Past events

Archive Fever

14:00 - 17:00 12 December 2023

**Due to illness, please note that the workshop element of this event has been postponed until Semes...

Voices of our National Health Service: Building a national oral history archive of the NHS and Covid-19

14:00 - 15:00 23 November 2023

Between 2017 and 2022, the NHS at 70 and NHS Voices of Covid-19 projects, based at the University of...

Scarcity: A History from the Origins of Capitalism to the Climate Crisis

16:00 - 18:00 7 November 2023

Modern economics presumes a particular view of scarcity, in which human beings are innately possesse...

ENSFR Annual Conference. Short Fiction: Landscape and Temporality.

23 - 25 October 2023

This conference will aim to consider the relationship that the short story form has in its represent...

For the Record: Songs as archive, and other entanglements

16:00 - 17:30 18 October 2023

This unique presentation is the latest in a series of Entanglements devised by theatre-makers Karen...

Applied Creative Practice 3: Collaborations with cultural partners.

10:00 - 12:00 5 June 2023

This seminar is the third of a series of three linked workshops which will bring together researcher...

Dai-Oji : The Oji Paper Company and Japan's Pulp Pipelines in Asia (CIDRAL Visiting Fellow Keynote Talk)

15:00 - 17:00 25 May 2023

This talk explores the tangled histories of green imperialism and green capitalism in Asia through t...

Applied Creative Practice 2: Bringing applied creativity into teaching and learning.

10:00 - 12:00 15 May 2023

This seminar is the second of a series of three linked workshops which will bring together researche...

Trees and Forests in the Roman World (CIDRAL)

09:30 - 15:00 10 May 2023

The peoples of the ancient Mediterranean world relied heavily on wood for many purposes, from engine...

Guardians of the Forest - Workshop by Francesca Cavallo (Kent) and Daiara Tukano (Indigenous artist and activist)

10:00 - 15:00 27 April 2023

Exploring ideas of guardianship and stewardship of borders within forests, this four-hour workshop w...

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Past events by year


Finance and the Market / Cultures and Temporalities

The theme for CIDRAL 2015-16 Semester One was Finance and the Market and the theme for Semester Two was Cultures and Temporalities. Events included open lectures, film screenings, conversations between visiting speakers and colleagues at the University of Manchester, postgraduate masterclasses and other research dialogues of various kinds.

Speakers in Semester Two included Mary Poovey (New York University), Isaac Julien (filmmaker), Jeremy Gilbert (University of East London), and Benoît Peeters (biographer of Jacques Derrida).

Posters of the semester's events appear below and can be downloaded as PDFs.


Sensing the Arts

The theme for CIDRAL 2014-15 Semester Two was Sensing the Arts. Events included open lectures, film screenings, conversations between visiting speakers and colleagues at the University of Manchester, postgraduate masterclasses and other research dialogues of various kinds.

Speakers in Semester Two included Adam Phillips (Freelance psychoanalyst and writer), Denise Riley (UEA), Susan Stewart (Princeton), Charles Zika (Melbourne), Elisabeth Bronfen (Zurich), Annettte Kuhn (QMUL) and Dick Hebdige (UC Santa Barbara).

Below are posters for download of the year's events. Please note: all files are PDFs.


Semester 2: Ruins

Our exciting programme of CIDRAL events in Semester 2 (February-June 2014) will be organised around the theme of Ruins.

The programme opens on Tuesday, 18 February with curator and writer Professor Brian Dillon (Royal College of Arts) on the subject of ‘Ruin Lust’.

Then Professor Tom Safley (History, University of Pennsylvania) will speak to the topic: ‘What Ruin? Of Insolvency and Scandal, Fortunes and Families in Early Modern Economic Life’ on Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 March. 

In April, Paul Heggarty (Linguistics, Max Plank Institute, University of Leipzig) will speak on ‘Ruins and beyond: converging archaeology, genes and language, for a richer tale of our origins’ on Tuesday 1 and Wednesday 2 April.

