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UCL Festival of Culture

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Festival of Culture Tuesday 5 June

Browse morning, afternoon and evening sessions. All sessions are free and open to all. Bookings are now open.

How to book

Once you have browsed the events you wish to attend, you can use the following link to register your attendance. *This link will allow you to select multiple events at the same time.

*Please note, the events 'Medieval Dog Love', and 'UCL Special Collections' have separate booking links, which you will find on this page in the event descriptions. For 'Drawing Dance' at The Slade, you need to email them directly to book your place. Details for this event can be found in the description further down the page.

Book your Festival events


Morning sessions


UCL Special Collections Present... | 11:00-19:00 | Wilkins Building, South Junction Reading Room

Vicky Price, Special Collections Education Coordinator

UCL Library Special Collections is one of the foremost university collections of manuscripts, archives and rare books in the UK. It includes fine collections of medieval manuscripts, early printed books, significant holdings of 18th century works, and fascinating 19th and 20th century archives and literature. Join our team of friendly experts at the South Junction Reading Room to hear about some of their favourite items in an informal setting. Book a free place online (timed slots available throughout the day and into the evening) and come face to face with exquisite treasures, curious documents and captivating tomes! Book your place.


Entrepreneurship and Education | 12:15 - 13:00 | Darwin Building, B05-B15

Dr Alison Clark-Wilson, UCL Institute of Education

Technology impacts on every part of our lives, and has revolutionised how we learn, work, socialise and play. The EDUCATE project is working with over 200 entrepreneurial companies to find out more about if and how their products impact on learning. From augmented reality for training doctors in A&E to helping young children develop language skills through international online chat, this hands-on workshop offers a glimpse into the technologies of the future. EDUCATE launched in January 2018. It is part of the Knowledge Lab at UCL’s Institute of Education, and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.


Magic and Medieval Literature | 12:15 - 13:00 | Main Quad Temporary Pop Up G02

Dr Marilyn Corrie, UCL English

Magic and Medieval Literature 2

Illusions, potions, demons … We are all familiar with clichés about magic. But where did these clichés come from? Why did they take the shape they did? And when did writers become interested in the subject of magic in the first place? Join Dr Marilyn Corrie (UCL English) for a talk about magic in literature from the Middle Ages, and discover how writers of the period reflected what people at that time thought about the classical world.


The Language of Law | 12:30 - 14:00 | Main Quad Temporary Pop Up 101

Dr Susan Schuppli, Goldsmiths Department of Visual Cultures; Carey Young, UCL Slade School of Fine Art

Words have been termed the ‘essential tools of law’. The language of law creates a culture and ‘world’ of its own, in which neutrality and ‘reasonableness’ are obligated, and yet the untrained have little comprehension nor indeed opportunities for insight into these processes. Lawyers see language as a minefield, full of potential for vagueness, ambiguity and imprecision. Since Cicero, the art of rhetoric has been understood as key to legal skill; since Bentham, law’s language has been theorised as an interplay between the real and the fictional. This event will consider the fascinating relationship between law and aesthetics through a discussion between two renowned visual artists and researchers who use legal language and materials within their artistic works: Carey Young (UCL Slade School of Fine Art) and Dr Susan Schuppli (Goldsmiths Department of Visual Cultures).


Afternoon Sessions


Europe Through the Looking Glass: A Little Tour of Children's Books from Across the Continent (1) | 13:00 - 14:00 | Main Quad Temporary Pop Up 102

Dr Claudia Sternberg, UCL European Institute

This three-part series, convened by the UCL European Institute, offers glimpses into a range of historical and cultural contexts, through the looking glass of children’s literature from across Europe. This first session turn’s to Carlo Collodi’s Italian classic about the adventures of the famous little wooden puppet carved by the old carpenter Geppetto out of a special piece of wood. Writer and Professor of Modern European Literature Enrico Palandri is joined by Sara Fanelli, distinguished and distinct creator of picture books, including a most beautiful and witty Pinocchio, as well as Dear Diary and Mythological Monsters of Ancient Greece. Palandri’s novels include L'inventore di se Stesso (The Inventor of Himself, 2017), Boccalone (1979) and, in English translation, Venice Regained (2015), The Other Evening (2012) and The Way Back (1997).


