Workshop: The Narco-Culture of Narco-Accumulation – Friday 15 March



The Keynes Library

School of Arts

Birkbeck, University of London

43 Gordon Square


London WC1H 0PD

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Friday, March 15th 2019: 10.00 am – 17.00 pm

In this workshop we will discuss the social, political, cultural, as well as the capital-logics of contemporary narco-capitalism and its mobile territories (from the land in which drugs are cultivated, to the virtual world of laundering and finance in which its profits are realized and re-invested), especially as it is both juridically – and thus, militarily – constituted by and at the Mexican-US border. Violence and ‘wars’, of all kinds, are fundamental to these outlaw logics which have spawned a variety of cultural and subjectivizing forms (some of which will be highlighted by our guest speakers here). Indeed, this particular – and supposedly ‘Mexican’ – narco-cultural formation, which at first glance seems to present itself as peripheral, is in fact becoming increasingly central to contemporary forms of capital accumulation and its representation: its presence both seen and heard in the daily news as well as in contemporary art, television, film, literature and music. In this workshop we hope to throw some light on some of these processes from a variety of critical perspectives.

Open to everyone. No booking necessary.

For more information and to see the programme, click here.

This workshop is organised by Professor John Kraniauskas ( For any further information, please contact him.

This workshop is supported by CILAVS, Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies, and BIH, the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.

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Birkbeck Eighteenth-Century Research Group – Artisanal Knowledge and Practical Aesthetics in the Eighteenth Century 9 May 2018

Birkbeck Eighteenth-Century Research Group

Artisanal Knowledge and Practical Aesthetics in the Eighteenth Century

Postgraduate Workshop and Lecture by Ruth Mack (SUNY, Buffalo)

Wednesday 9 May, 4.30-8pm, Keynes Library, Birkbeck School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square

  1. 4.30-6.00: Postgraduate Workshop, organized by Robert Stearn

In her chapter ‘Hogarth’s Practical Aesthetics’, Ruth Mack asks: ‘what does it mean, exactly, to make a theory of beauty artisanally?’

In the first part of this workshop, postgraduate students and early career researchers will give short presentations on objects and problems drawn from their research. Responding to Ruth’s chapter, these will explore how diverse instances of image-making, cataloguing, classifying, reproducing, and theorising engage with artisanal knowledge, and the potentially troubled relation of such knowledge to theory and to the everyday.

In the second, Ruth will respond to these presentations, opening a discussion in which we will use her chapter and the materials presented to shape a conversation about the place of practical knowledge in eighteenth-century natural philosophy, aesthetic theory, artistic practice, and commercial production. What does it mean to call such knowledge maker’s knowledge, or to say that it is corporeal or embodied knowledge? How might such a framework account for desire and pleasure, or for the division of labour? We hope you can join us to think about these questions and more.


  • Marianne Brooker (Birkbeck): ‘This Laborious, Expensive, and Arduous Undertaking’: Thomas Martyn’s Universal Conchologist (1784-7) and his ‘Principles of a Private Establishment’
  • Felicity Roberts (King’s College London): Sir Hans Sloane, Classification, Cataloguing, Detail and Delight
  • Rees Arnott-Davies (Independent): Jan van Rymsdyk’s Theory of Image Making
  • Robert Stearn (Birkbeck): George Bickham the younger’s Rococo Knowledge of Everyday Life
  • Miriam Al Jamil (Birkbeck): Dancer, Mistress, Venus, Queen: The Multiple Identities of a Statue

Attendees are encouraged to read Ruth’s chapter, ‘Hogarth’s Practical Aesthetics’, in Mind, Body, Motion, Matter, ed. M. H.McMurran and A.Conway (Toronto, 2016), which is available here:

  1. 6.00-8.00, ‘Equiano and Craft’, Lecture by Ruth Mack

This paper examines the concept of embodied knowledge as it is worked out through Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative. Many of the questions brought to Equiano’s text over the past decade concern issues of authenticity and identity (asked in especially provocative form in Vincent Carretta’s biography of Equiano). I aim to examine the root of these debates over the location of identity in Equiano’s own thought. I will contextualize Equiano’s thinking about society in terms of related Scottish Enlightenment theories he would have known well. But the center of the paper will concern craft or maker’s knowledge and its strange fate in the formation of Equiano’s social theory. Here, I will look at the way craft is both embraced and distanced from the form of subjectivity Equiano wishes to claim, tainted as craft must be by its association with the slave’s merely bodily identity, as the slave trade conceived of it. Working through this tension in his relation to craft ultimately gives Equiano the terms for an ethnography of his African homeland that is both aesthetic and, ultimately, political.

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School of Arts artist-in-residence workshop: Lily Hunter Green – 24 November 2017 7pm

The first workshop with the artist-in-residence Lily Hunter Green will take place on Friday 24 Nov, at 7pm in G10 (finishing at 8.30pm).

Lily is going to make the first workshop more of a conversation and ideas platform. She will showcase some of her work and also explain how other artists and scientists have become involved.

