Marina Warner Workshops: Arabic Poetry and Stories Translation Workshops – May-June 2017

Arabic Poetry and Stories Translation Workshops

‘It was and it was not…’: Translation in Action

(from Arabic into English)

May 11, May 25, June 6, June 27** 2017

**Please note the workshop on the 27th June will now take place in 

Room S118 , Paul Webley Wing (Senate House North Block) SOAS.

Professor Marina Warner (Birkbeck)

Professor Wen-chin Ouyang (SOAS)

In conjunction with the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre, Birkbeck. Directed by Steve Willey.



Workshop Topics and Dates

Workshop 1: May 11 The writer Hanan al- Shaykh will discuss her work with translator Catherine Cobham.

Topic: The Wiles of Women. Poetry and Stories from The 1001 Nights (2:30 to 5:30 pm, SOAS, B104)

Public reading. 6.30-8.00 pm (SOAS B104)

Workshop 2: May 25 The writer Hoda Barakat will discuss her work; with translator Marilyn Booth, Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud Professor in the Study of the Contemporary Arab World, Oxford.

Topic: Mad Love. Nizami, The Seven Pavilions: The Tale of Leila and Majnun.   (2:30 to 5:30 pm, SOAS, SWLT)

Public reading, 6.30-8.00pm (SOAS SWLT)

Workshop 3: June 6 Writers tbc,  with Julia Bray, Laudian Professor, Oxford, and editor of Ibn Sai, The Consorts of the Caliphs.

Topic: Singing Girls. Poetry, stories, satire and elegy in the songs of the Abbasid qiyan (Birkbeck , Room 102, 30 Russell Square)

Workshop 4: June 27  The poets Tamim al=Barghouti and Yousif al-Qasmiyeh will read their work and discuss it.

Topic: Islamic Sicily or Siculo-Arab Literature: poems of Ibn Hamdis and others, and fables from Ibn Zafer, Solwan or the Waters of Comfort (Birkbeck, Room 102, 30 Russell Square)

**Please note the workshop on the 27th June will now take place in 

Room S118 , Paul Webley Wing (Senate House North Block) SOAS.

Final workshop in September/October will showcase the work completed over the summer.


16 places for CHASE PhD students; 10 places reserved for independent translators and scholars, for a total of 20 for each workshop.


A: The workshops proposed will adapt methods used for bringing Greek tragedy to an Anglophone reader and apply them to Arabic literature.

With the help of scholars of Arabic literature, who are interested in the wider transmission and enjoyment of their subject, students will work alongside poets, dramatists, translation theorists, and writers of fiction, in order to revision (‘awaken’) Arabic literary texts for contemporary readers/audiences.

It has become customary, for example, for a poet with no Greek or Anglo-Saxon to re-inhabit a myth or a legend and bring it to vigorous new life– famous examples include Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf, Simon Armitage’s King Arthur, and the inspired contemporary revoicings of Ovid by Timberlake Wertenbaker and Kate Tempest. By contrast, the riches of classical and traditional literature in Arabic have in some sense been kept from those who cannot read or understand the language. The complexities of Arabic prosody and the vast range of genres and expressions of the Arabic and Persian narrative and poetic corpus seem to preclude access to all but scholars. Workshop participants will explore means and ways to make this literature accessible beyond the specialist circle.

The joint workshops themselves will examine how stories, motifs, characters, images travel across borders and migrate into new host cultures, moving into different languages, different genres, and on to different registers.

B: The workshops also set out to investigate collaborative exploration and discussion for translation/literary recreation in itself. Can the workshop model be a stimulus to the making of fresh, vigorous reawakened material from unfamiliar contexts and languages the writer-translator does not always know? The group sessions will provide the scope to be innovative about participation and collaboration for literary creativity.

Translators of the writers taking part will be present to discuss their task. However the project differs from strict translation, as applies to the work of contemporary Arabic novelists. The workshops are focusing on canonical/ancient/medieval/traditional material and its varying expressions because in this era of hostility to cultures associated with Islam, it is more important than ever to explore the riches of their vast literature and to understand the mutual entanglement of literary traditions.

These workshops will continue the project Stories in Transit, which undertakes nourishing storytelling and creativity in refugee communities. The project began in Oxford in May 2016 and Palermo in September 2016 and May 2017, and is a collaboration between Birkbeck, the University of Palermo, and the NGO Bibliothèques sans Frontières.

