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Events Archive

Events Archive

Welcome to our events archive.




 Semester 2

Tuesday 6 February 2018, 18:30-20:00
Hisham Matar
Council Room
A reading and discussion. Joint event with the with the Libyan Society

Thursday 24 May 2018, 9:30-20:00
Life Writing & Death
Council Room
In a day of explorations of the vital role death plays in the writing of life, a skilled group of artists and academics, most of whom work with the subject on a daily basis, will come together to share lively dialogues with the dead.

Thursday 31 May 2018 
London History Day
Strandlines is delighted to be participating in London History Day 2018, an annual celebration of the capital's extraordinary history and heritage run by Historic England each year on 31 May—the day Big Ben first started keeping time.

Thursday 14 June 2018
Alfred Cohen (1920-2001): Study Day
Centre for American Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House.
A day of presentations and discussions of the American painter who lived in Britain since 1960. For more information about his life and work, see:
Participants TBC

Saturday 16 June 2018
Great Hall
A day of poetry: reading, making, sharing. Featuring poets, workshops, open mike: all welcome



Wednesday 7 - Friday 9 June
IABA Europe Conference
Various Locations, King's Building, Strand Campus
The conference will highlight digital and new media. Changes in technologies of information and communication affect our everyday lives, research and teaching: key questions for the conference will be how new media have transformed both lives and life writing. Confirmed speakers include Laurie McNeill, John Zuern, Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson. 

Tuesday 30 May, 9.30 - 19.30
Council Room (K2.29), King's Building, Strand Campus
Eminent biographers, critics, writers and film-makers will talk about different aspects of diaries, on subjects ranging from Pepys to refugees. Famous, infamous and anonymous diarists provide fascinating human and historical interest: this will be an enjoyable day of learning! At the end there will be a special opportunity to view the exhibition Dear Diary: A Celebration of Diaries and their Digital Descendants at the Inigo Rooms, East Wing, Somerset House,  in the company of diary experts.

24 May - 11 July 
Dear Diary: A Celebration of Diaries and their Digital Descendants
Inigo Rooms, Somerset House East Wing
Appointment diaries and apps help us manage time, but what do we do with it? Diaries show how work, health, love, family and friends occupy us in different ways. Bringing together manuscript and online diaries, from pre-modern almanacs to the latest trend of life logging, this exhibition - a collaboration between King’s College London and the Great Diary Project - celebrates diaries and the many ways in which diarists capture the human experience. See also: Diaryfest, a one-day conference in the Council Room.

Monday 7 November, 19.30
Pat Kane, Careering: reflexivity, play and a life in media 
Great Hall, King's Building 
Part of the 'Ego-Media' project's series 'Life Online Today and Tomorrow'

Friday 4 November, 18.30-20.00
Carla Kaplan lecture: 'Something to Offend everyone': The Muckraking Life of Jessica Mitford
Anatomy Lecture Theatre

Thursday 20 October, 19.00-20.30
Moving past present: digitally reanimating the Gaiety Girls
Anatomy Museum, King's building
In this event, artist Janina Anja Lange revives the spirit of the Gaiety via an immersive experiment in digital biography, using 3D animation and motion capture technology to map the movements of a live performer onto a virtual Gaiety Girl.
(Part of the 2016 Arts and Humanities Festival).



Saturday 19September, 09.00-19.30
Literature at War: H. G. Wells, Ford Madox Ford and their Contemporaries in and around the First World War Conference
Rooms 1.16/1.17, Waterloo Campus, SE1

Monday 5 October, 18:15-19:45
'How I look is to do with my identity, and the fun of it, it's nothing to do with looking younger': Articulating style and ageing femininities in Fabulous Fashionistas'
1.17, Franklin Wilkins Building, Waterloo Campus
Talk by Deborah Jermyn on Channel 4’s ‘Fabulous Fashionistas’ and the challenges for academics trying to speak to/for the experiences of older women by analysing such texts. Part of the Life-Writers of London series, produced in conjunction with the Centre for Life-Writing Research.