Two speakers from the University of Exeter, Professor Kate Fisher(Director of Centre for Medical History) and Dr Rebecca Langlands (Classics) will then join us on Tuesday 6 May and Wednesday 7 May, speaking on the subject of 'Pansexual Provocations among the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum'.

There will be a closing conference (Wednesday 14 May, all day), entitled ‘Big ruins: the aesthetics and politics of supersized decay’ which will coincide with academic and performer Professor Svetlana Boym’s visit from Harvard onTuesday 13 May  The organisers of this conference include: Dr Paul Dobraszczyk (AHVS) and Dr Clare O'Dowd (AHVS), and Dr Matthew Philpotts (German and Divisional Head of Language and Intercultural Studies).

Alongside these public lectures, CIDRAL will continue to run its highly successful series of Theory Intensives for postgraduate students and academic staff.

Finally, the next CIDRAL book launch for new publications by colleagues in SALC will be held in April 2014 (date tbc). 

Semester 1: Border Crossings

In the first Semester, events were themed were on the subject of Border Crossings. This topic was chosen to speak to an interest across the disciplines in the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures in the relationship between place and politics, and between location and culture. Our concern was with how borders are materialised historically and geographically through practices of exchange and mediation. Building a dialogue between languages, literatures, histories and the arts, these events will raise questions about how we conceptualise identity, belonging, displacement and diaspora.

Speaker included Professor Rey Chow (Duke University), Professor Li Wei (Birkbeck) and Professor Max Silverman (Leeds). To close the theme of Border Crossings, CIDRAL co-hosted a screening and discussion (with the filmmakers) of The Stuart Hall Project (2013, John Akomfrah) - a film about Britain’s leading black public intellectual (one of the founding figures of the New Left and of Cultural Studies in Birmingham who made over 8,000 hours of broadcast material) puts Hall’s ideas and Miles Davis' music into dialogue to reflect upon British culture and politics in the second half of the twentieth century.


Postgraduate masterclass
Professor Thomas Elsaesser on WG Sebald, with respondents Janet Wolff (Professor Emerita, EAC) and Dr Monica Pearl (EAC)

The three recommended readings are:

  • Mark M Anderson, “Documents, Photography, Postmemory: Alexander Kluge, W. G. Sebald, and the German Family,” Poetics Today, Volume 29, Number 1 (2008), 129-153
  • W.G. Sebald, “Max Ferber” from The Emigrants (NY: New Directions, 1997) pp.149-237
  • W.G Sebald, After Nature (London: Random House, 2002) pp.96-102

There is also a supplementary reading:

  • W.G. Sebald, “Dr Henry Selwyn” from The Emigrants (NY: New Directions, 1997), 1-24

How to Create a Public Intellectual, Posthumously
Professor Thomas Elsaesser (University of Amsterdam/IKKM Weimar)

According to Richard Posner, public intellectuals - eminent persons able to speak with authority to the public on the political and moral issues of the day - are in decline, pushed aside by pundits, opinionators or ideologically driven spin masters. Posner thinks this trend can be reversed, and maybe even reverse-engineered, using the very media that have undermined both quality control and trust, to service a need that clearly still exists.

My lecture is about a more modest quest: the circumstantially imposed obligation, but subsequently quite happily assumed opportunity to bring back from oblivion a member of my own family: neither prophet nor public intellectual, yet a voice in the wilderness nonetheless, barely heard between ideological extremes, considered by many not of his time, but may be therefore of ours. I shall focus on the sources and traces, the people and places that I encountered in my (most likely) failed attempt to re-invent a life with the means and media of today.

Thomas Elsaesser is Professor Emeritus of Film and Television Studies at the University of Amsterdam and from 2006 to 2012 was Visiting Professor at Yale University. He has authored, edited and co-edited some twenty volumes, many of which have been translated, notably into German, French, Italian, Hungarian, Korean and Chinese. His most recent books as author are Film Theory: An Introduction Through the Senses (New York: Routledge, 2010, with Malte Hagener) and The Persistence of Hollywood (New York: Routledge, 2012).

