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Birkbeck School of Arts

Arts Week 2019

Come and join us for an exciting range of free talks, performances, screenings and discussions.

Arts Week 2019

20-24 May 2019 

Arts Week is Birkbeck's annual summer showcase of the varied enterprises of our renowned academics, on topics both public and scholarly.

Over the course of the week, we are hosting a wide range of events, including lectures, readings, concerts, film screenings, performances, walks, workshops, panel discussions and exhibitions. These events are open to everyone - and free to attend. 

Programme 

All week events

  • Art at the Frontier of Film Theory: Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen | 22 March - 24 May 
    Peltz Gallery, 43 Gordon Square. The exhibition presents moving image works, audio recordings, drawings, diagrams, photographs and archival materials which together provide a new perspective on the work of Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen. 

  • The Women Men Don't See: A Collection of Women's Science Fiction. Cinema foyer vitrine | 17 May - 21 June 
    This exhibition of women’s science fiction books shows how, despite the genre’s misogyny, racism and homophobia, women writers have always imagined strange new worlds through science fiction. Curated by Katie Stone and Rosy Mack.

  • I Run & Run, Let Out An Earth Shattering Roar, and Turn Into a Giant Octopussy, Kai Syng Tan (2018) #magiccarpet | 20 May - 24 May | 9am-9pm | No booking required. Room 106, 43 Gordon Square. This tapestry is the result of a collaboration between artist Kai Syng Tan and Philip Asherson, Professor of Psychiatry at King’s College London, exploring mind-wandering, ADHD, and the creative process. Woven at Flanders Tapestries, Belgium, the work is described by Tan as “Colourful and overworked, the tapestry is a snapshot of my hyperactive mind. Flitting in and out of reason and legibility, there’s death, sex, surrealism, My Little Pony and terminologies on ‘abnormalities’ of the brain that I’d learnt as the first artist-in-residence at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre.” The tapestry will also be on display for a special reception after the Too Much/Not Enough event on 21 May, where the artist will be present. Visitors can also chat with the artist during the exhibition on Monday 20 May (11am-3pm), Tuesday 21 (12pm-3pm), Wednesday 22 (9am-3pm), and Friday 24 (12pm-9pm).

  • Camden People's Theatre presents HUMAN JAM | 7 - 25 May, 7.15pm | Camden People's Theatre, 58-60 Hampstead Road, London, NW1 2PY | Tickets £12 (£10) | Book your ticket  
    How do you excavate 63,000 bodies? Where will they go? And what will be uncovered by all this digging? In St James’ Gardens, right on CPT’s doorstep, the biggest exhumation of graves in European history is taking place. Parks and pubs are closing, too. People are losing their homes and businesses. All to make way for HS2’s new railway terminal. “We late-lamented, resting here, / Are mixed to human jam” CPT’s epic new docu-theatre event digs deep into a small but stubborn community, an £80bn infrastructure project – and the ghosts of Euston past. Supported by the Birkbeck Public Engagement Seed Fund.

  • Same river twice: Artefacts of public bathing culture | 20-24 May, 9am-9pm | No booking required 
    School of Arts, Reception 43 Gordon Square.
    What did public bathing look like before the advent of the chlorinated indoor pool? Through a series of object – including Victorian illustrations, early twentieth century American postcards, and an old tobacco tin – this mini-exhibition in the entrance to the School of Arts explores the social world of the "natural" bathing place.

Monday 20 May 2019

  • Birkbeck Student Film Festival 2019 | 3-5pm | Book your ticket
    Cinema, 43 Gordon Square. This event is the culmination of the Birkbeck Students' Union 'Student Film Competition'. Students from across the University of London have submitted their short films, on a subject of their choice and in whatever style or genre they deemed fit, on a subject of their choice in any style or genre. At this event, the shortlisted candidates' films will be screened and an expert panel of judges will announce the winners. 

  • Telling stories about syphilis | 4-5pm | Book your ticket
    Keynes Library, 43 Gordon SquareWhat was it? How did we find it? And who had it? Syphilis is a disease whose symptoms and circumstances, across the centuries, made it peculiarly compelling and challenging to understand. How do we analyse something so deeply mythologised?

  • Silencing the virus | 5.45-7.00pm | Book your ticket
    Room G10, 43 Gordon Square. (15-min performance slots at 5.45, 6.15 & 6.45). Explore the threat to bees in this immersive digital performance combining art, science and technology, created by a computer scientist, a molecular scientist and a composer. An audio virus will spread through the performance space, starting with one audience member as patient zero.

