CILAVS: Cultural Capitals: Globalization and the Role of Culture in the Contemporary City – 5 July 2017

The Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies, CILAVS, cordially invites you to attend:

Cultural Capitals: Globalization and the Role of Culture in the Contemporary City

A conference organised by Mari Paz Balibrea.

Wednesday July 5, 2017

Keynes Library

School of Arts

Birkbeck, University of London

43 Gordon Square

London WC1H 0PD

This half-day conference aims to bring together in conversation scholars and artists working across the boundaries of the humanities and the social sciences exploring the cultural aspects of urban life and the importance of culture nowadays in the make-up of so called post-industrial, creative cities. The occasion for the conference is the launch of the book:

Mari Paz Balibrea. The Global Cultural Capital. Addressing the Citizen and Constructing the City in Barcelona. Basingstoke:Palgrave MacMillan (see promotional flyer attached)

Attendance is free but booking is necessary. Please book here.


PANEL 1: 2:15 pm – 3:45 pm

Fernando Sdrigotti (Birkbeck, U of London). The Politics of Space in New Argentine Cinema 

In this paper, I will discuss the representation of Buenos Aires in Pizza, birra, faso, one of the most pivotal films of New Argentine Cinema. Paying attention to some of the film’s salient aspects vis-a-vis its portrayal of urban space, my analysis will have as its ultimate goal to reveal the ways in which the film engages in a political critique that might seem absent if studied solely from a narrative point of view. In this sense, Pizza, birra, faso is a paradigmatic example of the ways in which many of the films of New Argentine Cinema engaged with their political context differently to films of the post-dictatorship generation. To unearth this political content, I will argue, it is necessary to study these films as films, and not merely as texts

Luis Manuel García (U. of Birmingham). At home, I’m a tourist: Musical migration and affective citizenship in Berlin

This presentation explores the ways in which musical, sonic, and more broadly sensory experiences of Berlin provide the ground for an ambivalent sense of civic belonging for a cadre of migrants affiliated with the city’s local electronic dance music scenes. Drawn from ethnographic fieldwork, the accounts of these ‘techno migrants’ articulate an identification with Berlin’s local music scenes as well as with other emotional/felt aspects of the city. These affective identifications provide a means of sustaining a fantasy of belonging to a place where one remains foreign, relying on immersion in and identification with the city’s atmospheres to hold in abeyance the alienating aspects of migration.

PANEL 2: 4pm – 5:45 pm

Xavier Ribas (U. of Brighton). Photography and Urban Peripheries.

This presentation will discuss three photographic series by Ribas focusing on Barcelona’s peripheries.

Marc Morell (U. of Illes Balears). Urban Labour and the Tourist City. Notes from Ciutat de Mallorca

This talk deals with the production of the tourist city by drawing on the presence and activities of different class fractions that inhabit and visit the capital city of Mallorca and its nearby tourist resorts. By establishing the political and economic appropriations that are made of the representations developed upon these fractions, I look into the labour cooperation that makes tourist cities happen to conclude that the economic success of the competitive tourist city needs wide class gaps in between those fractions that work within a same chain of production value.

BOOK LAUNCH  6pm – 7:30 pm

Mari Paz Balibrea. The Global Cultural Capital. Addressing the Citizen and Constructing the City in Barcelona. Palgrave, 2017.

The author will be in conversation with Monica Degen, Brunel U.


FERNANDO SDRIGOTTI is a writer and cultural critic. His work in English and Spanish has appeared widely online and in print. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of the online literary journal Minor Literature[s] and online editor of the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies. He holds a PhD in Latin American Studies from Birkbeck, University of London, where he now teaches Spanish.

XAVIER RIBAS is a photographer, lecturer at the University of Brighton, and associate lecturer at the Universitat Politècnica de València. His photographic work investigates contested sites and histories, and geographies of abandonment. Ribas has been involved in many international exhibitions including the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS) and the Stedelijk Museum.

