Event

Critical Pedagogies Group Annual Lecture May 24th 2018

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Thursday 24th May, 18:00-21:00 pm
University of Westminster, Marylebone campus, 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS [room tbc]

Institutionalised whiteness, racial microaggressions and Black bodies out of place in HE
Remi Joseph-Salisbury (Leeds Beckett University

On the morning of Friday 3rd February 2017, Femi Nylander – a Black Oxford alumnus – walked through the grounds of Oxford University’s Harris Manchester College. Later that morning a CCTV image of Femi was circulated to staff and students who were urged to ‘maintain vigilance’. ‘Post-racial’ ideology insists on framing such incidents as isolated aberrations bereft of wider structural and institutional context. This lecture centralises the voices of student campaigns as sites of legitimate experiential knowledge in order to offer a counter-narrative. In so doing, the talk draws upon the theoretical concepts of racial microaggressions and bodies out of place in order to argue that Femi’s experience cannot be understood in abstraction from structural white supremacy and the institutionalised whiteness that undergirds Higher Education.

Remi Joseph-Salisbury is a Senior Lecturer in Education Studies at Leeds Beckett University, with research primary research interests in race and (anti-)racism. He is a trustee of the Racial Justice Network, and a steering group member of the Northern Police Monitoring Project. He is co-editor of The Fire Now, a forthcoming collection exploring anti-racism in times of explicit racial violence.

Organised by our friends in the Critical Pedagogies Group. This event is free and open to the public. Booking via Eventbrite is essential. 

Whose voice is it anyway?: Feminist Inclusivity in Practice and Theory, April 17

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Tuesday April 17 2018, 6.30pm-10pm
Yurt Cafe, St, Katharine’s Precinct, 2 Butcher Row, London E14 8DS

Whose Voice is It Anyway?: Feminist Inclusivity in Practice and Theory

This event seeks to bring together writers and academics whose works engage with the intersectionality of feminist theory and practice. Organised by Isabelle Coy-Dibley and Genna Gardini, this event is part of the S A L O N – London project, a feminist environment championing solidarity and the creation of a platform that brings about change by finding new forms of feminist kinship, directed by Dr Georgina Colby and Professor Susan Rudy.

The evening focuses on the three key pillars of the project – Solidarity, Activism and Language. The event will feature an interdisciplinary panel of speakers, including Eleanor Perry, Isabel Waidner, Linda Stupart and Nala Xaba, and aims to question how inclusive feminism is, whether/how it should be inclusive, and how the works of these speakers’ challenge, transgress, problematise, experiment and interact with feminism. Through hearing perspectives and readings from our speakers, we will tackle questions such as: how does the experimental and innovative writing and readings of works engage with present forms of feminism; and how do these forms of writing challenge, resist, and actively reshape feminist practices? By viewing writing as a form of activism and a place to voice political, social and cultural issues and desires for transformation, we will investigate S A L O N’s assertion that “Experimental, multi-modal, transgender and multi-lingual languages are emerging as linguistic forms for inscribing voiceless narratives of those excluded and marginalised.”

Doors will open at 6:30pm, for a 7pm start. Wheelchair accessible.

Free, but please register here.

For more info visit https://www.salon-london.org/events/

Mathematics and Literary Production: Oulipian Method as Critique seminar, March 21st

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Wednesday 21st March, 5.00 pm
Room 206, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW

Mathematics and Literary Production: Oulipian Method as Critique
Daniel Cartwright (University of Westminster)

The mid twentieth century saw the emergence in French mathematics of a particularly forbidding formalism, pursued under the name of Nicolas Bourbaki. Bourbaki aimed to derive all branches of mathematics from a single set of abstract axioms. A few years after their heyday, another group, the Oulipo, took this formalist mathematical approach and applied it to literature. The Oulipo’s defining method, the formal constraint, was thus conceived mathematically as an axiom of the text. This paper explores the significance of this introduction of mathematical form to writing and will argue that, in the internal failings of Bourbaki’s totalisation of mathematics, and the Oulipo’s parodic adoption of this scheme, there is an underlying critical reflection of the rationalistic conditions of modernity.