  • Accidental gardens: Natura Urbana | 5.45- 7.20pm | Book your ticket
    Cinema, 43 Gordon Square. Natura Urbana: The Brachen of Berlin (dir. Matthew Gandy, 2017) explores the ecology of ‘accidental gardens’ flourishing in post-war Berlin. The changing vegetation serves as a parallel history to war-time destruction, geopolitical division, and the newest phase of urban transformation.

  • Jews, money, myth | 6:00-7.20 | Book your ticket
    Room B04, 43 Gordon Square. How can museums best confront the stereotypes that feed anti-semitism? Explore the challenges of exhibiting difficult histories and shaping the stories objects tell with Sarah Thomas, Anthony Bale, Marc Volovici and curator of the current exhibition at The Jewish Museum, Joanne Rosenthal.

  • Elites and anti-elitism | 6.00-7.20pm | Book your ticket
    Room B03, 43 Gordon Square. ‘Elites’ in politics and culture have become public enemy number one. But who are they, really? Does elitism mean social privilege, or the defence of beauty and difficult ideas? Eliane Glaser (Birkbeck) convenes thinkers and writers across different disciplines to discuss these questions.

  • Thinking (about) automata in Descartes, Shaftesbury, and Diderot | 6.00-7.20pm | Book your ticket
    Keynes library, 43 Gordon Square. What was the soul and what was the body? From Descartes to Diderot, the automaton crystallised this problem. Dr James Fowler discusses this Enlightenment crisis in how philosophers imagined non-human and human animals as ‘bêtes-machines’, clockwork and living statues.

  • MIRLive Arts Week Special | 7.30pm | No booking needed
    The Harrison, King’s Cross, WC1 H8JF
    MIRLive is headlined by two new authors, Louise Hare and Abi Dare.  Join us for a stimulating spoken-word event, showcasing the best in creative writing. If you would like the opportunity to take part, please submit your work to mironline.org/live by Friday 6 May.

  • Truth, identity and desire | 7.40-8.40pm | Cancelled
    Keynes library, 43 Gordon Square. Author Michael Amherst, Go the Way Your Blood Beats (Repeater, 2018), will be in discussion with Michael Donkor, author of Hold (4th Estate, 2018) on the topic of truth, identity and desire. Do we know what we really want? Is such a knowledge even possible?

  • Rebellion 2: taking back control. Ireland's bloody departure from the Union with Great Britain7.40-9.40pm |  Book your ticket
    Cinema, 43 Gordon Square. A screening of the first episode of Rebellion 2, Birkbeck’s Colin Teevan's Netflix series, sequel to Rebellion (2016). In this centenary year of the secession of the Irish parliament from Westminster, join the author of Rebellion and eminent writers and academics including Dermot Hodson (Birkbeck).

  • Archaeology of memory: documentary theatre at Moscow's Sakharov Centre | 7.45-9.00pm | Book your ticket
    Room G04, 43 Gordon Square. Russian theatre director Anastasia Patlay offers a rare masterclass on her work with historical documents in performance. Patlay, curator of the Sakharov Centre’s programme, speaks about their use of archival materials onstage and the complexities of performing the Soviet past in the present.

TuesDAY 21 MAY 2019

  • Victorian dolls and fashion: exhibition and workshop | 12-7pm | Book your ticket
    Room 122, 43 Gordon Square. 
    This exhibition brings nineteenth-century dress to life on a small scale. Costume designer Claudia Vogt shows replicas of dresses and reproduces works from the Bedale’s Costume Collection. Join us to learn Victorian dress-making techniques for yourself.

  • The Trial: The State of Russia vs Oleg Sentsov (2017) | 2-5pm | Book your ticket
    Cinema, 43 Gordon Square. Askold Kurov’s documentary, about the arrest and imprisonment of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov by Russian FSB, investigates the truth behind this show trial. Watch and discuss with Molly Flynn (Birkbeck), Rory Finnin and Josephine von Zitzewitz (Cambridge), Olesya Khromeychuk (Kings).

  • Digital afterlives and the genealogy industries | 6-8.30pm | Book your ticket
    Cinema, 43 Gordon Square. Should we be archiving our DNA? Join us for a screening of Data Mining the Deceased: Ancestry and the Business of Family (2016) to explore the popularity of genetic testing for ancestral heritage. What kind of pasts are we archiving for families of the future and why?