The material will include songs and squibs by medieval women poets, romances from Persia, the lyric poetry in Tales of the 1001 Nights, animal and other fables from Solwan, or The Waters of Comfort by Ibn Zafer from Sicily, written in the l2th century, or materials participants themselves propose.

Participants will attend all four workshops at which the visiting speaker and translator will address a text or group of texts; a general discussion about them will follow, leading to a choice of subject to develop work on over the summer and a reunion in the autumn to review the fruits of the workshop.  These will not aim to give faithful versions of the originals, but transpose them, sometimes even into a different form – eg poem to drama, story to song – the reawaken them and communicate them to readers and audiences today.


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The second edition of the biennial research workshop organised by Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image (BIMI) and Film Studies at the University of Pittsburgh will take place Wednesday 10 May to Friday 12 May 2017. The idea of the workshop is to bring together faculty and postgraduate students from Birkbeck and Pittsburgh to share their ongoing research, to get to know each other in person, and to develop collaborative research projects together. The first edition, “Cinema and the City”, May 2015, was a productive and enjoyable occasion, which has already generated several joint research initiatives, including journal publications, student and staff exchanges, public lectures, curatorial projects, and study days.

The forthcoming edition, entitled “Urban Change”, pursues the broad theme of cinema and the city, while addressing more precisely how moving image culture – in all its changing forms and formats, both aesthetically and technologically speaking – has responded and continues to react to the ongoing economic, social and political transformation of urban environments. These environments are understood as physical spaces but also as places to live, work, love and play, both individually and in terms of interpersonal and community relationships. While the cities of Pittsburgh and London remain significant topics for exploration, the geographical and historical coordinates of this workshop are entirely open, and participants will be exploring urban contexts and examples drawn from France, Algeria, Canada, India, Russia, Japan, Hong Kong, Denmark and Sweden.

The workshop is open to all, from Birkbeck and beyond, and we will be especially happy to welcome students and researchers working across the range of research areas and disciplines that BIMI is committed to representing as part of its mission: Film and Media, English, History of Art, Languages, Law, History, Philosophy, Politics, Geography, Psychosocial Studies, Applied Linguistics, and Psychological Sciences.


Below you will find the BASIC PROGRAMME of the workshop: if you wish to read the presentation abstracts, the contributor profiles, and details of screening materials, or BOOK a place for this FREE event, please follow this link:




WELCOME/INTRODUCTION with tea & coffee in Cinema foyer


Presentation #1

Randall HALLE, Pittsburgh: The Record of Modernity, the Poetics of Urban Change – Heinz Emigholz’s Architecture and Autobiography

12:30-1:30 LUNCH BREAK


Presentation #2

Joel McKIM, Birkbeck: Transitional Vancouver: Stan Douglas’s Circa 1948


Presentation #3

Curry CHANDLER, Pittsburgh: Visualizing Urban Change and Differential Space in Chris Ivey’s East of Liberty series: Gentrification, Community Activism, and Documentary Film as Aesthetic Spatial Practice

3:30-4:00 TEA BREAK


Presentation #4

Melissa BUTCHER, Birkbeck: Creating Hackney as Home – Five Reflections on a London Borough 


Early Film Exhibition Tour, with Ian Christie, Birkbeck: Early Cinema Sites in Leicester Square and the West End

Meeting point for the walk: Birkbeck, School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square.




Presentation #5

Neepa MAJUMDAR, Pittsburgh: Wiring for the Talkies: Bombay’s Cinema Theatres, 1927-1940


Presentation #6

Nikhil Thomas TITUS, Pittsburgh: Curated Desires: Examining Intersections of Low-Cost Film Exhibition, Migrant Audiences, and Gentrification in Mumbai

12:30-1:30 LUNCH BREAK


Presentation #7

Michael ALLEN, Birkbeck: What Goes Up Must Come Down – Negotiating Social Continuity and Change in the Representation of Post-War Architecture in British Film and Television.