All welcome! Followed by usual drinks in the Green Man.

CFP: London Conference in Critical Thought, 29th and 30th June 2018

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Friday 29 – Saturday 30 June 2018
University of Westminster

London Conference in Critical Thought

Westminster will be hosting the 7th annual London Conference in Critical Thought (LCCT), courtesy of our colleagues in the Department of Politics and International Relations.

Central to the vision of the conference is an inter-institutional, non-hierarchical and accessible event that makes a particular effort to embrace emergent thought and the participation of emerging academics, fostering new avenues for critically-oriented scholarship and collaboration. The conference is divided into thematic streams, each coordinated by different researchers and with separate calls for papers. The organisers welcome paper proposals that respond to the particular streams below. In addition, papers may be proposed as part of a general stream, i.e. with no specific stream in mind. Spanning a range of broad themes, these streams provide the impetus for new points of dialogue.

  • Art and Automation
  • Capital, Event and Agency (1968-2018)
  • Disruptions, Interventions and Liminalities: Critical Performative Pedagogies
  • Infrastructure, “infrapolitics” and experimentation
  • Politics of/in the Anthropocene
  • Resistant Bodies. On resistance and its corporeal challenges
  • Taking Positions
  • The Politics of Truth
  • Thinking Affect and Postcoloniality Together
  • Time, Cities, Bodies
  • Writing to Think

The Full Call for Papers can be found here: LCCT CfP 2018 feb 26

Please send paper/presentation proposals with the relevant stream indicated in the subject line to paper–subs@londoncritical.org. Submissions should be no more than 250 words and should be received by Monday 26th March 2018.

Detective Novels and the First World War, Thursday 8th March

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Thursday 8th March 2018, 5.00 pm
Room 351, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW

Detective Novels and the First World War
Professor Jane Mattisson Ekstam (Østfold University College, Norway)

Hosted by our friends in History, Professor Ekstam, who is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at Westminster, discusses the relationship between detective novels and representation of the First World War. This provides a particularly fertile context for examining human motivation and suffering, and for looking at ways of dealing with crime in war and peace, not least in Britain where the majority of war-related detective fiction was produced. Followed by drinks reception.

Roundtable on London Gothic, Weds 21st February 2018

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Wednesday 21st February 2018, 5.00 pm
Room 206, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW

If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood … A Roundtable on London Gothic
Monica Germana, Emma McEvoy, Alexandra Warwick, Anne Witchard

London has taken a central role in the urban Gothic, from canonical texts like Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Dracula, through modern film and visual culture, to the ‘tourist gothic’ of rebranded gastropubs and ghost tours. As a specific category, London Gothic is becoming as important for understanding ourselves today as it has been for thinking about the cultural productions of the late-nineteenth century. But what does it mean to think of London as a gothic environment? How has this understanding been shaped by historical events and cultural texts? What ghosts and monsters lurk behind the city’s walls? And how does their lingering presence change the way we interact with the streets around us? Join us for an evening of spooky stories and spectral delights as our panel of Westminster experts (Monica Germana, Emma McEvoy, Alex Warwick and Anne Witchard) examine the changing face of London Gothic, past, present, and future.

Followed by the usual drinks at The Green Man …

S A L O N – LONDON presents Laynie Browne in conversation with Andrea Brady, March 13 2018

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Tuesday March 13 2018, 7pm-9pm
Fyvie Hall, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW

Laynie Browne in conversation with Andrea Brady

Laynie will be reading from three works:

Periodic Companions is a novel with characters based on the periodic table of elements. Relationships are based upon chemistry, and characters investigate poetics, contemplative practices, and outsider culture. Overwhelmed with the futility of institutional structures, and impelled to act in response to tragic acts of violence, the elemental characters create a collective action based upon chemical signalling using human tears, in the hopes of inventing a new context for non-violent protest.