MARC MORELL is a social anthropologist, also trained in history and tourism policy, who is mainly working on the class character of the production of space in market society. To date, he has conducted fieldwork in Catalonia, Majorca and Malta and he has been employed as researcher and lecturer at the Universitat de les Illes Balears. His most recent publications in English are: The Making of Heritage (co-editor, Routledge, 2015), «When space draws the line on class» (in Anthropologies of Class, Cambridge University Press, 2015), and «Working class heritage without the working class» (in Heritage, Labour and the Working Classes, Routledge, 2011). Marc can be accessed at

LUIS MANUEL GARCIA is a Lecturer in Ethnomusicology and Popular Music Studies at the University of Birmingham, with previous appointments at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Berlin) and the University of Groningen (Netherlands). His research focuses on urban electronic dance music scenes, with a particular focus on affect, intimacy, stranger-sociability, embodiment, sexuality, creative industries and musical migration. He is currently conducting a research project on ‘techno-tourism’ in Berlin while preparing a book manuscript, Together Somehow: Music, Affect, and Intimacy on the Dancefloor.

MONICA DEGEN is a cultural sociologist working at the Department of Social Sciences, Media and Communications at Brunel University. Drawing mainly on cultural and urban sociology, cultural geography and anthropological approaches, her work is concerned with the role the senses play in framing daily urban life: how do the senses structure and mediate our everyday experience in the city? And, how are sensory experiences being consciously produced and adapted to market and brand urban places? Her publications have examined how urban regeneration is implemented and works through the organisation of sensory experiences in Barcelona and Manchester; how people experience the centre of two very different mid-sized towns in the UK – Bedford, a market town, and Milton Keynes, a modernist town; and more recently, how architect’s visualisation practices and imaginations of places in Doha, Qatar, are being transformed through their use of computer generated images. In addition to numerous articles, she is the author of two monographs, Culture and agency: contemporary culture and urban change.  Plymouth University Press, 2010 and Sensing cities: regenerating public life in Barcelona and Manchester.  Routledge, 2008. She is the co-editor with Marisol García of La metaciudad: Barcelona: transformación de una metrópolis (The meta-city: Barcelona – transformation of a metropolis).  Anthropos, 2008. She is the current recipient of a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship, Timescapes of Urban Change, a research which develops the temporal aspects of her work in more detail.


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Murray Seminar – Wednesday 28th June 2017

Our final Murray Seminar of the year takes place this Wednesday, 28th June at 5pm, in the History of Art Department at Birkbeck (43, Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0PD) in Room 114 (The Keynes Library).  As ever, the talk will finish by 5.50pm (allowing those with other commitments to leave) and it will then be followed by discussion and refreshments.  We hope to see you there.

Robert Maniura

Jaume Huguet, decoration and innovation 


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.


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ASSC: Modernism and the Museum Space in Germany – 5 July 2017

Please join us at the last Architecture Space and Society Centre event of 2016-17:

Modernism and the Museum Space in Germany

Wednesday 5 July 2017, 6pm, School of Arts, Birkbeck, 43 Gordon Square, Cinema

This symposium will explore the ways in which the advanced architecture of the early twentieth century in Germany confronted the space of the museum, and was itself curated and presented for display.

Max Sternberg, Cambridge University

Choreographies of the medieval: The Schnütgen Museum in Cologne 1910-1932

Jeremy Aynsley, University of Brighton

Curating Bauhaus Houses, 1923-2019

Respondent: Robin Schuldenfrei, Courtauld Institute of Art

Dr Leslie Topp
Department of History of Art, Birkbeck, University of London

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Reframing London’s Walls: A Mural Walking Tour – 30 June 2017

Reframing London’s Walls: A Mural Walking Tour, with Ben Wiedel-Kaufmann (Plymouth University). 30th June 2017, 10am-1pm. Beginning in New Cross, and travelling onward to Dalston via Cable Street and the Docks, this walking tour will take in the various murals produced in London during the 1980s and will think through the politics of space, place and community resilience. Please register by emailing



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‘Sordid Ironies and the Short-Fingered Vulgarian: Alison Jackson’s Mental Images of Donald Trump’ – 22 June 2017

Birkbeck Theatre Conversation
Tony Perucci (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

‘Sordid Ironies and the Short-Fingered Vulgarian: Alison Jackson’s Mental Images of Donald Trump’

Thursday 22 June, 2-4pm
Room G03, Birkbeck School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD (nearest tube: Euston & Euston Square)

From the beginning of his 2016 campaign for the US presidency, Donald Trump has employed the strategy of ‘gaslighting’ the American public – willfully challenging their sense of what is ‘fact’ and what is ‘fiction’. As part of her Mental Images series, British photographer Alison Jackson staged scenes with a Trump lookalike of then-candidate Trump in numerous compromising situations. Depicting images of behaviour that would be disqualifying of any other politician, Jackson utilizes the ‘seeming to be real’ to challenge the viewer’s voyeuristic desire to ‘expose’ Trump’s misogyny and racism. As the strategy of exposure continues to be politically ineffective, Jackson’s photographs of the ‘in fact a fiction’ creates an affective charge that performatively constructs a politics of ressentiment focused not merely towards Trump but towards the systemic problems of neoliberal capitalism.

Tony Perucci is a scholar-artist based in the US, where he is Associate Professor of Performance Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  His publications include the books Paul Robeson and the Cold War Performance Complex (Michigan, 2012) and On the Horizontal: Mary Overlie and the Viewpoints (Michigan, forthcoming).

This Theatre Conversation is co-hosted by Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre and BiGS (Birkbeck Gender and Sexuality).

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Call for Applications to the Locarno Documentary Summer School (7-11 AUGUST)

Submissions are open until Friday 23 June (CET) to the 18th Documentary Summer School (7-11 August 2017 in Locarno, Switzerland), a residential educational program, jointly organized by the Institute of Media and Journalism of the Università della Svizzera italiana ( ) with the Locarno International Film Festival. This year’s theme is “To show or not to show. The possibilities and limits of shocking images in documentary filmmaking”. Guest lecturer Prof. Brian Winston (University of Lincoln) will join a faculty of international academics and practitioners, including award-winning filmmaker Andrea Segre (Shun Li and the Poet).

Participation is open to 25 graduate students in the fields of film, media and communications studies. Early doctoral students and emerging filmmakers are also welcome to apply. The official language of the Documentary Summer School is English.

Full program, costs, conditions of participation and guidelines for submission can be found here < >


Please send information enquiries and applications to:

Gloria Dagnino, PhD –

Università della Svizzera italiana

via Buffi 13, 6900 Lugano

Tel. +41 (0)58 666 4814

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Words on the Move II – Timberlake Wertenbaker, Catherine Grant, Valentina Castagna, Marina Warner 17 June 2017

Words on the Move II

An Afternoon of Readings and Discussion

With Timberlake Wertenbaker, Catherine Grant, Valentina Castagna
Introduction by Marina Warner

June 17 2017 2pm-6.30pm

Keynes Library, School of Arts and Humanities,
Birkbeck College, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD


Cildo Meireles, Babel (2001)

The workshop “Words on the Move II” will reflect on current developments in broadcasting literary works and explore contemporary approaches to acoustic media, particularly by women and about women. Invited speakers will talk about oral and sound experimentation in performance and drama, written or adapted for radio or new digital platforms.  The workshop will also ask, ‘Can developments in the use of voice, ‘spoken word’ events, and the broadcasting of literary works inform the creative writing workshop as a collaborative and participatory space?’

Key Note Speakers:

Timberlake Wertenbaker, Playwright, adaptor, translator.

Dr Catherine Grant (University of Sussex; Professor of Digital Media and

Screen Studies at Birkbeck College, from Sept. 1 2017)

Dr Valentina Castagna (Associate Research Fellow, Birkbeck; University of


Words on the Move I (November 1, 2016) focussed on poetry in performance, in connection with the international project Stories in Transit (2016-ongoing), and the work of the Watadd Research Network, to nourish storytelling and other forms of expression in refugee communities. A full list of speakers and research questions is available at this link. This second event in the series ‘Words on the Move’ is also associated with Stories in Transit and the work of the Watadd Research Network, and is  addressed to scholars and lecturers interested in these themes, students from MA and PhD in English and Creative Writing from the School of Arts and Humanities of Birkbeck, as well as interested members of the public.


2.00 Introduction – Marina Warner

2.30 Timberlake Wertenbaker, ‘Breaking the Sound Barrier:  radio and the imagination’

3.30 Valentina Castagna, ‘”The snake under the sand”: Unearthing buried voices in Selma Dabbagh’s radio play The Brick.’

An exploration of the realistic radio play The Brick, written by Selma Dabbagh and produced by Sarah Bradshaw for BBC Radio 4 in 2014 (Afternoon Drama). On a difficult journey from Eizariya to Jerusalem, a Palestinian Christian woman named Rasha Khoury is forced to rediscover her family’s role into the community. With a specific eye on the use of the voice and sound in radio drama, I will be focusing on the main character’s journey towards a new understanding of her identity in relationship with gender issues and her own positioning within family myths and history.

4.30 Break

5.00 Catherine Grant,  ‘”The Dreaming Child” on the Move to the Radio: From Karen Blixen through Harold Pinter to Joanna Hogg’

An examination of the adaptation relay between Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen’s short story “the Dreaming Child” (1942), Harold Pinter’s unrealised screen play adaptation of this work (1997/2000), and the recently produced radio version of these works adapted and directed by celebrated British filmmaker Joanna Hogg for BBC Radio 4’s Unmade Movies series (2015).

5.30 -6.30 Q&A

The workshop is supported by the School of the Arts and Humanities, Birkbeck; the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre, Birkbeck; and the British Comparative Literature Association (BCLA)


Timberlake Wertenbaker is a playwright, translator, and active campaigner for literature and freedom of expression. With a striking combination of poetic imagination and activist conscience, she has revisioned myths about figures such as Hecuba, Antigone, Elektra from Greek tragedy, and Philomel from Ovidian myth.  Her many award-winning works for stage include Our Country’s Good and Jefferson’s Garden.  She has created many dramatic works for radio:  ‘Dianeira’,  a response/rewrite of Sophocles’s Women of Trachis (Radio 3) and the ‘playlet’ What Is the Custom of Your Grief? for the R4 series From Fact to Fiction; she has also undertaken major adaptations, of A.S. Byatt’s Possession for Woman’s Hour, and Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and last year, also for Radio 4, the acclaimed version of Elena Ferrante’s bestselling novel of female friendship, My Brilliant Friend; she is continuing work on the next volumes of the cycle. Her new drama, Winter Hill, with Cathy Tyson, Louise Jameson of Doctor Who Fame and Denise Black was recently playing at the Octagon, Bolton.

Catherine Grant currently lectures in film studies at the University of Sussex, where she researches matters of intertextuality, adaptation and authorship, and creative, critical and audiovisual forms of remediation. In September 2017, she will take up the post of Professor in Digital Media and Screen Studies at Birkbeck, University of London.

Valentina Castagna is a Lecturer of English Literature at the University of Palermo, Italy. She is currently an Associate Research Fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London. She has published books and articles in the field of Women’s and Gender Studies, on popular genres and rewriting. She is the author of Corpi a pezzi. Eretiche e sante secondo Michèle Roberts (Ferrara, Tufani, 2007), Shape-Shifting Tales. Michèle Roberts’s Monstrous Women (Peter Lang, 2010), and of Re-Reading Margery Kempe in the 21st Century (Peter Lang, 2011). She has edited and translated the Italian editions of Marina Warner’s radio play Birgit’s Cell (La cella di Brìgit, Palermo, Quattrosoli, 2010) and stories and radio plays included in the same author’s collection “Natural Limits” and Other Stories/“Limiti Naturali” e altre storie (Napoli, Liguori, 2014).

Marina Warner writes fiction and cultural history. Her books include From the Beast to the Blonde (l994) and Stranger Magic: Charmed States and The Arabian Nights (2011). Her essays on art will be collected in Forms of Enchantment (forthcoming Thames & Hudson).In 2015, she was awarded the Holberg Prize in the Arts and Humanities. She is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, a Fellow of the British Academy and President-Elect of the Royal Society of Literature.




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