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Dean's Welcome

Welcome to Birkbeck Arts Weeks 2021: online, our arts festival running over several weeks

Arts Weeks are an opportunity for us to showcase, and for you to experience, the creativity of research and teaching in the arts and humanities at Birkbeck. Birkbeck is one of London’s leading hubs for arts teaching and research, across a wide range of disciplines – languages and literatures, art, film and media, performance and writing, curating and arts management, and much more. For the second year, the Arts Weeks events are online, allowing us to connect and communicate a programme of great variety, from the local to the global. Some events can be experienced live, while others you can enjoy at any time. See research come to life, and get to know the many ways of thinking and creating that animate Birkbeck’s School of Arts. The last year has, of course, been full of extraordinary challenge, sadness, and change, and many of our events are in conversation with the times in which we are living. 

The Arts Weeks programme is rich and varied; it includes Birkbeck academics and students as well as our colleagues and collaborators across London, the UK, and the world. It includes reflections on the constraints we have lived with and the things we haven’t been able to do over the last year – for instance, the Jarman Lab’s films of working in solitude at home; Jeremy Atherton Lin’s reflections (7 May) on the culture of gay bars, or Leslie Topp and Miloš Kosec’s series of events on Pandemic Spaces and barriers to movement. But many presentations also have an eye to the future, and to recovery – for instance, Building Back Better (11 May) will discuss the support of London’s vital theatre industry and its freelancers, while writers Lily Dunn and Zoe Gilbert (3 May) reflect on individual recovery through their collection of recovery stories. More broadly, Arts Weeks offers timely reflections on cultural politics, the role of the imagination, and the virtues and values of creativity in our uncertain times. 

Week 1 of Arts Weeks starts on 3 May 2021 – all events, podcasts, videos and blogs are free and open to the public. Please join us for as many of these events as you can, and learn about the vibrant culture we have in the School of Arts. It is a great pleasure to welcome you to Arts Week 2021 and to Birkbeck and the School of Arts!   

Professor Anthony Bale 

Dean of Arts, Birkbeck