You Envelop Me. A book length poetic elegy, You Envelop Me takes its title from the thirty-second psalm and explores connections between birth and loss. How does one in mourning converse with those absent, yet ever present? These poems seek to enter that sturdy edifice of emptiness, wherein time is suspended, and one is paradoxically held by the departed. How is a motherless daughter conceived? What befalls those who succumb to waves of grief akin to contractions of birth? You Envelop Me is woven from contemplative practices which permit us to approach the unimaginable. The world with the beloved removed is permanently altered, perhaps most significantly in the way the living learn that indispensible vision occurs beyond the visible world.

The Book of Moments (forthcoming 2018, in two editions, one English, one French, from Presses Universitaires de rouen et du havre, Rouen, France).This book of relatively short prose fiction/hybrid pieces is an exploration in reinvention of forms: including the found, the invented and foregrounding perception as subject and object. This book seeks the boundary between real and imagined and hovers at a location often in between. This work is inspired by the revolutionary prose of writers such as Lydia Davis, Marguerite Duras, Hélène Cixous, and others writing off the map between genres, outside conventional expectations of “story.”

A poet, prose writer, teacher and editor, Laynie Browne is author of thirteen collections of poems and three novels. Her most recent collections of poems include You Envelop Me (Omnidawn 2017) P R A C T I C E (SplitLevel 2015), and Scorpyn Odes (Kore Press 2015). Recent books of prose include the novel Periodic Companions (2018) and short fiction in The Book of Moments (2018). Her honors include a 2014 Pew Fellowship, the National Poetry Series Award (2007) for her collection The Scented Fox, and the Contemporary Poetry Series Award (2005) for her collection Drawing of a Swan Before Memory. Her poetry has been translated into French, Spanish, Chinese and Catalan. Her writing has appeared in many anthologies including The Norton Anthology of Post Modern Poetry (second edition 2013), Ecopoetry: A Contemporary American Anthology (Trinity University Press, 2013), Bay Poetics (Faux Press, 2006) and The Reality Street Book of Sonnets (Reality Street, 2008). She teaches at University of Pennsylvania and at Swarthmore College.

Andrea Brady is a poet and Professor of Poetry at Queen Mary, University of London. Andrea’s books of poetry include The Strong Room (2016), Dompteuse (2014), Cut from the Rushes (2013), Mutability: Scripts for Infancy (2012), and Wildfire: A Verse Essay on Obscurity and Illumination (2010). At Queen Mary she runs the Centre for Poetry and the Archive of the Now.

The event is free but please register with Eventbrite

Georgina Colby, Forms of Solidarity Weds 7th February

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Wednesday 7th February 2018, 5.00 pm
Room 206, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW

Forms of Solidarity
Georgina Colby (Westminster)

On January 20, 2017, the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, a pamphlet titled ‘Solidarity Texts: Radiant Re-Sisters’, comprising 69 texts by experimental women writers, was collated and distributed by the poet Laynie Browne to the feminist community ahead of the Women’s March on Washington, scheduled to take place the following day.  The collection of works varied from collages, poems, letters, artworks, scans of handwritten poems in notebooks, shorts essays, animated sketches and links to film and performance works, and experimental prose. The texts each use experimental form as resistance against the increasingly conservative political climate in the U.S. Browne’s distribution of the texts as activist tools for the protest gestures to the revival of experimental works by women writers, artists, and filmmakers as forms of activism in the present climate. This paper explores the relation between forms of feminist solidarity, literary experiment, and new activisms in these texts of resistance.

