‘Big Ideas’ pub philosophy talk on the city

David Cunningham will be speaking in the series of ‘Big Ideas’ pub philosophy talks held at the Wheatsheaf in London on Tuesday 27th March, 8pm. The topic is: ‘Are Cities Important to Philosophy?’ And here’s the blurb:

Socrates in Athens; Kant in Konigsberg; Hegel in Jena; Russell in Oxford; Carnap in Vienna; Sartre in Paris. Cities, of course, attract cultural production of all kinds to themselves, and the great cities act as magnets for philosophers just as they do for artists, entrepreneurs and chancers. But is there something more to the relationship between philosophy and the city? Has the course of Western philosophy been influenced by its overwhelmingly urban setting?

Further details at: http://bigi.org.uk/events/cities-philosophy/

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Thomson & Craighead are Being Social

Thomson & Craighead are part of the inaugural exhibition ‘Being Social’ in the new Furtherfield Gallery slap bang in the middle of Finsbury Park, North London where they are showing a version of ‘London Wall’.  The exhibition is on already and runs until 28th April. Details here.

T&C are also showing a new projected version of ‘Flipped Clock’ and the short documentary artwork, ‘Several Interruptions’ as part of the exhibition ‘Mirror Neurons’ at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland,  on until 20th May. Details here.

They’ve also completely revamped their 2001 online artwork ‘e-poltergeist’ for the Canadian journal ‘BleuOrange’, and this goes live on 20th March at 0300hrs GMT. And finally, a new artwork, ‘A live portrait of Sir Tim Berners Lee (an early warning system)’ will be part of the major new exhibition, ‘Life Online’ launching in the National Media Museum on 29th March. Further details here.

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‘Now! Visual Culture’ at NYU from May 31-June 2, 2012

‘Now! Visual Culture’ at NYU from May 31-June 2, 2012

*One Dozen Lightning Talks on the future of the field
*Workshops on multi-media software and film
*Open discussions on debt, academic publishing and interdisciplinarity
*Graduate student forum and a general assembly
*Practice, performance and diasporic art

Participants include: Safet Ahmeti, Giuliana Bruno, Wafaa Bilal, Jill Casid, Patsy Chang, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Beth Coleman, Jennifer Gonzalez, Raiford Guins, Gary Hall, Max Liljefors, Mark Little, Tara McPherson, Nicholas Mirzoeff, W.J.T. Mitchell, Lisa Nakamura, Paul Pfeiffer, Amanda du Preez, Martha Rosler, Joan Saab, Marquard Smith, Sina Najafi, Øyvind Vågnes, McKenzie Wark, Jason Wing, Joanna Zylinska, and many more

Full event details are at http://www.visualculturenow.org

As you may know, at the 2010 Visual Culture Studies Conference hosted by the Institute and held at University of Westminster in London, a decision was taken by those in attendance to constitute an International Association for Visual Culture. In 2011, at a follow-up meeting at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown MA, a group delegated from that conference set the process of forming the Association in motion and decided to hold a participatory conference in New York in 2012. The goal of the 2012 conference is to showcase as broad and diverse a range of visual culture practice as possible, consistent with the goal of a low-registration, high-participation event.

There can only be a relatively limited number of delegates both for space reasons (only certain spaces can be used cost-free at NYU) and to create a strongly interactive conference experience. These sessions will take place at 20 Cooper Square, New York, 10003 in the Humanities Initiative space, a beautifully designed space overlooking the architectural drama of the Bowery.

On the website you will find a registration form: please consider registering!

Why does the event have a registration fee of $50 for faculty and $25 for students?
1) we have no supporting body so all costs have had to be covered
2) Much of the amount will be ‘given back’ in the coffee, lunch and receptions
3) Given the limited space, a small registration seemed appropriate as a means of committing

From Nicholas Mirzoeff, organizer of the 2012 International Association for Visual Culture conference

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Cultures of Capitalism V: Money, Whitechapel Salon, April 5th

Thursday 5 April 2012, 7pm
Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1
Price: £7.00 / £5.00 concessions (includes free glass of wine).