Theory Intensive
Dr David Alderson (EAC) On Herbert Marcuse

Recovering Marcuse?

Marcuse's writings were once highly influential on the Left, but have subsequently come to be regarded as typical of a Left-humanist commitment to liberation now regarded as suspect. This session will introduce some of Marcuse's key ideas in a sympathetic, yet critical, way, before going on to look at one of his most (in)famous essays and a brief lecture that outlines his hopes for a more liberated future. We shall consider whether Marcuse's work might be productively recovered.

The recommended readings are:

  • Herbert Marcuse, "Freedom and the Historical Imperative [1969]" in From Luther to Popper (London: Verso, 1972) pp.209-223
  • Herbert Marcuse, "Repressive Tolerance" in Robert Paul Wolff, Barrington Moore jr., Herbert Marcuse, A Critique of Pure Tolerance (London: Jonathan Cape, 1969) pp.95-137

Revisiting the Two Cultures Debate: Affect, Economics and Science (Open lecture)
Dr Michael Mack (University of Durham) 

Where postmodern art and culture remain aloof or cool, contemporary society seems to have fallen prey to various anxieties and panics which grow out of an growing sense of crisis, of instability and uncertainty. The recent financial crises and their implications for increasing levels of anxiety in everyday life have lead to a change in the structure of feeling.

As part of this change in the structure of feeling, we are becoming increasingly aware of the precarious foundations of life. Judith Butler has turned her attention to what it means to live precariously. Part of this recent preoccupation with the precarious is a re-discovery of care rather than postmodern indifference and aloofness. Lauren Berlant—a leading thinker of contemporary affect theory—has thus argued for a new aesthetics that does justice to what she calls the crisis ordinariness which characterizes life in the early twentieth century. Against this background, this talk establishes the economic and cultural break of contemporary society with the optimistic belief in economic and scientific improvements which has characterized not only modern but also postmodern theory.

Dr. Michael Mack is reader in the Department of English Studies in the University of Durham. His research focuses on the mind-body divide, questions of stereotyping and exclusion (and integrative diversity) in literature, philosophy and medicine. Dr. Mack has taught at the University of Chicago, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of Calgary, Syracuse University, the University of Sydney and the University of Nottingham. He has published three books: "Anthropology as Memory. Elias Canetti and Franz Baermann Steiner's Responses to the Shoah" (2001); "German Idealism and the Jew. The Inner Anti-Semitism of Philosophy and German Jewish Responses" (2003), which was shortlisted for the prestigious Koret Jewish Book Award 2004 and has been produced as an audio book (2009); and "Spinoza and the Specters of Modernity: the hidden Enlightenment of Diversity from Spinoza to Freud" (2010).

Theory Intensive
Dr Michael Mack (University of Durham) On Hannah Arendt

The recommended readings are:

  • Michael Mack, “The Holocaust and Hannah Arendt’s Philosophical Critique of Philosophy: Eichmann in Jerusalem” in New German Critique 106, Vol. 36, No. 1, Winter 2009.
  • Hannah Arendt, “Understanding and Politics “ in Essays in Understanding: 1930-1954: Formation, Exile and Totalitarianism, edited by Jerome Kohn, (New York: Schocken, 1994) pp. 307-327

Additional readings:

  • “On the Nature of Totalitarianism” and “Reply to Eric Voegelin” in Essays in Understanding: 1930-1954: Formation, Exile and Totalitarianism, edited by Jerome Kohn, (New York: Schocken, 1994) pp. 328-360; pp. 401-408

Theory Intensive
Professor Vicki Kirby (UNSW, Australia) and Professor Joanna Hodge (MMU) On Derrida and Technicity

