B R E A T H I N G

The Arts Research Dandelion Journal is pleased to announce the release of the New Autumn Issue, b r e a t h i n g.

“Through the critical reflections brought together in this issue, and beyond them — in the films, art installations, sculptures, drawings, paintings, histories, writings, videos and photographs on which they draw — Dandelion seeks to invoke a meditative journey, and a dynamic and affective encounter with  b r e a t h i n g.” (1)

With contributions from:
  • Breathing Through the Medium: Representations of Refugees in Contemporary Art, Greta Adorni
  • From Exhalation to Transformation: The Female Body in the Orientalist Romance, Pauline Suwanban
  • Mobile, Malleable, and Modified: Tapestry in Early Modern Literature, Masuda Qureshi
  • B r e a t h i n g in Apichatpong, Donatella Valente

  • Hyperventilations, Dylan Williams
  • We Can’t Breathe, Anna Jamieson and Kasia Ozga
  • Breathe: Making the Invisible Visible, Carly Robinson and Elizabeth Pimentel de Çetin
  • Breathless Rictus: Ken Currie’s Krankenhaus, Christine Slobogin
About Dandelion:

The Arts Research Dandelion Journal is based in the School of Arts at Birkbeck. The journal is for and by postgraduate research students and early-career academics, and gathers contributions not only from Birkbeck, but also from other academic institutions. It encourages a multi-disciplinary research approach to the Arts, and provides a supportive environment to the publishing experience, combined with precise editing advice by Subject Editors expert in the contributor’s area of research. Dandelion aims to offer a space to develop and showcase your many serendipitous thoughts and ideas you encounter whilst shaping, and writing on, your research. Dandelion disseminates Call for Papers generally once a year, although you are welcome to generate a specific topic and / or even guest-edit a small supplementary edition. For any contribution ideas, or if you’re interested in joining the editorial team, as a General Editor, Subject Editor, or Copyeditor you can email the Editors (Donatella Valente and Jenny Turner) on mail@dandelionjournal.org . You can follow us on Twitter @dandelionbbk

 

(1) Valente, D & Turner, J . (2018) “Editorial”, Dandelion: Postgraduate Arts Journal and Research Network. 9(1)

Birkbeck Intern Blog Post – Elena Shampanova

Elena Shampanova

From September 2017 to July 2018 I embarked on an internship with Peltz Gallery at the School of Arts at Birkbeck. The position was advertised through the BGRS regular emails, and immediately caught my attention. Having worked and managed events in an arts gallery before, I have never worked in a gallery in an academic setting, and saw this as a chance to apply my existing skills to the new environment, and learn more about the way Peltz Gallery operates and public engagement events are run. I applied and was very excited to have been offered this internship together with two other PhD students.

At our induction meeting we were given an overview of the Peltz Gallery annual plan, and exhibitions coming up. We were invited to support the install and de-install of exhibitions as well as some of the events, however, the focus was very much on what we were interested in doing, and what we wanted to try our hand at.

During my interview for the internship we spoke about my experience of developing evaluation frameworks for arts projects, so when I started I suggested creating one for Peltz Gallery. The idea was welcomed by the team, and I went through a series of questions with them to shape the aims of evaluation. Based on that I developed a framework and tools for collecting data throughout the year, and now I am in the process of analysing it, and writing up the report. Throughout the year evaluation process received support from all the team as it was the first pilot year, and everyone is looking forward to seeing the results. I was pleased to see that my initiative was taken on board at all levels – by peer interns and the gallery team.

Overall, I feel that this internship is a unique way to gain hands-on experience of running a gallery in an academic setting – from shaping a yearly plan of exhibitions to learning all the technicalities of lighting and sound in the space, as well as organising and running public events. I learn best by doing, so this was just right for me, and will be beneficial for my future work in academia as it gave me a lot of ideas on how my research can be presented to public in an engaging way. Being part of an interdisciplinary team and working alongside my peers, who are coming from different research backgrounds enriched our dialogues and boosted ideas – it is amazing, how you can approach a similar subject from a range of angles and disciplines. So if you are considering taking on an internship, go ahead, you will learn so much, meet new people, and will most likely see your own research in a new light.