This season’s Whitechapel Salon organised by the IMCC in collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery is on ‘Cultures of Capitalism’.  The fifth salon turns to that social and economic form at the very heart of capitalist cultures: Money. In the light of contemporary crises in financial capitalism, Professor Peter Osborne, Director of the Centre for Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, and author of books including The Politics of Time, Philosophy in Cultural Theory, and Conceptual Art, will be in discussion with David Cunningham about money, cultural form, and the nature of the ‘real’ today.

Book your ticket at:

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China in Britain #1: Film workshop, May 10th

China in Britain #1. Film
Thursday May 10th 2012, 10.00 am – 6.00 pm

UPDATE: An important message from the organisers: because of our support for UCU Strike Action on May 10th, the venue has been transferred from the University of Westminster to The Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental and African Studies, Thornhaugh St., Russell Square, London WC1H OXG: http://www.soas.ac.uk/gallery/

You are invited to the first in a series of colloquia organised as part of China in Britain: Myths and Realities, an AHRC-funded research network project to investigate changing conceptions of China and Chineseness in Britain, and based at Westminster. The colloquia will connect up the important yet disparate work being done by cultural historians, literary critics, curators, archivists, contemporary artists, film makers and Sino-British organisations. In bringing these specialists together, the project aims to provide a high profile platform for the discursive elaboration of the changing terms of engagement between British and Chinese people and to widen the terms of debate from diaspora studies and simplistic reductions around identity to an inter-disciplinary network of research practice relevant to contemporary debate.

Participants include: Ross Forman (University of Warwick); Felicia Chan (University of Manchester) and Andy Willis (University of Salford); Jo Ho (filmmaker). The day will end with Guo Xiaolu introducing a screening of her film She, A Chinese, followed by a Q and A.

The Chinese presence in British cinema dates from James Williamson’s 1900 ‘documentary’ film, Attack on a China Mission, a recreation of that year’s ‘Boxer rebellion’ in which nationalist militants attempted to expel Christian missionaries and other foreigners from China. It was actually filmed in Brighton and Williamson had never visited China. A ‘yellow-face’ tradition followed, most popularly the Fu Manchu movies stretching through to the 1970s craze for kung fu – not until the early 1980s did Asian-British filmmakers finally make some inroads into the British film industry. In 1986 the first truly Chinese-British feature, Ping Pong (1986), reached the screen. Directed by the British-born director Po-Chi Leong, who had directed several features in Hong Kong, the film was set in London’s Chinatown, with a largely unknown cast – except for David Yip, best known as TV’s The Chinese Detective (BBC, 1981-82). Though critically lauded, however, the film failed to find the success it deserved, and neither it nor Mike Newell’s Soursweet (1988) adapted from Timothy Mo’s novel and scripted by Ian McEwan, has so far heralded the arrival of a healthy British-Chinese cinema. While China, Taiwan and Hong Kong-based directors like Zhang Yimou, Ang Lee and Wong Kar-Wai achieved arthouse and now mainstream success in Britain, other British-Chinese features such as BBC Film Peggy Su! (dir. Frances-Anne Solomon, 1998), failed to receive a proper release, despite favourable reviews. More recently Guo Xiaolu’s award winning film, She, A Chinese (2009), a British film in terms of its financing and much of its location, also failed to achieve due recognition from the film trade press and distributors. However a new generation of British-born or British-based Chinese are at the vanguard of positive change, amongst them University of Westminster alumna, Jo Ho, who created the hit BBC television show, Spirit Warriors (the first British series to star a predominantly East Asian cast) and who is now working on several feature films, and award winning director, Belfast born Lab Ky Mo.