Originary Humanicity: on supplements and ciphers

An enduring theme in Jacques Derrida’s work has been an interrogation of the special properties and capacities that have come to define human species being against its others. In the seminal meditation, “The Writing Lesson,” we observe a scene of first contact, documented by Claude Lévi-Strauss as the coming of writing (hierarchy, politics, technology and deception) to the naïve and unsuspecting Nambikwara. It is through the acquisition of writing and its ability to mediate and transform Nature’s raw experience that this Amazon tribe will inevitably forfeit Eden and join humanity proper. Unfortunately, the more provocative implications in Derrida’s engagement with the nature/culture distinction in Tristes Tropiques are rarely explored. Instead, the lesson of “The Writing Lesson” goes something like this: Lévi-Strauss is shown to be quite wrong, indeed, ethnocentric, in his assumption that the Nambikwara are without writing. This error is corrected by revealing that speech (self-presence, Nature) was always writing (mediation, dissembling, Culture); in other words, these purportedly primitive people were never alien and outside what constitutes the exceptional complexity of humanity’s sovereign identity. Can we be satisfied with this anthropocentrism that secures technology/writing as properly human? And if anthropocentrism is not something we can simply diagnose and dispense with, indeed, if we might risk suggesting that there is “no outside anthropocentrism,” what then?

The recommended readings are:

  • “Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences” and “Discussion.” In The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man: The Structuralist Controversy, edited by R. Macksey and E. Donato (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007)
  • “Writing and Man's Exploitation by Man” in Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology (Baltimore: John Hopkins Press, 1976). pp. 118 – 140 (all of chapter one included in pdf)

SALC book launch event

No information available at this time.

On Open Access (Open event)
Prof. Dieter Stein (Henrich Heine University, Düsseldorf)

Prof. Stein will be giving a talk entitled “A view from the frontier in Open Access electronic publishing.” The talk will be of relevance to anyone who has anything to do with academic publishing, especially given the renewed centrality of Open Access since the Finch report, and should also be of interest from the point of view of cultural change, and academic publishing as a microcosm of change in practices.

Prof. Stein has recently been working extensively on language and communication in the internet, and is himself a pioneer of Open Access with the foundation of the eLanguage publishing platform for linguistics. 


Symposium: The History of the Public Intellectual (Keynote lecture/open event)
Professor Helen Small (Oxford University)

Democracy Needs Us? The Gadfly Argument and the Professional Academic?

Panel (2.15-4.15pm University Place, 5.210)

Francesca Billiani (Italian), Chris Godden (History), Roberta Mazza (Classics) and John Pickstone (CHSTM). Organised by Professor Stuart Jones (History)

Postgraduate masterclass
Professor Michael Lambek (University of Toronto)

Readings for the masterclass are:

  • “Kinship as Gift and Theft: Acts of Succession in Mayotte and Ancient Israel” in American Ethnologist 38(1) 2011: pp.1-15
  • Towards an Ethics of the Act. In Ordinary Ethics: Anthropology, Language, and Action (New York: Fordham University Press, 2010). Pp. 39-63

Voice and Vicissitude: An Ethnographic Contextualization of Public Intellectuals (Open event)

The public intellectual is a figure of modernity and ideal type of social science. I compare a range of people I have known in different societies according to how public, how intellectual, and how critical the irrespective voices and conclude with a consideration of the ethical dimension of voice, namely how public figures might be held to their word.

CIDRAL with Anthropology

Music and Public Engagement in Manchester

This roundtable discusses the way in which music shapes and has been shaped by the city of Manchester. Key questions and case studies include how contemporary cultural and educational ensembles engage with the public, and how different venues and means of distribution—from archives to concert halls to mobile phone apps—have influenced the ways in which music is consumed and produced. Participants will include representatives from the Camerata and Halle Orchestras, One Education (the Manchester city music education hub), the NOVARS research centre and the Manchester Histories Festival.

CIDRAL with the Institute for Cultural Practices

Siblings Day (Open event)

The event examines the implications of Juliet Mitchell’s psychoanalytical theories of “Siblings” for artistic and critical discourses, and poses the question ‘how can a theory of siblings open up visual culture and the Manchester Art Gallery collections?’