Presentation #8

Adam HEBERT, Pittsburgh: Wheels and Reels on Both Sides of the Pond – Skateboarding and City Planning from Philadelphia to London

3:30-4:00 TEA BREAK


Presentation #9

Nancy CONDEE, Pittsburgh: Moral Repository – “The landscape of the Russian soul corresponds with the landscape of Russia”




Presentation #10

Mark BEST, Pittsburgh: Giant Monsters, the City of the Future, and Spectacles of Urban (Non-)Destruction: Gamera visits Expo ’70


Presentation #11

Kevin FLANAGAN, Pittsburgh: Hong Kong-D.C. Connection – Transnational Martial Arts Cinema between Regional Production Contexts and Global Audiences

12:30-1:30 LUNCH BREAK


Presentation #12

Kelsey CUMMINGS: Analysing Evocations of Urban Destruction in Romantic Comedy, with a Focus on Representations of Women’s Bodies


Presentation #13

Janet McCABE, Birkbeck: Female Cartographies, Spatial Mappings, Regional Tourism – Location and The Bridge (Bron/Broen)

3:30-4:00 TEA BREAK





Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Austria, 2016, 94 minutes, followed by a response to the film by Carl Lavery, University of Glasgow, in conversation with Anna Reading, Kings College London. More information:




Contemporary Urban Media Tour, with Scott RODGERS, Birkbeck: Media and Everyday Life in the Urban Spaces of Fitzrovia, Marylebone, and Soho

Meeting point for the walk: Birkbeck, School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square.


Michael Temple

Director of Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image and Essay Film Festival








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Exhibition Event: ‘El Encanto’ Artist’s Talk, Freddy Dewe Mathews – 3 May 2017


Exhibition Event: Artist’s Talk, Freddy Dewe Mathews

Wednesday 3 May, Peltz Gallery, 7-8pm

Join artist Freddy Dewe Mathews in conversation with curator Robert Leckie as they discuss the issues of landscape, progress, international trade and local mythology that are raised by Dewe Mathews’ Peltz Gallery exhibition ‘El Encanto’.

‘El Encanto’ considers the history of the rubber industry in the Putumayo, a large area of the Colombian Amazon once heavily exploited for this naturally occurring resource. Developed from various trips made by the artist to remote and historically important sites, the show looks at how, at the nucleus of a spiraling and often paradoxical history, the essentially harmonious process of tapping – an interaction between a tapper and a rubber tree – has come to echo the central allegory attached to it, that of bleeding. The exhibition in the Peltz Gallery extends ideas that Dewe Mathews began to explore during his 2013 Gasworks International Fellowship, where he undertook a residency at independent artist-led gallery Kiosko Galeria, Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

Freddy Dewe Mathews (b.1985) is a visual artist based in London.  His multi-disciplinary practice considers the shifting influence of history on the environments and places we live in. Exploring chosen sites and guided by archival and research material, his projects have taken in broad subjects, ranging from the legacy of the rubber industry in the Colombian Amazon, to the cult of the ill in the Swiss Alps. He has exhibited internationally and taken part in a number of residencies in Europe and Latin America, including spending 2016 as Artist-in-Residence at Flora Ars+Natura and receiving the Gasworks International Fellowship in 2013. The same year he published his first book, Bouvetøya: A Cultural History of an Isolated Landmass.

Robert Leckie has been Curator at Gasworks in London since 2011, where he runs the exhibitions and residencies programmes. At Gasworks he has commissioned and curated solo exhibitions by a broad range of international artists including Pio Abad, Eric Baudelaire, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Adelita Husni-Bey, Maryam Jafri, Candice Lin, Lana Lin, Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz and Kemang Wa Lehulere. He has also curated and produced several group and collaborative exhibitions including ‘All I Can See is the Management’ (2011); ‘RESOLUTION 978 HD’ (2013) by the Model Court collective (artists and researchers Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Lorenzo Pezzani and Oliver Rees); ‘Late Barbarians’ (2014); ‘Dependency’ (2014); and, together with Miguel A. Lopez, ‘A Kingdom of Hours’ (2016/17), which was presented across Gasworks and TEOR/éTica in San José. He has written for Afterall and Benedictions, among other publications, and is currently co-editing a book on Sidsel Meineche Hansen’s recent practice, alongside working on the following new commissions: a collaborative exhibition by Filipa César and Louis Henderson and solo shows by Monira Al Qadiri, Zach Blas and Rachal Bradley.

‘El Encanto’ is on at the Peltz Gallery, School of Arts, Birkbeck College 6 April – 4 May 2017.

All welcome

To book your FREE ticket go to

If you have any additional access requirements please get in touch

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BIRMAC: ‘Ruin/s’ Event ‘Ruining Preservation and Preserving the Ruins: Challenges in Archiving Sound Recordings’ 27 April, 6-8pm

Join us for a talk by Will Prentice, entitled, ‘Ruining Preservation and Preserving the Ruins: Challenges in Archiving Sound Recordings’ on Thursday, 27th April, 6-8pm in the Keynes Library.

