Representing hidden histories on stage and screen: Two Workshops with The CATALINA Film Team

21 & 28 September, 18.00 – 20.00

Untold Arts, in collaboration with the Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies (CILAVS), at the School of Arts at Birkbeck, University of London, would like to invite you to two workshops on interpreting diverse hidden histories for the stage and screen.

Untold Arts, founded by Actor/Producer Nadia Nadif and Historian/Writer Lauren Johnston, brings true unknown stories to life, championing global majority and female characters through the creative arts, educational resources and outreach workshops.

Workshop 1

Tuesday, 21 September 2021, 6pm-8pm, online.

The first workshop aims to provide you with insights into the process of how the Untold Arts team translates hidden histories into theatre and film and introduce you to our latest project, about an Arab woman privy to some of the Tudor royals’ greatest secrets. This will include talks and discussions with the creative team (from the UK & USA) including:

6.00pm: Introduction – Professor Luciana Martins            

6.05pm: The Catalina Project – Nadia Nadif (Actress and Producer)

6.35pm: The World of Catalina – Professor Carmen Fracchia

6.55pm: How the history has informed our process as film makers – Fawaz Al-Matrouk (Director), Leah Curtis (Music Composer)

7.45pm: Preparing Workshop 2 – Nadia Nadif    

Workshop 2

Tuesday, 28 September 2021, 6pm-8pm, venue tba  

The second workshop will involve interactive activities from guest facilitator Frances Marshall from HistoryRiot who aims to connect people with the UK’s past, to inspire audiences to feel a fresh sense of identity with the place in which they live and the historical sites they visit. These activities will allow you to explore your own diverse histories and how to present them through the creative arts.

Postgraduate students are especially welcome

Carmen Fracchia 
Professor of Hispanic Art History
Co-Director of the Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies-CILAVS
School of Arts, Birkbeck, University of London

Latest AHRC CHASE Training Opportunities for all Arts and Humanities doctoral researchers

Material Benefits of the Immaterial: Academic Publishing in the Digisphere

Friday 10th September | 0900 – 1700 | Goldsmith’s – in person and remote

A study day will train doctoral students in the ways that the Digital Humanities have, and have not, altered academic publishing. Because art and music have led computational innovations in the Digital Humanities, their digital publications will serve as case studies; the intended audience is all arts and humanities researchers whose objects of study pose transmission challenges apposite to those in art and music. Four themes will be addressed:

  1. Output and its Transmission. How have digital and computational tools altered the creation, and the transmission, of the object of study?
  2. Remodelling Distribution. How have new formats changed distribution models?
  3. Sustainability: Are solutions to sustainability traded between digital publications?
  4. Open Access: How do emerging online publications, often staffed only by volunteers, compete with a university press publication in status, or financial resourcing?

After each speaker’s presentation, CHASE students will put questions to the speaker and their panel. For a final roundtable, CHASE students will be asked to chair and lead discussions.

During registration you will be asked whether you plan to attend remotely or in person.

Register here

CHASE Medical Humanities Network | ‘What the Book Told’: Artists’ Books and Lived Experience with Stella Bolaki

Thursday 16th September | 1700 – 1900 | Online

What is distinctive about the artist’s book as a form of creative self-exploration and communication? Since the 1960s, the artist’s book has been an innovative and versatile medium of expression, as well as a radical way of bringing art to a wider public. This talk and workshop will explore artists’ books from the ‘Prescriptions’ collection (University of Kent) that is dedicated to the topics of illness and wellbeing. We will reflect on how contemporary artists reimagine the book format to give voice to intimate experiences, craft multisensory stories about health and illness, and challenge medical hierarchies. Participants will also be guided to create a handmade book to capture aspects of their own lived experience.

About the session:

In advance of the session, you will need an A3 card paper (of any colour) and a pair of scissors. Please also gather materials that will help with crafting a handmade book (see below) or anything else that relates to the themes of health, illness and wellbeing.

If you wish, you can watch the short documentary film I Make Books by Martha A. Hall (18 min). This is a moving documentary on how American artist Martha Hall used the artist’s book format to document her illness experience and communicate with the medical community.

Indicative materials (for the making part of the workshop):

  • If you enjoy drawing or painting etc, you can have with you colouring pencils, sketches you can incorporate, illustrations and any other relevant art supplies. If you have any basic tools for bookbinding (such as a bone folder, needles/thread, pricker etc) you can bring those, but they are not essential.
  • A range of printed papers/materials with image and/or text which could be collaged or made into whole pages. E.g:
  • Packaging, wrapping paper, fabric
  • Photographs
  • Digital prints/internet printouts
  • Old books, newspapers, magazines
  • Paper with a range of textures, transparencies, uses, and contexts
  • Other materials, that could be collaged, used to produce marks/texts, or bound within, or act as pages in themselves. E.g:
  • Ribbon, strings, embroidered material, fabric, threads, cords, buttons or other small objects to glue or sew into a book or to store your book in (such as a box).
  • Stationary: staplers, rubberstamps, stickers etc.