Contributors include:

  • Juliet Mitchell (UCL)
  • Mignon Nixon (Courtauld)
  • Catherine Grant (Goldsmiths)
  • Carol Mavor (The University of Manchester)
  • Jonny Briggs, Artist (New Sensations Winner, The Saatchi Gallery and C4 2011)

Co-sponsored by CIDRAL

Public Intellectuals

CIDRAL organises research events for academics and postgraduates, around an annual theme. These events aim to facilitate intellectual debate across the disciplines on diverse, interdisciplinary topics chosen by colleagues in the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures.

CIDRAL events this year have focused on the topic of 'Public Intellectuals'. The question of what intellectual activities are valued, by whom and for what purpose has become ever more pressing. Many academics working in the humanities today feel themselves to be especially under attack, as government funding is withdrawn from their teaching budgets and researchers are required to account for themselves within frameworks of legitimation that often seems imposed from outside their remit.

Our events have included open lectures, conversations between visiting speakers and colleagues at The University of Manchester, postgraduate masterclasses and other research dialogues of various kinds. Taken together, these events have offered an intellectual consideration of how and why the knowledge produced in the study of the arts and languages continues to be of value and significance.

This academic year's programme of events opened on 13 November 2012 with a lecture by Professor Thomas Elsaesser (University of Amsterdam/IKKM Weimar), who spoke on the subject of: How to Create a Public Intellectual, Posthumously. This was followed later that month by a lecture given by Dr Michael Mack (University of Durham) - Revisiting the Two Cultures Debate: Affect, Economics and Science.

Opening the second semester in February 2013 was Professor Ruth Wodak (Lancaster University) speaking on the subject of The New Language of Politics? and Professor Vijay Mishra (Oxford University and Murdoch University, Australia) whose lecture was entitled: In the Salman Rushdie Archive. Dieter Stein (Henrich Heine University, Düsseldorf) gave a lecture on open access and intellectual property in academia (with Linguistics and English Language). Professor Helen Small (Oxford University) gave the plenary lecture at an event on ‘The History of the Public Intellectual’ in which she evaluated the competing justifications for continued support for the Humanities subjects in Universities; and the final public lecture before the break was a lecture by Anthropologist, Professor Michael Lambek (University of Toronto): An Ethnographic Contextualization of Public Intellectuals. This was followed by two enjoyable symposia: Music and Public Engagement (with the Institute for Cultural Practices) and a conference entitled Siblings with Juliet Mitchell (with Art History and Visual Studies) at Manchester Art Gallery. After the spring break, academic and Radio 4 presenter of poetry programmes, Margaret Reynolds (Queen Mary, London University), gave a public lecture on poetry and its publics.

Alongside these public lectures, CIDRAL has run a series of Theory Intensives for postgraduate students and academic staff. The first of these was David Alderson on Herbert Marcuse. Professor Vicki Kirby (UNSW, Australia) and Professor Joanna Hodge (Manchester Metropolitan University) presented a Theory Intensive entitled: On Derrida and Technicity. This was followed by Professor Ranjana Khanna (Duke University) and Professor Carol Mavor (Art History and Visual Studies): In conversation on Franz Fanon. Then Professor Jeremy Tambling’s (English, American Studies and Creative Writing) On Melanie Klein. The final session will take place on: Wednesday 1 May: 4-6pm (Samuel Alexander Building, room 213A), with Professor Carol Mavor (AHVS) On Roland Barthes.


Science, Technology and the Arts: Public Lectures, Conversations and Masterclasses

Public Lecture: Professor Martin Kemp (Pilkington Visiting Chair in AHVS)

'Splashing Around: Structures and Intuitions in Art, Science and Technology from Leonardo to Modern Engineering': This event is organised in collaboration with Art History and Visual Studies.

Certain kinds of art and science originate in the intuiting of deep structures that lie behind appearance. Some of the structures are predominantly static, relying upon the fundamental forms of geometry; some are the result of process, like folding; others disclose the process itself, like splashing. Many of the structures result from processes of self-organisation that are shared across organic and inorganic worlds. These themes run across art, architecture, design and various sciences from the Renaissance to today. The case studies will range from Leonardo to contemporary art and architecture.