Tuesday 6 October, 18.30-21.00
“The life of a poet affords but few materials for a narrative”: Paratextual Life Writing in Eighteenth-Century Poetry Books
Council Room (K2.29), King's Building, Strand Campus
A lecture delivered by Sarah Herbe, Assistant Professor at the Department of English and American Studies, University of Salzburg, Austria. Organised in partnership with the Centre for Enlightenment Studies.

Wednesday 14 October, 19.00-20.30
Windows on Maureen Duffy
Maureen Duffy is a playwright, poet, novelist and biographer, her output totalling some 34 published works to date. This event will explore her part in the
fabric of King’s College London.

Wednesday 21 October, 19.00-20.30
Wax Virginia
Although Virginia Woolf's connection to King's College London is well established, The Centre for Life-Writing Research will fabricate a more material connection between Woolf and King’s: internationally-renowned sculptor and modeller Eleanor Crook will make Virginia Woolf in wax, a fascinating artistic process that will be filmed by time-lapse photography for viewing on the King’s website. 

Wednesday 4 November, 18.30
Will Self in conversation with Max Saunders
Will Self, Writer and Professor of Contemporary Thought at Brunel University, will be in conversation with Max Saunders.

Monday 16 November, 18.15
Lucy Parsons on the Boundary of the Archive
1.17, Franklin Wilkins Building, Waterloo Campus
Part of the Life-Writers of London series, produced in conjunction with the Centre for Life-Writing Research. The talk will be given by Tom F. Wright (University of Sussex) on the life of the 19th century anarchist, Lucy Parsons, and the challenges of writing about a life in the absence of an archive.

Monday 7 December, 18.15
Andy Warhol's Indifference
1.17, Franklin Wilkins Building, Waterloo Campus
Part of the Life-Writers of London series, produced in conjunction with the
Centre for Life-Writing Research. The talk will be given by Josh Cohen.

Wednesday 9 December, 18.30
CANCELLED: Auto phenomenology, remix, and other methods for curating future memories in a digital era
JKTL Nash Lecture Theatre (K2.31), King's Building, Strand Campus
Due to unforeseen circumstances this event has been CANCELLED. We hope to have Annette Markham speak at a Centre event in the coming year. Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused. 

Tuesday 19 January, 18.30
Fame and Fortune: On Writing a New Life of Tchaikovsky
Council Room, King's Building, Strand Campus
In this talk, Philip Ross Bullock will consider the challenges of writing a new life of one of Russia’s most famous – and written about – historical subjects. He will explore how such a rigorously documented life (including more than 5000 letters) can still give rise to frequent misconceptions (such as the myth of Tchaikovsky’s suicide).

Wednesday 27 January, 18.30 - REVISED DATE & LOCATION
Life Online To-Day and To-Morrow: Dr Laurence Scott, author of The Four-Dimensional Human (2015) in Conversation
JKTL Nash Lecture Theatre, King's Building, Strand Campus
Please note the updated date and location.

Tuesday 9 February, 18.30
Travels With Writers: Australia and Beyond with Kate Cantrell, Andrew Sant and Michael Eaton
Council Room, King's Building, Strand Campus
The Centre for Life Writing Research and the Menzies Centre are pleased to co-present an evening featuring writers Kate Cantrell, Andrew Sant and Michael Eaton. 

Tuesday 9 February
CANCELLED: Life Online To-Day and To-Morrow: Luciano Floridi in Conversation
Anatomy Museum, Strand Campus
Due to unforeseen circumstances this event has been CANCELLED. Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused. 

Thursday 3 March
Life-Writing from Below: Roles We Play
Council Room, King's Building Strand Campus
More information about this lecture will be posted shortly.

Wednesday 23 March, 18.30
Life Online To-Day and To-Morrow: Joanna Zylinska in Conversation
S-2.08, Strand Building, Strand Campus
Joanna Zylinska is Professor of New Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. She combines her philosophical writings and curatorial work with photographic art practice.

