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Utopia 2016: A year of imagination and possibility

Launching on 25th January 2016, and spanning four packed seasons, Utopia 2016 will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the publication of Thomas More’s seminal text, Utopia – the largest celebration of his work anywhere in the world.

The season will span the realms of art, academia, literature, fashion, design, architecture and beyond, featuring a varied and vibrant programme of special events, exhibitions, new commissions and activities across King’s College London, Somerset House and the Courtauld Institute and Gallery, as well as other partners across the UK. To celebrate More’s vision, Utopia 2016 will explore current challenges facing contemporary culture and society, making this wonderfully eclectic collection of work relevant to all. 

Utopia Summer Season – July to September 2016

King’s College London is commissioning a number of ambitious projects bringing together artists and academics from across the university. These projects will take place during the summer season of Utopia. The projects include the following:

Night School on Anarres: Imaginings of an Anarchist Utopia

Utopia-Night School

Night school on Anarres is an educational experiment examining the utopian proposals of twentieth-century anarchism. Drawing from Ursula K. Le Guin’s seminal utopian novel The Dispossessed, members of the public will be 'invited’ onto the anarchist planet Anarres and to participate in classes and performative workshops in order to understand how language can be employed to imagine alternative ways of living.

Lead academics: 
Dr Simon Coffey, Lecturer in Language Education and Programme Director MA Language and Cultural Diversity, Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy, King's College London.

Dr Martin Edwardes, Visiting Lecturer in the Centre for Language Discourse & Communication Department of Education and Professional Studies, Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy, King's College London.

Project team:
Onkar Kular and Noam Toran.

We Account the Whale Immortal

Utopia-Whale

The whale forever exists, like utopia, as a parable, a myth, and a nightmare – caught between the wide open ocean and our two-dimensional confinement, between reality and imagination. We account the whale immortal, an ever-changing film and a one off performance, explores the arrival of three mythic whales in the Thames, from the 17th to the 21st century, as evocative emblems of utopian intent.

Lead academic:
Dr Edward Sugden, Lecturer in Latin American Studies, Faculty of Arts & Humanities, King's College London.

Project team:
Philip Hoare and Sarah Jessica Rinland.

More commissions to be announced soon. 

Deborah Bull, Director, Culture, King’s College London said about the Utopia project, ‘The coming together of our three cultural organisations – King’s College London, the Courtauld Gallery and Somerset House – around the theme of Sir Thomas More’s Utopia offers an unprecedented opportunity for audiences to engage in new ways with a seminal work of English literature – the impact of which echoes throughout modern society – and to form new relationships with our three institutions. What unites us is our desire to develop unique programmes of activity that excite and inspire curiosity and our commitment to explore the connections between art, culture and academic research. I very much look forward to seeing the many events, exhibitions and live experiments come together during the planning stages, and await with anticipation the celebrations in 2016.’

More information

Over the course of 2016 we will be announcing a host of interdisciplinary projects, conferences and student events.

The press release is available to download here.

To join the conversation on Twitter, use hashtag #Utopia2016

If you have any questions, please contact Utopia 2016 Creative Producer Andy Franzkowiak: andy.franzkowiak@kcl.ac.uk.

find out more

Utopia 2016 website
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