Birkbeck Alumni Directing New Plays
May13

Birkbeck Alumni Directing New Plays

We're delighted to share some good news about recent Bikrbeck alumni from our MFA Theatre Directing, directed by Rob Swain, Professor of Theatre Practice. Lyndsey Turner, who graduated in 2007, is directing Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood at the Oilver Theatre in the National Theatre. The Covid-secure live performances will run from 16 June – 24 July 2021. Lyndsey was the first woman to win the Olivier award for Best Director and is an associate director of the National Theatre. Info here: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/under-milk-wood Atri Banerjee, who graduated in 2018 and won The Stage Debut award for Directing in 2019, is directing a new production of Harm at the Bush Theatre. This new play by Bruntwood Prize award winner Phoebe Eclair-Powell (WINK, Fury) and starring Kelly Gough (Broadchurch, Marcella), is a thrilling and razor-sharp twisted comedy on the corrosive effects of social media and isolation. Running from 17 May – 26 June 2021, Harm is made possible thanks to the support of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. Info here: https://www.bushtheatre.co.uk/event/harm/ Diane Page, who is a graduate of Birkecbk's BA Theatre Studies and completed the MFA Theatre Directing in 2019, is co-directing Out West with the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre's Artistic Director, Rachel O'Riordan. Out West comprises the world premiere of three new short plays by three of the UK’s leading playwrights – Tanika Gupta, Simon Stephens and Roy Williams and runs from 18 June – 24 July 2021. All rooted in West London, the plays explore race, identity and our sense of place and purpose, presented together as a triple bill. Info here: https://lyric.co.uk/shows/out-west/ Jonathan O'Boyle, who graduated in 2013 and won awards for his production of the musical The Last Five Years, is directing the musical this September as it transfers to West End, having been presented at Southwark Playhouse in 2019. It will run at the Vaudeville Theatre from 23 September 2021 for a limited season. The production at Southwark Playhouse was nominated for eight Offie Awards and won two for Best Director and Best Musical Production. Oli Higginson was nominated for a Stage Debut Award for his performance as Jamie. Info here: https://britishtheatre.com/the-last-five-years-transfers-vaudeville-theatre-23-september-2021/ Congratulations to all of our Birkbeck alumni and we hope that the new productions run smoothly amid Covid restrictions! For more information about Birkbeck's MFA Theatre Directing, please visit the programme's homepage. For more information about the Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre, please visit the centre's...

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Radioastronomy (here comes the Sun)
May11

Radioastronomy (here comes the Sun)

‘Radioastronomy (here comes the Sun)’   Digital practitioner Inês Rebelo (Birkbeck) invites you to contribute to a new digital piece on our nearest star – the Sun.   Where: online, submissions by email When: 12 May until 4 June 2021 ‘Radioastronomy (here comes the Sun)’ uses sound and drawing to evoke an encounter with our closest star. Capturing the Sun’s unheard voice from NASA’s recordings, these otherworldly tunes affect drawings over-layered in time. They remind us of our vital connection with the Sun and become alerts for climate emergency. As part of Birkbeck’s Arts Weeks 2021, ‘Radioastronomy (here comes the Sun)’ invites you to contribute to a new digital piece in the making titled ‘Sunscape’. This new piece takes the form of a collective screensaver where participants submit images to reflect on what we can do to slow down climate-warming caused by humans.    1 – Sun Look at the Sun (not with a naked eye!) Look at the Sun: it’s vital. Its gravity holds our planetary system together. Its energy brings heat, warmth, life in blooming crops, allows us to see in colours of rainbow and can burn to ashes, silently and invisibly. This much we know today: we know we can see the sun – in detail. But, can we hear the Sun? Are we really listening? Listen now.    2 – Emergency  2020 was not only Covid-19 year, it was also, yet again, one of the hottest years on record. Solar radiation levels fluctuate in cycles of eleven years each, going up and down, but the observed warming of past decades is too large to be caused by solar activity alone. Indeed, global scientific consensus recognises that climate change (including rising temperatures and other events) is real and human activities that release polluting gases from burning coal, oil or gas are the main cause. Much like glass walls of a greenhouse, gases in Earth’s atmosphere let the sunlight in but also prevent the Sun’s heat from escaping. As humans continue to add heat-trapping greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide for the most part, our planet heats up to dangerous levels, energetically unbalanced. If this pattern continues unchanged and average global temperatures increase above 1.5°C, the consequences are dangerously unpredictable.  Thank you for listening.    3 – Screensaver Due to the way it is named – screensaver – it is common to believe this techy sounding thing might save energy on a screen. After all, a screen needs energy to emit light. That is how it produces graphics of all sorts. But in fact, a screensaver doesn’t save any energy at all. Alas, like many other things shouting around, big and small, a screensaver is not...

