The following events and opportunities are available via the AHRC funded CHASE Doctoral Training Programme. All of the opportunities below are open to all Arts and Humanities PhD students at Birkbeck, regardless of whether they are funded or self-funded. If I could also draw your attention to a couple of calls for papers/participation that are currently open.
Journal recruiting members for next Editorial Board
Brief Encounters is currently recruiting the next Editorial Board to oversee the creation of issue 5 – see below press release:
Seaside, Ruin and De-Industrialisation on the Cleveland Coast
Friday 10th to sunday 12th of January
Following the critical excursion Beyond the Heartlands and building on themes of de-industrialisation, landscape and ruin, the ‘Space Place Time’ research collective are calling for participants for a two-day critical excursion to Redcar and Cleveland. Completed in 1846, the Middlesbrough and Redcar Railway hoped to attract tourism, but like much of the region, Redcar’s expansion came with the 1850 discovery of iron ore in the Eston area of the Cleveland Hills. The engine of Britain’s Industrial Revolution, Redcar was simultaneously home to a Victorian pleasure pier. The pier’s demolition in 1981 can be seen as an allegory of the decade’s slum, which saw the simultaneous decline of both industries.
The Frankfurt Exotic: broken objects and porous walls in Naples
Beginning of April (deadline to apply 15 Jan)
Following the critical excursion Re-mapping the Arcades
Project in Glasgow, and building on the field engagement with the work and
cities of Walter Benjamin, we are calling for participants in a critical
excursion in Naples: The Frankfurt Exotic: broken objects and porous walls in
Naples. This critical excursion will take place over 4 nights at the beginning
of April 2020 and will involve a series of workshops, walking tours and
screenings with the anticipated outcome of a publication recording
conversations, presentations, works in progress, creative responses and
Friday 17th of January (from 12:00) – Norfolk Heritage Centre
Saturday 18th January – Blickling Estate
The second of the CHASE DTP-funded Bookscapes workshops, offering PhD students advanced training in palaeographical, codicological and bibliographical skills, will take place on 17th-18th January 2020, hosted by the University of East Anglia and led by Tom Roebuck and Sophie Butler. At the Norfolk Heritage Centre, on day one of the workshop, attending students will have the opportunity to engage with the collections of the original Norwich City Library (founded in 1618). The workshop will move to Blickling Estate on the second day, where the students will focus on the techniques and history of bookbinding and the history of the book. The second day’s workshop will be led by Nicholas Pickwoad, one of the leading experts on bookbinding and an adviser to the National Trust on book conservation.
Are you a mid- or late-stage doctoral researcher, struggling
to make progress with your thesis? Do you keep putting off your writing? If so,
Thesis Boot Camp could be the solution. Deadline to apply – 17 January.
Aural Diversity is a series of lectures, workshops and in-situ training sessions seeking to encourage creative and critical attention towards aural diversity within the arts and humanities, with particular focus on an ecology of the ear, designed for all those researching within the Arts and Humanities, especially those with an interest in the creative, social and political dimensions of sound and listening.
These sessions specifically address the need for further study and practice inspired by, and concerning, this specific turn in research and focus on a particular theme led by an academic/practitioner with invited guests selected to represent a range of approaches.
Session #1 | Thursday 13 February | 1000-1800 | Goldsmiths,
University of London – Register
Session # 2 | Thursday 27 February | 1000-1800 | Room 264,
Senate House, London – Register
Session #3 | Thursday 12 March | 1000-1800 | Goldsmiths,
University of London – Register
Plenary | Thursday 26 March | 1500-1800 | Keynes Library,
Birkbeck, University of London – Register
Ethnography and Film. Exploring Labour, Technology and Mediation in the Egyptian Film Industry
19 Feb (14:00-20:30)
University of Kent
The workshop will offer participants advanced training in
ethnography, applied to the context of the Egyptian Film industry. Dr El
Khachab’s workshop will outline how researchers can successfully apply
ethnographic methodologies, developed in Anthropology, to research issues about
arts and media, especially film. Dr El Khachab will outline the strategies he
developed during his PhD research to gather observations, interviews and
documentary data from creatives and technicians working in the largest and most
influential media industry in the Arab world. He will also provide participants
an insight into how he adapted the presentation of his findings from his PhD
thesis into his forthcoming monograph, The Egyptian Film Industry: Labor,
Call for proposals | The Essay Film Festival: Research, Critique, Practice
As part of its new
collaborative partnership with CHASE, the Essay Film Festival is inviting
proposals from doctoral students for a student-led symposium exploring
essayistic forms and their relationship to academic research, social critique
and artistic practice.
The conference will combine
research presentations and film screenings, including examples of practice-led
researchers talking through, questioning and “essaying” their own work. This
event will follow the sixth edition of the Essay Film Festival, which will take
place at Birkbeck Cinema, ICA, Goethe-Institut and Institut Français, from 26
March to 4 April 2020.
The symposium will be held at Birkbeck Cinema in May 2020
(exact date to be confirmed), more than a month after the end of the festival.