RSVP – Places are free but strictly limited so it is essential to register with the project’s Principal Investigator, Anne Witchard, at: anne@translatingchina.info

WEBSITE:  http://www.translatingchina.info

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Socialism, Literature and the Radiant Future seminar

Wednesday 7th March, 1.15pm – 2.30pm
Room 257, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street

Matthew Taunton (Queen Mary, University of London)
‘Socialism, Literature and the Radiant Future: Before and After 1917’

Abstract: The idea that a “radiant future” (in Zinoviev’s phrase) was just around the corner was central to the Soviet myth. But how were Western ideas about the future affected by the advent of the Bolshevik revolution? This paper will suggest that the bright eyed visions of the future prevalent in the fin de siècle and the Edwardian period were increasingly replaced, after 1917, by sectarian debates about Russia. The future had become a spatial, rather than a purely temporal entity – whether it was to be welcomed as the true democracy (Shaw, the Webbs) or feared as a totalitarian nightmare (Orwell, Koestler, Nabokov). Speculative fictions like those of Morris, Bellamy, and Wells gave way to anti-Communist texts like Darkness at Noon, Nineteen Eighty-Four and Bend Sinister, and endorsements of Stalinism by Day Lewis, Shaw and others. This paper explores a range of ways in which ‘the future’ had to be rethought in light of the events of 1917.

PLEASE NOTE: We have changed seminar rooms this week and will be in Regent Street room 257.

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Teaching with collections discussion

The IMCC-affiliated MA in Museums, Galleries and Contemporary Culture at Westminster, in association with The Johns Hopkins Masters Program in Museum Studies, presents:

Teaching with Collections: A Discussion Forum
Tuesday 20 March 2012, 6.30 – 8.30
Fyvie Hall, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW

Keynote Speaker: Henry Kim, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Henry Kim is the Director of the University Engagement Programme, a three-year project sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aimed at expanding the use of the museum’s collections in teaching across the University, as well as a specialist on archaic and classical Greek coins and European medals.  He has been a curator at the Ashmolean Museum and university lecturer in Greek numismatics at the University of Oxford since 1994, and was the Project Director for the Ashmolean Redevelopment Project, completed in November 2009 and the redevelopment of the Egypt Galleries, completed in November 2011.

Open and free to all. No booking required, but RSVP appreciated. Further information and RSVP: Helena Scott, scotth@westminster.ac.uk

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Wyndham Lewis and Cinema talk, Feb 22nd

Wednesday 22nd February, 1.15pm – 2.30pm
Room 359, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street

Anthony Paraskeva (University of Dundee)
‘Wyndham Lewis, Cinema Hypnotism and the Frankfurt School’

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Cory Doctorow at University of Westminster, 22nd Feb at 3

Wednesday 22 February at 3pm
2.05A School of Law, 4 Little Titchfield Street, London W1W 7UW

Cory Doctorow
‘There is a war coming: the future regulation of general purpose computation’

Organised by our friends in The Centre for Law, Society and Popular Culture
ALL WELCOME. RSVP Danilo Mandic: danilo.mandic@my.westminster.ac.uk

Cory Doctorow (craphound.com) is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger — the co-editor of Boing Boing (boingboing.net) and the author of Tor Teens/HarperCollins UK novels like FOR THE WIN and the bestselling LITTLE BROTHER. He is the former European director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. He is the author of Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright and the Future of the Future, (2008). Born in Toronto, Canada, he now lives in London. See further, http://craphound.com/bio.php


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Cultures of Capitalism: Education at the Whitechapel Salon, Feb 16th

Thursday 16 February 2012, 7pm
Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1
Price: £7.00 / £5.00 concessions (includes free glass of wine).

This season’s Whitechapel Salon organised by the IMCC in collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery is on ‘Cultures of Capitalism’. Our fourth discussion focuses on future of education under contemporary capitalism, with guest participants Mark Fisher, author of Capitalist Realism, Andrew McGettigan, author of the arts and humanities blog Critical Education, and Andrea Phillips, Reader in Fine Art Practice and Director of Research Studies, Goldsmiths. Chaired by Marquard Smith.

Book your ticket at: http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/shop/product/category_id/22/product_id/1120?session_id=1325609439457568b84811bd9f97bb2cb619476b46

UPDATE: Unfortunately Mark Fisher is unable to participate on this occasion because of illness. Hopefully we’ll be able to get him down again for a future event in the Salon series.

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‘The Beautiful Game’, special preview screening, Thursday 1st March


Thursday 1st March 2012
Reception: 6-7; Screening: 7-9

The Old Cinema, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street
RSVP to: Katrina Fender (k.fender@westminster.ac.uk)

Our friends in The Centre for Law, Society and Popular Culture at the School of Law, University of Westminster in association with Africa10 are delighted to invite you to a special preview screening of The Beautiful Game, a new documentary from director Victor Buhler. The film celebrates the work of The Right to Dream Academy, and is generously supported by Alisa Swidler and Leke Adebayo.

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‘Now! Visual Culture’ at NYU, May 31-June 2, 2012, the second biennial conference of the International Association for Visual Culture


“Now! Visual Culture” is a participation event, to be held at New York University, May 31-June 2 2012. The goal is to showcase as broad and diverse a range of visual culture practice as possible in order to create a snapshot of the field of visual culture as it is currently practiced from Cape Town to California.

At the 2010 Visual Culture Studies Conference in London, hosted by the Institute at University of Westminster, a decision was taken to constitute an International Association for Visual Culture. A key principle was that the Association should ask as little as possible financially from its members while involving as many people as possible in decision making. This is the first event organized under this platform. By the end of the event, delegates will have both experienced and created the transformation of the field from an interaction of cinema studies and art history (as it was in the 1990s) to the present intersection of Web 2.0, iconology, contemporary art practice, and critical visuality studies.

The event is structured so that all delegates will attend a single stream of sessions to create a strongly interactive conference experience. The event begins with 15×5 minute lightning talks on the state of the field by people ranging from postdocs to professor emeritus. There are eight sessions following, organized by people in a variety of locations, including the Visual and Cultural Studies Program at the University of Rochester, the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective, the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture and the Diasporic Asian Art Research group. Each session will be independently organized in keeping with the horizontal ethics of the Association.

Particular time slots have a hands-on workshop, film screenings, panel discussions or a combination of the above.

Current session themes include:

a workshop with Scalar, a born-digital multi-media authoring platform
the role of design in globalization
new media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement
Asian diaspora art practices
practice in and as visual culture
a graduate student forum
the general assembly of the International Association for Visual Culture
keynote ‘listeners’ and talkback
Lots of time for networking and enjoying New York, with receptions every night, a gallery exhibition of online and material work, and maybe a late-night shenanigan or two!

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‘Exhibiting Video’ conference, 23-25 March – Call for Papers extension


DEADLINE 15 February 2012

Exhibiting Video – International Conference
Date: 23 – 25 March, 2012
University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London, W1B 2UW

In March and April 2012 Ambika P3, the flagship exhibition space at the University of Westminster, will present a major solo exhibition of the influential pioneer of video art, David Hall in association with REWIND. To mark the occasion the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) of the University of Westminster is convening Exhibiting Video, a three-day event considering issues central to the display of video art.

We welcome proposals for papers of a maximum of 30 minutes. Send abstracts of no more than 250 words. They must include the presenter’s name, affiliation, email and postal address, together with the title of the paper and a 150-word biographical note on the presenter. Abstracts should be sent to Helen Cohen at photography@westminster.ac.uk and arrive no later than Wednesday 15 February 2012.

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Satire and Childishness seminar

Wednesday 8th February, 1.15pm – 2.30pm
Room 359, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street

Morgan Daniels (Queen Mary, University of London)
‘Satire and Childishness’

This paper examines the effects of broadcast satire in Britain c.1939-73, and a curious yet clear theme to be found in correspondence to the BBC, namely the condemnation of satire, comedy and other irreverent programming as childish, juvenile, and so on.  What I want to ask is Why?  Why is it that, as the psychologist James Hillman observed, ‘[t]he worst insult is to be called “childish,” “infantile,” “immature”’? In order to obfuscate no less than to attempt to answer this question, this paper presents three short ‘test cases’ from BBC programming between 1951 and 1973: The Goon Show, Spike Milligan’s radio sitcom, of sorts, which revelled in the pantomimic; BBC-3, a televised revue programme made by the That Was The Week That Was team; and Yesterday’s Men, a fairly sober 1971 documentary about the recently-departed Labour government, often decried as ‘satirical’.  Each of these (hugely different) productions came to be attacked as childish.  To ask Why? is to question not just satire and its role in meaning-making, but childhood, too – which, after all, is but a fairly recent invention.

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Propaganda on the Socialist Periphery seminar

Wednesday 8th February, 4 – 6pm
Westminster Forum, University of Westminster, 5th Floor, Wells Street, London W1T 3UW

Power, reform and identity in Soviet Uzbek posters
Dr Elizabeth Waters, University of Westminster

Recent work on Soviet propaganda has looked both at the techniques used to convey political messages and the extent to which the USSR succeeded in controlling information and public opinion. Scholarship on Central Asia has examined the power of peripheral elites to influence centrally generated plans and of populations to resist communist change. Disagreement continues over whether the ‘Soviet project’ in the region was one of affirmative action or of colonial intent. This seminar looks at these issues in relation to Uzbekistan in the early decades of Soviet power and assesses the evidence on the character and impact of social, economic and political reforms that is provided by posters used in campaigns to promote women’s emancipation, cotton production and Uzbek identity.

Elizabeth Waters is Principal Lecturer in the Department of Modern and Applied Languages at the University of Westminster. Most of her previous research has been on Soviet social history in the 1920s. Recently she participated in a study of alcohol consumption in Kazakhstan. This seminar represents work-in-progress on her new project on Uzbek Soviet propaganda.

Hosted by the Contemporary China Centre. All welcome, but non-University of Westminster attendees please register at: d.hird@westminster.ac.uk

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‘True Lies of War’ seminar, 1st February, 6-8

Wednesday 1 February 2012, 6 pm – 8 pm,
Room 152, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW

True Lies of War
Group for War and Culture Studies Seminar

Hongping Annie Nie, University of Oxford
“China’s War with Japan (1937-1945): A Study of Chinese History Textbooks”

Dr. Hongping Annie Nie (MA in Education, Calvin College, USA; Ph. D. in Cross-cultural Education, Biola University, USA) is currently Faculty Tutor of Chinese Politics at the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford. She is also a core member of the Leverhulme funded China’s War with Japan Project, History Faculty, University of Oxford. Her research interests include moral/ideological education, mass communication, patriotism, and national memory. Among her publications are The Dilemma of Moral Education Curriculum in a Chinese Secondary School (University Press of America, 2007) and “On-line Gaming, Ideological Work, and Nationalism in China” (Journal of Contemporary China, forthcoming).

Celine Righi, London School of Economics
“Memory in post-Civil War Lebanon under artistic scrutiny: a space for individual and social autonomy in the public debate?”

Celine Righi completed a Master in Political Sciences at Science Po Lyon in 2000 and a Master in Social Psychology at Paris IX Dauphine University in 2001. After working for a think tank in Paris and Lyon in the field of social and economic development, Celine embarked in her PhD in 2008 at the Institute of Social Psychology at London School of Economics.

Entrance free. To reserve a place, please R.S.V.P. Dr Caroline Perret: C.Perret@westminster.ac.uk

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The London Reading Club

A quick plug for the London Reading Club, a new blog for the book group attached to the MA Writing the City at the University of Westminster, which is run by our own Monica Germana. Check out posts that discuss London writings ranging from Virginia Woolf to Monica Ali here: http://thelondonreadingclub.wordpress.com/

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IMCC hosts London premier of An Ecology of Mind, Feb 27th

An Ecology of Mind: A Film by Nora Bateson
Monday 27 February 2012, 18:30-22:00 pm
Old Cinema, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW

Tickets: £9.50; £3.50 (student/unwaged/Westminster staff)
Book your ticket from: http://anecologyofmindlondon.eventbrite.co.uk/

The Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture (IMCC) at the University of Westminster is proud to host the London premier of Nora Bateson’s An Ecology of Mind: A Daughter’s Portrait of Gregory Bateson. The screening will be followed by an interdisciplinary panel and audience discussion with Nora Bateson, and will end with a wine reception in the Regent Street foyer.