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Writing, Human Rights & Literature
May11

Writing, Human Rights & Literature

      Writing, Rights and Literature (Arts Weeks 2021) When: 18 May 2021, 18:00-19:15 BST Venue: Online (online booking required) Book your place Lyndsey Stonebridge (University of Birmingham) and Julia Bell (Birkbeck) join Agnes Woolley to discuss the need for literary communities, political truth telling, and the relationship between writing and rights. What is the relationship between writing and rights? Join Prof. Lyndsey Stonebridge and Birkbeck’s Julia Bell to debate the burning issue of how literature can register – but also shape a wider and more creative recognition of what ‘rights’ implies. Chaired by Dr Agnes Woolley (Birkbeck, Director of MA Migration Literatures and Cultures).    Lyndsey Stonebridge’s polemical new book Writing and Righting (OUP, 2020) looks at the connection between literature and human rights, making the case for the moral and political value of literature in rightless times. In conversation with Julia Bell, Lyndsey will discuss the need for literary communities and political truth telling at a time when the language of rights is devalued.    Lyndsey Stonebridge is Interdisciplinary Professor of Humanities and Human Rights at the University of Birmingham. Her recent books include the prizewinning Placeless People: Rights, Writing, and Refugees (OUP, 2018), and The Judicial Imagination: Writing after Nuremberg (EUP, 2011). Lyndsey is currently collaborating on a creative and interdisciplinary project with refugees and host communities in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, Refugee Hosts. A regular broadcaster and media commentator, she has written for The New Statesman, Prospect, and The New Humanist.    Julia Bell is a writer and Reader in Creative Writing at Birkbeck. Her creative work includes poetry, lyric essays, short stories and novels. Her most recent book is Radical Attention: An Essay on the Battle for our Attention in the Age of Distraction (Peninsula Press, 2020).    How to join this event  This event takes place online. You will receive an email one hour before the start of the event with a link to join. The email will come from messenger@bbk.ac.uk – please check your junk/spam inbox if you have not received the email one hour before the start of the event.    Find out more about Arts Weeks 2021 and book more events. To find out more about our MA Migration Literatures and Cultures that Dr Agnes Woolley directs, please click here.   Photo by Seven Shooter on...

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Interactive Narrative Workshop
May06