  • Too much/not enough: neurodiversity and cultural production | 6-7.20pm | Book your ticket
    Room G04, 43 Gordon Square. Screening and workshop with artist Kai Syng Tan, curator Alessandra Cianetti, and literary researcher Sophie Jones exploring the aesthetics of neurodiversity and discussing the place of invisible disabilities in the cultural industries. In connection with the #magiccarpet exhibition.

  • Reading bad men | 6-7.20pm | Book your ticket
    Room B04, 43 Gordon Square. Can and should we separate the art from the artist? Speakers Katherine Angel, Caspar Salmon and Jodie Kim discuss reading and teaching the works of so-called 'bad men' – literary and artistic figures whose behaviour has been shown to be discriminatory, misogynistic or illegal.

  • Bridging the distance: a collaborative photography research project | 6-7.20pm | Book your ticket
    Keynes library, 43 Gordon Square. Members of Ph: The Photography Research Network discuss their collaborative exhibition project with diverse works on environment, portraiture, surveillance and resistance. Explore hierarchies between theory and practice and how photography might bridge these distances. Guest chair and speaker Kathy Kubicki (Kingston, Goldsmiths).

  • Theatre scratch night | 6-7.30pm | Book your ticket
    Room G10, 43 Gordon Square. Students from our theatre and creative writing programmes share their work in progress. The evening includes the first showing of several short new plays. From workshops to finished pieces, experience the processes and products of our creative factory.

  • History As Collage / Collage As History / As Collage History / History Collage As | 7.30-9pm | Book your ticket
    Room G02, 43 Gordon Square. How can we reimagine the past? We’re used to history as narrative, but what kind of history can we tell if we deploy the cut-and-paste of collage? Adam Smyth and Gill Partington will consider three case studies of collage-as-historical representation to rethink history. 
  • Sickness and cure in Emile Zola's Rougon-Macquart Novels | 7.40-8.45pm | Book your ticket 
    Room 104, 43 Gordon Square. How is sickness expressed in Emile Zola’s novels? Focusing on his twenty-volume Rougon-Macquart cycle, this discussion traces the transformation from sickness to redemption from the first to the final book, in the context of Zola’s France in the late nineteenth-century.

  • Irish Times: Myles na gCopaleen's Cruiskeen Lawn 7.40-9pm | Book your ticket
    Keynes library, 43 Gordon Square. Comic writer Flann O'Brien was best known as the irascible Myles na gCopaleen, as whom he published the anarchic Cruiskeen Lawn column in the Irish Times (1940–1966). Tread Myles’s elaborate multilingual labyrinth with Birkbeck's Tobias Harris and Joseph Brooker.

WednesDAY 22 MAY 2019

  • Film and television voices: past and present | 2-3.30pm | Book your ticket
    Cinema, 43 Gordon Square. Explore the remarkable interviews in the British Entertainment History Project’s audio- visual archive. This workshop presents some of the 750 interviews with people who made Britain one of the world’s major centres of the film, theatre and television industries.  

  • Platform KX: a tour of the new King’s Cross | 2-4.00pm | Book your ticket
    Meet at London King’s Cross Station. North of King’s Cross Station, once home to gasworks, railways and industry, one finds KX: a 'creative quarter' of flats, offices, shops, galleries, and restaurants. Join Birkbeck’s Scott Rodgers on a tour exploring KX and its platforms including Facebook and Google.

  • Female Human Animal: on surrealism, film, and fantasy | 5.30-7.20pm | Book your ticket
    Cinema, 43 Gordon Square. Josh Appignanesi's psycho-thriller evokes the atmosphere of Leonora Carrington's work, raising fascinating questions about gender, sexuality, and the inner life. The director joins Birkbeck’s Katherine Angel, Catherine Grant and Mark Blacklock.

  • Siren voices with Aura Satz: rewiring memories of technology | 6-9.00pm | Book your ticket 
    Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square. With Marina Warner, artist Aura Satz (RSA) discusses her project 'Preemptive Listening’, a sound and film work on siren signals in relation to hyper-vigilance and emergency. She posits the siren’s loud glissando wail as a conditioned and learned signal, one that can potentially be rewired. 

  • From Amsterdam to Istanbul: fundraising and Jewish refugee relief in the seventeenth century 6.30-8.00pm Book your ticket
    Clore Lecture Theatre, Clore Management Centre.
     This lecture examines the ways in which Jews across Europe and Asia co-operated in helping the tens of thousands of their co-religionists displaced by the mid-seventeenth century wars in eastern Europe. This lecture is part of a Jewish Museum London exhibition developed in collaboration with the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism.

