Highlighted AHRC CHASE Training Opportunities

The following training opportunities are open to all Arts and Humanities PhD students at Birkbeck.

Coming up in CHASE Essentials

Copyright and Creative Reuse
Thursday 17 November | 1100-1215

Finding and Using Audiovisual resources in your research
Training is over 3 days – 8, 9 & 15 December | 1000-1230

See full CHASE Essentials programme

Working With Marginalised Communities: Towards an Ethical Practice for PhD

This webinar takes place over two dates – 12 & 13 November 1500-1700 each day

A growing number of PhD students and Early Career Researchers have shown interest in pursuing research with and for communities who have traditionally been viewed from an abstract distance if, indeed, they have been viewed at all. The scope of these projects is wide and includes researchers working with women in domestic violence refuges, teenagers in socio-economically deprived areas of London and Afghani refugee communities caught in the limbo of the Aegean islands.

What these projects all have in common is that they bring academic scholars into contact with individuals and communities that are likely to have experienced trauma as well as disempowering if not explicitly violent interactions with institutional and state authorities. High levels of professional and personal sensitivity and ethics are essential if the researcher is to avoid replicating the participants’ experiences of marginalisation and creating an abstract rather than rich, nuanced picture of their lives and experiences.

This is a two part webinar series delivered by Fred Ehresmann, Senior Lecturer in Mental Health at the University of the West of England and Dr Jade Lee, director of Aurora Learning and UK Programme Lead of School Bus Project, an NGO that supports educational programmes for young refugees in Europe.

Register here

The Liquidity Cohort

A group of researchers who work with various notions of liquidity from the body (in the broadest sense, human and otherwise) to material infrastructures. We are interested in “liquidity” as an immersive experience of being-in-the-world and its implications for practice; questions of how to write from states of immersion, how to work from the body immersed in experience. We are also interested in hydrological and technological infrastructures and their impacts on the body and its worlds.

Current workshop dates below:

Session 1: Saturation Epistemologies and Oceanic Media


Wednesday 18 November | 1700-1900 | Online

In this session, Melody Jue will discuss saturation epistemologies in her book Wild Blue Media: Thinking Through Seawater and the forthcoming collection Saturation: An Elemental Politics (co-edited with Rafico Ruiz).

Register here

Session 2: Liquid Gold

Wednesday 25 November | 1500-1700 | Online

For this session Melanie Jackson and Esther Leslie will present a performance reading that draws on thematics from their recent collaborative works Deeper in the Pyramid (2018) and The Inextinguishable (2020).

Register here

Session 3: Bodies that Weather: Hurricane Katrina and ‘Viscous Porosity’


Wednesday 2 December | 1500-1700 | Online

Christina Sharpe writes in ‘In the Wake: On Blackness and Being’ (2016) of the climate of anti-blackness that black bodies continue to weather.

Register here

Session 4: Liquifying Selves: Toxicity, Tales and Transindividuation

Wednesday 9 December | 1500-1700 | Online

As the pandemic forces us to adopt new hydro-hermetic praxes, we will examine some other ways in which liquid has already presented counter-ontologies to those of the Cartesian self.

Register here

The Liquidity Cohort was initiated by Dr. Bridget Crone (Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths) in 2018, and is open to researchers from CHASE institutions.

Material Witness

Fake! The role of watch forgery in the making of the modern world

27 November 2020 | 14:00 – 16:00 | Zoom

This talk will explore how the objects history leaves behind can be used to explore the world they existed in. Using forensic analysis to look for hidden clues inside early C18th mass-manufactured watches – practising-watchmaker Rebecca Struthers will reveal the moment access to portable time started its journey towards democratisation. By weaving the physical evidence in with archival sources, this talk will explore the transformative social impact watches had in the UK during the Industrial Revolution.

Register here

2020 Annual Cumberland Lodge Dialogue, Arts and the Union (Online)

6pm on Thursday 5 November.

Birkbeck students and staff are invited to join the virtual audience for the 2020 annual Cumberland Lodge Dialogue, Arts and the Union, taking place on Zoom from 6pm on Thursday 5 November.

In partnership with Goodenough College, London, this public panel discussion examines the cultural bonds that unite the UK’s four nations and the role that the arts can play in building social cohesion across the British Isles. The panellists will explore topics such as: how national identities are expressed within the rich artistic heritage of the UK; the role of the arts in building bridges within and across communities; and how the power of the arts might be harnessed to bring the four nations closer together.