Top Set, Bottom Set: What is Ability? | 13:15 - 14:00 | Darwin Building, B05-B15

Dr Eleanor Hargreaves, UCL Institute of Education; Denise Buchanan, UCL Institute of Education

Top Set Bottom Set 2

Most primary pupils are currently grouped by ‘ability’ at school. However, ‘ability’ grouping appears to reduce the learning, as well as personal/social flourishing, of pupils in ‘bottom’ groups. Almost no previous research has addressed the ways in which these negative outcomes occur. This session marks the launch of a major new Leverhulme-funded project at UCL Institute of Education (IOE) which focuses on primary school children at the ‘bottom’ of the class. The five-year project will observe 24 pupils’ experience of being in ‘bottom’ groups from age 7-12, following them from Year 3 in primary school to Year 7 in secondary school. Through observing, interviewing and filming the children at frequent intervals over five years, the study aims to explore the effects of ability grouping on pupils’ ability to flourish personally and socially. The session will be led by Dr Eleanore Hargreaves, Department of Curriculum, Pedagogy & Assessment, IOE.


Accessibility in the Ivory Tower | 13:15 - 14:00 | Main Quad Temporary Pop Up G02

Dr Alexandra Lee, UCL School of European Languages, Culture and Society

This roundtable will celebrate the launch of Enable, a network for disabled staff and research students at UCL. We define disability in a broad way, to encompass physical and mental disabilities, those which can be seen and those that cannot, and so also include chronic illness. Panellists will discuss issues surrounding disability in higher education, from a variety of perspectives. Sociological and scientific research will feature alongside lived experience and issues faced by individuals in a university setting. These perspectives will be brought together in a discussion in which the audience will be able to participate.


Drawing Dance | 14:00 - 16:00 | Wilkins Building, Cloisters

Slade School of Fine Art

Working from a life model (dancer) with instruction from teachers and artists from the Slade School of Fine Art, participants will learn about proportion, gesture and movement. Drawing in charcoal and graphite; dancers will move through short poses for dynamic instructed sketches. 

Drawing Dance will be the perfect opportunity to introduce you to life drawing, drawing from the figure or a chance to showcase your skills. 

Participants 20 (per session) To book your slot for this, please email Grace Hailstone

(g.hailstone@ucl.ac.uk) at The Slade. 


Evening Sessions


Medieval Dog Love | 18:30 - 19:30 | Wilkins Building, Gustave Tuck lecture theatre

Professor Bob Mills, UCL History of Art

Medieval Dog Love

Dogs rest at the feet of countless tomb effigies. They attend the funerals of selected saints and kings. Or, in a widely-disseminated story with multiple variants, they remain with their murdered masters’ corpses for days on end, lamenting their fate and setting in motion a chain of events that brings the perpetrators to justice. A thread of feeling runs through these various depictions of canine mourning: invariably, the creatures’ sorrow is treated as an index of ‘love’ for the persons whose lives they grieve. But imagery of lamenting, loving dogs was also harnessed in the service of moral or political arguments. Focusing especially on the motif’s associations with imagery of war and conflict, this lecture assesses the role of medieval dog love in articulating a politics of loss. Book your place at this event.