Martin Kemp FBA is Emeritus Professor in the History of Art at Trinity College, University of Oxford. He was trained in Natural Sciences and Art History at Cambridge University and the Courtauld Institute, London. For more than 25 years he held posts at universities in Scotland, America and Canada. He has written, broadcast and curated exhibitions on imagery in art and science from the Renaissance to the present day and has written a column in Nature for almost 15 years. Increasingly, he has focused on issues of visualisation, modelling and representation. His latest book Christ to Coke - How image becomes icon is published by Oxford University Press - September 2011.

Masterclass with Martin Kemp, John Pickstone (CHSTM) and Anthony Gerbino (AHVS)

No more information available at this time.

In Conversation: Lynn Hershman Leeson (artist, filmmaker and Art Institute of San Francisco) and Maria Balshaw (Director of Whitworth and  Manchester City Art Galleries)

‘Beyond the Digital Frame: Gallery, Cinema, the Web' and also screening of Lynn Hershman Leeson's film '!Women Art Revolution' at the Whitworth Art Gallery, followed by Q&A with the director. The film has also been selected by MOMA New York as one of the 3 best documentaries of the year.

Masterclass with Lynn Hershman Leeson

Lynn Hershman Leeson is a writer, director, producer and editor who has pioneered site specific, performance and interactive media. Most recently, she was honoured by the Digital Art Museum in Berlin with the d.velop digital art award (d.daa), the most distinguished honor for lifetime achievement in the field of new media. Her other honours include the prestigious Golden Nica Prix Ars Electronica, the ZKM/Seimens Media Arts Award and, as a Sundance Screenwriter Fellow, she was honoured with the Flintridge Foundation Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts.

She has also received The Alfred P. Sloan Film Prize for writing and directing Teknolust, and in 2006, the International Association of Digital Arts award for “innovative storytelling,” Zero One Prize for “Media that Matters” and a Creative Capital Grant for her documentary, !Women Art Revolution. In 2009, she became a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Siggraph. Hershman Leeson wrote, directed and produced the feature films Teknolust, Conceiving Ada and Strange Culture, in addition to 14 other films and shorts. The films starred Tilda Swinton, were shown at the Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival, and were all internationally distributed.

Her artwork is held in numerous collections, including at the Museum of Modern Art (New York), The National Gallery of Canada, DG Bank (Frankfurt) and The Walker Art Center (Minneapolis). She has published extensively, is the Chair of the Film Department at the San Francisco Art Institute and Emeritus Professor at the University of California.

CIDRAL and ICP Research Seminar and Screening of Bobby Baker's Work

Dr Helen Iball (University of Leeds) and Dr Simon Parry (University of Manchester) will introduce clips of Bobby Baker’s performance practice (including How to Live and Box Story) and discuss a range of aspects of her performance and broader artistic work. Free and open to all.

In Conversation: Bobby Baker (Performance artist and writer, Daily Life, Ltd.) and Gail Hornstein (Mount Holyoke) & In Conversation with Gail Hornstein:  ‘Whose Story Counts? Madness from the Inside Out’

Gail A. Hornstein is Professor of Psychology at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts (USA). Her research spans the history of 20th-century psychology, psychiatry, and psychoanalysis, and has been supported by the National Library of Medicine, the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The former chair of Mount Holyoke's Women's Studies Program, Hornstein was founding director of the interdisciplinary Five College Women's Studies Research Center for its first 10 years.

Unlike most scholars who study mental illness, Hornstein has always been as interested in patients' experiences as in doctors' theories. She has compiled a bibliography of first-person narratives of madness which now lists more than 700 titles, and her current research focuses on the contributions that patients - past and present - have made to our understanding of psychology. Her new book, Agnes’s Jacket: A Psychologist’s Search for the Meanings of Madness, shows how the insights of those diagnosed as "schizophrenic," "bipolar," "depressed," and "paranoid" can help us radically reconceive fundamental assumptions about madness and mental life.