Thursday 31 March, 18.30
Life-Writing and Stand -up Comedy
Council Room, King's Building, Strand Campus
Sheridan Humphreys will be presenting life writing as comedy: expect ideas, surprises - and lots of laughs! 
Speakers include comedy critic and performer Kate Copstick, comedian and musician Faye Treacy (with trombone) and producer Lizzy Baddeley of UCL’s Bright Club.

Monday 4 April, 18.30
Curating Future Memories in a Digital Era
Anatomy Lecture Theatre (K6.29), King's Building, Strand Campus
Part of the Life Online To-Day and To-Morrow series.

Monday 9 May, 18.30-19.45
Speaking the Self Online
Anatomy Museum (6th floor), King's Building, Strand Campus
A lecture presented by Dr Rob Gallagher (King’s College London) on the online voice. Part of the Life-Writers of London series, produced in conjunction with the Centre for Life-Writing Research.

Monday 16 May, 18.30
Professor Sherry Turkle on 'Reclaiming Conversation in a Digital Age'
B5, Franklin-Wilkins Building, Waterloo Campus
Part of the Life Online To-Day and To-Morrow series.

Monday 13 June, 18.30-20.00
Social Media in the 18th Century
Anatomy Museum (6th floor), King's Building 
Talk by Tobias Heinrich (University of Oxford) on 18th century epistolary practices in relation to current communicative strategies in the digital sphere

Wednesday 22 June, 18.00-19.30
The Ethics of Biographical Fiction: A Panel Discussion
Room 6.32, Virginia Woolf Building, WC2B 6LE
Join us to explore the ethics of biofiction with apanel of Lucia Boldrini, Anthony Joseph,Michael Lackey, and Susan Sellers.



Wednesday 17 September, 18.15-19.30
The enigmatic Mr Deakin
Nash Lecture Theatre (K2.31), King's Building, Strand Campus
A lecture with Judith Brett (La Trobe University). Organised in collaboration with the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies.

Wednesday 24 September, 17.00-19.00
Elizabeth Barrett Browning in fiction: gendering novelistic afterlives
VWB4.01, Virginia Woolf Building, 22 Kingsway
A seminar with Julia Lajta-Novak (University of Vienna).

Monday 6 October, 18.00-19.30
Representing life in text & images
K0.16, King's Building, Strand Campus
With Susie Christensen (Cultural Institute at King's). 
Life-Writers of London postgraduate & early-career researcher colloquium in conjunction with the Centre for Life-Writing Research.

Friday 31 October, 09.30-19.00
Sir John Hill (1714-1775) and London life in the 1750s
River Room, King's Building, Strand Campus
A day of talks by expert scholars exploring the colourful life of Sir John Hill and the complex world he moved in. Organised in collaboration with the Centre for Enlightenment Studies at King's.

Monday 3 November, 18.00-19.30
'Endless talk': the counterculture & the interview
K0.16, King's Building, Strand Campus
With Becky Roach (King's College London). 
A Life-Writers of London postgraduate & early-career researcher colloquium in conjunction with the Centre for Life-Writing Research.

Friday 4 November, 18.30
Carla Kaplan Lecture 
Anatomy Lecture Theatre, King's Building, Strand Campus 

Monday 1 December, 18.00-19.30
A Biographical Reading of Ezra Pound's Trenches: St Eloi: abbreviated from the conversation of Mr T.E.H. (1915)
K0.16, King's Building, Strand Campus
With Christos Hadjiyiannis (University of Oxford). 
A Life-Writers of London postgraduate & early-career researcher colloquium in conjunction with the Centre for Life-Writing Research.

Monday 12 January, 18.15-19.45
'Brain Tingles’: ‘ASMR’ Testimonies as Online Life-Writing
K0.16, King's Building, Strand Campus
With Rob Gallagher (King's College London).
A Life-Writers of London postgraduate & early-career researcher colloquium in conjunction with the Centre for Life-Writing Research.

