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Past Festival highlights

Arts & Humanities Week 2009

Welcome to the Arts, the Academy & the World


Former Head of the School of Arts & Humanities, Professor Jan Palmowski

Arts & Humanities Week 2009, celebrated the contributions our scholars, students and alumni have made to teaching, scholarship and public life. Since its foundation in 1829, King’s College London has been recognized for its distinction in the arts and humanities. Many of our alumni have been notable for bringing a sense of ethical responsibility, knowledge and creativity to public service, from John Keats and Thomas Hardy to Mario Vargas Llosa and Desmond Tutu. Exactly twenty years ago, the College organized its subjects in the arts and humanities within a single School. Since then, the School of Arts & Humanities has been recognized as one of the UK’s top faculties in every single Research Assessment Exercise commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

During Arts & Humanities Week 2009 we discussed, explored and celebrated analytic and creative voyages through some of the major questions of our day.


Nationhood & Identity

Imperial History & the Human Future

Inaugural Lecture by Richard Drayton

Monday 19 October 2009
17.30, Great Hall, Strand Campus

Arago Slave

Empires look to their élites as based on the common good, even if from below they have often appeared as regimes of terror and violence. Imperial history began in complicity with this flattering idea, making these systems of domination into the necessary path to cosmopolitan progress and happiness. In his inaugural lecture as Rhodes Professor of Imperial History, Richard Drayton will ask how the truth at the heart of the myth of empire – that idea of human solidarity, and of the


interdependence of local and universal history – may be rescued for the contemporary world? How can a post-patriotic imperial history contribute both to a reinvention of history as a discipline and to the cultivation of a transnational civil society?


Richard Drayton was born in Guyana, grew up in Barbados, and was educated at Harvard, Yale, and Oxford.  He has held posts at Oxford, Virginia, and Cambridge, and was awarded the Forkosch Prize of the American Historical Association in 2001 and the Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2002. His publications include Nature’s Government: Science, Imperial Britain and the ‘Improvement’ of the World (Yale University Press, 2000). In 2009 he became the sixth incumbent of the Rhodes Professorship of Imperial History at King’s College London, which is the second oldest chair in its subject in the world.

The "Frenchness" of French Cinema - from the regional to the transnational

Inaugural Lecture by Ginette Vincendeau

Tuesday 20 October 2009
18.30, Edmond J Safra Theatre, Strand Campus

Eiffel Tower

This illustrated lecture reflects on the changing nature and image of French cinema over the decades, especially as it negotiates rapid changes in both the global film industry and France’s social and cultural make-up.

As the French nation anxiously ponders its linguistic identity and ‘cultural exception’, its cinema plays a key role in propagating images of Frenchness. The talk will consider what a ‘French’ film means both at home and internationally, to critics and audiences, and what trends emerge in conflicting screen

representations – from nostalgic evocations of a glorious cultural heritage, to romantic visions of historic Paris or bucolic Provence, to the dystopian battleground of contemporary suburbs.

Ginette Vincendeau is Professor of Film Studies at King’s College London and Head of the Film Studies department. She was educated in Paris and the UK, and was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1998 for services to French culture. She has written widely on French cinema, including Pépé le Moko (1998), Stars and Stardom in French Cinema (2000), Jean-Pierre Melville, An American in Paris (2003), and has edited books on French films, women filmmakers, film and literature, European actors in Hollywood, and the French New Wave. She is currently completing a book on the representation of the South of France in international film, and is co-editing books on Paris in the cinema, and the films of Jean Renoir.

Narrating the Nation in Australia

Menzies Lecture by Professor Graeme Davison, Monash University

Tuesday 20 October
18.00, Old Anatomy Theatre, Strand Campus

The Menzies Lecture is one of two major public lectures organised each year by the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies. It is designed to provide an opportunity for a distinguished person, of any nationality, to reflect on a subject of contemporary interest affecting Britain and Australia.


