Culture and Crisis in Portugal

Venue: Birkbeck School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square
Booking details: Free entry; booking required

No one seemed to be prepared for this. Ten years ago, progress was still taken for granted and a worse future looked as unthinkable as the need to go back to past forms of representation and activism. But then came austerity, a generalized attack on public services and the intervention of foreign financial institutions. Below the international context of economic disruption and neo-liberal orthodoxy, life itself was suddenly deteriorated with the collapse of familiar forms of sociability and political imaginary. 

The event Culture and Crisis will bring together artists, activists, films, videos and other cultural forms that somehow tried to respond to austerity in Portugal and other southern European countries in the last decade. Through a series of debates and screenings, we will analyse both the ways in which cultural forms were able to come up with reliable accounts on contemporary events and evaluate society’s ability to reinvent life and politics in challenging times.

Attendance is free. Book here:


1 June, Thursday 

  • 2pm – Notas de Campo, Catarina Botelho (Portugal, 2016), Malet Street, room B20
  • 3pm/5pm – Round Table – Activism and Crisis, Malet Street, room B20 with Guya Accornero (Political Scientist, CIES/IUL, Lisbon), Kostis Kornetis (Historian, Universidad Carlos III, Madrid), Ricardo Noronha (Historian, New University of Lisbon)
    Chair: Pedro Ramos Pinto, (Historian, University of Cambridge)
  • 7pm – 9pm – Round Table – Culture and Austerity, Gordon Square, G01 with Catarina Botelho (photographer, filmmaker, Lisbon/Barcelona), Miguel Cardoso (poet, Lisbon), Marina Vishmidt (writer, editor and critic, Goldsmith, London), João Fazenda (illustrator)
    Chair: Luis Trindade (Historian, Birkbeck, London)

2 June, Friday

  • 12am/2pm – Revolução Industrial, Tiago Hespanha and Frederico Lobo (Portugal, 2014), Birkbeck Cinema
  • 2pm/5pm – Arabian Nights, vol. 1, Miguel Gomes (Portugal, 2015) , Birkbeck Cinema
  • 6pm/8pm – Vida activa, Susana Nobre (Portugal, 2013), Gordon Square B04

3 June, Saturday

  • 10.30pm – Arabian Nights, vol. 2, Miguel Gomes (Portugal, 2015), Birkbeck Cinema
  • 2pm – Arabian Nights, vol. 3, Miguel Gomes (Portugal, 2015), Birkbeck Cinema
  • 5pm – Final Debate – The crisis isn’t over yet. Chair: Patrícia Brás, (critic, Birkbeck, London), Dean Kenning (artist, critic, Kingston University & Central Saint Martins, London)

Sponsored by
Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image (BIMI)
Camões - Instituto da Cooperação e da Língua 
Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies (CILAVS)