Tuesday 23rd May 7.30 pm Contemporary Poetics Research Centre: Larry Kearney and Yeats

Larry Kearney: talk on Yeats followed by conversation.

7.30-9.00 pm Room 317, 43 Gordon Square.

Larry Kearney’s talk on the poetry of WB Yeats will inquire into what is meant by vision and image, and what is the relation between the poet’s conscious decisions and the visions that present themselves.

Kearney writes: ‘The guiding notion is that in poetry one doesn’t read and evaluate, one recognizes and deals with the reality of the recognition, and that the one overriding requirement for the poet is to be willing to write what the poem wants written when it wants it written, to be capable of the writing, and to free the personal so that the poem can use it as it sees fit, no matter what the resistance, or embarrassment.’

Born of Scottish and Irish parents, Larry Kearney has spent most of his life in northern California, where he was a member of Jack Spicer’s circle. His many books of poetry include Magic Town, which was published by Veer Books in 2016.

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Contemporary German Fiction Reading Group Summer Term 2017

Dear All,

I’d like to invite you to join me for this year’s contemporary German fiction reading group. This is an optional event, open to all. You are very welcome to come along to any one or more of the sessions. All you need to do is to read the novel in advance, either in German or English translation and come prepared to discuss it.

These are the novels we will be reading and discussing this year.


Wednesday 24 May Daniel Kehlmann, F (2013) GOR 321
Thursday 1 June Judith Schalansky, Der Hals der Giraffe / The Giraffe’s Neck (2011) GOR 106
Wednesday 14 June Olga Grjasnova, Der Russe ist einer, der Birken liebt / All Russians Love Birch Trees (2012) tbc
Thursday 28 June Lutz Seiler, Kruso (2014) GOR 106
Wednesday 12 July Wolfgang Herrndorf, Sand (2011) GOR 321

All sessions will take place from 6.00-7.20.

If you’d like any further information about the reading group, please contact Joanne Leal: j.leal@bbk.ac.uk.

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Funding – Venice Art Biennale 2017: Steward-Research Fellowships – deadline 31 May 2017


Venice Art Biennale 2017: Steward-Research Fellowships

29 October – 26 November 2017  

The School of Arts at Birkbeck is delighted to announce an exciting opportunity to all its students. We are inviting applications for two Steward-Research Fellowships at the Venice Art Biennale 2017, running from 29 October until 26 November. These are part funded by the British Council, and by the School of Arts. The successful candidates will be responsible for making their own travel, accommodation and insurance arrangements, but will be given a grant of £1600 for the month towards these and other expenses.

We are inviting applications from all current students in the School of Arts, from Certificate level through to PhD, and from across the Departments of English and Humanities, History of Art, Cultures and Languages, and Film, Media and Cultural Studies.

However, applicants must be able to state on their application form that they would NOT have to miss any taught components of their programme of study, by taking up a Fellowship from late October through to late November 2017. This does mean that the majority of students on undergraduate and taught postgraduate degrees will be ineligible. We envisage this opportunity being most suitable for MPhil/PhD students as a result. However, we do anticipate continuing this relationship with the British Council in future years, and hope to make future tours available in the vacation periods, and summer term.

The successful candidates will work four days per week as an invigilator in the British Pavilion. Their remaining time will be used for study and research around the biennale theme, Viva Arte Viva. Students may wish to use this opportunity to contribute to an existing project or a dissertation – but there is no obligation to do so.

For full information about the fellowships, criteria and the application form, please see the website:


The deadline for applications is 5pm on 31 May 2017.

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CFP: ‘The End of the Experts?’ Interdisciplinary Responses to 2016 – deadline 25 June 2017

‘The End of the Experts?’ Interdisciplinary Responses to 2016

Nottingham Trent University, 6-7 September 2017

‘People in this country have had enough of experts’ – Michael Gove

End of the Expert’? is an interdisciplinary conference that invites responses to 2016, its build up, consequences, the questions it raises, possible solutions and aftermaths we are yet to face. Arguably, now more than ever we need forms of expertise to address the diverse issues that culminated in 2016. This is an appeal to show why expertise, in all its forms, is still relevant today.