Graeme Davison is a Sir John Monash Distinguished Professor at Monash University. He is a graduate of the universities of Melbourne and Oxford and of the Australian National University, and has held visiting positions at Harvard, Edinburgh, the Australian National University, and King’s College London. He has written extensively on Australian history, especially on urban history, technology, national identity and public history. His book The Rise and Fall of Marvellous Melbourne (1978 and new edition 2004) won the Ernest Scott Prize and his most recent, Car Wars: How the Car Won Our Hearts and Conquered Our Cities (2004) won the Nettie Palmer Prize in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.  His long involvement in heritage, museums and other aspects of public history is reflected in The Use and Abuse of Australian History (2000), and his co-editorship of the Oxford Companion to Australian History (1998 and later editions). He is currently working on a book on Australian nationalism and is beginning a history of Monash University.

Sir Andrew Motion

In conversation

Thursday 22 October 2009
18.30, King’s College London Chapel, Strand Campus

Sir Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate until the end of April 2009, introduces his latest book of poems, The Cinder Path (Faber, 1 May 2009) and a new collection of essays, Ways of Life: On Places, Painters and Poets. He will talk about his acclaimed autobiography In The Blood – A Memoir of My Childhood and answer questions about his writing and his former role as Laureate.

Inside Out is a major new festival curated by LCACE (the London Centre for Arts and Cultural Exchange) to showcase the fascinating contribution of nine London Universities to the capital's cultural life.  LCACE is a consortium of nine universities. It was established in 2004 to foster collaboration and to promote and support the exchange of knowledge between the consortium’s partners and London’s arts and cultural sectors.


Public Affairs, Academic Worlds

Living Another Life: a personal experience of biography

David Profumo


David Profumo was educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford, and worked in the English Department at King’s from 1979-81 before becoming a freelance journalist. He has published two novels – Sea Music and The Weather in Iceland. He was awarded the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize in 1989, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1997. His most recent book is a family memoir, Bringing the House Down, about his father and the 1963 Profumo Affair 

Talking with terrorists: The Northern Ireland experience & its contemporary relevance

Film screening & discussion, followed by a question & answer session

Wednesday 21 October 2009
18.00, Edmond J Safra Theatre, Strand Campus

This event is co-hosted by the Centre for the Study of Divided Societies and the Middle East and Mediterranean Studies Programme.


Bringing together for the first time two men who took enormous political and personal risks in creating the secret backchannel that led to IRA ceasefires and paved the way for the Belfast Agreement, The School of Arts & Humanities invites you to participate in a discussion on how Northern Ireland’s successful peace process may be replicated in other divided societies around the world.



Brendan Duddy, the man who worked to promote dialogue between the IRA and the British government, and Michael Oatley, the MI6 officer who worked with him, reflect on the difficulties and dangers inherent in finding a way out of conflict situations in which endemic political violence has created an atmosphere in which ‘talking with terrorists’ becomes publicly unthinkable.

The event will be chaired by the Director of the Centre for the Study of Divided Societies, Dr Michael Kerr, and begins with a screening of Peter Taylor’s BBC documentary ‘The Secret Peacemaker’. Brendan Duddy will speak before opening up with Michael Oatley for an hour of audience participation through questions and answers. 

History & Public Life: A lecture by Janice Hadlow, Controller of BBC2

followed by the launch of the Department of History podcasts

Thursday 22 October 2009
18.30, Edmond J Safra Theatre, Strand Campus

The place of history in British life has never been more important, as demonstrated by our continuing fascination with the World Wars of the 20th century, the celebrity of Simon Schama and David Starkey, and the popularity of websites such as the 1901 census.

History & Memory is a new course offered by the Department of History from 2009. It examines the sometimes fraught relationship between the ‘real’ history practised by professional scholars, and the popular attitudes and attachments to the past that shape the identities of ordinary people. Alongside traditional lectures and seminars, students are required to visit a range of major sites in the capital, and will be able to download audio podcast lectures recorded on location.

To mark the launch of the course the Department has invited Janice Hadlow (King’s, History, BA, 1978), controller of BBC2, to reflect on her work in bringing ‘serious history’ to a mass audience. Members of the Department of History will also discuss samples from the new podcast series. Those lectures already recorded include ‘Everyday heroes’ (Postman’s Park), ‘Second World War Bombing’ (St Clement Danes RAF Church), ‘Recreating Enlightenment’ (Enlightenment Galleries, British Museum) and ‘Migration, Violence and Memory’ (Brick Lane). 