All welcome! Followed by drinks in the Green Man …

On the Nomos of the Post/Colony seminar, December 1st 2017

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Friday 1st December 2017, 10.00 am – 3.00 pm
Westminster Forum, 5th Floor, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW

Nomos, Postcoloniality and Spatial Justice

Rory Rowan (University of Zurich), “A Neo-Colonial Nomos of the Earth?”
Peter Fitzpatrick (Kent), “Hidden Empires: Finding the Elusive space of Neo-Imperialism – and the Significance of Law”
Carrol Clarkson (University of Amsterdam), “Redrawing the Lines”

Part of the “Nomos, Postcoloniality and Spatial Justice” series of events organised by our friends in the Law and Theory Lab and funded by the British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship Scheme. Further details from here. Or contact Julia Chryssostalis at J. Chryssostalis@Westminster.ac.uk

Martin Willis on the Ideals of Sleep seminar, Weds 22 November

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Wednesday 22nd November, 5.00 – 7.00 pm
Room 206, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW

The Ideals of Sleep: Victorian Sleep Research and Utopianism
Martin Willis (Cardiff)

We seem obsessed by the quality of our sleep in the twenty-first century, yet the high point of sleep research was the second half of the nineteenth century, and particularly the period from 1880-1900, when modern sleep studies began. For the Victorians, sleep was an active state (often linked to other cognitive pathologies and dissonances like catalepsy and epilepsy), which enabled or disabled certain functions of mind and body. How one slept was therefore of considerable interest to the general public as well as to physiologists, physicians and neurologists. Concurrent with this avid attention to the epistemologies of sleep, utopian fictions employed sleep as a foundation for asking questions of ideal lives and worlds. Often, other worlds were entered through the medium of sleep. This seminar will consider the connections between sleep and utopia, and ask whether sleep is itself an ideal place. It will do so by thinking not only about Victorian sleep, but about how contemporary sleep studies might inform our own ‘looking backwards’ to earlier scientific knowledge.

Coming Out In/to Poetry with Stephen Guy-Bray, Friday 17 November

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Friday 17th November, 6 – 8 pm
University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW

Coming Out In/To Poetry
Professor Stephen Guy-Bray (University of British Columbia) 

The Queer London Research Forum is hosting Stephen Guy-Bray for its first event this academic year. Professor Guy-Bray’s talk will address the idea that ‘[w]e all have coming out stories and we tend to think of them as personal and individual – our own property, our own history. But as we all have them, a coming out story can also be considered part of a vast communal project and, for poets, as a specifically literary project. In this talk Stephen Guy-Bray looks at two 20th-century poems (Luis Cernuda’s “Diré cómo nacisteis” and Adrienne Rich’s “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning”) and one 21st-century poem (Ocean Vuong’s “Someday I’ll Love Ocean Vuong”) in order to see how some poets have considered coming out as simultaneously personal and public.’

Stephen Guy-Bray is a specialist in Renaissance poetry and queer theory, with interests in poetics and in comparative literature. His publications include Against Reproduction: Where Renaissance Texts Come From (2009), Loving in Verse: Poetic Influence as Erotic (2006), and Homoerotic Space: The Poetics of Loss in Renaissance Literature (2002). Along with Joan Pong Linton and Steve Mentz he edited The Age of Thomas Nashe: Texts, Bodies and Trespasses of Authorship in Early Modern England (2013) and with Vin Nardizzi and Will Stockton, Queer Renaissance Historiography: Backward Gaze (2009)

Attendance is free but booking is mandatory, please register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/coming-out-into-poetry-with-stephen-guy-bray-tickets-39191402540

Digital Cultures Roundtable, November 8th 2017

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Wednesday 8th November, 5 – 7 pm
Room 206, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW

Digital Cultures: A Roundtable

Hosted by Westminster’s English Literature and Culture research series, and sponsored by the IMCC, this seminar will explore one of the most ubiquitous and at the same time elusive phenomena of contemporary culture: the experience of digitality.

Zara Dinnen is a Lecturer in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature at Queen Mary, University of London and a founding executive committee member of the British Association of Contemporary Literary Studies. Her work focuses on representation of digital media in literary and popular culture. Her monograph, The Digital Banal, will be published by Columbia University Press in 2018.

