Posts from April 2011

‘Media Acts’ Call for Papers, NTNU, Trondheim,

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Our friends in the Department of Art and Media Studies at NTNU, Trondheim, Norway, are organizing The 10th International Conference of the Nordic Society for Intermedial Studies, 26th-28th October, 2011. Entitled ‘Media Acts’, confirmed speakers include Jacques Ranciere, James Elkins, Sara Danius, Frederik Tygstrup, and Aud Sissel, Hoel. The ‘Call for Papers’ is here – Media Acts October 26-28 2011 Call for papers – and the deadline for abstracts is 15th May!

The Scarcity Exchanges

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Scarcity Exchanges
University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London NW1
All talks start at 6.30pm at 5LS

Hosted by our friends in Architecture, a series of exchanges on and around the topic of scarcity, bringing together some of the leading thinkers in the field to expound on one of the most pressing, but often avoided, issues of the day. That resources are diminishing is a commonplace, but scarcity is about much more than the destruction of our natural resource base: it is a socially and economically constructed condition that affects us all, and will increasingly do so. If the 2000s was the decade of false abundance, then the 2010s will likely be defined through scarcity. This series of exchanges will open up the discussion as to what scarcity might mean, and its social, economic, and environmental implications.

11 May: Economies of Scarcity
Dougald Hine and Andrew Simms

18 May: Cities of Scarcity
Alfredo Brillembourg and David Satterthwaite

25 May: Scarcity and Consumption
Ed Van Hinte and Steve Broome

1 June: Concepts of Scarcity
Iain Boal and Lyla Mehta

13 June: Fabricating Scarcities
Saskia Sassen

Tickets are free but please register at  

The research project, Scarcity and Creativity in the Built Environment, is led by Jeremy Till at the University of Westminster, with partners at the Oslo School of Architecture and TU Vienna. The project is funded by HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area). For further details visit

Private View, 11th May, 309 Regent Street Gallery: ‘Poster Power: Images from Mao’s China, Then and Now’

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Wednesday 11th May 2011, 6:30-8:30 p.m
309 Regent Street Gallery, University of Westminster, London

You are invited to the Private View of:
‘Poster Power: Images from Mao’s China, Then and Now’

Exhibition continues 12th May – 14th July

Invitation to the Private View attached. Further information here.

Posters from Mao’s China exercise an enduring appeal to audiences across the globe, more than sixty years after the events that produced them. They are revisited in modern and contemporary Chinese art and commercial design, and curated in exhibitions in China, the US and Europe.

So why does imagery produced to support a revolutionary ideology half a century ago continue to resonate with current Chinese and Western audiences? What is the China we see between posters of the Mao years and their contemporary consumerist reinventions? How do we explain the diverse responses such imagery evokes? And what does the appeal of the posters of Mao’s China tell us about the country’s ‘red legacy’?

Poster Power explores some of these questions through setting up a visual dialogue between posters produced during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and their echoes in recent years. With posters from the University of Westminster’s Chinese Poster Collection, Chinese video art, documentary film, photographs, and contemporary items such as playing cards, nightclub advertising and tourist travel publicity, the exhibition invites viewers to explore the posters’ ambiguities of appeal to their audiences. As visual reminders of both autocratic rule and exuberant youthful idealism, they evoke diverse responses, challenging the idea that Cultural Revolution poster propaganda transmitted a single, transparent meaning. These posters’ capacity to inspire ambiguous responses opens up new narratives of what remains a complex period of China’s recent past, and sheds light on its changing significance in contemporary China.

Please do come along. And bring a friend. Or two.

Visual Culture in Europe Network: From Barcelona to Trondheim and beyond…

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Last week the ‘Visual Culture in Europe Network’ held its second annual conference, programmed marvelously by Joachin Barriendos and Anna-Maria Guasch, members of the ‘Global Visual Cultures’ project based in Barcelona.

The conference, entitled ‘Visualizing Europe: The Geopolitical and Intercultural Boundaries of Visual Culture’ was hosted by University of Barcelona and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona (MACBA).

An incredible couple of days, over 20 conference participants hailed from Vienna, Rome, Vilnius, Trondheim, Lisbon, Berlin, Lund, Skopje, London, Bergen, Zagreb, and Barcelona. Each and every one of them delivered fascinating and at times provocative presentations that led to a great deal of productive, meaningful, and at times even fractious debate. It was a timely reminder that there’s nothing tidy about what we as academics, scholars, educators, curators, and practitioners care about, why we care about it, and how that care is articulated as a politics, an ethics, as a praxis.