I would like to thank everyone, who I worked with, for their professionalism, guidance, knowledge and ideas sharing, support and encouragement.

Elena Shampanova, Research Student. 

Free open basic introduction to critical realism with Priscilla Alderson

On Wednesday 27 June (11.00 am – 5.00 pm) and Thursday 28 June (9.00 am – 12.30 pm) Priscilla Alderson PhD will be delivering a basic introductory course to critical realism based on the books and doctoral seminars of Professor Roy Bhaskar (the founder of critical realism) at the Institute of Education UCL main building.

Free and open to all, the course will include: problems and contradictions in social science; how basic CR concepts help to resolve them; structure and agency; connecting macro and micro, qualitative and quantitative, local and global research; researching transformative change over time.

Critical realism can be applied to any methods and topics of social research. There will be time for students to discuss their own work during the programme.

To register for this exciting course please contact Bob: r.gist@ucl.ac.uk

 

Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference: ‘Age of Distraction’

Age of Distraction

Graduate Conference

8 + 9 June 2018

This conference explores distraction and all its meanings and implications. Distraction is commonly thought of as a growing concern or even a sickness of modern society and digital culture. From mindless scrolling to heavy consumerism, the pursuit for entertainment and satisfaction is insatiable, leaving us vulnerable to ruling corporations. Does our lack of control transform us into a conformed mass that is susceptible to tabloid media and the rise of populism? On the other hand, distraction is not necessarily steeped in negativity. In fact, it has had a long and fascinating history. Its German equivalent, ‘Zerstreuung’, comes from the idea of dispersion. At the start of the twentieth-century, Walter Benjamin defined the term as ‘floating attention’, where experience is caused by chance rather than concentration. Does lack of focus in fact allow a sense of freedom and inspiration?

Confirmed speakers include:

Food and refreshments will be available.

Call for papers (extended deadline 7 May)

Please send a 200 word abstract for papers of 15 minutes and a 50 word biography to bisr@bbk.ac.uk

Topics may include:

  • History of distraction
  • Distraction and its oppositions
  • Distraction and/in Education
  • Distraction and madness
  • Modes of Extremism: online or in reality?
  • Democracy, populism, and online social networking
  • Freedom of speech v. government and/or regulatory control
  • Misinformation and fake news
  • Dystopia/ an Orwellian society
  • Distraction and creativity
  • Escapism, dream and day-dream
  • Feigned ignorance or ‘Turning a blind eye’
  • Emotional responses
  • Procrastination, boredom and solitude
  • Wandering and ‘killing time’
  • Inspiration, chance and serendipity

Data Week: 12-16 February 2018

Data Week is a collaboration between Birkbeck, SOAS, London School of Economics and UCL. Events include the following covering a wide range of data-related issues of importance to your research.

  • Speed Data-Ing
  • Get Ready for GDPR
  • What’s My Research Data?
  • UCL Research IT & Data Management Drop-in
  • Get Your Research Data In Shape
  • Working With Audio-Visual Data
  • Get Started With Data Management Planning
  • Research Ethics, Data Management, Data Protection Drop-in
  • All Day Drop In – Research Data and Software Surgery
  • Making the Most of Your Research Data
  • Working With Personal Data

Registration for the various events is available here.