Sound and audiovisual archives globally are facing a crisis, whereby recordings on many historical, once-common formats will be permanently lost if they are not digitised within a short number of years, perhaps as few as ten. What are the ramifications of this, for the archives themselves, for their users, and for our broader collective memory? And how confident can we feel about preserving our memory digitally anyway?

This talk will explore different forms of ruin, both potential and actual, in a sound archive, from the smallest digital bit-level error to catastrophic loss, and consider the complex relationship between preservation, creativity and ruin.

Will Prentice is primarily concerned with the preservation of sound & video recordings both new and old, and is currently Head of Technical Services, Sound & Vision at the British Library, where he has worked since 1999. He is a member of the Technical Committee of the International Association of Sound & Audiovisual Archives (IASA), and co-editor of the forthcoming revision of The Safeguarding of the Audio Heritage: Ethics, Principles and Preservation Strategy, to be published by IASA in 2017. He has a Masters degree in Ethnomusicology from Goldsmiths College, London.

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Kings PhD Networking Event on Asian CCI Research – 5 May 2017

2nd PhD Networking Event on Asian CCI Research with a Keynote from Dr Keith B. Wagner

Friday, 5 May 2017, 14.00 – 17.00

King’s College London, King’s Building (Strand Campus), Room K0.50

We, the Asian CCI Research Network, are excited to announce our second event focused on networking and getting to know other researchers in the field of Asian Cultural and Creative Industries. We are a couple of PhD students from different universities in the UK and would like to establish a network of like-minded people to exchange knowledge and ideas. All PhD students, researchers and scholars with an interest in Asian CCI are welcome.

We are very happy to welcome Dr Keith B. Wagner, Lecturer of Screen Media in the Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry at University College London, who will give a keynote to kick off the event at 14.00. The keynote, titled ‘Radical Feminists and Pretty Capital in South Korean Media: Megalia and Produce 101 as Gender Extremes’, focuses on issues surrounding gender and feminism in Korea’s contemporary male-dominated media landscape. The keynote will be followed by a Q&A session with the speaker.

During our first event, we noticed a need for people to discuss research questions and methodological approaches. During the second part of the event, approximately from 15.00 – 16.00, we would like to focus on these matters. Attendees will be split up into smaller groups to discuss and share questions on methodologies and research methods. This will be followed by a discussion among all attendees, as well as the speaker to provide peer advice and comments.

All attendees are advised to fill out the following form so we can match up people with a similar research interest for the small group discussions:

The last 30 minutes of the event will be dedicated to input and ideas from all participants on how to further develop the network. How can a research network like the one we are trying to establish support you, and how you can contribute to it? We believe in co-working and creating and are welcoming any suggestions and ideas!

For more information on the event, please visit our blog or keep up to date through the Facebook event page If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Liw via, Centre for Cultural Policy, The University of Warwick.

We are very much looking forward to welcome you on May 5th for an engaging event!



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The Gaskell Journal Joan Leach Memorial Graduate Student Essay Prize 2018 – deadline 1 Feb 2018

The Gaskell Journal

Joan Leach Memorial Graduate Student

Essay Prize 2018

Deadline for submissions: 1st February 2018

The Gaskell Journal runs a biennial Graduate Student Essay Prize in honour of Joan Leach MBE, founder of the Gaskell Society.


The essay competition is open to all graduate students currently registered for an MA or PhD in Victorian Studies. Entries are invited that offer an original contribution to the field of Gaskell studies, whether by reading her works in relation to Victorian cultural, religious, aesthetic and scientific contexts, or through innovative close readings enlightened by critical theory, or a comparative study connecting Gaskell’s with another author’s work.  Essays will be shortlisted by the Gaskell Journal Editorial Board, with the final judgment being made by a leading scholar in Gaskell studies.


The winning essay will be published in the Gaskell Journal (subject to appropriate revisions), and its author will receive £200 from the Gaskell Society, and a complimentary copy of the Journal. High quality runners-up will also be considered for publication.


Essays should be 6000-7000 words, and not under consideration for publication elsewhere. Please see the Gaskell Journal website for the stylesheet (MHRA with endnotes), and for the form to submit with your anonymised essay:

Please submit these directly to the Editor Dr Rebecca Styler by/on 1st February 2018, who can also answer any inquiries.

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Dandelion Journal: Call for General Editors – deadline 8 May 2017

Call for General Editors

Dandelion Journal is seeking General Editors to join its editorial team.