Thursday 29 January, 18.30-20.30
Love and Terror in Dave Eggers’ Zeitoun: Human Stories about Uncivil States
Nash Lecture Theatre, King's Building, Strand Campus
A seminar with Cynthia Franklin (University of Hawai’i)

Monday 9 February, 18.15-19.45
‘Paper is Patient’: Tweets from the ‘#AnneFrank of Palestine’
K0.16, King's Building, Strand Campus
With Hope Wolf (University of Cambridge, Girton).
A Life-Writers of London postgraduate & early-career researcher colloquium in conjunction with the Centre for Life-Writing Research.

Tuesday 24 February, 18.30-19.30
Self-portrait without Breasts
Nash Lecture Theatre, King's Building, Strand Campus
Clare Best presents poems from her autobiographical poem cycle Self-portrait without Breasts alongside photographs by Laura Stevens.

Monday 9 March, 18.15-19.45
A ‘Strange Mingling’: Disraeli as a Literary Celebrity and Celebrity Politician
K0.16, King's Building, Strand Campus
With Sandra Mayer (University of Oxford)
A Life-Writers of London postgraduate & early-career researcher colloquium in conjunction with the Centre for Life-Writing Research.

Thursday 7 May, 18.00-19.30
Sex versus survival: the life & ideas of Sabina Spielrein
Nash Lecture Theatre (K2.31), King's Building, Strand Campus
With John Launer. Hosted by the Centre for Humanities & Health and the Centre for Life-Writing Research.

Tuesday 26 May, 18.30-20.00
Revolution 2.0? A critical review of new media in the 'Arab Spring'
Safra Lecture Theatre, King's Building, Strand Campus
A lecture with James Harkin, the first in the 'Life Online To-Day and To-Morrow' series, supported by the ERC-funded 'Ego-Media' project and the Centre for Life-Writing Research.



Wednesday 20 November
An exceeding good day to celebrate Laurence Sterne's 300th Birth-Day with talks, performances, ingenuity and fun.

Friday 6 December
Maureen Duffy at 80: IN TIMES LIKE THESE
A day of celebration of Maureen Duffy’s extraordinary range of achievements, her 80th birthday, and the launch of her latest work, the novel In Times Like These, now available both in paperbook and e-book format, you can purchase a copy of the book here. Maureen Duffy was an undergraduate at King’s College London, and is now a Fellow of the College.

Wednesday 26 February, 17.30
The Great Diary Project: Collecting, archiving and interpreting journals of daily life
VWB4.01, Virginia Woolf Building, 22 Kingsway
Presentation of research and roundtable discussion.

Friday 7 March, 18.00
Gendered witness in transnational and postcolonial circuits
Nash Lecture Theatre (K2.31), King's Building, Strand Campus
Lecture by Leigh Gilmore (Harvard Divinity School) and Gillian Whitlock (University of Queensland)

Friday 25 April, 09.00-19.30
The Writer's Diary
Nash Lecture Theatre (K2.31) & Council Room (K2.29), King's Building, Strand Campus
This conference brings together academics, biographers, writers, and critics to examine the art and the aesthetics of the writer’s diary, a uniquely intimate literary space in which all manner of subjects can be explored. 

Tuesday 27 May, 18.30
Inventing the biographer: A personal confession
Anatomy Lecture Theatre (K6.29), King's Building, Strand Campus
Acclaimed biographer Richard Holmes looks at some experiments in biographical narrative, from romanticism to modernism to postmodernism. Followed by a reception in the Anatomy Museum.
Organised in collaboration with the Centre for Modern Literature and Culture.