Arts & The Academy

Dannie Abse: Poet in a White Coat

Literary event co-sponsored by the Royal Society of Literature & King’s College London

Tuesday 20 October 2009
19.00, Great Hall, Strand Campus

The English Department and the Royal Society of Literature are delighted to host Dannie Abse: Poet in a White Coat, the first in a series of co-sponsored literary events celebrating creative intersections between the Arts and the Academy.
Welcome by Rick Trainor (Principal, King’s College London), chaired by Anne Chisholm, The Royal Society of Literature (Chair of Council) and Mark Turner, King’s College London (Head of Department of English).

With the publication of New Selected Poems (2009), Dannie Abse, poet, playwright, novelist and doctor, celebrates the 60th year since the publication of his first collection of poems, After Every Green Thing.  Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature, King’s Fellow, and President of the Welsh Academy of Letters, Dannie Abse trained as a physician at King’s College London, combining his medical practice with a distinguished career as an award-winning writer.

The Royal Society of Literature, now based at Somerset
House alongside King’s College London, continues to pursue,
through its Fellows and Members, the purposes defined in 1820: to reward literary merit and excite literary talent.
The Department of English, King’s College London, which has research and teaching excellence in literary studies from its earliest inception to the present day, is also committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of the relationship between medicine and the arts.

Unknown Devices

Performance by The Laptop Orchestra

Tuesday 20 October 2009
19.30, King’s College London Chapel, Strand Campus

The Laptop Orchestra is a large ensemble of improvising musicians based at the London College of Communication, closely linked with its groundbreaking sonic research unit: CRiSAP (Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice). Participants perform on laptop computers, using audio software programs to manipulate sound or on amplified instruments, Gameboys, record decks, radios, mobile phones and homemade electronic devices. The membership of the group is constantly changing, and each participant performs on whatever instrument they are using at the time. Taking place against the stunning Victorian architecture of the King’s College London Chapel, this event promises to be a feast for all your senses.

Inside Out is a major new festival curated by LCACE (the London Centre for Arts and Cultural Exchange) to showcase the fascinating contribution of nine London Universities to the capital's cultural life.  LCACE is a consortium of nine universities. It was established in 2004 to foster collaboration and to promote and support the exchange of knowledge between the consortium’s partners and London’s arts and cultural sectors.

Centre for the Humanities and Health

Launch, with a keynote lecture

Wednesday 21 October 2009
18.00, Great Hall, Strand Campus

The Centre for the Humanities and Health’s official launch will take place at King’s when Professor Howard Brody, Director of the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas (Galveston), will give the keynote lecture entitled Medical Humanities: Three Conceptions & Three Narratives. To mark the launch, the Centre is running a competition for students in the Music Department to compose a piece entitled ‘The Boundaries of Illness’ reflecting the Centre’s research strands; the prize-winning piece will be performed on the evening and a drinks reception will follow. Colleagues and friends are warmly invited to join us in celebrating the beginning of this new and exciting venture. Please do come along!

About the Centre

Brian Hurwitz, D’Oyly Carte Professor of Medicine & the Arts, along with academic colleagues from across King’s, were successful in securing a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award to fund six interlocking strands of research, under the banner of ‘The Boundaries of Illness’. The new Centre engages scholars from Literature, Philosophy, History, the Visual Arts, Film Studies, Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry, Nursing and Medicine. A major output of the Centre - in addition to its planned academic seminars, public lectures and international conferences - will be the development of a new MSc programme in Medical Humanities, drawing upon the scholarship of all members of the Centre.

Spinning Stories

Collaborative event

17.00, Wednesday 21 October 2009
Seminar Room S8.08, Strand Campus

Spinning Stories is an unusual collaboration between an academic literary specialist, Emily Butterworth, and an artist, Clare Qualmann, whose art practice is rooted in the everyday experience of walking. The project explores the places people talk, share advice, and gossip, concentrating on the disappearing launderettes of the east end of London (where Clare is based). The talk will present the project's development and outcomes, with art historical background to Clare's treatment of walking as an art form.

Artists in the Academy

Round-table event

Thursday 22 October 2009
14.00-17.00, Old Anatomy Theatre, Strand Campus

This event will explore and showcase some of the exciting collaborations between LCACE partner institutions and artists-in-residence within these universities. It will involve a chaired discussion about the benefits of such interdisciplinary collaboration for both parties, as well as a networking opportunity to encourage the development of future partnerships. This will be one of the first events to make use of the unique surroundings and facilities of the Anatomy Theatre & Museum at King’s Strand Campus, and will be open to anyone interested in the role of artists-in-residence working on university campuses across London.