2016 was a momentous year. Globally, significant events took place which altered our conception of society, politics, identity and culture. From Celebrity Deaths to Syria, Brexit to Black Lives Matter, Olympics to Elections, Referendums to Reproductive Rights, Healthcare to Hate Crime, Trump to Terrorism. This conference provides a platform for creative and critical responses to 2016. Which events led to this already infamous year? What are the immediate effects? What are we yet to see? How can and should we respond?

Papers addressing the broad themes of Politics, Identity, Culture and Society are encouraged. Topics might include, but are not restricted to:

  • Climate Change and Scepticism
  • Brexit
  • The Trump Campaign
  • Global Elections
  • Post-Truth and Alternative Facts
  • Fascism
  • #blacklivesmatter
  • Dakota Pipeline and Standing Rock
  • Conflict in Syria
  • Jeremy Corbyn
  • Mistrust of the Media
  • #bringbackourgirls
  • Olympics and Sporting Culture
  • Nuclear ThreatsHacking
  • Political Tensions in Turkey
  • Award Ceremonies
  • Celebrity Deaths
  • Migration and the ‘Refugee Crisis’
  • Feminism(s) and Their Backlash
  • White Supremacy
  • The Colombia Peace Deal
  • Impeachments: South Korea, Guatemala, Brazil and beyond
  • Trans Rights
  • Class and Capital
  • ‘The Establishment’
  • Murder of Berta Cáceres
  • The War on Drugs
  • Populism
  • Healthcare and TPP
  • The Orlando Shooting

Please submit contributions by 25 June 2017, via email to endoftheexpert@gmail.com. Questions and expressions of interest can also be addressed to Sabrina Moro (sabrina.moro2016@my.ntu.ac.uk) in advance of the deadline.

Further information: see the attached call for papers OR the conference website endoftheexpert.wordpress.com.

Best regards,

Sabrina Moro

for ‘The End of the Experts?’ organising committee

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Sussex CEMMS symposium on Old St Paul’s and Culture – 15 July 2017

Sussex CEMMS symposium on Old St Paul’s and Culture  will be held on 15 July 2017 in the Wren Suite at St Paul’s Cathedral and will offer an opportunity to think broadly about the significance of Old St Paul’s and its surrounding area in medieval and early modern England (poster attached).

Speakers: David Colclough; Sarah Dustagheer; Simon Healy; Victor Houliston; Mary Ann Lund; Rory McTurk; Mary Morrissey; Daniel Starza Smith; and Will Tosh.

For details and registration please visit https://oldstpaulsandculture.wordpress.com/

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Pears Institute – Zionism and Antisemitism International Conference: 24-26 May 2017

On the 24-26 May, scholars from around the world will gather at Birkbeck to explore the interaction between Zionism and antisemitism. This timely international conference coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which enabled the Zionist movement to build a national home in Palestine and set it on the road to statehood, achieved three decades later. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War. The war and its aftermath have added further dimensions to the relationship between Zionism and antisemitism.

This is an opportunity to hear experts from different disciplines and with diverse perspectives explore themes including: Christianity, Jews and Zionism; Zionism and National Socialism; memories of the Holocaust and the Nakba; racisms; and anti-Zionism and antisemitism.

Birkbeck postgraduate students are very welcome to attend – see below for more details. You may come for the whole conference or part. Key note lectures on Wednesday and Thursday evenings are free to attend – visit the Pears Institute website for full details of these.



Key note speakers: Derek Penslar, Harvard University and Bashir Bashir, Open University, Israel and The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
Date:  24 – 26 May 2017
Venue: Birkbeck, University of London, Clore Lecture Theatre, Clore Management Centre, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7HX
Event for scholars: Delegate fee, which includes lunches,refreshments and drinks reception:

Academics: £100.00*
Birkbeck staff: £50.00
Postgraduate students/early career scholars: £35.00

Click here to register.

*A day rate (£40.00) is also available, please contact: pearsinstitute@bbk.ac.uk 

This three day international conference brings together more than 35 scholars from institutions in eight countries, from different disciplines and with diverse perspectives, to examine the interaction between Zionism and antisemitism as it has developed from the nineteenth century through to the present day. Themes to be explored include: Christianity, Jews and Zionism; Zionism and National Socialism; memories of the Holocaust and the Nakba; racisms; and anti-Zionism and antisemitism.