The session will last two hours and will include a short break. Please feel free to drop in and out throughout this time – there will be no pressure to share your work or participate in discussion if you do not wish to.

Register here

Flow n Flux presents: Online Community Building – Create, Facilitate, Sustain

Thursday 23 September | 1000-1600 | Online

Have you got an idea for an online community, but you are not sure where to start?

We would like to help you bring that idea, and community, to life!

Flow n Flux presents: Online Community Building – Create, Facilitate, Sustain

Flow n Flux is an online feminist community that engages in monthly participatory workshops facilitated by Natasha Richards and Eleanor Kilroy.  

In this student led training you will learn valuable techniques necessary for building an online community. No matter the area of interest you can apply these skills to create, facilitate and sustain a sense of community online.

Here is a little taster of what to expect on the day.


10.00-11.00: Introduction

To begin with we will welcome you all to the training and share the origins of Flow n Flux. We will also start to discuss your ideas for an online community. Do not worry if you do not have an idea before the workshop, as the session may spark some ideas.


11.00-12.00: How to build

Next we will discuss marketing and advertising, as well as the organisational development tasks necessary for getting your online community off the ground.


12.00-13.00: How to facilitate

Then we will explore the skills and knowledge necessary for planning and running the online community. We will also discuss how to respond to potential challenges


13.00-13.30: Lunch


13.30-14.30: How to sustain

After lunch we will focus on how to increase and sustain your membership. We will develop strategies for addressing common pitfalls in sustaining an online community.


14.30-16.00: Your online community

In the final section of the day participants will have the chance to share their ideas for an online community and to receive feedback from other participants.

Register here

Workshop: What career? Doing practice research beyond the PhD

More info and booking here.

This workshop is for arts and humanities practice-based/led research PhD students and recent graduates who want to explore their career ambitions in academia and/or beyond. 

Contributors to the workshop include: Sound artist Dr Nina Perry; Senior Lecturer in Digital Media at University of Sussex, Dr Emile Devereaux; contemporary folk artist Dr Lucy Wright; writer Dr Olumide Popoola; Senior Lecturer in Performance and Design at Northumbria University Dr Rachel Hann; Senior Lecturer in Film Production at Staffordshire University, Dr Agata Lulkowska and writer, poet and educator Dr Golnoosh Nourpanah. Organised and facilitated by Dr Sophie Hope and Dr Jo Coleman

New weekly podcast: Corkscrew – Practice research beyond the PhD

Sophie Hope interviews different generations of practice-based research PhD graduates from different disciplines about why they did practice-based/led PhDs in the first place and what they went on to do next. The podcast is produced with assistance from Dr Jo Coleman.

You can subscribe to the podcast here and listen to the first episode with Prof Anne Douglaswho completed her PhD in 1992.

The Essay Film Festival

25 March to 3 April 2021

The Essay Film Festival returns 25 March to 3 April for its 2021 edition, which this year will be held entirely online. The Essay Film Festival is supported by AHRC funded CHASE Doctoral Training Partnership.

How will the festival work online?

All the films will be free and open to anyone in the UK. To watch the films, visit our online screening room, where you will be able to view all the films at a time that suits you. The screening room does not require any sign-ups or downloads. While most of this material will be made available for the entire festival window (25 March to 3 April), one or two items will be up for a more limited period, so you should check the window of availability for each film. 

What about live events?

Our programme of live events – open to audiences globally – includes artists’ and curators’ talks, conversations with filmmakers and discussions with critics and researchers. These will take place online, via a platform called Collaborate, which is very simple to use. Book your place on our website (http://www.essayfilmfestival.com), and we will send you a link to join us on the day: again, you do not need to create an account or download any software.

What is in the programme this year?

For us the essay film is a critical intervention in the world, combining a passion for investigating reality and for asking tough questions about society with an open, inventive and even playful approach to film language and forms of representation.

This year’s programme reflects that dynamic ambition for the essay film, with a wide range of contemporary and archival works from different parts of the world, accompanied by live talks and conversations featuring artists and researchers.

Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich will give a talk about her forthcoming project on Suzanne Césaire, alongside a selection of her short films exploring alternative voices and narratives from African-American history.

Cauleen Smith will be joining us to discuss a programme of her experimental works reflecting her longstanding interest in Afro-futurism and jazz, especially Alice Coltrane and Sun Ra.

Two programmes of short films by Kevin Jerome Everson focus on themes of labour and place, which the artist will further develop in an illustrated talk and conversation.