The idea of the conference is, therefore, to provide a space for critical
reflection and debate, with a certain detachment from the EFF programme itself,
as well as to propose and discuss new directions for the festival in the
Call for Papers | Critical Race Studies and the Premodern: Archive and Seminar
23rd to 24th March – University of East Anglia 8th to 9th June – University of Sussex
Universities of East Anglia and Sussex are hosting two postgraduate
training workshops on critical race studies and the pre-modern. The first of
these will be held at the University of East Anglia, 23-24 March 2020, and will
focus on teaching and pedagogy; the second will be held at The University of
Sussex, 8-9 June 2020, and will focus on research. Both events are designed to
develop students’ professional skills. We invite expressions of interest from
all postgraduates working in the Humanities (giving papers, designing and
chairing sessions, attending).
shortcoming of humanistic scholarship is its extreme anthropocentrism”, Edward
O Wilson recently claimed, arguing that this was “a major cause of the alarming
decline in public esteem and support of the humanities”. The humanities have
begun to pay attention to the depredations of the Anthropocene and to our
animality, our animal origins, in the work of
Donna Harraway and Pierre Huyghe, to give two notable examples. However, it
could also be argued that they have narrowed dramatically, to become obsessed
with individual human identity, advancing the causes of particular, discrete
groups of humans. A position one could say is hyper-Anthropocenic, one
following the atomizing, conflict-generating logic of neo-liberalism, which one
can in turn relate to an epidemic of self-obsession and narcissism in the mirror-world
of the culture at large.
Can an increased
concern in the humanities with animals and animality, and therefore with nature,
and by extension science, offer a way out of this impasse? Animals are still at
the centre of our culture; they have always answered out needs, and our
attitude to them is as conflicted as it has always been. The anthropomorphism that
still dominates our attitude to them often takes on sentimental forms, yet it developed
as an entirely utilitarian way to aid hunting in prehistory. When we begin to
consider animals and animality we enter a world of contradictions. We spend
tens of millions on pet food, but still slaughter huge numbers of animals. We could not have survived the last Ice Age without
their furs and skins, and it was increased consumption of their meat that led
to the increased brain size that allowed our bipedalism to advance, and thus to
the descent of the larynx, and thus language; in short, this almost-cannibalism,
this never-ending slaughter, was essential to our becoming human.
said that animals dwell in the world “like water in water”, in an unmediated,
non-destructive, but utterly determined way, and that humans had also once dwelt
in the world in this way. But at some point in prehistory, this changed, and
our exploitation of Gaia began. Questions contributors may want to consider are
where our differences from animals truly lay? Where do we find what remains of our
animalism? Are there times and privileged circumstances in which we too can
dwell in the world ‘like water in water’, and how can we, and should we, create
them? How much closer can we come to animals? Is there anything to be said for
holding up something programmed to pursue its genetic interests, allowing
nothing to stand in its way, without altruism, and beyond good and evil, as a
redemptive model? What possibility is there of having genuine access to the umwelt
of, and somehow experiencing the full ontological reality of what is
biologically different in any case? Can insights about our animality help us
exit the Anthropocene without disaster, and not just ensure our survival, but
even our self-overcoming, and new way of being in the world?
‘animals’ has many ramifications, various morphologies, histories, and synonyms
and antonyms, all of which contributors are free to explore. Topics may be related, but are not limited, to:
Animal, Gender and Sexuality
of the Animal and Neurodivergence
Humanism and anti-humanism
The animal as trope
Anthropomorphism and totemism
The animal and animalism in philosophy
The humanoid and the theanthropic
Chimeras and monsters
The apocalyptic and the revenge
The animal in horror and science
Human as animal, animal as human
We welcome long articles (of 5000-8000 words), or
shorter ones (of 3000-5000 words). We also welcome reviews of books, films, performances, exhibitions, and
festivals (of around 1500 words).
We also publish interviews that you may wish to conduct with
an author/artist, and artwork
including visual art;
creative writing; podcasts, and video footage
(up to 10 minutes).
We would be happy
to discuss ideas
for submissions with
interested authors prior
to the submission deadline.
Current Birkbeck PhD students are invited by the BBSRC-funded LIDo PhD programme to attend events in their multi-disciplinary Teaching Week in February 2020. The sessions are open to all University of London PhD students regardless of their subject area.
This year the week consists of a series of separate day-long workshops on themes of Drug Discovery, Software Development in Biology & Medicine, The Psychology of Wellbeing, Insects in Agriculture and Ethics in Health Sciences .
PhD students should express their interest in attending each event by clicking here and completing a short form, full details of locations (London – UCL) and speaker biographies will follow in the new year.
Places are limited so please let us know as soon as you can.