Seb Franklin is a Lecturer in Contemporary Literature at King’s College London. His research includes literature, visual media, and media theory, especially histories of digital technology and cybernetics. He is the author of Control: Digitally as Cultural Logic (MIT Press, 2015).

Talita Jenman ran the Arts & Culture programme at ZSL London Zoo and has given talks at the National Gallery and Welcome Collection, among others, focusing on memetic culture and its relationship to animals. She is an alumna of MA Art and Visual Culture at Westminster.

Chaired by Kaja Marczewska (Westminster/IMCC)

All welcome – followed by drinks at the Green Man, Riding House Street.

The Soho Poly Theatre re-opens for one week only! November 20th-24th

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Monday 20th – Friday 24th November 2017
University of Westminster, 4-12 Little Titchfield Street London W1W 7BY

Found Theatre and Poetry: Disrupting the Everyday

As a part of the AHRC / British Academy funded Being Human Festival, the University of Westminster will be opening up London’s most important ‘lost’ theatre, the original Soho Poly Theatre, for the whole week beginning November 20th for visitors to come and see.

The Soho Poly Theatre – the radical forerunner of today’s Soho Theatre on Dean Street – operated out of a tiny basement room belonging to the University from 1972-1990. Many of the country’s best-known writers, actors, designers and directors worked here during this time. Curated by Guy Osborn and our own Matt Morrison, the project offers an opportunity to experience an exciting and varied series of events. Including a newly commissioned piece of digital theatre, live poetry readings and an exhibition of rare Nobby Clark photographs – all to be enjoyed in the specially reopened Soho Poly basement itself.

Tickets available from here

Theatre and Performance: Tempestuous Technologies seminar, October 25th 2017

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Wednesday 25th October, 5 – 7 pm
Room UG04, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B

Theatre and Performance: Tempestuous Technologies

Bringing together expert scholars and practitioners, this seminar examines the ways in which the use of technology can transform theatrical experience, for better and, perhaps, for worse. How do you conjure magic on a bare stage? Why did the use of special effects in the professional theatre recently cause a national controversy? How can digital  technologies change the way we think about drama and production?

Leading Shakespeare scholar Dr Gwilym Jones talks about the development of early special effects in the Elizabethan theatre. Course leader for the Theatre Studies and English Literature BA and Theatre Studies and Creative Writing BA Dr Kate Graham discusses the outcry over the use of lighting and sound effects at Shakespeare’s Globe. Finally, Dramatist Dr Matthew Morrison will talk about the use of live streaming in his own theatre practice. Join us for an evening of discussion and debate about the relationship between technology and performance in theatres of the past, present and future.

This event is free and open to all students and staff at the University of Westminster – there is no need to book. Members of the public should email Matthew Charles at m.charles1@westminster.ac.uk to register.

Hybrid Bodies exhibition, London Gallery West

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October 20th – November 16th 2017 (Private View: October 19th, 5-8 pm)
London Gallery West, University of Westminster, The Forum, Watford Road, Harrow, HA1 3TP

Hybrid Bodies
Ingrid Bachmann, Andrew Carnie, Alexa Wright

What does it mean to carry the heart of another person? Why do many heart transplants that appear clinically successful develop unexpected complications or fail? Hybrid Bodies is a multi-disciplinary research project, bringing together the arts, ethics, medicine and social sciences to investigate the complexities of heart transplantation. The project focuses on the lived experiences of heart transplant recipients, translating their stories into medical and academic literature as well as artworks.

Since 2007, artists Ingrid Bachmann, Andrew Carnie and the IMCC’s own Alexa Wright have been part of an international interdisciplinary team lead by Canadian cardiologist Dr Heather Ross and British philosopher Professor Margrit Shildrick. Uniquely for a collaborative project between artists and other specialists, the artists have worked in parallel with the scientists; exploring questions around the emotional, psychological and physiological experience of heart transplantation. The key research material is a collection of video interviews which reveal surprising levels of distress among post-transplant patients, strongly contradicting the belief that receiving a new heart is a simple solution to extending life.