Screen Studies Research in a Pandemic

Annual Postgraduate Training Event by the UoL Screen Studies Group, co-funded by CHASE and LAHP

23rd and 24th October & 20th November

Day 1: Friday 23 October, 14:00-20:00

Day 2: Saturday 24 October, 10:00-13:00

Day 3: Friday 20 November 14:00-17:00

Register on Eventbrite

Teaching Creative Writing

Image by Fred Merchán, taken from Flikr and used under Creative Commons licence

Creative writers teach in schools, universities and the community, on retreats, in theatres and in workshops. Teaching is often a key part of a writer’s career, and there are rich possibilities creative arts education across a huge range of contexts. But how do you teach creative writing? Can you? This series offers anyone considering teaching creative writing as part of their career development the opportunity to look in detail at the theory and practice of creative writing pedagogy in a variety of institutional and community settings.

The series will address the historical principles and contemporary critiques of creative writing pedagogy, and how these are responding to wider institutional and societal developments. It will consider in detail the theory and practice of employing these pedagogical skills both within and outside higher education. Attendees will be invited to reflect on future possibilities and challenges for the development of creative writing teaching, enabling a deeper awareness and knowledge of creative writing as a subject of study, a future career, and a creative practice.

Students are not expected to attend all the sessions, but the series has been designed to allow for an arc of learning from theoretical principles to practical engagement.

The sessions will take place online via Microsoft Teams, once a month for the 2020/21 academic year.

You can sign up for individual sessions using the links below:

13 October | 1100-1200 | Creative writing pedagogy: past, present and future

25 November | 1430-1745 | Pedagogy in practice: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, screenwriting

3 December | 1100-1230 | Can you teach creative writing? Theory and practice of the creative writing workshop

19 January 2021 | 1100-1230 | Decolonisation and inclusivity in creative writing

9 February 2021 | 1100-1230 | Show don’t tell: feminist pedagogy in the creative writing classroom

9 March 2021 | 1100-1230 | Writing in the Community

Bob Woodward & the Case for Rethinking News Values

A BGRS blog post by Naomi Smith (PhD Film and Screen Media)

Naomi is also the Birkbeck Student Union Women’s Officer

Legendary American journalist Bob Woodward has a new book out, another deep dive into the inner workings of the White House, including extensive interviews with President Donald J. Trump in which he admits, on tape, to having deliberately downplayed the severity of the COVID-19 virus in early 2020. These interviews were conducted between December 2019 and July 2020, but the revelation that Trump was aware how deadly the virus is and deliberately sought to conceal this information from the American public wasn’t published until recently, when CNN obtained a copy of the book ahead of its 15 September release.

The revelations immediately led to recriminations against Trump from all sides – politicians, journalists, members of the public on social media – and, more surprisingly perhaps, against Woodward. Fox News, for example, questioned his decision to hold onto this information for so long if it was so important. So why did Woodward choose to withhold those interviews until now? And was the decision to do so inherently unethical? Some suggested that Woodward was motivated solely by profit and the desire to sell more books on the strength of the revelations, and others even alleged that he has “blood on his hands”. In response, Woodward argued that he could not verify the information at the time and wanted to investigate further, and that Trump’s attitude to the virus was already public knowledge and was not, therefore, immediately newsworthy on its own. Erik Wemple, the Washington Post’s media critic, argued that Woodward was following standard practice for writing a book and that his sources would have had an “implicit understanding” that they would be interviewed multiple times until he could “stitch together something authoritative, in book form”. If he were to have published “daily dispatches”, then it is unlikely that he would have kept getting those rare on-the-record interviews with Trump. In Wemple’s eyes, the decision was not whether to publish in March or September, it was whether to publish in September or not at all.

When analyzing decisions regarding news selection, we often talk about news values, a theory developed by two Norwegian researchers in the 1960s, which describes a set of criteria that form a definition of newsworthiness. The more of these criteria are satisfied by an event, the more likely it is to be reported on by the press. The results of that Norwegian study have been reviewed and updated over the intervening years, particularly in the context of the rise of digital media but rarely challenged outright. And despite satisfying several key news values – surprise, negativity, conflict, etc – the revelations in Woodward’s book went unreported for seven months.

My research asks whether – especially given that our current conception of news values did not predict and does not fully explain the actions of a veteran news reporter – we can continue to use a one-size-fits-all taxonomy, rethinking the concept of news values as one that can be generalized across different formats in multiple markets, using American broadcast news as an initial case study.

