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Dean's Welcome

I would like to extend the warmest of welcomes to you all to the 2023 Arts Week. This is the eleventh year in which we have hosted this celebration of the creativity and intellectual endeavour of Birkbeck’s School of Arts and our engagement with Arts research and practice beyond our own institution. It is a pleasure to welcome you whether you are attending in-person in Bloomsbury or joining us for one of our exciting online events.

All of our events are exciting, innovative and designed to give you some unexpected and challenging insights into the Arts across a broad range of disciplines and topics and they encompass walks, talks, workshops, screenings and more. I can’t mention them all here, so I’ll just single out a few that have caught my eye. On 24 April you can join Professor Anthony Bale on a walking tour to discover traces of the lost medieval town of Westminster. On 25 April you can take part in an interactive workshop on our connection to trees, inspired by former Gordon Square resident Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway. From 27-28 April, you can join the two-day conference 'Struggles in the Concrete: Architecture, Architectural History and the Marxist Tradition' hosted by Birkbeck's Architecture, Space and Society Centre. And on 28 April we invite you to a lecture by writer, theorist and filmmaker Kodwo Eshun who will be exploring the aesthetic of Black Industrialism in the work of musical artist Trevor Mathison.

In showcasing our work, Arts Week gives an insight into how some of the research that contributed to our success in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (the national exercise that assesses academic research across all disciplines) is being taken forward and what new projects we and our collaborators are working on. In REF 2021, our Department of English, Theatre and Creative Writing was ranked second in the country (and first in London), with 72% of research rated 4* (the highest grade). The Departments of History of Art and Film, Media and Cultural Studies together contributed to the Art and Design submission, coming fourth in the country (and second in London), with 69% of their research rated 4*. Our Department of Languages, Cultures and Applied Linguistics also did well with 76% of their research ranked in the highest 4* and 3* categories. Arts Week is a celebration of the breadth and depth of the research in our School which has contributed to past successes and which propels us towards future challenges.

Whichever of our events you choose to attend, I hope you will be inspired by the work that we, our colleagues and collaborators do.

Professor Joanne Leal, Interim Executive Dean of Arts and Professor of German Studies, Birkbeck, University of London