Posts by john

Welcome to Katharina Donn, Junior Visiting Research Fellow

29 January 2015

The Institute is delighted to welcome Katharina Donn as our Junior Visiting Research Fellow for Spring 2015.


Katharina’s main area of research is in contemporary American Literature. She is particularly interested in the ethics and aesthetics of imaginative literature in the face of trauma and terror. Katharina was a lecturer in American Studies at Augsburg University from 2011-2014, and received her doctorate with a thesis entitled Emergent Wounds: Poetics of Trauma after 9/11. As a fellow of the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes (German National Academic Foundation), she worked on a funded interdisciplinary research project concerned with the 9/11 attacks and is currently developing a new project on embodiment and affect, Material Metaphors: Practices of Knowledge in Modernist Literature.

Written on Thursday, posted in News (No comments yet)

The Contemporary Small Press: A Symposium and Book Fair, February 20

19 January 2015


The Contemporary Small Press: A Symposium
The Boardroom, 309 Regent Street, University of Westminster

The Contemporary Small Press Book Fair
The Fyvie Hall, 309 Regent Street, University of Westminster

Friday 20th February 2015

The last decade has witnessed a turn to considering the legacies of modernism prevalent and operative within contemporary literature and culture. Within the scholarly discourses surrounding this shift, there has been little discussion of the status of the small press in the twenty-first century, and its vital role in the dissemination of avant-garde writing. This symposium seeks to address the role and status of the small press in the UK as a field of academic enquiry. We aim to offer a forum that will bring together a number of small presses, and facilitate productive dialogue between the diverse publishers working with contemporary innovative writers and poets.

The day symposium consists of three panels of scholars, publishers, writers, and poets, which will explore the history of the small press, literary politics and the relationship between the small press and the mainstream, and take up issues surrounding materialities of the text and small press publishing. The Contemporary Small Press Book Fair following the symposium will showcase and market the rich and varied work currently being published by small presses.

Poets and writers reading from their work throughout the day, and into the evening, include Carol Watts, Peter Hughes, Toby Litt, Robert Hampson, Jennifer Cooke, Nicholas Royle, Amy Cutler, Rod Mengham, Tony White, and Michael Nath.

Participating presses include Oystercatcher Press, Reality Street, Route, Veer Books, Comma Press, and Equipage.

A collection of new writing by writers and poets taking part in the symposium, outLINES: from the Small Press, published in collaboration with Oystercatcher Press, will be available on the day.

The symposium is free to all but booking is essential. Places for the symposium can be reserved through Eventbrite:

For further details about the conference, or if you are the editor of a small press and would like to take part in the Book Fair, please contact Leigh Wilson (, or Georgina Colby (

Written on Monday, posted in Event (1 comment)

Fitzrovia Reading CANCELLED

30 September 2014

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Fitzrovia Atlas and Stepaway Magazine present an evening of new writing by Joan Byrne, Tony Rickaby, and Kate Wise.

Thursday 9 October 2014, 6-30pm
Fyvie Hall, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW
Admission FREE. All Welcome.

FITZROVIA ATLAS is a project based in the Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies at the University of Westminster dedicated to exploring the literary and cultural life of Fitzrovia.

STEPAWAY MAGAZINE is an established online literary magazine that publishes the best urban flash fiction and poetry by writers from across the globe.

Written on Tuesday, posted in Event, News (No comments yet)

Reading: Simon Perril at the ICA, Thursday 19th June

10 June 2014

The idea of cinema in the mind of a painting: poetry, film, collage

Thursday 19 June, 6.30pm
ICA Studio, The Mall
, London 
Free admission

As part of IMCC’s Print Screen: Writing and the Moving Image series, poet Simon Perril will be reading at the ICA next Thursday, followed by a drinks reception. All welcome.

Simon is a poet, critic, and programme leader for Creative Writing at De Montfort University, Leicester. His poetry publications include Archilochus on the Moon (Shearsman 2013), Newton’s Splinter (Open House 2012), Nitrate (Salt 2010), A Clutch of Odes (Oystercatcher 2009), and Hearing is Itself Suddenly a Kind of Singing (Salt 2004). He has also published in magazines such as P.N. Review, Jacket, Poetry Wales, Shearsman and Angel Exhaust. He is the editor of The Salt Companion to John James and Tending the Vortex: The Works of Brian Catling, and has also written on Tom Raworth, J.H. Prynne, John Tranter, and Peter Riley, among others. For the last decade he has made visual collages, and has a collage ‘novel’ in progress called Under Austerity Rubble, Ancient Bird Folk Lay Future Eggs.

Written on Tuesday, posted in News (No comments yet)

Natural History of Memory Inaugural Seminar

14 April 2014

The Natural History of Memory Inaugural Seminar (hosted by the Cultural Memory Seminar Series, sponsored by the Department of English, Linguistics, and Cultural Studies, University of Westminster)

17th May, 11 am – 4 pm. Room G37, Senate House, University of London.


Professor Anna Reading (King’s College London), ‘Where Do Clouds Come From? A Natural History of Digital Memory’

Dr Frank Uekoetter (University of Birmingham), ‘The Boll Weevil, the Post-Slavery Plantation, and the Global World of Monoculture’

Dr Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen (UCL), ‘London Submerged: Eco-Fictions of a Vanishing Present’

Chairs: Drs Lucy Bond (Westminster), Rick Crownshaw (Goldsmiths), Jessica Rapson (King’s)

The Natural History of Memory explores the ways that environments register and mediate the memories of catastrophe and injustice. Moving beyond Walter Benjamin’s conception of natural history as the naturalization of historical events and their representation in teleological fashion, the project examines the manifold imbrications of landscape and the lived experience of violence over time. While memory studies typically positions historical sites and landscapes as the places where past catastrophes unfolded, this project understands these environments as the very media through which these disasters took place, lent agency and co-opted by the perpetrators of those events, thereby enabling their occurrence. Challenging the construction of ‘nature’ as a passive canvas for the inscription and organization of history, this research seeks to develop an environmental literacy for reading (or reconstructing) memory where landscapes and experiences have become indistinct. The Natural History of Memory thus frames strands of research that seek to examine environmental agency in both catastrophic events and their remembrance.