Interactive Narrative Workshop

Interactive Narrative Workshop with Dr Alan Trotter & Dr Mark Blacklock (Arts Weeks 2021) Starts: 13 May 2021, 19:30  Finishes: 20 May 2021, 20:30  Venue: Online  Book your place What is interactive digital narrative and what tools are available to writers? As part of Arts Weeks 2021, Birkbeck is running a series of two hands-on workshops, run by Dr Alan Trotter, author of Muscle (Faber, 2019) and All This Rotting, a digital story for phones, and Dr Mark Blacklock, Senior Lecturer at Birkbeck and the author of the novels Hinton (Granta, 2020) and I'm Jack (Granta, 2015). The workshops are suitable for beginners and will guide participants through first encounters with freely available software tools such as Twine, Twitter Bots Done Quick, and Telescopic Text, while also introducing the history and theory of digital narrative.  These workshops are generously supported by the Experimental Collaborative Humanities Network. Places limited to 20 on a first-come, first-served basis. Attendees must be available for both workshops: 13 May 19.30 20 May 19.30 Booking one ticket gives you access to both workshops. The 20 May workshop features feedback on draft piece made by participants.   Dr Alan Trotter wrote the novel Muscle (Faber, 2019). He studied Philosophy and English Literature at the University of Edinburgh as an undergraduate; he has a Creative Writing MLitt (distinction) and a PhD in English Literature, both from the University of Glasgow. His PhD included creative and critical writing (the dissertation was on what it called 'Body Texts': work in print and electronic literature, that makes unusual use of its form): it was supported by Arts and Humanities Research Council funding throughout, as well as with an AHRC-supported placement at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. His short fiction has been published by Somesuch Stories, Under the Influence, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 3. He has also published a digital story for phones called All This Rotting with Editions at Play (a collaboration between Google Play and the publisher Visual Editions). He has worked for publishers including Penguin, Vintage, Granta, and currently works at Canongate Books, and is writing two novellas.  Dr Mark Blacklock is Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Birkbeck College, University of London, and a novelist. His most recent novel, Hinton (Granta, 2020), was longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize, and described in The Guardian as ‘a singular literary achievement.’ His first novel, I’m Jack, a fictionalised autobiography of Wearside Jack, was published by Granta in 2015 and optioned for a film that was never made. Mark’s monograph, The Emergence of the Fourth Dimension, a literary and cultural history of higher-dimensioned space, was published by Oxford University Press in 2018. The essay ‘Weirding the Void: Higher Spatial Form in Weird Fiction’...

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Aliens, Vampires, Surrogates
Apr22

Aliens, Vampires, Surrogates

                          Online Roundtable Aliens, Vampires, Surrogates: Revolutionising the Gestational Workplace 28 April 2021, 6-7.30pm BST online (booking required)   We’re delighted to welcome Dr Sophie Lewis (Brooklyn Institute for Social Research) and Katie Stone (Birkbeck) who will join Dr Caroline Edwards for a live roundtable discussion of gestational labour. The commodified, often outlawed and invisibilised labour of commercial surrogacy highlights the way in which capitalist biotech moves vulnerable surrogate mothers across borders in a transnational network of business partnership. This gestational workplace – the precarious “pregnancy gig economy” – demands that we reimagine pregnancy, social reproduction, binary gender and the family. We will consider how various monstrous subjects found in utopian and science fiction, from vampires, aliens and parasites to bioengineered Frankensteinian creatures, might offer suggestive glimpses of the kind of gestational communism we all deserve.    Book your ticket here   Speaker bios: Dr Sophie Lewis is a visiting scholar at The Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality and Women at the University of Pennsylvania, and a member of the teaching faculty of the Philadelphia branch of the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. She is the author of Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family (Verso Books, 2019), which Donna Haraway hailed as “the seriously radical cry for full gestational justice that I long for.” Sophie’s scholarship operates in the spheres of trans feminist cultural criticism and queer social reproduction theory, notably around utopian critiques of the family, Marxism, and Black and abolitionist feminisms. Her research currently focuses on the etiologies of eugenic, bioconservative and imperial feminisms, including narratives of so-called white slavery past and present, femonationalism, and trans-exclusionary femocratism. Katie Stone is a PhD student at Birkbeck, University of London. Her thesis explores childhood and utopianism as imagined in science fiction. It seeks to put mainstream science fiction into conversation with feminist, queer and decolonial critical and creative work in order to interrogate the genre’s complicity with various structures of oppression. Katie is co-founder of the research network ‘Utopian Acts’ whose work has been featured in a special issue of Studies in Arts and Humanities Journal which she and Raphael Kabo have edited. Katie has written for Foundation, Fantastika and SFRA Review and she is one of the founding members of the research collective ‘Beyond Gender’. She is on Twitter as @cyborg_feminist and @UtopianActs. Dr Caroline Edwards is Senior Lecturer in Modern & Contemporary Literature at Birkbeck, University of London where she is Director of the Centre for Contemporary Literature. She has published widely on science fiction and utopian literature, contemporary literary form, the philosophy of time, and radical subjectivities. Caroline is author of Utopia and the...