Reference

Galtung, J & Ruge, M.H., 1965. The Structure of Foreign News: The Presentation of the Congo, Cuba and Cyprus Crises in Four Norwegian Newspapers. Journal of Peace Research. Vol. 2, No. 1. Pp. 64-91.

Solace in the Cracks: Drawing Weeds Ecology, Art History, Practice – a Material Witness Zoom Webinar

Friday 19 June 2020, 3-5pm

Scourges of gardeners, foes of council workers armed with tanks of glyphosate, trampled, neglected, ignored: weeds are despised, yet they flourish, succeeding where other plants fail. Tracing its etymology from Old through Middle to Modern English, the OED defines a weed as ‘Any herbaceous plant not valued for its usefulness or beauty, or regarded as a nuisance in the place where it is growing.’ Gardeners generally consider plants that grow where they are unwanted to be weeds, however much they are appreciated by the insect community.

Material Witness normally focuses on material things made by people, and how we interpret them by practical, theoretical, and historical means. This session switches emphasis, beginning with nature: the ecology of the pavement cracks, the roadside verge, the railway tracks. How have artists recognised the usefulness and beauty of weeds? How can we make the most of their vigour, tenacity, and ubiquity during this unprecedented lockdown?

This two hour webinar will begin by exploring the deep art history of weeds through medieval herbals, the plant-filled borders of books of hours, and Dürer’s extraordinary ‘Great Piece of Turf’, and some interconnections with contemporary artists’ practice. Our focus will then turn to drawing weeds, using a variety of strategies and with a view to creating expressive observational drawings.

This workshop will focus on using materials that you have ready to hand. You can use any paper, and any mark-making implements that you have to hand.

Find more and register here

CHASE Training opportunities for all Arts and Humanities PhD Students at Birkbeck

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.

Future Pathways in Medieval and Early Modern Studies: Academia and Beyond

Friday, 6 March and Friday 27 March

The aim of these two workshops is to explore the possible pathways that medieval and early modern studies can open up for future careers. Both workshops will host a group of speakers with PhDs in various aspects of medieval and early modern studies that have since pursued a wide array of careers. Their personal knowledge and experiences will provide the springboard for informal roundtable discussions and exercises. These events will encourage current postgraduate students to reflect critically on the ways in which one can communicate and curate research and teaching expertise, while they will also offer opportunities for new connections to be made with a variety of individuals, institutions and sectors.


Frames and Transitions

20 & 21 March | Birkbeck, University of London

FRAMES – Friday 20 March
The annual TRANSITIONS symposium has been extended with FRAMES, a day of workshops for CHASE researchers. The workshops are Graphic Medicine with Ian Williams and Comics as Research Practice with Nick Sousanis.

The workshops are focussed on comics and arts as part of the research process, but are open to all research students affiliated with CHASE institutions.

The day is divided into two workshop sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The morning session is Graphic Medicine with Ian Williams. The afternoon session is Comics as Research Practice with Nick Sousanis.

TRANSITIONS – Saturday 22 March

Transitions: New Directions in Comics Studies is an annual one-day symposium promoting new research and multi-disciplinary academic study  of comics / comix / bande dessinée / manga / and other forms of sequential art. The Transitions symposia have been a fixture on the UK comics scholarship landscape, with a focus on new voices and novel approaches in comics research. The programme emphasises a range of approaches in research, and especially invites participation from research students and early career researchers.



Critical Race Studies and the Premodern: Archive and Seminar

8 & 9 June | University of Sussex

Decolonising the Curriculum (Practical Funded by the CHASE Consortium, the Universities of East Anglia and Sussex are hosting two postgraduate training workshops on critical race studies and the pre-modern. This, the second of two events, will be held at The University of Sussex, 8-9 June 2020, and will focus on research. The event is 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).

CHASE Training opportunities for all Arts and Humanities PhD Students at Birkbeck

Auraldiversities series

Auraldiversities 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. A CHASE PhD candidate with associated research interests will also give a presentation.

Sessions are purposefully multifaceted, practical, intuitive and experimental in approach and encourage collaborative work and collective activities:

Session One – Thursday 13 February | 1000-1800 | Goldsmiths, University of London

Session Two: Thursday 27 February | 1000-1800 | Venue TBC

Session Three: Thursday 12 March | 100-1800 | Venue TBC

Plenary: Thursday 26 March | 1500-1800 | Keynes Library, Birkbeck School of Arts

Ethnography and Film. Exploring Labour, Technology and Mediation in the Egyptian Film Industry

Wednesday 19 February | 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, Technology, Mediation.