  • Her Figure a Song 7-8.30pm | Book your ticket 
    Room G10, 43 Gordon Square. Her Figure a Song stages an extended eavesdropped investigation of the East Coast of the UK. This new performance by Johanna Linsley and Rebecca Collins is part experimental documentary, part eco-fable, part detective thriller.

  • Terminal Documents: Re-Reading the non-Fiction of J.G. Ballard | 7.40-9.00pm | Book your ticket
    Room B04, 43 Gordon Square. Over fifty years, the novelist JG Ballard published a huge volume of non-fiction, from book reviews to credos, while his experimental pieces were detourned into hoax reports and performances pieces. Explore this fascinating body of work in the company of the prospective editor of these writings, Birkbeck’s Mark Blacklock and special guests. There will be talks, film clips, discussion and a chance to share your thoughts.

  • Euston twilight: hotels, boarding houses and luxury squats in the post-war era | 7.40-9pm | Book your ticket
    Meet outside the School of Arts. A twilight walking tour visits the ghosts of Euston’s grand hotels and down-at-heel boarding houses. Uncover the history of residential hotels and other defunct forms of private rented accommodation, and learn about their subsequent history.

  • The Ballet of the Nations | 7.40-9.30pm | Book your ticket
    C
    inema, 43 Gordon Square. 
    Impermanence Dance Theatre’s striking new film takes its title and inspiration from The Ballet of the Nations (1915), a pacifist allegory by Vernon Lee. Evoking early twentieth-century political culture it also raises urgent questions about war and its relation to art.

ThursdAY 23 MAY 2019

  • Japanese transnational cinema | 10-5.00pm | Book your ticket
    Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square. This workshop challenges the old paradigm of National Cinema. It highlights the limitations of studying Japanese film as a cinematic phenomenon confined to its national borders, asking: to what extent is Japanese cinema Japanese? And is it a National Cinema? Please note this is a two-day conference with activity on Friday as well. (View programme.)

  • Organic systems: science fiction and ecology today | 2-5.00pm | Book your ticket
    Cinema, 43 Gordon Square. How can science fiction inform our thinking about ecology? This event forms part of a short series of CHASE-supported events aimed primarily at supporting postgraduate research students. Followed by the London Science Fiction Research Community screening.

  • Renaissance Women: learning from images | 2-5.00pm | Book your ticket
    Meet at the front entrance National Portrait Gallery. 
    What can an image tell us about the women of the past? Join our team of Birkbeck investigators as we mine the National Portrait Gallery’s unrivalled collection of portraits of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century queens, poets and patrons for stories of women’s worlds.

  • Solaris 6-9.00pm | Book your ticket
    Clore Lecture Theatre. 
    Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris (1972) is hailed as one of the greatest science fiction films ever made. This screening builds upon the work undertaken by the London Science Fiction Research Community, to investigate the greatness, and strangeness, of this genre.

  • Laura Mulvey in conversation: film as theory | 6.30-8.30pm | Book your ticket
    Cinema, 43 Gordon Square. Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen’s work of the 1970s-1980s explores ‘film as theory’, as did ‘essay films’ by Jean-Luc Godard and Harun Farocki, and contemporary manifestations of audio-visual thinking. Join Laura Mulvey, Catherine Grant (Birkbeck) and Erika Balsom (Kings) in discussion.

  • Downing Street Blues? Prime ministerial memoirs and memory | 6-7.20pm | Book your ticket
    Room 124, 43 Gordon Square. 
    How do prime ministers think? And what do their memoirs tell us? At this event we will explore how these apparently personal histories provide insight and are also used to justify, explain and establish a leader’s persona and, most importantly, their place in history.

  • Patrons and Lovers of Art: nineteenth-century collecting and the wealth of empire | 6-7.20pm | Book your ticket
    Room B03, 43 Gordon Square. Pieter Christoffel Wonder’s Patrons and Lovers of Art (1830) commemorates the foundation of the National Gallery (1824). Sarah Thomas (Birkbeck), Catherine Roach (VCU), and Susanna Avery-Quash (National Gallery) discuss the painting from different perspectives within the context of British cultural history.

  • Jerusalem: City of the Book | 6-7.20pm | Book your ticket
    Room G04, 43 Gordon Square. 
    This event marks the publication of Merav Mack's important study, Jerusalem: City of the Book (Yale University Press, 2019). Anthony Bale (Birkbeck) will be joined by Merav Mack and Ben Balint, describing libraries and other book-related histories of Jerusalem.

