships. In his workshop, Koen will draw on his own experience to explain how his methods and database can be used by art historians, cultural historians and economic historians in their own research. Koen’s methods provide an important tool which will add to this important aspect of the study of collecting.

The nature of the workshop, bringing a small group of people to question and discuss these issues, will encourage lively debate and intense questioning.

To book, please contact:


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Sonia Solicari, Director of the Geffrye Museum: 13 February 2017, 6-7.30pm

Sonia Solicari, Director of the Geffrye Museum

Monday 13th February 2017,


Keynes Library

Chaired by Dr. Gabriel Koureas

Sonia Solicari is currently Director of The Geffrye Museum of the Home, having joined in January 2017. She was previously Head of the Guildhall Art Gallery and London’s Roman Amphitheatre, where she worked since 2010, delivering a major capital development of the gallery, alongside leading the exhibitions, events and public engagement programmes. Recent exhibitions include Victorians Decoded: Art & Telegraphy; Unseen City: Photos by Martin Parr and No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action, 1960-1990. Previously she worked at the Victoria & Albert Museum, as Curator of Ceramics and Glass (2006-2010) and Assistant Curator of Paintings (2002-2006). Ms Solicari studied English Literature at Royal Holloway; Nineteenth-Century Studies at King’s College and Museum Studies at UCL. Currently she is undertaking a PhD at Birkbeck, University of London, looking at ‘The Domestic Threshold in Art and Culture of the Nineteenth Century’.

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