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Transitions 9 Programme
Mar27

Transitions 9 Programme

Transitions 9: New Directions in Comics Studies 8-10 April 2021 Programme (Time zone: BST/UTC+1) THURSDAY 8 April 2021 15:00 – 15:15 Welcome   15:15 – 16:45 Panel 1 1.1: Periodicals 1.2: Bodies Sara Dallavalle Comics Magazines: Not only Comics  but also Criticism  Jonathan Bass The Rube Goldberg Case: The Panel  as Paradigm in Newspaper Comics and  New York Dada Kristian Hellesund Migration in Three Early American  Newspaper Comics Jose L Garcia Politics of Body Prostheses, Disability,  and Replacement in Aaron Diaz’s  Dresden Codak  Sharmistha Chatterjee Examining the Diseased Material  Body in Stitches Eszter Szép Drawing and Transforming the Body  in Ken Dahl’s Monsters   16:45 – 17:00 Break   17:00 – 18:15 Keynote Frames of Thought Dr Nick Sousanis (San Francisco State University)   FRIDAY 9 April 2021 10:00 – 10:15 Day’s Welcome   10:15– 11:45 Panel 2 2.1: Adaptations and Pastiche 2.2: Cultural Memory Audrey Chan Alberto Breccia’s Parody of  Futurist Paintings in Graphic  Narratives Miloš Tasić and Dušan  Stamenkovic Visualising an Oral Epic:  Lobačev’s Comic Book Ženidba  Dušanova Oskari Rantala V for Pissed-offed-ness vs.  Vendetta A case of anti-immigrant  subversion of comics intertexts Jakob F. Dittmar and Anders Høg  Hansen Pasts renewed in new German graphic  storytelling Lena Holec Ravnikar Preservation of Slovene Literary History in  Comics  Hakan Keleş Expanded frame, time and space: 80’s  Urban Atmosphere at Arabacıoğlu’s  “Panorama” Pages   11:45 – 13:30 Panel 3 3.1: Curating, Constructing and  Countering Women's Histories 3.2: Practice-based Research Neha Yadav Whose Line is it Anyway:  Graphic Anthology Drawing the  Line as a Counter-narrative to  Mainstream Rape Reportage in  India Andrea Aramburú-Villavisencio Curating the Ordinary:  Relationality and Affect in Latin  American Women’s  Autobiographical Comics Esther McManus Constructing Inclusive Histories:  Reflections on the temporality of  comics and activist archives Natasa Thoudam In Search of a Form while Inventing a  Language of Subversion through  Stereotypes Daniel Merlin Goodbrey How to Cheat at Comics: Digital  alternatives to traditional techniques for  comic illustration Irina Richards Narrating cultural heritage through comics:  a graphic investigation into witch-hare  folklore of Wales   13:30 – 14:00 Lunch   14:00 – 15:30 Panel 4 4.1 4.2 Individual & Community Driss Faddouli Moroccan Facebookers and the  Visual Rhetoric of Political  Negation Ibtisam Ahmed The Utopian Critical Mass of  Spider-Man  Barbara Eggert Family Issues In Early Moomin  Comic Strips Processes and products of drawing Clari Searle Creating ‘Funnies’: how to build an  effective creative process for Higher  Education pedagogy Peter Hebden The Stuff of Dreams: Objects and  Disorientation in the work of Julie Doucet  and Anders Nilsen Dom Davies Fracking Hell! Joe Sacco’s Seismic Lines   15:30 – 15:45 Break   15:45 – 17:00 Keynote Comics Studies and Education in...

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