Spiritual Flavours | 18:30 - 19:30 | Medical Sciences, 131 A.V. Hill Lecture Theatre  

Laura Cuch, UCL Geography

This session showcases the film Spiritual Flavours (30') followed by a discussion with the filmmaker Laura Cuch. This film is part of Laura's practice-led PhD at UCL Geography, where she employs visual practice to explore the domestic material cultures of faith in suburbia, with a particular focus on food and foodways. Spiritual Flavours is a collaborative arts project with members of different faith communities in the area of Ealing and Hanwell, who contribute recipes that they relate to their spirituality and religious practices. Through interviews and cooking sessions, the project pays attention to affective relationships with food, as a vehicle to explore ideas about inheritance, tradition and belief. These sessions are the basis of a 'multi-faith' cook photo book and a short film: The film Spiritual Flavours interweaves biographical narratives and spiritual accounts from Betty, Aziz and Ossie (who belong to a Catholic church, a mosque and a liberal synagogue, respectively) with the experiences of cooking in their homes. The chosen recipes thread the narratives of past, present and future aspirations, spirituality and the everyday. The commonalities and differences between them are expressed through visual and sonic synchronies and asynchronies. At the end, Betty, Aziz and Ossie meet, cook and eat together.


A Sense of Place: Locality and Landscape in Scandinavian and British Song | 19:15 - 20:30 | Wilkins Building, Haldane Room

Annika Lindskog, UCL School of European Languages, Culture and Society

Scandinavian art song - particularly prolific in the “golden age” of song in the late 19th and early 20th centuries - has a deep-rooted and multifaceted relationship with the local landscape: as a place of belonging and as emotional experience, brimming with challenges, ideology and poetry, and providing endless artistic inspiration. Equally sensitive to the poetry of nature and the sensibility of place is the English song tradition, this recital will use examples from both traditions to explore what landscape and location mean to them, and how the songs engage with both physical and emotional geographies. The recital will incorporate material from a project on landscape in Swedish song, co-funded by SWEA International, completed earlier in 2018.


All Day Sessions


The Prague Spring Through the Lens of Frank Carter | 09:00-21:00 | UCL SSEES Building, 4th Floor, 16 Taviton Street, WC1H 0BW

Mgr. Zuzana Pinčíková, UCL School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies Library

Displaying items from UCL SSEES Library Special Collections, the exhibition depicts the resilience and bravery of ordinary Czechs and Slovaks during the era of political liberalization in 1968. The geographer Frank Carter captured the turbulent times of the former republic of the Eastern Bloc during his research trip to Prague. At that time, on the night of 20 - 21 August, thousands of Warsaw Pact troops and tanks invaded Czechoslovakia to halt pro-liberalization reforms. To mark the 50th anniversary of the Prague Spring as well as the European Year of Cultural Heritage, Frank Carter's collection will be digitised and made available in the UCL Digital Collections repository. The exhibition is curated by UCL SSEES Library in partnership with the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, and it is realised with support from Professor Frank Carter Postgraduate Prize Fund.

Professor Frank Carter was a historical geographer who held a joint appointment in the UCL Department of Geography and at SSEES from 1966 to 1990. In 1990 he moved full-time to SSEES and died in service in 2001, having been awarded a personal chair. Fluent in all the main East European languages, he also possessed an extraordinary talent to perceive the country he was studying from the inside; he was Bulgarian in Bulgaria, Polish in Poland, and Greek in Greece. His contribution to UCL is commemorated by the annual Frank Carter memorial lecture and by two annual prizes for graduate students in the UCL Department of Geography and the UCL SSEES.


REMOTE CONTACT | Bloomsbury Gallery - 34 BLOOMSBURY STREET, LONDON,WC1B 3QJ

The exhibition takes place all week, opening at 18.00 on 4 June, then daily from 10:00 – 18.00 through to Saturday 9th (inclusive). If you are visiting on Saturday, there is no need to book, please just drop in.

Professor Carey Jewitt (UCL Institute of Education)

REMOTE CONTACT explores how the creative use of technology might enhance feelings of connection and tackle isolation. This is a new exhibition by interactive arts studio Invisible Flock commissioned by IN-TOUCH: Digital Touch Communication, an ERC-funded research project led by Professor Carey Jewitt (UCL Institute of Education). It is funded by Arts Council England and Leeds City Council, and supported by FACT, Community Integrated Care and a Wellcome Trust Arts Award, in collaboration with Professor Nadia Berthouze (UCL Interaction Centre).


Monday 4 June

Wednesday 6 June

Thursday 7 June

Friday 8 June