For this workshop Lily asks you to think of your discipline and/or strengths (e.g. music, dance, linguistics, feminist theory, experience in economics, sociology, teaching, psychology, etc.), and consider these in relation to possibilities for ‘hive’ activity. In this workshop Lily will introduce a series of interesting facts about bees and the ‘hive mind’, and as a group you will begin to imagine how it might fit within Bee Composed Live. For example, you may come up with the beginnings of a libretto, a piece of choreography, digital imagery, theatre, etc.  that reflect a hive activity.

The first workshop will just be lots of pens and paper and lots of throwing ideas down together. Thinking as a ‘Collective Wisdom’.

Please do email Lily ( if you are interested in attending the workshop.

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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 and expressions of interest: BIMI-Pitt Research Workshop – deadline 6 April 2017

Call for proposals and expressions of interest: BIMI-Pitt Research Workshop

The second edition of the biennial research workshop organised by Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image (BIMI) and the University of Pittsburgh Film Studies Program will take place Tuesday 9 May to Thursday 11 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 on-going 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 Pittsburgh and London remain potential urban topics for exploration, the geographical and historical coordinates of this workshop are entirely open, and participants are invited to explore contexts and examples drawn from around the world.

The workshop is open to staff and students from across the range of research areas and disciplines that BIMI is committed to representing as part of its mission at Birkbeck: not just Film and Media, nor exclusively Arts, but equally Law, History, Philosophy, Politics, GEDS, Psychosocial Studies, Applied Linguistics, and Psychological Sciences.

If you would like to participate in the workshop please send a one-page outline of your project marked “BIMI-Pitt workshop” to by Thursday 6 April 2017.

You are encouraged to present your research as a work in progress rather than a finished “output”, and to explain how your project could be shared with and developed alongside colleagues from other disciplines and institutions.

Time-slots will be generous and there will be time for discussion and socialising during the course of the three-day event.

As the workshop will take place in Birkbeck Cinema, you may wish to suggest material that you would like to show in that setting, including 16mm and 35mm prints, as well as digital formats.

Alternatively, if you would like to attend the workshop as an audience member or potentially as a respondent or chair, please let us know by email (, as it was the quality of discussion and conversation that made the last workshop such a memorable event.

Michael Temple, Director, and Matthew Barrington, Manager, Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image and Essay Film Festival


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Essayistic Filmmaking: The Derek Jarman Lab 3/4 and 10/11 December 2016

For all those who are interested in using film in their research we offer a course in essayistic filmmaking for the second time this term. The dates are: 3rd and 4th December for filming and production sessions, and 10th and 11th December for an editing workshop. You can find more information about the course on our website:

The sessions take place in our offices:

The Derek Jarman Lab
36 Gordon Square Essay Essay Film
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 signing up for it, please send an email to by 29th November. Please also share this information with anyone who might be interested.

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Browning and Close Reading: A Workshop

‘To be compelled to look at a drama through a pair of horn spectacles would be a cheerful pastime compared with the ennui of tracing the course of Sordello through that veil of obscurity which Mr. Browning’s style of composition places between us and his conception’ (The Athenaeum, June 1864).

If you would like to indulge in such a cheerful pastime, please join us for a close reading workshop on Robert Browning’s poetry on Friday 11th December 2015 at the Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies, Birkbeck, University of London. There will be a session on each of the following four poems: Sordello, ‘Two in the Campagna’, ‘By the Fireside’, and ‘Caliban upon Setebos’. Speakers will offer a short reading of the poem and then open up discussion to the rest of the group. We have three speakers in each session, and the main focus of the day will be close reading as a group. The event will be chaired by Professor Isobel Armstrong (Birkbeck), Dr Clara Dawson (University of Manchester) and Dr Ana Vadillo (Birkbeck). Any enquiries can be addressed to

The workshop will take place in the Keynes Library at 46 Gordon Square, Kings Cross, London WC1H 0PD.

Registration will cost £25 to cover the cost of coffee, lunch and room hire and you can register at the following link:

Please register by 3 December to ensure your place.




Sordello: Matt Campbell (University of York)



‘By the Fireside’: Sarah Kremen-Hicks (University of Washington), Britta Martens, (University of the West of England) Andrew Hodgson (Durham University)



‘Caliban upon Setebos’: Jayne Thomas (Cardiff University), John Woolford (Independent scholar), James Williams (University of York)



‘Two in the Campagna’: Martin Dubios (Newcastle University), Suneel Mehmi (University of Westminster), Sophie Ratcliffe (University of Oxford)

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Brecht in Translation Workshop: 17 October and 14 November

Brecht in Translation Workshop

This autumn, Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre Fellow, Phoebe von Held, will run a double-session workshop on her new translation project, Jae Fleischhacker, a dramatic fragment by Bertolt Brecht, dealing with Chicago’s wheat exchange market at the beginning of the twentieth century. This is the first translation of this fragment into English.

  • Saturday 17 October, 10am – 1pm, Birkbeck University of London, Keynes Library
  • Saturday 14 November, 10am – 1pm, Birkbeck University of London, Keynes Library

The purpose of the workshops is to invite feedback and exchange on the translation. We will read newly translated scenes, focussing on particular passages where the linguistic style of Brecht presents particular challenges to the translator. The workshop is primarily addressed to English native speakers (German is an added benefit) and anybody who is interested in theatre, writing, literature and translation. The maximum number of participants in each session is 10. Participants can sign up for one of the dates, or for both.

To enrol, please send a brief letter of interest and description of your background

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