Drug Discovery: Monday 17 February 2020
Translational Genomics in Drug Discovery
Data-driven drug discovery
AI and Drug Discovery
Data mining in Drug Discovery
Computer-Aided Drug Discovery
Software: Tuesday 18 February 2020
Development and implementation of intelligent
patient monitoring systems
Information Management in Systems Biology
Software Solutions for Research Communication
Software Engineering for Research Computing
Problems of uncertainty in Sensor System
Psychology: Wednesday 19 February 2020
The Impact of Social Identity on Mental Health
Emotion Regulation and the Brain
Psychological wellbeing following atypical
prenatal hormone environments
Big Data Psychology: measuring well-being in
Impact on brain anatomy of allele risk for
Entomology: Thursday 20 February 2020
Applied Ecology: making fundamental research
relevant to real-world problems
Understanding and mitigating arthropod vectors
and vector-borne diseases as ecosystem disservices
The use of biocontrol as an alternative to
The British Science Association’s mission is to transform the diversity and inclusivity of science; to reach under-served audiences and increase the number of people who are actively involved and engaged in science.
They are looking to recruit CREST assessors within the fields of: STEM, Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences and Economics. The CREST Awards is one of their flagship programmes for young people. CREST inspires and engages young people aged 5 to 19-years old with project-based STEM activities.
CREST Assessors sought
CREST assessors help to develop students’ interest and attitudes towards science, along with their scientific and project skills. They do this by assessing Silver and Gold projects against the CREST assessment criteria, providing constructive feedback and encouragement, and sharing their STEM expertise with young people. Often, project assessment is the first time students’ work is seen by someone other than their parents or teachers. Students value the opportunity to share their work with someone with expertise and/or a career in the STEM sector.
Assessing projects can be done on a voluntary or paid basis paid (£4 per Silver Award assessment and £6 per Gold Award assessment), with approximately 5 hours’ worth of assessments per month. All assessment and feedback are carried out via our online platform.
Assessors are trained how to assess projects and give effective feedback. Also, assessing CREST projects count towards STEM Ambassador volunteer hours.
Please see the complete details for the role here.
Those interested should register their interest in this form and will be contacted shortly afterwards. If you have any questions, would like to know more about CREST Awards or have any thoughts on who else might be interested in the CREST assessor role, please contact Claudia Linan, Education Officer: t. +44 (0)20 7019 4969
BGRS Postgraduate Research Conference: 22-23 April 2020
2020 will mark the
100th anniversary of Birkbeck joining the University of London, and
the 75th anniversary of our first PhD. To celebrate these milestones
as we approach the College’s 200th year, the BGRS is organising a centenary
conference, led by current PhD students and doctoral alumni.
entitled #BBKConversations, it will be a great opportunity for the whole Birkbeck
postgraduate research community to engage with the big issues of the day. The
steering committee are in the early stages of planning the conference, but we
need your help to shape it.
Over the course of
two days, we hope to arrange lectures, workshops and maybe an exhibition, using
our current research as well as the work of alumni to frame some big
Below are some
themes the committee has come up with, but we would really like your input. What
do you want to discuss and focus on? We are looking for exciting and
innovative ways to bring together researchers in business, humanities, social
sciences, STEM, and everything in between.
Whether or not you want to take an active role in the conference, please put the 22nd and 23rd of April in your diary. If you would like to join the committee, propose a theme or participate in one of the #BBKConversations, please contact the BGRS Manager Tim Hoe (firstname.lastname@example.org). Get in touch with any and every idea no matter how big or small, and let’s make this a great conference. Please let Tim have your ideas by the 2nd of December so we can discuss them at our planning workshop.
If Birkbeck did not exist would we need to invent it? What is the relevance of Birkbeck’s mission and its particular character in relation to society today?
What have Birkbeck’s contributions to society and to research been? The conference could showcase this in relation to alumni. What should Birkbeck’s future research focus be?
What are the historic and current roles for Birkbeck in terms of activism and research? Birkbeck has a radical history but should a university be radical?
Is London a global city-state? If so, is that good or bad for the UK? It was agreed that the relationship between education, social mobility and migration could be explored in the context of London and the rest of the UK.
Access and engagement. What is the future of the university in relation to race and migration, borders and decolonisation of the curriculum? What does a modern doctoral graduate look like and what journeys have led to our research students coming to Birkbeck? It would be interesting to explore some of the different stories and the role of a PhD in different cultures, with opportunities to interact and to explore these issues further at the conference.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of quantitative and qualitative research? This could work as a debate – with representatives from both sides.
What role does objectivity play in research? How does storytelling and narrative relate to research? What is reality – and what are the consequences of choices made when framing research?
What relevance do issues of privacy and digital data have in research? This could include discussion of artificial intelligence, deep learning, big data and ethics.
Are you a Chinese student? If so please consider helping one of our Birkbeck Research students who is looking for participants in the UK for a project which aims to look at the relationship between languages and life in the UK.
Get in touch by filling out one of the questionnaires below – it takes 15 minutes to complete. There are 3 versions of the questionnaire: English, traditional Chinese, and simplified Chinese so you can choose the one that suits you best.
The box office is now open for the upcoming British Library Open Days. The days explain the practicalities of using the Library and its services – including navigating the physical and online collections. Students are encouraged to choose the event which is of most interest and relevance to their studies, from the following: