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Arts Week 2013

Monday 20 May 2013

  • The ruin as fragment in contemporary art: An open discussion on the concept of the ruin as applied to contemporary art, with Victoria Arney (artist), Cecilia Jardemar (artist/ writer) and Victoria Ahrens (artist/curator), looking at the ways artists used fragmentation both as a concept and process for making work. 
  • Spectacle and The Sublime: Romantic visuality and contemporary exhibition culture: Tate Britain Curator Martin Myrone discussed the Sublime as spectacle in relation to the exhibitions 'Gothic Nightmares' (2006) and 'John Martin: Apocalypse' (2011-12). Martin's writings and exhibitions explored Romantic painting as spectacle, revisiting and reinventing the multisensorial practices and possibilities of Romantic period culture.
  • Tom Lyall presents DEFRAG_ a one man science fuiction epic: Tom Lyall's DEFRAG_ spun a tender story of lost love and artificial intelligence into a global fable spanning the collapse of civilisation and the dawn of a transcendental posthuman technofuture. Artist Tom Lyall is an Honorary Research Fellow of the Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre. His new work DEFRAG_ premiered as part of the Futureshock Festival at Camden People's Theatre in 2012. 
  • Science and writing symposium: This symposium brought together creative writers, scientists, science writers, academics and their students to explore some of the aesthetic and intellectual concerns that science raises as a topic for creative writing. 
  • Amy Levy and controversy: This panel discussed some of the more controversial aspects of reading the nineteenth-century British poet and novelist Amy Levy, including the provocations that her writing and its reception have posed to questions of politics and race.
  • Writers Hub: Elizabeth Freemantel and Christie Watson: Hubbub is a reading event which showcased new writing from Birkbeck's creative writing courses and established authors, organised by the Writers' Hub. The Arts Week Hubbub featured readings by selected students and alumni as well as special guests.

Tuesday 21 May 2013

  • Dance insight evening: The Dance Programme at Birkbeck opened the studio doors for you to see first hand how our dancers taken on the challenge of their technical training and creative explorations.  This floor show allowed you to see how this fast moving, high-powered contemporary class tests physical strength, endurance and the dancer’s ability to rapidly shift from standing to low flying movements into the floor.
  • Tour of The Day Remains exhibition with the curator: This was an opportunity to tour the exhibition with the curator (Victoria Ahrens) and find out how the artists were chosen and how their work fits into the themes of the show. The audience had the opportunity to speak to each of the artists in person about their work, and discover how they go about making the individual pieces. 
  • Reading American Modernist poetry: Writers from the United States made vital contributions to the development of poetry in the twentieth century. This seminar demonstrated a live exercise in the close reading of American Modernist poetry. Dr Joseph Brooker led a discussion of poetic works by William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) and Louis Zukofsky (1904-1978). 
  • Theatre: To pay or not to pay? Panel discussion on voluntary labour in the arts: A panel and audience discussion with guests including Anthony Biggs (artistic director of Jermyn Street Theatre) and Paul Fleming (Equity) focused on the prevalence of voluntary work in the theatre sector and unpaid labour in the career sector among other topics.
  • Victorian dolls and material play: This presentation by Eugenia Gonzalez-Posse (Birkbeck) explored the Victorian fascination with the doll and the various ways in which this most fraught and symbolic of objects was brought to life in literary and cultural texts of the period. It considered the doll's imaginative uses and what its persistent animation can tell us about Victorian attitudes towards childhood, imagination and the material world.
  • Shakespeare and the senses: In the Renaissance and in contemporary performance these plays have designs on our senses. Attendees explored sound-scapes and sight with Dr Derek Dunne (Globe), Mr Simon Smith and Dr Gillian Woods (Birkbeck), experts in the visual who spoke about seeing art on Shakespeare’s stage. 
  • Film maker Mark Lewis in conversation with writer David Campany: Mark Lewis makes films and digital works. By using film as a gallery medium, he investigated the process of cinema production while also taking into consideration the wider tradition of photography and art. In 2010 he curated 'Anonymes: Unnamed America in Photography and Film', for Le Bal in Paris.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

  •  Remembering myself: Memory and identity in the Renaissance: Adam Smyth, Susan Wiseman and Gillian Woods (Birkbeck)examined the ways in which Renaissance people remembered themselves and some of the issues they explored when they did so.
  • Casta paintings and the colonial body: Embodying race in Spanish America: How was 'race' articulated in the Spanish colonies? Professor Rebecca Earle (Warwick) discussed the significance of clothing, diet and other cultural factors in the construction of 'racial' categories in colonial Spanish America.
  • Messianism and social struggle: Representations of Canudos in Brazilian Cinema: The link between messianism and political resistance is revisited in many movies from the 1960s Cinema Novo movement, which sought to denounce social inequalities in Brazil. In films such as The Guns (Ruy Guerra, 1964) or Black God, White Devil (Glauber Rocha, 1964) religion is portrayed ambiguously: it functions both as response of the people to the precariousness of their lives and as an alienating factor that prevents them from rebelling against those who cause their suffering.
  • The Mediated City: A Tour of media and mediation in West End London: This tour explored West End London as a lens into the appearance of media in city life and its environments. Though a range of buildings and neighbourhoods, the tour focuses on observing some more unconventional forms of urban media and communication. 
  • Theatre Scratch Night: sharing of new student work: Students from theatre and creative writing programmes shared their work in progress, including the first showing of several short new plays. 
  • Writers Hub presents: Getting published in the Digital Age: As a writer it was difficult enough to get the attention of the publishing industry in the good old days of publishing, but the rise of the eReader and the switch to digital has changed the game. Julia Bell chaired a panel of industry experts including Isobel Dixon (Director, Blake Friedmann Literary Agency), Ted Hodkinson (Online Editor, Granta) and Rebecca Swift (Director, The Literary Consultancy) to discuss the future of digital for writers and self-publishing.

Thursday 23 May 2013

  • A walking tour - Bloomsbury's squares: a London in miniature (alumni event): London's garden squares are one example of the city's continual experiment in asset-led communal living. Intriguingly their form instituted them both as spaces of enclosure and as meeting points of a wider London. Dr Victoria McNeile guided a walk through some of the Bloomsbury squares to consider the diversity of representation that have animated these seemingly well-ordered enclaves.
  • Mute Poetry, Speaking Pictures: A book and some afterthoughts: Professor Barkan (University of Princeton) discussed his recent work on the relationship between words and pictures from antiquity to the Renaissance.
  • Composers at Birkbeck: An exciting showcase of approachable new music by composers past and present from the Birkbeck 'Writing Music' courses, planned and organised by students studying 'Staging Music Events and Festivals' from the MA in Arts Management.
  • Blake and Romantic material culture: The Illuminated Books produced in Blake's 'printing house in hell' offered a method of printing which combines the painter and the poet. This MA Romantic Studies taster explored Blake's work as a poet and painter, the material cultures of the Romantic book, and Romantic practices of reading and viewing.
  • John Smith's Hackney films: The Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image (BIMI) presented three works by experimental film-maker John Smith with a discussion by the film-maker following.
  • Theatre North presents: Handel's Cross: Handel's Cross was a piece by the acclaimed writer and live artist Martin Lewton. Staged by lecturer Andrew McKinnon, this performance at Birkbeck followed its world premiere at the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival in May 2013. The performance contained very explicit adult material and nudity throughout.
  • An Evening with the Good Doctor: To celebrate Colin Teevan's acclaimed recent reworking Christopher Marlowe's Dr Faustus, a panel discussion on its relevance today.
  • Film screening: Under the Cranes (2011, UK): A screening followed by a Q&A with writer Michael Rosen and film-maker and Birkbeck alumni Emma-Louise Williams. The film posed questions about the nature of regeneration in the recent period and explores the theme of migration, showing some of the struggles that people go through to secure a place for themselves (fighting racists if necessary), but also how migration brings diversity and the seeds of renewal.
  • Natural History and the Rights of Woman: Mary Wollstonecraft and science: Professor Sharon Ruston (University of Salford) discussed Mary Wollstonecraft and science: during the two-year period of the composition and publication of her Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), Mary Wollstonecraft, the mother of Mary Shelley and early advocate of women's rights, read and reviewed a number of important works of natural history for a periodical called the Analytical Review
  • The individual, the family and the community: John Rignell introduced a screening of Claire Denis's 2008 film 35 Shots of Rum

Friday 24 May 2013

  • Dance insight evening: The Dance Programme opened the studio doors for guests to see first hand how our dancers taken on the challenge of their technical training and creative explorations. In this choreography class attendees saw a short but full creative process from movement exploration to composition then performance and feedback.
  • From screen to stage: adapting film texts for the theatre - a screening, workshop and panel discussion: From early modern drama to the musical theatre of the twentieth century, stage plays have frequently been realised on film. Less often, films have been adapted to create pieces of theatre. This half-day symposium invited participants to explore practices and questions emerging from the adaptation of film texts for the theatre. David Eldridge (award-winning writer and Birkbeck lecturer in Creative Writing), Jack Thorne (award-winning writer, whose adaptation of Let The Right One In for the National Theatre of Scotland opens in June 2013) and Marla Rubin (producer of the theatrical adaptations of both Festen and Let The Right One In) participated. 

Saturday 25 May 2013

  • 'Literature and Football': A Pre-Match Panel (followed by the Champions League final): What can Zidane’s headbutt teach us about Camus? What is Shakespeare implying when Kent calls Oswald a 'base football player' (King Lear)? Why is Joey Barton like Ezra Pound? Expert panellists Dennis Duncan, Joe Brooker, Adam Smyth and James Kidd explored these ideas as they discussed the relationship between football and literature. The event was followed by a screening of the Champions League final.