Tuesday 17 June, 17.30
Life-writing from below in Europe: Comparative perspectives
Nash Lecture Theatre (K2.31), King's Building, Strand Campus
Over the last twenty-five years, researchers and archivists in many countries have identified a much larger body of life writing "from below" (by workers, peasants, artisans, plebeians, the popular classes) than had previously been assumed to exist. Scholars from Estonia, Finland, France and Switzerland will each present key aspects of the production, collection and interpretation of life writing from below in their own country.



John Berger conference

The Centre for Life-Writing Research and the Department of English & Drama at the British Library present:

Ways of Seeing John Berger

6-8 September 2012, London.

2012 marks the 40th Anniversary of two of John Berger’s major works: the novel G, winner of the Booker and James Tait Black Memorial Prizes, and the collaborative, SFTA/BAFTA-winning BBC TV series and book Ways of Seeing. In celebration, the Centre for Life-writing Research at King's College London, and the Department of English and Drama at the British Library - home, since 2009, to the major collection of Berger’s papers - are holding a series of events. 


Victorian Lives in Arts and Archives

10.00 - 17.00, Saturday 28 April 2012
Great Hall, King's College London, Strand

Explore the life and works of London's most famous literary son with a free day of talks and readings

Westminster City Archives, King's College London and Cityread London are proud to present Dickensfest!

On Saturday 28 April, join us at King's College London for a day of talks, readings and film clips celebrating the life of Charles Dickens, and exploring the great city that inspired his novels.

Throughout the day, speakers from leading arts and heritage organisations will be shedding new light on Dickens' life and works, and sharing their passion for all things Dickensian.

We'll also be bringing your favourite Dickens' novels to life through live readings by actor Gordon Milne.

Taking part from King's are Brian Hurwitz, Josephine McDonagh, Patricia Methven and Clare Brant.


StrandLives series

The Centre for Life-Writing Research presents six distinguished lectures discussing life stories associated with London’s famous road, the Strand. All talks are held at King's College London, Strand Campus

18:15-19:30 • Monday 5 December 2011 • Raked Lecture Theatre, K2.31 
Professor Patrick Wright: The Iron Curtain: the true origins of a political metaphor that divided the world

18:15-19:30 • Monday 16 January 2012 •  Old Anatomy Theatre, K6.29 
Dr Christine Kenyon Jones: Animals in the Strand: the elephant in the room

18:15-19:30 • Thursday 26 January 2012 • Old Anatomy Theatre, K6.29 
Lady Joan Reid, Governor of the Benjamin Franklin House: Benjamin Franklin at Craven Street 1757 – 1775

18:15-19:30 • Monday 13 February 2012 • Council Room, K2.29 
Dr Rosemary Hill: Greek Temples in Crowded Lanes: Pugin in the Strand

18:15-19:30 • Thursday 8 March 2012 • Raked Lecture Theatre, K2.31 

Charles Saumarez Smith, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy: The Royal Academy in Old Somerset House

18:15-19:30 • Thursday 22 March 2012 • Old Anatomy Theatre, K6.29 
Professor Alan Read: Post-Dramatic Theatre in the 17th Century: Inigo Jones on the Strand

10.30-19.00 • Tuesday 8 May 2012 • Council Room, K2.29 
Strand Lives Day: Short Talks about Luminous and Lesser Lives on the Strand

The StrandLives series has been generously supported by King’s Annual Fund.

StrandLives branches from Strandlines: an exploration of lives on the Strand – past, present and creative. To add your story to Strandlines digital archive, please go to the Strandlines website

The perils of biography (2011)

Presented by the Centre for Life-Writing Research and the Graduate School, King's College London.

Nicholas Murray in conversation with Phil Baker, chaired by Lara Feigel
18.00, Monday 9 May 2011, The Old Anatomy Theatre, 6th floor, Strand Campus, King's College London, followed by a drinks reception

Nicholas Murray and Phil Baker (both currently RLF fellows and resident biographers at King's) come together to discuss the difficulties faced by biographers.  What material is too private to disclose?  How do you navigate a path between myth and fact?  Should the usual 'good manners' apply to the biographer?  And what do you do when your subject has a habit of misleadingly inventing his or her own life?  The biographers will also discuss their own working practices more generally, contrasting these with the writing habits of their writer subjects.  