Bobby Baker is a woman, and an artist. She lives in London, England. In her career of 35 odd years she has, amongst other things, danced with meringue ladies; made a life size edible and tasty cake version of her family to be eaten by visitors; opened her kitchen to the public and subsequently many kitchens around the world; driven around the streets of London strapped to the back of a truck screaming at passers by through a megaphone to ‘Pull Yourselves Together’ and cured thousands of her pea patients with their many ‘unreasonable’ psychological and behavioural problems with her Therapy Empire How To Live. Her company is called Daily Life Ltd and is based at Artsadmin, East London.

Bobby Baker and Gail Hornstein with Simon Parry (Institute for Cultural Practices) and Maggie Gale (Drama)

No more information available at this time.

Produced in Association with Fuel: Peggy Shaw in collaboration with Clod Ensemble presents MUST: THE INSIDE STORY

... a journey through the shadows of a city, a map, a pound of flesh..

In collaboration with Clod Ensemble, legendary New York performance artist Peggy Shaw takes the audience on a journey across the landscape of her own body.

Renowned for her own gender bending autobiographical work, she recounts her extraordinary experiences of the medical profession from her current perspective as a 65-year-old lesbian grandmother. MUST weaves together the stories of a lifetime - giving birth on the way to Woodstock, her mother’s electric shock treatment in 1950s America, the loss of a loved one – with projected microscopic images, and live musicians performing a powerful score for piano, double bass and violin.

‘I keep finding the future inside of me, I can hear it really loud Coming like a field of windmills, or a hive of bees.’

Inspired by images from Gulliver’s Travels, Hildegarde von Bingen, The Elephant Man and the endless microscopic images of the medical profession – MUST takes a hard stare at the medical gaze and humorously questions the assumptions people make about each others bodies.

MUST explores specifically ideas of ageing, medical history, sexuality and difference and the bringing together of the medical and poetic, counter-pointing a medical view of the body with a poetic one.

An internal event for staff and students of the University of Manchester. Sponsored by the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts (CIDRAL), the Institute for Cultural Practices (ICP), and the University of Manchester Drama Department.

Date: Tuesday, 15 May 2012
Time: 5pm
Venue: John Casken Lecture Theatre, Martin Harris Centre
Event: Public Lecture: Professor Lucy Suchman (Lancaster University)

‘Reconfiguring Agencies at the Interface: New Entanglements of Bodies and Machines’: Taking its inspiration from critical studies in the history, culture and politics of technology, this paper will examine configurations of persons and machines within what James Der Derian has named ‘MIME-net’, the military-industrial-media-entertainment network. As science fiction and popular culture anxiously anticipate a future of autonomous weapons and robot soldiers, more intimate configurations of human and machine are presently in play in the form of new devices (drone aircraft, battlefield robots) for the projection of action at a distance. I offer the beginnings of an argument regarding the essential and inescapable tension between a commitment to distance, and to the requirements of ‘positive identification’ that underwrite the canons of legal killing. This tension holds not only for those involved in command and control of the front lines, but also for those of us responsible as citizens for grasping events in which we are, however indirectly, morally, politically and economically implicated.

Lucy Suchman is Professor of Anthropology of Science and Technology in the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University, and Co-Director of Lancaster’s Centre for Science Studies. Before taking up her present post she spent twenty years as a researcher at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center. Her research includes ethnographic studies of everyday practices of technology design and use, critical engagement with projects in the design of humanlike machines, and interdisciplinary and participatory interventions in new technology design. Her book Human-Machine Reconfigurations (Cambridge University Press 2007) includes an annotated version her earlier Plans and Situated Actions: the problem of human-machine communication (CUP 1984). The sequel adds five new chapters looking at relevant developments since the mid 1980s in computing and in social studies of technology.

Masterclass with Lucy Suchman, MARC and Sociology

No more information available at this time.