  • Testimony: a theatrical exploration | 6-7.30pm | Book your ticket
    Room G10, 43 Gordon Square. 
    Testimony is inspired by, and a response to, the religious writings and utterances of three Calvinist women in the 17th century – Hannah Allen, Anna Trapnel and Sarah Wight. Students on the MFA Theatre Directing present a devised exploration.

  • But are you doing anything? Curating, producing and managing as practice research | 6-9.00pm | Book your ticket
    Keynes library, 43 Gordon Square. How do thinking, talking and meditating rate as work? What is productivity in curating? This event is co-organised by the Arts Management programmes and Corkscrew, School of Arts Practice Based Research Group.

FriDAY 24 MAY 2019

  • Japanese transnational cinema | 10-5.00pm | Book your ticket
    Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square. This workshop challenges the old paradigm of National Cinema. It highlights the limitations of studying Japanese film as a cinematic phenomenon confined to its national borders, asking: to what extent is Japanese cinema Japanese? And is it a National Cinema? Please note this is a two-day conference with activity on Thursday as well. (View programme.)

  • Opera of the World (2017) | 2-5.00pm | Book your ticket
    Cinema, 43 Gordon Square. 
    This remarkable film directed by Manthia Diawara, tells the story of the making and performance in Mali of poet and dramatist Koulsy Lamko’s Bintou Wéré: A Sahel Opera. Roger Malbert introduces with Marina Warner.

  • The violent household: angry families in seventeenth-century England | 2-5.30pm | Book your ticket
    Room G04, 43 Gordon Square. This seminar explores power and violence in the seventeenth-century household. Speakers analyse drama, prose and law as fathers asserted authority, mistress punished apprentices. Speakers: Sarah Birt, Rachel Holmes, Laura Seymour, Iman Sheeha and Emma Whipday.

  • Damien by Aldyth Morris: Daniel Finlay one man show | 5-7.00pm | Book your ticket
    Room G10, 43 Gordon Square. This show tells the extraordinary story of Father Damien de Veuster, the leper priest of Moloka'i and patron saint of outcasts. Daniel Finlay’s passionate channelling takes its cue from our own times and Father Damien’s canonisation the Vatican on October 11, 2009.

  • Swing dance taster | 6-7pm | Book your ticket
    Room G04, 43 Gordon Square. Join Sarah Walker (Birkbeck) and Gregory Craven for a fun swing dance taster class to get your body moving! No experience necessary.

  • Guilt and Performance: a panel discussion | 6-7.20pm | Book your ticket
    Room G01, 43 Gordon Square. 
    Actions and consequences are the stuff of drama. Commonsense suggests guilt is the consequence of an evil act. But how else might guilt be manifest and imagined? This discussion explores the complex roles guilt plays in dramatic performance.

  • The violent household II: John Milton’s will | 6-7.30pm | Book your ticket
    Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square. Eleanor Warr’s play Cry up Liberty explores Milton’s will, his daughters and the law to examine inheritance, family rage and violence. She directs a rehearsed reading, followed by a panel discussion.

  • Architecture and dust: a discussion with Teresa Stoppani | 6-7.20pm | Book your ticket
    Cinema, 43 Gordon Square. 
    Dust can be a fragment, fragmented, or an accumulation. Teresa Stoppani (Architecture Association) discusses the idea of dust in relation to architecture, the body and the city. An Architecture, Space and Society Centre event with a response by Birkbeck’s Joel McKim.

  • Notable absences: the marginalisation of nineteenth-century women in the digital world | 6-7.20pm | Book your ticket
    G02, 43 Gordon Square. 
    Digital representations of the nineteenth century tend to marginalise women. Seeking to improve this imbalance are our speakers: Christine Yao (UCL) on women of colour and Helen Rogers (LJMU) on working-class women.

  • Symmetry and asymmetry: maths, music, poetry | 6-7.30pm | Book your ticket
    Room B03, 43 Gordon Square. 
    Join mathematician Sarah Hart, poet Fran Lock (Birkbeck) and musician and pianist Iain Burnside (Guildhall) to think about how symmetry, asymmetry, pattern and disruption affect our thoughts and shape our worlds. Panel discussion with images, poems and maths.

  • Last night music | 7.40-9.00pm | Book your ticket
     
    Room G10, 43 Gordon Square. Some of the School’s finest performers play live. Featuring contributions from The Bluegreen Trio (Louise Owen, Tony Fisher and Neil Livingstone) and Anthony J Shepherd. Acoustic jazz, folk and soul to celebrate Arts Week.

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Read a welcome from the Dean of the School of Arts.