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Birkbeck Arts Week 2014: Tuesday 20 May

Beyond 'Gone with the Wind': Steve McQueen's '12 Years a Slave'

    When? 6pm – 7:30pm
    Where? Waterstones, Gower Street

    Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave has been greeted with widespread critical approval, seen as putting right the wrongs of films like Gone With the Wind that romanticized the slave past. The film draws on the literary genre of the slave narrative that dates back to the eighteenth century, but which has also continued to animate discussions about race in the US well beyond the abolition of slavery. While 12 Years a Slave is arguably candid about the horrors of the slave past, does it offer us historical closure in ways that draw a line between the viewer and that which is viewed, or does the film open up conversations about contemporary race relations and slavery's ongoing legacy? What are the politics of abolitionist melodrama in contemporary cinema? To explore these questions, join Dr Anna Hartnell (Birkbeck), Dr Emily Senior (Birkbeck) and Professor Tim Armstrong (Royal Holloway).

    Reserve your free place for 'Beyond Gone with the Wind' here.

Thinking Visually: Iberian and Latin American Images in Practice and Research

    When? 6pm – 7:30pm
    Where? Room B04, 43 Gordon Square
    Join a photographer, two curators and a performer to discuss what it means to work on Iberian and Latin American visual cultures. Agata Lulkowska will speak about the differences between using visual media for artistic purposes and as a research methodology for her fieldwork in Colombia. Dolores Galindo will examine visual evidence between art and politics in Mexican performance art. Leyneuf Tines will discuss embodied memory and the repertoire of trauma in Colombia. Érica Valente will discuss contemporary Portuguese and Brazilian cinema. Using images to illustrate their talks, each speaker will explore the conflicts and synergies between practice-based research as an artist or curator and the demands of academic inquiry.

    Reserve your free place for 'Thinking Visually' here.

Working with Photographs: Archives

    When? 6pm – 7:30pm
    Where? Room G01, 43 Gordon Square
    From domestic attics to national institutions, photographs are part of many archival collections, where they play a variety of roles as precious specimens, assets to be exploited, or miscellaneous ‘stuff’ taking up too much room. In this informal panel discussion, Graham Head, who as Head of Information Services at the British Museum led their image and photography programmes, Heidi Hudson from the Kennel Club Picture Library, and Stefan Dickers, Head of the Library and Archives at Bishopsgate Institute, will talk about their experience of working with photographs. This event is part of an ongoing series of talks organised by the Birkbeck History and Theory of Photography Research Centre.

    Reserve your free place for 'Working with Photographs' here.

Theatre Conversation: Theatres of Nostalgia

Multicultural TV Drama in Britain: History and Future

    When? 6:30pm – 9pm
    Where? Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square
    An evening of screenings and discussion about the origins of multicultural TV drama, the current state of affairs, and issues of future funding, policy, training and possibilities. Our key panellists include two award-winning producers, Tara Prem and Peter Ansorge, who will discuss some of their ground breaking work for BBC and Channel 4; Carol Russell, Founder of ‘Fresh Voices UK’ ( and Dr Clive James Nwonka, Screenwriter (Brunel University). Screened extracts will include:  A Touch of Eastern Promise (BBC, 1973), Empire Road (BBC, 1978-79), Black Christmas (BBC2, 1977,) Tandoori Nights (C4, 1985-87), Gangsters (BBC, 1976-78), Luther (BBC1, 2010-2013) and Britz (C4, 2007).

    This event is supported by Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image.

    Reserve your free place for 'Multicultural TV Drama' here.

Shell Shock, Celluloid and WW1: The discomforts of being a spectator

    When? 6pm – 9pm
    Where? Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square
    In 1918, the physician Hurst filmed shell-shocked soldiers at Netley Hospital. The footage is generally presented as evidence of alarming illness. But a closer look reveals patients shamming their symptoms for the cameras, and laughing at their fellow invalids. Theatre expert and cultural critic Tiffany Watt-Smith explores how film-making was part of Hurst’s therapeutic approach, and considers the uncomfortable role of the spectator in it.

    Reserve your free place for 'Shell Shock, Celluloid and WW1'  here.

The Way We Read Now

    When? 7:40pm – 9pm
    Where? Peltz Gallery, 43 Gordon Square
    Join us to discuss the way in which we read and research texts in the 21st century: what approaches and methods should we take? How can new digital technologies reframe our discussions online? And how are new forms of publishing changing 21st-century scholarship? The panel will consist of Dr Caroline Edwards (Birkbeck), Dr Michael James Collins (University of Kent), Dr Bianca Leggett ( Birkbeck), Dr Martin Eve (University of Lincoln), Dr Zara Dinnen (University of Birmingham) and Dr Daniel O'Gorman (Royal Holloway). The panellists are editors and contributors to the critically-acclaimed journal of 21st-century literary criticism, Alluvium, which will be celebrating its second birthday. Join us for informed discussion, insights into online publishing and setting up a journal, as well as celebratory drinks and cake. Suitable for anyone with an interest in contemporary literary criticism, publishing, and the future of online commentary and debate.

    Reserve your free place for 'The Way We Read Now' here.