Alexa Wright’s work explores the impact transplant can have on a recipient’s sense of self as a bounded and unique individual. In Heart of the Matter (2014), individual accounts of heart transplant are juxtaposed with personal narratives of lost loves and intimate relationships, forming a web of interconnected testimonies about the effects of a physical or emotional change of heart. Andrew Carnie is interested in how interconnections between different living systems can alter and extend a sense of self. A Change of Heart (2012) is a projected work based on drawings made while the artist listened to taped interviews with post-transplant patients and their analysis by social scientists. His constantly morphing figure captures a sense of everything in flux, in a continual state of becoming. Like the experience of transplant, Ingrid Bachmann’s A-part of Me (2014) is intensely physical, yet immaterial. Indicating both the challenges and benefits of empathetic listening, her sculptural listening device uses bone transducers to conduct sound to the inner ear using the skull as a resonating chamber, allowing participants to hear the narratives of the transplant recipients intimately, both in and through their body.

To find out more about this ongoing project and the people involved, visit www.hybridbodiesproject.com

Leigh Wilson on the Fictional, Virtual and Real in the Contemporary Novel seminar

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Wednesday 11th October, 5.00 – 7.00 pm
Room 206, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW

Should We Believe? The Fictional, the Virtual and the Real in the Contemporary Novel
Leigh Wilson (IMCC/University of Westminster)

Recent work from both novelists and literary critics has suggested that the contemporary novel is sick of fiction and has turned instead to the ‘real’. This paper questions this understanding of the contemporary novel and suggests instead that the most important representational model for the contemporary novel is the virtual. In establishing this, the article returns to both a history of the concept of the virtual and to Coleridge’s ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ in order to make visible the role of the virtual as a model for contemporary prose fiction.

All welcome! Followed by drinks in the Green Man …

The Cultural Legacy and Popular Appeal of James Bond, Oct 12th

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Thursday 12th October, 6.00 – 7.30 pm
City of Westminster Archives Centre, 10 St Ann’s Street, London SW1P

The Cultural Legacy and Popular Appeal of James Bond

Our own Monica Germana will be speaking on a panel organised by The Popular Literature and Culture Research Group at Roehampton University to celebrate the launch of the new International Journal of James Bond Studies.

Booking is essential. Telephone 020 7641 5180 or email archives@westminster.gov.uk

English Literature and Cultural Studies Research Seminars at Westminster, Oct-Dec 2017

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The English Literature and Cultural Studies Research Seminars hosted at the University of Westminster for 2017 are now confirmed, and there’s lots of IMCC involvement, with excellent papers about ongoing research by Leigh Wilson and Martin Willis and an exciting new series of panels organised by and for postgraduate and doctoral students. All welcome (although external visitors will need to sign-in at reception) and followed by the usual visit to the Green Man pub.

Wednesday 11 October, 5-7pm
Room 206, University of Westminster, Wells Street London W1T 3UW

Leigh Wilson (Westminster/IMCC)
“Should We Believe? The Fictional, the Virtual and the Real in the Contemporary Novel”

Wednesday 8 November, 5-7pm
Room 206, University of Westminster, Wells Street London W1T 3UW

Digital Cultures: Art, Literature and Archives roundtable
Chaired: Kaja Marczewska (Westminster/IMCC)

Wednesday 22 November, 5-7pm
Room 206, University of Westminster, Wells Street London W1T 3UW

Martin Willis (Cardiff)
“The Good Places of Sleep? Victorian Utopias, Sleep Research and Consumer Capitalism”

Wednesday 6 December, 5-7pm
Room UG04, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW

Materialisation of the Body in Experimental Writing roundtable
Organised by Isabelle Coy-Dibley and Sally-Shakti Willow (Westminster)