Dandelion Journal was established in 2010 as a Student-Led initiative supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Journal. It publishes quality articles and reviews by post-graduate students and early career researchers from around the world; recent issues on Brevity, Ecology, Violence, The Commons, and Nostalgia have included contributions from researchers working in the United States, Canada, Italy, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. The journal also offers a platform for experimental and artistic work in its ‘Short Circuits’ section, dedicated to showcasing work not usually included in traditional academic publishing.

As a Dandelion General Editor you will have the opportunity to manage an issue from start to finish. This will include developing a theme and issuing a call for papers; managing a team of editors; liaising with contributors; copy editing essays; web publishing; and promoting and publicising the journal.

Joining the journal now offers an exciting opportunity to be part of the migration of Dandelion to the Open Library of the Humanities publishing platform.

We invite all Birkbeck School of Arts Graduate Students to join the Dandelion Journal Editorial Team. No prior experience of publishing or editorial is necessary as training will be provided.

We encourage you to send an email explaining why and how you would like to be involved and detailing any relevant experience you have and what skills you would bring to the journal. We are particularly curious to hear your vision for Dandelion, what innovations you would introduce, and what form you envisage Dandelion taking in the future.

Email applications to by Monday 8th of May.

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Derek Jarman Lab – Working with Subtitles Workshop – 3 May 2017

The Derek Jarman Lab is running a practical workshop on working with subtitles for researchers who might want to add subtitles to films for teaching purposes. Adding subtitles to a film is in many ways a simple task, but it can quickly become fiddly and frustrating. The Lab will run through a few basic approaches to this problem and then suggest a simple workflow for researchers to use in approaching this task.

The main body of the workshop will run on Wednesday 3 May from 10:00 – 13:00 at the Derek Jarman Lab, 36 Gordon Square. The Lab will remain open in the afternoon for those who would like to stay on and work on a particular film with support from Lab staff. However, if you would like to do this, please do get in touch to let us know about what sorts of video files  you will be working with, and also so we can assess numbers.


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CFP: Journal of Arts Writing by Students – deadline 7 May 2017

Please find attached call for papers for the next issue of JAWS (the Journal of Arts Writing by Students)

JAWS are currently seeking submissions for their forthcoming issue, the deadline for which is Monday 7th May 2017 (please see attached). JAWS is primarily aimed at MA and MRes level but also welcome submissions from PhD and BA students.

The journal is published by Intellect Books – style guide is available here.

JAWS are also recruiting peer reviewers and would love to hear from any students who would be interested. I would be very happy to send out any past issues or answer any questions students may have about the process.

Best wishes,

Ruth Solomons

Editor – JAWS

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Derek Jarman Lab – Essay Film Course 22-25 April 2017

For all those who are interested in using film in their research, the Derek Jarman Lab is offering a course in essayistic filmmaking at the beginning of the summer term.

The dates are: 22nd and 23rd April for filming and production sessions, and 24th and 25th April for an editing workshop. Here is a short description of the course:

Essay Film Course

An intensive 4-day course in all aspects of audiovisual production related to essayistic and research-led filmmaking. Students work in small groups and learn how to use widely available DSLR cameras and popular editing software to create professional looking and intellectually engaging videos. At the end of the course they complete a short training film. This gives them an opportunity to put their new skills to use immediately and experiment with the form of the essay film in a stimulating environment and with the support of the Lab’s team. Key elements of the course are: introduction to film theory, session on making an impact with research, tips on production management, hands-on skills in lighting set-ups, recording sound, and using cameras (Canon and Panasonic DSLRs, Blackmagic Cinema Camera), a supervised location shoot, editing theory and editing on Adobe Premiere Pro.

Jarman Lab courses are designed to cater for a variety of levels of experience and to consider the different ways in which moving images can be used. An integral part of the training is discussing students’ research interests and how to make the best use of film in an academic context. We explore the conventions of documentary filmmaking but also talk about its alternatives, such as the essay film. The focus of this course is on films which combine an artistic form with an argumentative structure. We also engage with the concepts of visual methods of disseminating and conducting research in the humanities and social sciences.

The sessions take place in our offices:

The Derek Jarman Lab
36 Gordon Square
London WC1H 0PD

The training begins at 10am on each day of the 4-day course, and we aim to finish around 6pm.

The cost of the course for Birkbeck students and staff is £300.

If you are interested in enrolling, please send an email to

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