Inside Out is a major new festival curated by LCACE (the London Centre for Arts and Cultural Exchange) to showcase the fascinating contribution of nine London Universities to the capital's cultural life.  LCACE is a consortium of nine universities. It was established in 2004 to foster collaboration and to promote and support the exchange of knowledge between the consortium’s partners and London’s arts and cultural sectors.

Decoding Pasts, Building Futures

Inaugural Lecture by Richard Beacham, Charlotte Roueché & Harold Short

Friday 23 October 2009
17.30, Edmond J Safra Theatre, Strand Campus

We have chosen to give a joint inaugural presentation of our work, because we all work in densely collaborative areas, in a manner which is not necessarily familiar to Humanities scholars. 
We will be presenting how our individual researches have developed, how we have worked together, and what we hope for the future.
We are particularly keen that this event should inaugurate and inspire new activities among our friends and colleagues.


Richard Beacham (Professor of Digital Culture) has worked and published widely on the history of the theatre, particularly in antiquity. He heads the King’s Visualisation Lab, which conducts extensive cutting edge work on the creation and exploitation of 3D research-based reconstructions of cultural heritage artefacts, and leads a number of projects on “Virtual Worlds” as research and teaching environments. 

Charlotte Roueché (Professor of Late Antique & Byzantine Studies) works on the culture of the Greek-speaking world in the Late Antique and Byzantine periods. She is particularly interested in texts, and the challenge of presenting them in all their richness. This has led her to explore and develop the potential of online publication for ancient and medieval texts, particularly those inscribed on stone and found in an archaeological context. 

Harold Short (Professor of Digital Humanities) is Director and head of department of the Centre for Computing in the Humanities, an academic department in the School of Arts & Humanities and the largest centre of digital humanities research in the world.  He has been or is technical research director of a large number of inter-disciplinary collaborative research projects. He is also Chair of the Association for Literary and Linguistics Computing, founded at King’s in 1973, and chairs the Steering Committee of the international Alliance of Digital Humanities Organisations.

The Opera Debate: Female Sacrifice in Opera & Dance

Study Day

Saturday 24 October 2009
10.00, Edmond J Safra Theatre, Strand Campus

Join a day of debate and discussion about two modern masterworks: Bartok’s opera Duke Bluebeard’s Castle and Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring, in light of the new productions at English National Opera.

Chaired by Professor John Deathridge of the Department of Music, and featuring experts including Professor Malcolm Gillies (City) and Dr Kélina Gotman (King’s) as well as leading members of the ENO production team, the day will explore the links and contrasts between these two pieces using documentary film material as well as a specially-commissioned film about the new productions.

What is the role of ancient myth and sacrifice in these works? How do opera and dance tell their stories? And how will they be reinvented for the Coliseum stage? 


Research Showcase

Arts & Humanities Research Fair

From Byzantine pottery to the digital culture of Shanghai - on the two days of the Fair researchers from every discipline in the School of Arts & Humanities have been invited to display and talk about their research. The event is open to all, to allow visitors, current students, faculty and friends of the College to explore the depth and breadth of arts and humanities scholarship at King’s.

Day 1 – Meet the people
Thursday 22 October 2009
13.00–16.00, Great Hall, Strand Campus

Thursday afternoon will focus in particular on individual research work, and offer potential doctoral students a chance to meet and talk to current PhD students about their work, and discuss with members of academic staff about ways in which their own ideas might connect with the vibrant research culture at King’s.

Day 2 – Meet the projects

Friday 23 October 2009
13.00–17.00, Great Hall, Strand Campus

On Friday there will be a chance to learn more about the many research projects based at King’s, which involve larger groups of researchers. There will be a particular focus on the unique concentration of expertise in the College’s Centre for Computing in the Humanities. A wide range of collaborative research will be on display, and there will be presentations of particular projects - on ancient, medieval and early modern history, on texts and manuscripts from Libya, Spain and Turkey as well as Britain, on literature, drama, architecture and music, on people from Medieval Scotland, Anglo-Saxon England and the eastern Mediterranean in the medieval period, on newspapers and medieval rolls.



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