Picturing the Self (2011)

This series of six discussions exploring portraiture, in all its forms, as a mode of telling stories about the self. The discussions brought together artists Dryden Goodwin, Maggi Hambling, Andrew Kotting, Michael Landy and George Shaw with the biographer Michael Holroyd, the composer Michael Berkeley and the writers Alexandra Harris, Peter Conrad and Geoff Dyer. In the final discussion, the actress Fiona Shaw, the psychoanalyst Adam Phillips and the writer Lisa Appignanesi came together to consider the relationship between portraiture, acting, role-play and psychoanalysis. Curated by Lara Feigel from the Centre for Life-Writing Research at King’s College London on behalf of the National Portrait Gallery, the series aimed to interrogate the relationship between self-portraiture and autobiography, portraiture and biography.
All events were held at the National Portrait Gallery.
Image: (Alan) George Heywood Melly by Maggi Hambling 1998 NPG 6439 - with grateful thanks for permission to use this image.

Picturing Fathers

18.30, Thursday 27 January 2011, National Portrait Gallery
Andrew Kötting in conversation with Michael Landy, chaired by Vesna Goldsworthy

Here Michael Landy and Andrew Kötting discuss the impetus behind their strange, poignant and obsessive mixed-media portraits of their fathers. In his 2004 Semi-detached, Michael Landy installed a replica of his father’s suburban Victorian house within the confines of Tate Britain. Visitors could make their way around the house (where his father still lived), serenaded by a recording of Landy’s father whistling his favourite tunes. Later in the year, Landy combined drawings, videos and photographs in an exhibition about his father called Welcome to My World. After his father’s death in 2000, Andrew Kötting made copies of four photos of his ‘deadad’ and posted them to 65 writers, artists and friends, who he asked to conjecture about the kind of person his father was. Kötting then went on to commission an outsized blow-up doll of his father, which he transported on a pilgrimage around the world – to Regent Street (where his ‘deadad’ once worked), to the road where his son was conceived, and then on to the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. The resulting film and book which together form ‘In the Wake of Deadad’ are a quirky amalgam of humour, grief, and anger – the ‘rage that might quickstep around his head’. In this discussion, chaired by autobiographer Vesna Goldsworthy, Landy and Kötting will reflect on their motivation for these public portraits of a private relationship.

Picturing Death

18,30, Thursday 24 February 2011, National Portrait Gallery
Maggi Hambling in conversation with George Shaw, chaired by Lara Feigel

Maggi Hambling and George Shaw both have a history of drawing and painting corpses. For both, to paint the dying or dead is a natural act; a way of coming closer to a loved one. Here, Hambling will reflect on the process of drawing and painting the people she loved; in life, in death and afterwards. In her pictures of the dead, her subjects – her parents, her muse Henrietta Moraes and her friend George Melly – remain defiantly alive. A year after Melly’s death, Hambling painted him having a laugh with God and enthroned in heaven, ‘still provided with whiskey, cigarettes and delights of the flesh’. George Shaw will relate his experiences as the official photographer in a hospital morgue to the more personal act of drawing his father dying in hospital. Together, Hambling and Shaw will explore the peculiar relationship of subject and painter created when the subject is dying or dead, reflecting on the extent to which memory encroaches on vision. The discussion, chaired by Lara Feigel from the Centre for Life-writing Research at King’s College London, will also address wider questions of portraiture, illness and death, encompassing death masks, memento mori and anatomical illustrations.