Political Zionism and antisemitism have been connected ever since the late nineteenth century. From the 1870s, self-proclaimed antisemites regarded Jews as an unassimilable element within their nations and states. Many Zionists concluded that the persistence of antisemitism required a Jewish state or national home in Palestine. ‘We are one people – our enemies have made us one in our despite….Distress binds us together,’ wrote Theodor Herzl in The Jewish State, in 1896.

This is a timely moment for our conference. November 2017 brings the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration which enabled the Zionist movement to build a national home in Palestine and set it on the road to statehood, achieved three decades later. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War. The war and its aftermath have added further dimensions to the relationship between Zionism and antisemitism.

For more information and the conference programme: click here

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Telling Object Stories: Film, Peoples and Plants in the Amazon – 15 May 2017

You are warmly invited to


Monday, 15 May 2017, 6-7.30pm, Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD

Kew Gardens holds fascinating artefacts collected by the botanist Richard Spruce, who travelled in South America in the nineteenth century. In this roundtable, Luciana Martins (Birkbeck) and the Derek Jarman Lab’s Bea Moyes and Bartek Dziadosz screen and discuss the making of The Many Lives of a Shield, a short film that follows the story of this ceremonial shield.

Book your free place for ‘Telling object stories’ via Eventbrite

This film is part of the collaborative project Mobilising the value of biocultural collections in Brazil funded by Newton Fund – British Council.

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies

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The Paul Mellon Centre Doctoral Researchers Network

The Paul Mellon Centre is pleased to announce the launch of the Doctoral Researchers Network.The DRN will connect members with colleagues all over the country in a supportive and creative environment, aiding them through the process of researching, writing, and publishing their dissertations. 

The aim of the network is to provide a support system for students in British art and architecture as they embark on this key element of their academic careers. The network will stage events and activities that will provide academic and CPD (continuing professional development) skills, such as workshops for dissertation writing, conference paper writing and presentation, preparing for upgrades and vivas, grant writing, and much more. The network will also provide opportunities for members to present on-going research, network with academics in the field, and provide assistance with approaching post-doctoral fellowships and jobs.

For more details go here: 

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Murray Seminars – Summer Term 2017

Please see details below:

Murray Seminars Summer Term 2017

10 May Joanna Cannon

Second Thoughts: Redating the Frescoes by the Maestro di San Francesco at Assisi

The mid-thirteenth-century murals in the Lower Church of San Francesco at Assisi mark a key moment in the construction of the narrative of the life of St Francis.  But when, precisely, was that moment? Joanna Cannon revisits her often-quoted article of 1982, ‘Dating the Frescoes of the Maestro di San Francesco at Assisi’, to argue against some of her earlier conclusions, and to explore the implications of this change of mind.  Were the Franciscans always the artistic innovators in thirteenth-century Italy, or did the Dominicans sometimes lead the way?

7 June   Dorigen Caldwell

‘”There is nothing better than to live after death”: seeking immortality in cinquecento Rome’

Dorigen Caldwell will examine debates in literary and artistic circles in mid sixteenth-century Rome around portraiture and the encapsulation of the individual. Taking as her point of departure a portrait bust of Pope Paul III, she focusses in particular on the highly erudite circles which gathered around the Farnese court, exploring themes of paragone, materiality and the perpetuation of memory.

28 June Robert Maniura

Jaume Huguet, decoration and innovation in fifteenth-century Iberian art

Art in the Iberian peninsula in the fifteenth century is still neglected, especially compared to the Italian and Netherlandish traditions which remain the benchmark for the standard narratives of artistic development. Robert Maniura considers the output of Jaume Huguet, the most prominent painter in Barcelona in the later fifteenth century, whose elaborate and heavily gilded works conspicuously depart from these familiar patterns. He argues that his paintings reveal a sensitivity to and creative exploitation of his materials every bit as noteworthy as that of his more famous contemporaries.

All this term’s seminars take place in the History of Art Department at Birkbeck (43, Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0PD) in Room 114 (The Keynes Library) at 5pm.  Talks finish by 5.50pm (allowing those with other commitments to leave) and are then followed by discussion and refreshments.  We hope to see you there.

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