Panel with Nora Bateson; Iain Boal (Birkbeck College); Jody Boehnert (Brighton University); Ranulph Glanville (American Society for Cybernetics); Peter Reason (Action Research); and Wendy Wheeler (London Metropolitan University). Chaired by Jon Goodbun (IMCC and Architecture, Westminster)

“Tell me a story” … of life, art and science, of systems and survival. Gregory Bateson’s way of thinking – seeing the world as relationships, connections and patterns – continues to influence and provoke new thinking about human social life, about ecology, technology, art, design and health. Nora Bateson, Gregory’s youngest daughter, introduces Bateson’s ideas to new audiences in her film An Ecology of Mind, using the metaphor of a relationship between father and daughter, and footage of Bateson’s talks.

Each screening, too, hosts a discussion between Nora and a wide range of people working in depth with Bateson’s ideas: artists, architects, action researchers, ecological activists, mental health practitioners, scientists, urban designers, cyberneticians. These screenings and discussions intend to show a way of thinking that crosses fields of knowledge and experience, one that can lead out of the ecological crisis and towards a more sound way of living.
Awards for the film:
Gold for Best Documentary, Spokane International Film Festival, 2011
Audience Award Winner, Best Documentary, Santa Cruz Film Festival, 2011
Winner, Media Ecology Association, John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis, 2011 

Event organised by Jon Goodbun (Westminster), Wallace Heim, Kevin Power (Centre for Action Research, Ashridge Business School) and Eva Bakkeslett

To book a ticket go to: http://anecologyofmindlondon.eventbrite.co.uk/

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Ecologies of the Visual, Trondheim, 6-7 September – call for papers

Call for papers: Ecologies of the Visual

The Third Visual Culture in Europe Meeting, Trondheim, 6-7 September 2012

Contributions are invited which address the relationship between ecology and visuality in the broadest sense. On the one hand several discourses have come to revolve around what Susan Sontag described in On Photography as an ecology of images, a perspective which raises both epistemological and ethical questions concerning our interactions with the image. On the other hand there are presently several indications of a pressing need for the field of visual culture studies to address what we might call the visualities of ecology, or the place of environmental issues in contemporary visual culture. Topics may include but are by no means limited to:

Images and Ethics // “Ecology” as a Metaphorical Nexus in Visual Studies // Visual Culture within and without the Ecology of Disciplines // Consumerism and Visual Culture/The Visual Culture of Consumerism // Climate Change in/and Visual Culture // The Rhetorics of Environmentalism in Media and/or Art // Apocalyptic Narratives in Visual Culture

To submit a proposal for a paper presentation, please email an abstract of approximately 200 words to the conference organisers, Nina Lager Vestberg (nina.vestberg@ntnu.no) and Øyvind Vågnes (ov@nomadikon.net), by 7 March 2012.

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Landscape and Critical Agency, Fri 17 February

Friday, 17th February 2012, 10.00am to 18.00pm, with drinks afterwards
Landscape and Critical Agency
University College London , Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

What agency does landscape possess, as a means of territorial organisation and creative production, to engage critically with the conditions that define the collective aspects of our environment?

Jill Desimini, Harvard Graduate School of Design; Professor Murray Fraser, UCL; Professor Matthew Gandy, UCL; Dr Jon Goodbun, University of Westminster; Professor Jonathan Hill, UCL; Jane Hutton, Harvard Graduate School of Design; Douglas Spencer, Architectural Association; Lisa Tilder, Ohio State University; Ed Wall, Kingston University; Tim Waterman, Writtle School of Design; Jane Wolff, University of Toronto; Dr Daniel Zarza, University of Alcala/Daniel Zarza Architects

REGISTRATION:  Attendance is free but spaces must be reserved in advance at

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