Public Lecture: Professor Barbara Creed (University of Melbourne) on Darwin’s Screens

'Darwin and the Cinema: evolutionary aesthetics, the emotions & sexual display in film': This paper will explore the influence of Darwinian ideas on the history and aesthetics of early film, in particularly film genres such as the love story, musicals, horror and science fiction. It will examine the part played by Darwinian concepts of evolutionary aesthetics, the emotions, sexual display and the human/animal divide. This paper will also argue for the concept of a Darwinian ‘pre-cinematic eye’ and its influence of the development of an array of cinematic special effects designed to represent both time and the body in an evolutionary context. It will also explore Darwin’s legacy and the continuing influence of his theories on contemporary film, particularly on representations of the post-Darwinian body. Films discussed will include Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Blonde Venus, 42nd Street, Max Mon Amour, Gattaca and Alien Resurrection. Professor of Screen Studies at the University of Melbourne, Barbara Creed is one of Australia's best-known commentators on film and media. Her work has drawn heavily on the fields of psychoanalysis, feminism and poststructuralism. Creed's topics of analysis have included film noir, horror cinema, and representations of sex in visual culture.

Masterclass with Barbara Creed and Maureen Mcneil (Lancaster University)

No more information available at this time.


Newton International Fellowship Masterclass

This masterclass was an opportunity for PhD candidates who are thinking of applying for a Newton Postdoctoral Fellowship to see the kinds of topics that have been successful and to ask both general and specific questions.

There were be short presentations by Newton Fellows: Ariel Feldman (Manchester), Chiara Franceschini (School of Advanced Studies/Warburg Institute London), D. Gafijczuk (Lancaster), Saskia Roselaar (Manchester).

CIDRAL Postgraduate Workshop

Interdisciplinarity has become a magic word among research scholars. This workshop, which does not have a limiting theme, will allow students to discuss their work and how it fits into the possibilities and challenges of multidisciplinary frameworks.

An introductory lecture will be given by James Thompson, Professor of Applied and Social Theatre.

Room H002, Reynold Building, off Sackville Street, #8 on campus map

'Excentric Cinema', Professor Janet Harbord (Queen Mary, University of London)

Janet Harbord engages with philosophies of screen media in a post-cinematic context. She has written on the subjects of memory, the image and archives; inertia, speed and energies of film; montage and cutting; spatial relations and film circulation; cultural translation and supplementation; affect, gesture and the image. This keynote lecture co-organised by Dr. Felicia Chan (The University of Manchester) and Cornerhouse will be followed by a roundtable discussion with Dr. Vicky Lowe (The University of Manchester), Dr. Aleksandar Dundjerovic (The University of Manchester), Sophia Crilly (Bureau Gallery) and artist Wayne Lloyd. The discussion will explore performance and its engagement with cinema, as well as questioning practice as research and its value within the academic field. There will also be an exclusive performative talk from artist Ming Wong and a performance by Wayne Lloyd.

Co-sponsored by CIDRA and ICP, as part of the Cornerhouse 25th Anniversary Exhibition, 'UnSpooling  - Artists and Cinema'.

Book launch, School of Arts, Histories and Cultures

Held at Blackwells Bookshop and hosted by Janet Wolff, Professor Emerita.


Annual Theme: Materials and Materiality

Public Lectures:

  • Professor Tim Ingold (Anthropology, University of Aberdeen)
  • Professor Laura Mulvey (Art, Film and Visual Media, Birkbeck)
  • Professor Peter Stallybrass (English, University of Pennsylvania): ‘The materiality of writing’

Thematic Events:

  • 'Materiality at the Museum' Roundtable
  • 'Materiality: Dress, Textiles, Fashion' Roundtable

Special Events:

  • 'Traces, Memory and the Holocaust in W.G. Sebald's writing: an interdisciplinary seminar'
  • Professor Hayden White: 'The Practical Past' Professor Mark Franko: ''The dancing gaze across cultures: Kazuo Ohno's 'Admiring La Argentina'"
  • 'Beauty' Roundtable
  • 'Humanities and Social Sciences' Roundtable
  • Childhood in Culture Events
  • Professor Frederick Cooper: 'Citizenship between Empire and Nation: France and French Africa, 1945-1960'