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Towards Cultural Democracy: Live at the Barbican

In November 2017, CMCI’s Dr Nick Wilson and Dr Jonathan Gross gave a presentation on a newly commissioned piece of research to some 150 people at London’s Barbican Centre as part of their Towards Cultural Democracy project.

Commissioned by A New Direction (AND), the London creative and cultural education agency, the new report explores how cultural learning happens and how it can best be supported. The research focuses on young people within the London Borough of Harrow, and shows how issues related to space, place and mobility, relationships and institutions, knowledge production and cultural agency impact on their learning.

Noting young people’s particular interest in spaces that support ‘creativity’ and ‘freedom’, Wilson and Gross highlight the need for ‘supported autonomy’, and suggest that people’s cultural learning is characterised by the principles of care (including attentiveness, responsibility, competence and responsiveness).

Find out more.

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Modern Classicisms and The Classical Now

What is it about ancient Graeco-Roman art that still captivates and provokes the modern imagination? How can contemporary art help us to see the classical tradition with new eyes? And what can modern-day responses – set against the backdrop of others over the last two millennia – tell us about our own cultural preoccupations?

Modern Classicisms, based in the Department of Classics at King's, sets out to explore these and other questions by bringing together classicists, art historians, critics and artists. The project commenced in August 2017, and runs until July 2018 in its first phase. Activities include a  workshop on 10 November 2017, and The Classical Now exhibition in spring 2018

This project comes about thanks to the generous support of Christian Levett and with Musée d’Art Classique de Mougins (MACM). King’s is proud to be working with other external collaborative partners, including the Courtauld Institute of Art and Minerva (The International Review of Ancient Art and Archaeology).

Read more.

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Monochrome exhibition at The National Gallery

A major exhibition, co-curated by the Department of Theology & Religious Studies' Dr Jennifer Sliwka, opened at The National Gallery in October 2017.

Monochrome: Painting in Black and White was a radical new look at what happens when artists cast aside the colour spectrum and focus on the visual power of black, white, and everything in between.

Here Dr Sliwka has drawn on her work as Deputy Director of the Visual Commentary on Scripture project, which combines insights drawn from the fields of Christian theology, art history, and biblical scholarship to offer a comprehensive, highly innovative and illuminating way of looking at the Bible. The project's culmination will be a ground-breaking digital resource housing more than 3,750 biblical images from all over the world and covering a period of 2,000 years.

Find out more.

Brick_Lane_street_signs - credit James Cridland

Lives of London module in Liberal Arts

Liberal Arts students at King's can take the Lives of London module in their first year of study. Led by Dr George Legg, the course takes students on an interdisciplinary exploration of the history and culture of London and introduces students to essential skills and methods of academic study for their degree.

In groups, students undertake investigation into the lives of some of the millions of people who have lived in the few square miles in and around the university, using London as a laboratory for the introductory study of Liberal Arts.

Immigrant children of Spitalfields at turn of 20th Century [Bishopsgate Institute archive]

A decade of research, policymaking and public engagement in Tower Hamlets

Dr Daniel Nilsson Dehanas has spent ten years working with communities, schools and religious organisations in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. In recent years his work has included co-organising the 2016 ‘Immigrants of Spitalfields’ festival with local charities to celebrate immigrant contributions through music, literature, art, and lectures, as well as contributing to the BBC's Great British Railway Journeys on immigration history in Spitalfields.  

Dr DeHanas uses his book London Youth, Religion, and Politics: Engagement and Activism from Brixton to Brick Lane as a core teaching text to engage students with original research and with ‘London as a classroom.’ Each year he takes students on an immersive fieldtrip to research sites in Spitalfields, which have included Sandy’s Row Synagogue, the Brick Lane Mosque, and the East London Mosque. 

Find out more.

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Iris Project – Inner London Latin
The project has been running for several years in the capital's state primary schools, offering pupils in large, mixed-ability classes the opportunity to learn about Latin in fun, accessible and relevant ways.

Student teachers from the Department of Classics at King's deliver a year-long course to years 5 and 6, introducing the language with activities and games as well as offering a taste of Classical myths and culture through storytelling and drama.

The project provides access to the fascinating subjects of Latin and Classics for hundreds of inner-city school children. It also enables undergraduate students to engage with local communities, gain experience and training in teaching, while also developing a range of other new skills.

An image of a damaged high-rise office block after the 1996 Docklands bombing

Remembering the Docklands Bomb
Dr George Legg collaborated with artist Lucy Harrison on an exhibition exploring the societal, personal and political impact of the 1996 IRA Docklands bombing.  

The exhibition, presented at the Republic Gallery in East London, featured a 30-minute documentary and photographs of the devastation caused by the blast.

George and Lucy's approach to the exhibition brought together academic and artistic research methods in response to the contrast between the unwritten memories and the official narratives of an explosion that not only shook the city and increased tensions between its communities but that was loaded with wider political significance.

The Black Cultural Archives Heritage Centre in Brixton London. Credit Black Cultural Archives

Partnership with the Black Cultural Archives
King’s History department has a partnership with the Black Cultural Archives that includes a jointly-taught module. The relationship was inaugurated with a public lecture by Paul Reid, the archives’ director, introduced by King’s Principal and President Professor Ed Byrne.

The joint King’s-BCA module, ‘Black in the Union Jack’, began in September 2017 and was partially be taught at the BCA in Brixton. Students explore the experience of African and African-Caribbean communities in the UK, and develop research projects with hands-on access to the resources in the BCA’s collections.

In addition, the BCA and King’s historians are working together on a school syllabus on African history and  a series of events on the place of Black history in Britain’s national narratives.

The Philosophy in Prisons team, from left to right: Andy West, Mike Coxhead, Andrea Fassolas

Philosophy in prison
In 2016, the King’s Department of Philosophy piloted an 8-week philosophy course for prisoners at HMP Belmarsh. 

With the support of Professors Bill Brewer and MM McCabeMike Coxhead (PhD candidate and Visiting Research Fellow in the Department), Andy West (senior specialist at The Philosophy Foundation), and Andrea Fassolas (honorary therapist at the Guild of Psychotherapists) developed and delivered a course of discussion-based philosophy classes. 

Content included personal identity, freedom, time, scepticism, the ethics of belief, mental health, and topics in moral philosophy. Classes were delivered based around The Philosophy Foundation’s method of philosophical enquiry.

Find out more on the Department of Philosophy research pages.

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Persona Non Data at Somerset House
King's commissioned the Persona Non Data installation, a collaboration between Italian artists Salvatore Iaconesi and Oriana Persico and King's academic Dr Mark Coté as part of Somerset House's Big Bang Data season in 2016.

Visitors to the installation had the opportunity to explore how private and complex their personal data actually is. Using the latest facial recognition software, the installation showed to visitors the abundance of data their visits to public spaces can create, and gave them the opportunity to decide if they wanted to release their data into the exhibition and allow it to be visualised as part of the art work. 

Find out more about the project in this legacy film on YouTube.

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