Birkbeck Arts Week 2013
Arts Week 2013 promises to be our best yet. For the first time we are able to make full use of the dedicated new exhibition and performance spaces completed this year, thanks to the generosity of our alumni, to showcase the exciting research and teaching carried out by the School of Arts. This year our focus is on theatre, as we celebrate the launch of our state-of-the-art practice and performance space with a series of public performances featuring work by students and teachers on our theatre and creative writing programmes and Research Fellows associated with Birkbeck’s Centre for Contemporary Theatre. Highlights include artist Tom Lyall’s one-man science fiction epic DEFRAG_, and Andrew McKinnon’s staging of Martin Lewton’s Handel’s Cross, fresh from its world première in Dublin. Audiences are invited to participate in panel discussions on the sensory world of Renaissance theatre (with colleagues from the Globe, with whom Birkbeck offers an innovative MA), on voluntary labour in the arts, and on adaptations of film texts for the theatre.
Birkbeck’s long-standing reputation for field-defining research and teaching in film has been given a new platform with the launch of the Birkbeck Institute of the Moving Image (BIMI), under the Directorship of Laura Mulvey, earlier this year. Our award-winning cinema is the venue for a varied programme of screenings and discussions with practitioners, including experimental film-makers John Smith, Mark Lewis and Birkbeck alumna Emma-Louise Williams, and writers David Campany and Michael Rosen. Films shown encompass locations and cultures as different as Hackney and Brazil, reflecting our diverse expertise in screen studies, from local London-based film to world cinema. The visual arts are also celebrated in a talk by Tate Britain curator Martin Myrone, who will discuss the Sublime as spectacle in relation to recent exhibitions on the Gothic and on John Martin.
The School’s new arts space, the Peltz Room, is the setting for a number of readings, discussions, performances and exhibitions that take place throughout the week, show-casing how Birkbeck leads the field in practice-based research in the arts. And our other beautifully restored heritage room, the Keynes Library, plays host to a series of literary panels and discussions. Visitors will have an opportunity to find out about our programmes in dance and music, and also to learn about creative writing at Birkbeck, through the Writers’ Hub Hubbub event, and a panel on ‘Getting Published in the Digital Age’. Birkbeck lecturer in creative writing, Richard Hamblyn, author of The Art of Science (2011), will chair a symposium on science and writing, and two guided tours, one of Bloomsbury’s Squares and the other themed around urban media, offer a literal take on our sense of the School as a constellation of the arts at the heart of a vibrant city with which it is always connected. Arts Week will end, like many an evening at Birkbeck after classes, in the pub, with a pre-match panel on literature and football at the College Arms. All in all, it promises to be a wonderful week for the arts. And who will win this year’s competition, on Bloomsbury Squares?
Dean of Arts