From the Asian Film Archive we share Monographs, a series of video essays responding to the uncertainties of the pandemic from ten contemporary Asian artists, some of whom will be speaking at the festival with critic and essayist Kevin B. Lee.

John Gianvito will be in conversation about his latest film, Her Socialist Smile, an historical essay about Helen Keller that foregrounds her radical politics and commitment to social justice.

Nuria Giménez’s My Mexican Bretzel uses found footage and literary invention to play with the conventions of film portraiture and highlight the invisibility of women’s histories – themes that the artist will discuss in a live conversation.

An extended programme around the work of Jenny Brady features three of her own films and three films curated by the artist, alongside a talk about her current research into musical performance and the sonic practice of Alvin Lucier.

Our archival section showcases films by Med Hondo and Sidney Sokhona, both representing critically the lives of African workers in France in the 1970s; writer Assia Djebar’s filmic reinterpretation of colonial travelogues and newsreels shot in Algeria; and the collaborative films of Yugantar, India’s first feminist film collective.

This year’s programme closes with a study day devoted to Brazilian filmmaker Eduardo Coutinho, specifically his films Man Marked for Death, Last Conversations and the unfinished A Day in Life.

Come and join us!

On behalf of the Essay Film Festival: Matthew Barrington, Lauren Collee, Kieron Corless, Catherine Grant, Ricardo Matos Cabo, Janet McCabe, Raquel Morais, Laura Mulvey, Michael Temple

Full programme and practical information: http://www.essayfilmfestival.com

The Essay Film Festival is supported by CHASE Doctoral Training Partnership

Highlighted AHRC CHASE Training Opportunities

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

CHASE Feminist Network Small Project:
Love, Care and Mutual Aid: Resisting State Reliance and State Violence
06 May – 10 June 2021 | Online

*Open to women doctoral students only

In light of the state responses to Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, and more recently, Sarah Everard, and the subsequent (gendered) violence towards protestors and students in the University, this project will provide a space to talk about these experiences which many of us live through and are impacted by vicariously. The project will run once every week consecutively and will be guided by a theme (see below) which will hopefully lend to fruitful discussions of how we can support one another through direct action.

Session 1 | Thursday 6th May 2021| 17:30-19:00
Online Connection: Introductory Talk, Domestic Violence and Mutual Aid and Networking
Presenter: Baljit Kaur (She/Her – Doctoral Researcher at University of Sussex)


Session 2 | Thursday 13th May 2021| 17:30-19:00
Decolonising the University and Beyond | Care, Inclusion and Anti-Racism in Community Projects
Presenter: Nadia Buyse (She/Her – Doctoral Researcher at University of Sussex, Community Artist and Curator at ONCA).

Session 3 | Thursday 20th May 2021 | 17:30-19:00
State Violence against Migrants and Refugees and the Hostile Environment | The impact of Covid-19 on Vulnerable Women and Sex Workers
Presenters: Sam Pointon (She/Her – Doctoral Researcher at the University of Essex (2022)) and Aimée Lee (She/Her – Social and Housing Care Professional and Activist)

Session 4 | Thursday 27th May 2021 | 17:30-19:00

Consent, Gender and Early Years Education
Presenter: Dr. Jade Lee (She/Her – CHASE and SOAS University alumna and Director of Aurora Learning).

Session 5 | Thursday 3rd June 2021| 17:30-19:00
Defund/Abolish the Police: Resisting State Reliance and State Violence
Presenters: Kate Meakin (She/They – Doctoral Researcher at the University of Sussex).

Session 6 | Thursday 10th June 2021| 17:30-19:00

Creative Performances/Expressions: Celebrating the Collective

Presenters: Baljit Kaur, Sam Pointon and Dr. Jade Lee.

Register here

Coming up in CHASE Essentials

Having a Back Up Plan

Monday 28 June | 14:00-1530 | Online

This 1.5-hour participative workshop from how2glu will help you to identify key outcomes and objectives of your research and map out realistic and achievable alternative routes to achieving them. In this way you will be able to interrogate options and create a ‘back up plan’ should you need one in the future.

Our focus will be on how you could re-plan activities that will achieve those intended outcomes and explore problem-solving skills and flexible approaches that will help you adapt to change.

This workshop is aimed at those at the beginning of their PhD.

Register here

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Developing a Plan B

Tuesday 29 June | 1400-1615 | Online

This 2.15-hour participative workshop from how2glu will help you to identify key outcomes and objectives of your research and map out realistic and achievable alternative routes to achieving them. In this way you will be able to interrogate options and create a ‘back up plan’ should you need one in the future.

Our focus will be on how you could re-plan activities that will achieve those intended outcomes and explore problem-solving skills and flexible approaches that will help you adapt to change.

This workshop is designed for doctoral researchers beyond the first year of their study. Not suitable for those who have just started.

Register here

See full CHASE Essentials programme

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.