 

Interdisciplinary Research: How Birkbeck PhD students are informally trespassing disciplinary boundaries

Antonella Patteri

On the 4th of November 2017 Birkbeck’s Graduate Research School hosted ‘No Trespassing: The Risks and Rewards of Interdisciplinary Research’, a half-day workshop organised by Dr Dermot Hodson from the Department of Politics. Inspired by Albert O. Hirschman’s concept of trespassing, this workshop, primarily taught by members of staff from across the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy (SSHP), brought together a wide range of expertise and personal perspectives on the intellectual benefits and dangers of interdisciplinarity. Understood as studies that deploy methods and insights from several traditional fields with the aim of integrating and combining multiple forms of knowledge, interdisciplinary research aims to make connections between concepts and to reassemble them in a circular way. Recognising the value of interdisciplinarity, the workshop stressed that interdisciplinary training should be integrated into academic careers. At the same time, it warned about the risks of superficiality associated with interdisciplinary research and the dangers of being excluded by disciplinary politics. In this sense, collaborating across disciplines involves a serious and careful rethinking of well-established academic borders that give meaning to specific fields of knowledge. Taking research beyond its comfort zone involves a creative crossing of a range of subject boundaries. Even though not all research should be interdisciplinary, the increasing complexity of issues with which we are faced as scholars compels us to look beyond single subject areas by stepping over the borders that contain our academic reality.

As Birkbeck students, we think that such boundaries are crossed in libraries, mediated exclusively on search engines and during formal academic meetings. What if we also attempt to trespass such delimiting lines of knowledge in other ways? While my first year as MPhil/PhD student in the Department of Politics was rewarding, I initially struggled to connect with many of my fellow students. Since last year I started organising monthly meetings with Politics PhD students and this year we have a WhatsApp group with more than 30 members. November’s workshop was also a fantastic opportunity to reflect upon our links with PhD students from different schools and departments at Birkbeck. At the event, we had the opportunity to discuss ways of increasing our interdisciplinary ambitions on a human level. Thanks to the efforts of Janice Lazarus, from the Department of Geography, PhD students from across the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy are now meeting weekly. This new intellectual network is helping us to step over our own disciplines by generating relevant ideas and arguments that go beyond departmental affiliations. Why is it working? Because it is an informal, real and direct way to avoid more ‘structured’ conversations that allow us to reflect upon personal experiences and projects with the potential to enrich our work.

Law, History, Geography, Politics, Art, Biology and Archaeology at times seem incommensurable but we are linking them through methods of analysis that are discursive in theory but practical in scope. By sharing research goals, we are becoming more aware of the fact that there are different paths of knowledge. Qualitative and quantitative methods, immersive fieldwork, archives and discourse analysis are being shared as a way to trespass rigid theorization. In so doing, generating new knowledge becomes a social activity of discovery that gets more and more exciting each week. Such meetings can also offer a possibility to ‘humanise’ the unpredictability of our research, both in premises and intentions. This is not necessarily something that can be grasped easily from our laughs, personal biographies or individual storytelling or from our most awkward and funny moments. Interdisciplinarity is not just a matter of addressing complex questions through a multiplicity of perspectives. Interdisciplinary research should be about reflexive rethinking and informal interaction that trespasses disciplinary boundaries.

This BGRS Blog post was authored by Antonella Patteri, an MPhil student in Birkbeck’s Department of Politics and Research Student Representative for the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy.

Understanding the Origin of Sex Differences in Cognition: Rethinking Research Methods

Thursday 2nd November
3-4 pm, with networking from 4–5 pm
Venue: Birkbeck, MAL B04

About the event

The event is organised by the TRIGGER research team in partnership with Birkbeck’s Department of Psychological Sciences and includes 2 speakers who are Birkbeck research students.

The seminar will take the form of a conversation between:

  • Teodora Gliga (Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck)
  • Lucy Tallentire (School of Business, Economics and Informatics, Birkbeck)
  • Yanique Stanford (School of Business, Economics and Informatics, Birkbeck)

In this conversation, Dr Teodora Gliga will reflect on the tools she has developed to include gender in her research procedures at Babylab, a research centre in the School of Science which focuses on the study of infants’ cognitive development. The conversation will range over the innovative ways in which gender perspectives can be integrated into research processes, and how researchers might consider disseminating their work.

The event is free and open to everyone, but please book via Eventbrite here

Who is this event for?

Early-career researchers, PhD students and post-graduate students are particularly encouraged to attend.