Picturing Everyman

18.30, Thursday 24 March 2011, National Portrait Gallery
Geoff Dyer in conversation with Dryden Goodwin chaired by Camilla Brown

In the 1920s and 30s, the photographer E.O. Hoppé took his camera out onto the streets of London, Berlin and New York and photographed ordinary life. Smiling street urchins, bathing orphans and exhausted immigrants gaze at the supposedly neutral camera. This discussion, timed to coincide with the National Portrait Gallery’s major retrospective of Hoppé’s work, explores early twentieth-century photography’s search for ordinary, representative subjects, placing Hoppé alongside contemporaries such as Bill Brandt, Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange. Together Geoff Dyer, author of The Ongoing Moment, a writer’s meditation on the nature and history of photography, and the artist Dryden Goodwin will ask what was at stake when photography switched its focus from the drawing-room to the street. The discussion will also explore the legacy of this kind of portraiture. Recently, Dryden Goodwin has made a series of portraits of 60 London underground staff going about their work, and filmed himself working with his subjects. How does this process differ from photography? And how has public art developed, over the course of the last century? The discussion will be chaired by Camilla Brown, a curator and writer on contemporary art.

Portraiture & Biography

18.30, Thursday 7 April 2011, National Portrait Gallery
Michael Holroyd in conversation with Michael Berkeley chaired by Lara Feigel

In 2007 the biographer Michael Holroyd sat for a portrait with the artist Michael Reynolds. Unbeknownst to Holroyd, Reynolds was dying at the time, and Holroyd describes the resulting portrait as ‘the saddest picture I ever saw’; a picture of the artist, as much as the sitter. Is portraiture always implicitly a form of self-portraiture? Is biography inevitably autobiographical? In answering these questions, Holroyd will be joined by the composer Michael Berkeley who, as the long-term presenter of Radio 3’s Private Passions, is himself engaged in a form of biography, drawing out the personal significance of his interviewees’ favourite pieces of music. Like Holroyd, Berkeley is the subject of portraits. Recently, he has also had the experience of reading about both of his parents, Lennox Berkeley and Freda Bernstein, in a joint biography by Tony Scotland, and has been intrigued by the discrepancies between memory and biography. The discussion will be chaired by Lara Feigel from the Centre for Life-Writing Research, King’s College London.

Picturing the Artist

18.30, Thursday 28 April 2011, National Portrait Gallery
Peter Conrad in conversation with Alexandra Harris

What do we expect an artist to look like? How have portraits of artists and writers across the centuries shaped our sense of what they do? This discussion is timed to coincide with the National Portrait Gallery’s major exhibition of work by Ida Kar, who was tireless in her commitment to photographing the most iconic creative figures of her time. She showed Iris Murdoch writing on the floor among a messy pile of manuscripts; she caught Barbara Hepworth apparently enmeshed in her own sculpture; and Bridget Riley feeling her way between the lines of a painting. Conrad and Harris will take Kar’s Forty Artists from Paris and London as the starting point for an exploration of artists in art, ranging from Durer’s depiction of himself as Christ to the modernist idea of the ‘impersonal’ writer who should not, by rights, be visible at all. Peter Conrad’s books include Creation: Artists, Gods and Origins, alongside studies of Hitchcock and Orson Welles. Alexandra Harris is the author of Romantic Moderns and a new book on Virginia Woolf.


18.30, Thursday 21 July 2011, National Portrait Gallery
Fiona Shaw and Adam Phillips chaired by Lisa Appignanesi

Acting, like portraiture, can be a form of self-fashioning. The actress Fiona Shaw – who has played Electra, Medea, Hedda Gabler amongst many other parts - believes herself to be formed by her roles. She is liberated by theatrical language, by ‘disguising yourself from yourself’. She also sees acting as a way of communicating the unconscious experience of the self. In this discussion Fiona Shaw will be joined by the psychoanalyst and author Adam Phillips. They will draw out the connections between acting and self-fashioning and reflect on acting and childhood play as transitional spaces in the formation of the self. The discussion will be chaired by Lisa Appignanesi, author of Mad, Bad and Sad, A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800.




Dissecting the Self

This series of six panel discussions about autobiography brings together academics and creative practitioners to explore the role of autobiography in contemporary society.

