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Arts Week 2017: Thursday 18 May

John Beverley's masterclass: the politics of theory

    When? 2pm-5pm
    Where? Cinema, 43 Gordon Square

    Join us for the second of three masterclasses run by Professor John Beverley (University of Pittsburgh), renowned scholar of Hispanic literature. This class will use cultural studies and subaltern studies to explore crucial issues in identity, critical theory, politics and the arts, ranging from the status of cultural studies in the academy, to the emergence of discourses of neoconservatism in the Latin American world. This series marks the inauguration of a scholarly exchange between Birkbeck’s Iberian and Latin American Studies scholars and the University of Pittsburgh.

    This is the second event of three sessions held on Wednesday 17, Thursday 18 and Monday 22 May.

    Book your free place for John Beverley's masterclass via Eventbrite.

Stories from the birthing room

    When? 6pm-9pm
    Where? Room G04, 43 Gordon Square

    What happened in the early modern birthing room? Though the scene of birth is often understood as secret, a surprising number of texts tell us its story. Scripted and directed by Emma Whipday (UCL), actors perform writings from seventeenth-century courtrooms, plays and songs to disclose how women understood birth. The performance will be followed by a discussion with the director, the actors and the academics who supplied the texts – Laura Gowing (King’s College London) and Birkbeck’s Isabel Davis and Sue Wiseman.

    In the afternoon, the London Renaissance Seminar will be holding a discussion on the same topic, featuring contributions from various scholars including Leah Astbury (University of Cambridge). All are welcome. See full details here.

    Book your free place for 'Stories from the birthing room' via Eventbrite.

Mr A moves in mysterious ways: artists from the Adamson Collection

    When? 6pm-8:30pm
    Cinema and Peltz Gallery, 43 Gordon Square

    In association with the Bethlem Gallery, join us for a panel discussion introducing a new exhibition of works from the Adamson Collection on show in Birkbeck’s Peltz Gallery. The Adamson Collection is an internationally renowned archive of art objects made by residents of a long-stay British psychiatric hospital between 1946 and 1981, under the guidance of art-therapy pioneer Edward Adamson. This is a rare opportunity to encounter these important works.

    Book your free place for 'Mr A moves in mysterious ways' via Eventbrite

Double Book Launch: Radical French Writers

He Doesn't Talk Politics Anymore: the role of politics in contemporary US fiction

Speaking in brogues

    When? 7.40pm-9pm
    Where? Room B04, 43 Gordon Square

    Universities tend to be multilingual communities, and for the most part, we teach and study in English. Do the sounds, rhythms and locutions of many mother tongues, echoing through our conversations, help us - and help others who are coming here - to feel at home? What role can language play in a period of increasing tensions over immigration and Europe? Maria Aristodemou (Birkbeck), Mattia Gallotti (School of Advanced Study, University of London), and Rut Blees (UCL) Luxemburg (Royal College of Art) will go for a ramble through these topics with Birkbeck’s Marina Warner.

    Book your free place for 'Speaking in brogues' via Eventbrite

Four radical poets: book launch

    When? 7.30pm-9pm
    Where? Mayday Rooms, 88 Fleet St, EC4Y 1DH (entrance in Bride Lane)

    Four poets will read from their new books of radical, challenging poetry. Helen Dimos's No Realtor Was Compensated for This Sale takes readers out of socially controlled time into real time. Stephen Mooney's Ratzinger Solo mixes the voices of Trump, Pope Benedict XVI, and Han Solo in order to investigate crossovers of how they present themselves as characters immune to criticism. William Rowe's Collected Poems assert resistance against oppression as a necessary form of art. Verity Spott's Click Way Close Door Say exposes ways in which the language of institutional care traps us.

Eyes, hands, hearts: Anatomy, aesthetics, and the organization of life in the Hunterian Museums

    When? 6pm-7.25pm
    Where? Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square

    What is the place of aesthetics in the foundations of science? A visit to the Hunterian Museums in London or Glasgow will certainly involve gazing upon eerily back-lit glass bottles holding anatomical preparations. This talk examines the work of William Hunter and his younger brother John, two of the most important anatomists of the eighteenth century. Dahlia Porter (University of Glasgow) will assess museum displays of preserved organs alongside manuscript catalogues and plans, plaster casts, chalk drawings, and engravings – visual resources which contributed to the emergence of comparative anatomy.

    Book your free place for 'Eyes, hands, hearts' via Eventbrite

Beauty and ugliness as the origin of empathy

    When? 6pm-8pm
    Where? Room G10, 43 Gordon Square

    How do we respond to art – with body, mind or feelings? This performance by Birkbeck’s MFA Theatre Directing students explores the work of aesthetic theorist Vernon Lee (1856-1935) as she experimented with our psycho-physical responses to art. Lee used the newly coined term ‘empathy’ to describe the way we ‘feel into’ objects.  After the performance you will have a chance to discuss these issues with Birkbeck’s Carolyn Burdett, who is currently writing a book about the origins of empathy.

    Book your free place for 'Beauty and ugliness' via Eventbrite.

Landscape and power

The Sublime Real: painful excitements in eighteenth-century art and criticism

    When? 7.40-9pm
    Where? Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square

    This talk on the slippery relations between art and reality starts from a much misunderstood paragraph on ‘real sympathy’ in Edmund Burke. Speaker Aris Sarafianos (University of Ioannina, and visiting research fellow at Birkbeck) investigates the many interpretations and transformations of real sympathy in cases as diverse as George Stubbs’s paintings, William Hunter’s anatomical lectures at the Royal Academy, Diderot’s writings, De Loutherbourg’s theatrical machines and Charles Bell’s surgical drawings. What can these tell us about the powerful, treacherous and mixed sensations associated with the ‘real’ in art?

    Book your free place for 'The Sublime Real' via Eventbrite.