About the speakers

Teodora Gliga

Teodora is the Programme Leader on the Infant Siblings Study at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, based in Birkbeck’s School of Psychological Sciences. Her research focuses on developmental pathways to autism and ADHD; the developmental origin of epistemic curiosity; the effects “social touch” has on attention and learning; and how acquiring language affects the way we represent and remember the world. She also led the ‘Rethinking Research Methods’ strand of the TRIGGER project.

Lucy Tallentire

Lucy joined Birkbeck in Summer 2016 to work as the Events and Content Officer for the School of Business, Economics and Informatics. She works closely with academics to consider the impact of their research, and innovative ways in which their findings can be disseminated to a diverse range of specialist, professional and general audience bases.

Prior to joining Birkbeck, Lucy studied BA Germanic and Slavonic Studies at the University of Sheffield (2011-2015) and MPhil European Comparative Literature at the University of Cambridge (2015-16). She has just last month begun a part-time PhD at Birkbeck, with a focus on the representation of dementia and the loss of first-hand testimony of WWII in contemporary German literature.

Yanique Stanford

Yanique has recently completed a M.Sc.in Bio Business, a collaboration between the Biological Sciences Department and the Department of Management. She has since transferred full time over to the latter department where she has started the PhD programme. Her undergraduate degrees are a B.Sc. in Biomedicine and a BA in Literatures in English. Additionally, she recently completed a three month internship within the bio-science sector at Consilium Strategic Communications, a specialist Healthcare Investment and Public Relations firm. Prior to the internship she spent approximately fourteen years working within the Retail Industry.

Interactive workshop: Learn to Enjoy Public Speaking and Presenting

Summary

Presenting your research is an important aspect of completing your PhD. This training will give you the chance to learn how to communicate your research effectively at conferences and seminars. It is part of the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research (BISR) programme on Developing Your Research Career and funded by a BGRS generic skills training award.

Dates

Two separate sessions are planned.

  • Autumn Term: 24 November 2017, 10.00 – 17.00
  • Spring Term: 9 February 2018., 10.00 – 17.00
Objectives

This one-day interactive workshop will cover the following key aspects of presenting:

  • Making a persuasive case through the structure of your presentation
  • Using visual aids with impact
  • How to develop your personal presence
  • Managing nerves
Format

In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to give a 3-4 minute presentation. You will then receive feedback and have the chance to revisit a section of the presentation, incorporating the recommendations you received into your performance.

This will be a hands-on workshop for a maximum of 8 people and you will need to have prepared the short presentation in advance.

Who is this course for?

This workshop is free and open to all PhD students at Birkbeck.

Applying for a place

A maximum of 8 places are available. To apply for a place please complete this brief application form and send it to the BISR Manager, Madisson Brown by Monday 6 November 2017.

Workshop leader

The workshop will be led by Karen Glossop from Resonance Training. Karen is a coach and lecturer in public speaking at UK business schools, and for a range of clients across the public, corporate and voluntary sectors. Since 1997, she has delivered courses that focus on areas such as communication, understanding your audience and making an impact. As well as working as a training consultant, Karen is co-artistic director of award-winning theatre company, Wishbone – www.wishbonetheatre.co.uk.

No Trespassing: The Risks and Rewards of Interdisciplinary Research

On Saturday 4 November there is an opportunity to take part in this workshop exploring the risks and rewards of interdisciplinary research.

The workshop will bring together postgraduate research students: to get practical advice on the importance of interdisciplinarity for some categories of research funding; to discuss their research in relation to different disciplines; and to have an opportunity to build new intellectual networks with postgraduate researchers from across the College.

This half-day workshop will primarily be taught by colleagues from across the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy (SSHP), thus bringing together a range of disciplinary expertise and perspectives. Sessions will focus on:

  • how scholars working in different intellectual traditions formulate research questions
  • the importance of interdisciplinarity for research funding
  • and the challenges of collaborating across disciplines.

The workshop is primarily targeted at postgraduate researchers in SSHP and other Schools within the College.

Register to attend

You can register to attend here.