In the twenty-first century, autobiography is a multi-faceted genre and we will set traditional literary autobiographies alongside blogs, films, self-portraiture and ghost-writing. We intend to come to a series of conclusions about the place of autobiography in our world.  These conclusions will necessarily be multifarious in a world where celebrity culture has elevated the individual at the same time as globally there are increasing numbers of people who are unable to tell their stories. The aim is also partly to see how practitioners of autobiography (who may not even realise they are life-writing at all) respond to the academic discourse of life-writing.

The series will form part of the opening season of King’s College London’s newly renovated Anatomy Theatre, once the home of medical dissections.  In keeping with the original use of the space, the speakers will perform collaborative dissections of the self, and the various modes that artists in different disciplines use to represent or perform their own lives.
All discussions take place in the Anatomy Theatre, King's Building, Strand Campus.  They last one hour and are followed by audience questions and a reception. If you have any enquiries contact Dr Lara Feigel.



Enlightenment Lives (2008-9)

Enlightenment Lives was an exciting programme of lectures by distinguished scholars focusing on eighteenth-century topics, and ran from October 2008 to June 2009.  The series is part of a collaboration between King’s and the British Museum, and celebrates our joint MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies.

18.30, Thursday 30 October at the Stevenson Lecture Theatre, British Museum: 
David Constantine, highly eminent poet, translator, novelist, biographer, will talk on 'Going thru' life tolerably': an appreciation of Sir William Hamilton. 

18.30, Thursday 13 November at King’s: Professor Iain McCalman on Philippe de Loutherbourg

18.30, Thursday 27 November at King’s: Professor David Nokes, on Samuel Johnson, the biographers' biographer

18.30, Thursday 22 January at the Stevenson Lecture Theatre, British Museum: Professor Linda Colley on An Enlightenment Life? Philip Francis, the Empire, and Women.

18.30, Thursday 12 February at King’s: Professor Cliff Eisen, world expert on Mozart, on Mozart as an Enlightenment Ethnographer

18.30, Thursday 19 March at King’s:  Dr Nicola Watson on The posthumous consumption of Enlightenment 'Lives'

18.30, Thursday 7 May at King’s: A Symposium on Enlightenment Lives

18.30, Thursday 4 June: Professor Nicholas Rogers on Fragile liberties, working lives: lower deck narratives in the British navy of the eighteenth century.

Medical Lives (2008)

18.00, Wednesday 7 May 2008,Council Room, Strand Campus

Award winning poet, David Morley, will discuss and read extracts from The Gift, an anthology of new writing for the National Health Service.  David Morley and his students worked with the NHS alongside hundreds of professional writers and medical staff to produce The Gift: New Writing for the NHS

This project involved online workshops with 2,000 students and medical workers. 31,000 copies of the book were given free to NHS workers in the Midlands. The Gift included work specially commissioned from over 90 established writers (including Nobel laureates) and also from creative writing NHS workers. Although all work was donated free of charge, the book proved highly controversial (the project was publicly condemned by Dr Liam Fox). However, after national media attention, George Bush’s Healthcare Review team in the White House phoned and ordered copies! 

The Gift
 is used in some medical schools for training. Boyd Tonkin, Literary Editor of The Independent, singled it out, ‘I can think of no precedent of The Giftin its scope, nor in its involvement with NHS workers. It also gives a glimpse of David Morley’s projects for the Warwick Writing Programme, which aim to bring together literary and scientific ways of seeing. His anthology pays a rich homage to the art of medicine—and makes a compelling case for the medicine of art’.   

The poet David Morley is an environmental research ecologist by vocation and training, David Morley’s poetry has won many writing awards. He also writes essays, criticism and reviews for The Guardian, PN Review and Poetry Review. He directs the Warwick Writing Programme at The University of Warwick where he is Professor and the winner of a National Teaching Fellowship. He recently published The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing and an anthology of new Romanian poetry.

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