Following the conference, the Visual Culture in Europe Network held its second annual meeting. (For details of the Network please see: For your information, the Network’s 2012 conference will be held in Trondheim, Norway, hosted by Nina Lager Vestberg (NTNU) and Øyvind Vågnes (Bergen). The 2013 conference will take place in Croatia, hosted by Kresimir Purgar, Centre for Visual Studies, Zagreb.

Watch this space for further details of the conference themes, calls for papers, etc.

Utopia London screening

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Tuesday 3rd May, 6.00 pm
Hogg Lecture Theatre, University of Westminster, Marylebone site

Our friends in the Department of Architecture at Westminster are hosting a screening of the Utopia London, a documentary film by young director Tom Cordell, which explores London’s recent architectural history through the eyes of those who helped create it and those whose lives were shaped by it. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with Tom as well as a panel of architects who are interviewed in the film.

“I’ve always been drawn to the excitement of London’s post-war landscape; concrete and brick textures, unadorned clean lines, neon glow and dark shadows. … Yet all our lives we have been told that the same urban spaces are ugly – symbols of a failed, arrogant technocracy. … I began to contact the people who tried to change the city, and my narrative thread continued to shift around as the filming went on. And what I found was that the power of the buildings came from the vision they were meant to serve – and that it’s this vision that so polarises opinion. They symbolise an attempt to build a fair, open society, and their existence frightens people who have rejected these values.” Tom Cordell

Opportunity: Writer-in-Residence, University of Westminster archive

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The University of Westminster is seeking a Writer-in-Residence in the University Archive for one academic year starting September 2011.

The award seeks to:

  • Develop research activity in relation to Creative Writing and the Westminster Archive;
  • Develop student interest and involvement with the archive; and
  • Publicise the Westminster Archive and its holdings.

Remuneration: £1,000 for residency during one academic year.

Proposals should highlight how you would use the Westminster archive in your own creative writing, and ways in which you would generate Creative Writing activity in the university related to the archive. Given the range of materials available, we are looking for stimulating approaches to some of the possibilities afforded by the university archive. As part of the residency, you would be expected to lead one workshop with Creative Writing students and present a talk to staff and students on your own work related to the archive towards the end of the academic year.

Applicants should be authors of proven merit. Experience of working in archives would be beneficial but not essential, you will be given a full introduction to the archive. There will be research space available in the archive office, and you will have access to various university facilities including the library. High quality copies of materials in the archive can be provided.

Applications should include:

  • Detail of published/performed writing and work in progress;
  • Outline of writing project(s) to be undertaken during the period of appointment, up to a maximum of 500 words;
  • Confirmation of EU citizenship/residence status.

The deadline for submission is Monday 9 May 2011.  Applications may be sent in hard copy to Dr. Andrew Caink, Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies, 32-8 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW or on attachment to

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview in late May/early June.

The Archive includes records from the University’s predecessor bodies, the Polytechnic of Central London, the Regent Street Polytechnic, and the Royal Polytechnic founded in 1838. The collections consist of an enormous range of materials, engravings and illustrations of scientific experiments, books and pamphlets, events programmes and posters, legal agreements, photographs, magazines and periodicals, and World War One rolls of honour and service records. Details of the archive’s holdings can be found at and exploratory enquiries can be directed to Elaine Penn (

Fitzrovia Noir’s ‘Intervention Art Trail’

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It was the Institute’s pleasure to collaborate this last weekend with Fitzrovia Noir, an arts group based in central London, on their fascinating ‘Intervention Art Trail’. Around 350 people thoughout the day came on the working tours around our neighbourhood and to the book event, which was followed by a networking buffet for gallerists, artists, organizers, and community groups. All in a day’s work for the energetic crew at Fitzrovia Noir. A resounding success!

For visuals, please see:

We look forward to collaborating with Fitzrovia Noir again in the not too distant future.

For more on Fitzrovia Noir see:

Visualizing Europe, Barcelona

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Visualizing Europe
The Geopolitical and Intercultural Boundaries of Visual Culture
Second Conference of Visual Culture in Europe
University of Barcelona, April 11-12 2011

Following its successful launch at the Institute, with a conference at Westminster in February last year, the 2nd Conference of Visual Culture in Europe will be hosted by our partners at the University of Barcelona, Spain on April 11-12, 2011. The conference elaborates on the interplay between the geopolitical designs of the European Union and transnational visual cultures in the region. Taking as a point of departure the strategic expansion and uneven porosity of Europe’s political and cultural boundaries, this conference will explore the role that visuality has played in the process of reinvention and postcolonial relocation of the cultural image of the EU.
Further details and programme here.