This workshop is aimed at CHASE students from a variety of backgrounds and developed with an interdisciplinary audience in mind. Hence, attending the training does not require any specialised prior knowledge or skills, apart from an interest in the topic of the workshop.

Find out more and register here

Translation x Creative Writing – Daniel Hahn

Monday 24 February  | UEA | 2-4pm

Daniel Hahn is a writer, editor and translator with over sixty books to his name. His work has won him the International Dublin Literary Award, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award, and been shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, among others. He is a past chair of the Society of Authors, and on the board of a number of organisations that work with literature and free speech.

Concept: Translation for Non-Translators

Find out more and register here

Future Pathways in Medieval and Early Modern Studies: Academia and Beyond

Friday 6 & Friday 27 March | University of Kent

The intended audience for both workshops is first and foremost students currently undertaking PhDs in any aspect of medieval or early modern studies (including Archaeology, History, History of Art and Literary Studies). Students will be able to register for one or both of the workshops, both of which will be hosted at the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus. The first workshop (‘Beyond Academia’) will take place on Friday 6 March 2020. The second workshop (‘Early Career Academia’) will take place on Friday 27 March 2020.

Beyond Academia | Fri 6 March | Find out more and register here

Early Career Academia | Friday 27 March | Find out more and register

Embodied Approaches to Performing Experimental Music

This training explores embodied approaches to performing experimental music, and methods of observing and reporting on research observations that arise as a result of such performance. It employs an approach to methodological training through practical, hands-on workshops.

Event 4: 16th March 2020 14.00-18.00 with Dr Sean Williams

Event 5: Event 5: 24th April 2020 14.00-17.00 with Dr Lauren Redhead

Essay Film Festival, 2020

The Essay Film Festival, now in its sixth edition, presents a global range of contemporary and restored essayistic works, each exploring the creative zone of possibilities between experimental and documentary modes of filmmaking. 

View full programme

This year’s programme features several key themes and strands:

Image from short film: Idhi Katha Matramena (Is This Just a Story?) (India, 1983)

New work by the Otolith Group and restored essay films by Ruchir Joshi and the Yugantar Collective engage with the cultural history and politics of India, providing imaginative and insightful perspectives on the educational projects of Rabindranath Tagore, the wandering Baal musicians, the changing cities of Ahmedabad and Kolkata, and the political struggles of Indian women. A symposium on the work of author and filmmaker Joshi will take place during the festival with guests from India, France and the USA, while Yugantar member Deepa Dhanraj will join researchers from Berlin Arsenal and Goldsmiths to discuss the restoration of the collective’s films.

Image of a collapsing structure

From Argentina, France, UK and the Philippines come challenging found footage experiments by Leandro Listorti, Frank Beauvais, Sarah Wood and John Torres, which critically examine the status and uses of images today while transforming them into moving and fascinating new creations. A student-led research workshop with guest filmmakers will analyse the theory and practice of found footage in the digital age.

Still from short film: America (Garrett Bradley, USA, 2019)

US artists Garrett Bradley and Cauleen Smith investigate and celebrate the depth and diversity of African-American lives, past and present, with works that, like all good essays, both question the viewer and invite us into an ongoing conversation. Both Bradley and Smith will give lecture-workshops about their practice alongside the screenings of their films. 

Image of filmmaker Jocelyne Saab

Developing the theme of ‘the living archive’, a series of events will address the cultural politics of film restoration, featuring works by Jocelyne Saab, Mostafa Derkaoui, Ingemo Engström and Gerhard Theuring, in addition to the restored films of Ruchir Joshi and the Yugantar Collective. 

Still from short film: Home in E Major, Tamar Rachkovsky, USA, 2019

Finally, Israeli filmmaker Tamar Rachovsky will join the festival to present and discuss Home in E Major, which looks at complex questions of identity and belonging through the deceptively simple lens of the diary film.

Simple and complex, contingent and reflective, hybrid and critical, the essay film that we celebrate at our festival is a constantly renewed invitation to engage with the world and to see it in new ways.

Michael Temple (Director), on behalf of the Essay Film Festival group: Matthew Barrington (Manager), Kieron Corless, Nicolas Freeman (CHASE intern), Catherine Grant, Ricardo Matos Cabo, Janet McCabe, Raquel Morais, and Laura Mulvey.

The Essay Film Festival is a collaboration between Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image and the ICA, with support from the CHASE Doctoral Training Partnership.