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.

. . Category: Archived Events . Tags: , , , , , , ,

BIRMAC Summer 2016 Programme

BIRMAC (Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Research in Media and Culture) is delighted to announce its forthcoming events for the Summer term.

Wednesday 18th May 2016 | The Apparitional: films by Barbara Hammer and Sandra Lahire | curated by Ricardo Matos Cabo and Selina Robertson | Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square | 14:00-17.00.

This event is sponsored by BIRMAC and BIMI and held as part of Arts Week 2016

Taking the concept of ‘The Apparitional’ from Terry Castle’s 1993 literary and social history The Apparitional Lesbian: Female Homosexuality and Modern Culture where she locates the ‘ghosts’ of lesbian sexualities obscured by history, together with the documentary and experimental films of Barbara Hammer, Dr Watson’s X Rays (1991) and Sanctus (1990), and Sandra Lahire’s Uranium Hex (1987) and Serpent River (1989), this event will explore the idea of ‘The Apparitional’ within the context of the X-ray as a presence of the uncanny, a ghostliness, the body as subject, illness, radiation and (film) exposure, conflicts between scientific and visual objectivity and the politics of gender and sexuality.

This screening and discussion will explore the idea of ‘the apparitional’ through the films of the radical lesbian feminist filmmakers, Barbara Hammer and Sandra Lahire. These are powerful films about the vulnerability of the body, of women’s bodies, made (in)visible by and exposed to radiation, unprotected against the effects of contamination by uranium mining, emerging as ghosts through an intense alchemy of images and sounds.

After the screening, Selina Robertson will be joined in conversation with Dr. Sophie Mayer and Sarah Pucill.

Book your free place via Eventbrite.

Thursday 19 May 2016 | Ephemeral Ruins: the Fragility of Holocaust Memory | Room: G03, 43 Gordon Square | 18:00-19:30

This event is part of our Ruin/s theme (, curated by Dr. Silke Arnold-de Simine, and held as part of Arts Week 2016

Since the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps the question of preservation of these sites of mass destruction has been intensely debated by national representatives of victim groups, survivors and their families as well as a diverse group of museum practitioners and educators. Key questions for debate include: Should nature overtake and completely efface the concentration camps? Will this dissolution lead to oblivion? Can preservation ensure remembrance? This talk by Dr. Diana Popescu, Research Fellow at the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, will look at these questions from the multiple perspectives offered by memorial museums, contemporary artists and visitors from Poland and Germany.

Dr. Jessica Rapson, King’s College London, will offer a response, followed by discussion.

Book your free place via Eventbrite.

Friday 27 May 2016  | What Things Are, and What Things Do | Keynes Library | 14:00-17:00 |

Followed by a free screening of Dog Day Afternoon (Sidney Lumet, 1975) | Birkbeck Cinema | 18:00 – 20:00

Organised by Güneş Tavmen and Hannah Barton, co-winners of the BIRMAC 2015-16 Student Competition, this interdisciplinary event seeks to debate the role of ‘structuring structures’ in media cultures, and includes presentations from Dr. Emily LaBarge (writer and researcher) and Dr Maan Barua (Somerville College, Oxford)

BIRMAC is also part sponsoring Conventions of Proximity in Art, Theatre and Performance, which combines papers, workshops from guest artists in the School of Arts’ studio space, film screenings in Birkbeck Cinema, performance installation, and an exhibition of contemporary art in the Peltz Gallery.

Thursday 5 May |  researchers and practitioners will share their work in parallel panel presentations, from which attenders can make a selection.

Friday 6 May | film screenings, panel presentations, workshops and a performance installation will run in parallel, from which attenders can make a selection.

Everyone is welcome, so please come and participate in these stimulating events.

Best wishes,

Lorraine Lim and Janet McCabe, Co-Directors of BIRMAC

. . Category: Archived Events . Tags: ,

CFP: What Things Are and What Things Do – deadline 30th April

CfP for the event ‘What things are, and what things do’, Friday 27th May 2pm – 8pm

Keynes Library & Birkbeck Cinema, School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square

Research students and post-docs are invited to submit papers for a BIRMAC sponsored interdisciplinary seminar, programmed to debate and discuss the role of ‘structuring structures’ in society, – thinking beyond human agency.

Applicants are asked to respond to the following question: how do complexes of structures – systems and technologies of production, circulation, affiliation and definition – determine culture narratives and shape the way we understand, interpret, act and communicate in everyday life?

What things are, and what things do hopes to foster opportunities for engagement in alternative modes of discourse. By encouraging interdisciplinary practitioners to come together discuss and debate the thematic considerations, it is hoped that novel dialogues and interpretations will emerge. To this end we have invited two speakers, Dr Emily Barge and Dr Maan Barua, both of whom are working across disciplines.

What things are refers to material structures and their affordances: as city planning is to free movement; as media technologies are to broadcast; as hardware is to software, code and communities.

What things do refers to the sociological, affective and soft cultural consequences of infrastructure; all of which relate to power.

Dr Emily Barge: Emily is a writer and researcher based in London. She has a PhD from the RCA, where she is currently a visiting lecturer. She contributes to esse arts + opinions and teaches occasionally at Kingston University and Christie’s Education, London.

Dr Maan Barua: Maan is a Research and Teaching Fellow at Sommerville College, Oxford. His research interests include cultural geography, postcolonial environmental history and political ecologies of biodiversity conservation. His doctoral research was on ‘The Political Ecology of Human-Elephant Relationships in India’ and his current postdoctoral research focuses on the fields of human and environmental geography. His current research engages with political economies of nature through ‘more-than-human’ perspectives.


Submissions from researchers working across the spectrum of humanities, social sciences and beyond are welcomed. Presentations can take any format deliverable via the facilities available in the Keynes Library, and should be around 20 minutes in length. Should you have any specific AV requirements please state them in your proposal so they can be arranged.

The seminar will be followed by a drinks reception, and an evening film screening of Dog Day Afternoon (d. Sidney Lumet, 1975).

If interested, please send your 250 word abstract by 30th April to – we will have informed the applicants by 4th May.

Organisers: Hannah Barton & Güneş Tavmen (Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies)


. . Category: Archived Call for Papers . Tags: , , , , ,