The Natural History of Memory Partner Institutions: Goldsmiths University of London, King’s College London, University of Westminster, and University of Ghent.

Written on Monday, posted in Conference, Event (2 comments)

The Art School and the Culture Shed book

1 April 2014

John Beck (University of Westminster) and Matthew Cornford (University of Brighton) have been tracking down and photographing the sites of British art schools for around five years. While many towns in the UK used to have a dedicated art school, now there are only a handful left; most of the buildings have been repurposed or, in some cases, demolished. This 48pp book, published by Kingston University’s Centre for Useless Splendour, is the latest bulletin from their ongoing project. While there is a historical side to Beck and Cornford’s investigations that seeks to situate the history of art education in the UK within a broader cultural history (the massive impact of art school education on postwar British culture, for example), there is also, the book argues, a contemporary relevance to seeking out old art school buildings. Instead of educational institutions dedicated to the study of art and design, British towns are now more likely to contain signature gallery and museum buildings intended, in part, to contribute to local regeneration, heritage, and/or tourist agendas. What does the decline of the local art school and the rise of the ‘destination’ art gallery tell us about changing ideas about the function of art, its possible civic purpose, and the relationship between participation and spectatorship? What can old buildings tell us about new ones? How did the ‘creative economy’ come to replace ‘art school’ as a descriptor of local cultural value and why does it matter?

For a copy of the book, please contact Dean Kenning, Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture, Kingston University (

For further information on Beck and Cornford’s art school project, email John Beck ( or Matthew Cornford (

Written on Tuesday, posted in News (2 comments)
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The Continuities of Cold War Systems Symposium

10 January 2014

The Continuities of Cold War Systems: A Symposium
Thursday 27th February 2014, 9am-6pm.
The Boardroom, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street

Hosted by John Beck (Westminster) and Ryan Bishop (Winchester School of Art), participants include Ele Carpenter (Goldsmiths), Fabienne Collignon (Sheffield), Mark Coté (King’s), Dan Grausam (Durham), Ken Hollings (Middlesex), Adrian Mackenzie (Lancaster), Jussi Parikka (Winchester), John Phillips (Singapore), Adam Piette (Sheffield), Jennifer Pybus (Winchester), James Purdon (Cambridge), Aura Satz (London Consortium), Neal White (Bournemouth).

From the late 1940s through the 1980s systems analysis, cybernetics, and information theory came to shape military, business, government and academic thinking on a wide array of subjects. The influence of such thinking is also evident in the arts, from the so-called systems novels of the 1960s and 70s, to minimalist and electronic music, conceptual art, and the emergence of electronic media. The end of the Cold War did not end systems thinking; indeed, given the phenomenal expansion of computer technologies into every aspect of contemporary life it is fair to say that we are now living in a world imagined and engineered during the Cold War. This event seeks to address the ways the Cold War, particularly through a consideration of systems thinking, continues to shape the contemporary.

RSVP John Beck:

Written on Friday, posted in News (No comments yet)

Kreider + O’Leary, Ways to Cut the Earth Open, Jan 17

10 December 2013

Kreider + O’Leary, ‘Ways to Cut the Earth Open’

Friday 17 January, 7pm
The Old Cinema, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street

‘Ways to Cut the Earth Open’ is a cross-platform survey that examines a number of sites recently explored by Kreider + O’Leary in their nomadic practice. Using the sectional cut and the filmic splice as starting points they explore strands from their recent site-based works to thread together narratives of place and displacement. Predicated on an aesthetics of response while engaging with the complexity inherent in a given site, their work is both a form and act of communication: therefore, and necessarily, clouded by ambiguity. This prompts a critical investigation into the role of ambiguity for creative practices that relate to site, including writing and the moving image.

Kreider + O’Leary are a poet and architect who collaborate to make performance, installation and time-based media work in relation to sites of architectural and cultural interest. Since 2003, they have worked collaboratively to construct work in prisons, churches, military sites, film locations and desert environments, as well as in more traditional gallery venues across the UK, Europe, the US, Australia, and Japan. Their work ‘Light Vessel Automatic’ was exhibited at Performing Architecture at Tate Britain in February 2013. They are currently exhibiting a new work entitled ‘Edge City’ at the Lisbon Architecture Triennale.


All welcome

Written on Tuesday, posted in Event, News (No comments yet)

Centre for Useless Splendour launch event, Wed 4 December

25 November 2013

Wednesday 4 December, 5.30-8.30pm
Centre for Useless Splendour (previously The Swan public house), opposite Stanley Picker Gallery, Mill Street, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 2QJ.

Centre for Useless Splendour Reading Room Launch Event, School of Fine Art, Kingston University

5.30pm  In Conversation: John Beck & Matthew Cornford will be discussing their new publication The Art School and The Culture Shed with Dean Kenning.

6-8.30pm  Opening Reception: Reading Room is a temporary exhibition in the Stanley Picker Gallery Lobby which brings together publications commissioned by the Centre for Useless Splendour since its establishment in 2010 and launches new publications from Esther Windsor, Mark Greenwood, Roderick Harris, Enda Deburca & John Russell, Laura Cull & Simon O’Sullivan, John Beck & Matthew Cornford. The exhibition also plays host to a new sculptural commission from artist duo Ox Art.

Written on Monday, posted in Event, Exhibition (No comments yet)
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