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Festival of Culture: Wednesday 7 June

Browse and book onto free lunchtime and evening events taking place on and around our Bloomsbury campus on Wednesday 7 June.

Morning sessions

My Life is But a Weaving | Exhibition | 10:00 - 19:00

‘My life is but a weaving’ is an arts installation created by artist Katy Beinart, in collaboration with women from Hanwell in West London who participated in an inter-faith embroidery project with the Making Suburban Faith Research Project (UCL Geography). The arts installation incorporates individual embroidery pieces into a wider work which explores collective stories of place, faith and home.


Foreigner Talk: Understanding Otherness | 10:00 - 17:00

Do you know anyone who has no accent? Which language does she speak? Do you hear more and more people with an East European accent around you? What is it like? Do these questions have to do with language or society? Join UCL researches and students as they explore language contact and linguistic boundary raising in a variety of contexts, including multilingualism and migrant languages in the UK, the use of linguistic difference for dramatic effect, and the way we hear, and talk to, our ‘others’, such as foreigners, minority speakers, gods, spirits, and other strangers.


Afternoon sessions

My Research Bitesized | 12:00 - 13:30

Ever wondered what a PhD student does all day? Come to this session to hear about the exciting research being done by students from across UCL who are working on medieval, Renaissance on Early Modern topics. Each student will present a bite-sized overview of their research. Discover more about subjects like alchemy, geography, literature and philosophy from a historical perspective. Afterwards, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions about the talks and find out more about what the students are up to. 


Bloomsbury's Forgotten Slave Owners: Film | 12:15 - 13:30

Colonial slavery helped shape the world we live in today. Even in Bloomsbury, so deeply associated with progress in science and culture, there are connections in almost every street to slave-owners of the British Caribbean or to the enslaved people whose labour contributed to the formation of modern Britain. In this session, the Legacies of British Slave-ownership project, based in the Department of History, will present excerpts from the BAFTA-winning documentary series, Britain’s Forgotten Slave-owners.


The Story of an Englishman in Auschwitz | 12:30 - 13:30

On 21 January 1943, an Englishman, his Dutch wife, and their two-year-old son, arrived at the so-called “Altejudenrampe”, the old unloading ramp between Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau. The family were immediately separated and by chance, the Englishman, named Leon Greenman, was among a small group of men chosen to work as slave labourers within the camp. Before being marched off, he caught sight of his wife, Else, and son, Barney, being loaded on to trucks. It was the last time he ever saw them. Join this session to learn about Leon’s extraordinary life, his activism and his struggle to ‘survive survival’.


Touch Matters | 12:30 - 13:30

Touch matters – because it is fundamental to how we communicate, experience and know ourselves, others and the world. Digital technologies are reshaping what and how we touch. What would it be like if you could hug or touch across distance? How might it shape your sense of connection? What bonds might be formed or lost? How could you establish trust, or protect your privacy and safety? These uncertainties are raised by a new wave of sensory communication technologies that are reconfiguring touch and will change how we feel the world; just as visual technologies have changed what and how we see. This talk will engage with a range of advance touch technologies to explore the social character and societal impact of touch as it is digitally mediated for how we communicate and learn.


Zugunruhe: Exploring Migration Experiences through Sound | 45 Minute Walk | Running between 13:00 - 17:00

Zugunruhe is an intimate, solo walking exploration of migration, through song. Migration is essential to the evolution of life; yet this is ignored within contemporary political/ media discourses on refugees. Come to UCL’s Grant Museum of Zoology and begin a 45-minute sound-journey across African and Middle-Eastern migration routes, without leaving Bloomsbury. Zugunruhe is composed of Eritrean, Egyptian, Iranian and Sudanese songs shared by residents of the Calais ‘Jungle’, interwoven with calls from globally migrating birds.


The Story of an Englishman in Auschwitz | 12:30 - 13:30

On 21 January 1943, an Englishman, his Dutch wife, and their two-year-old son, arrived at the so-called “Altejudenrampe”, the old unloading ramp between Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau. The family were immediately separated and by chance, the Englishman, named Leon Greenman, was among a small group of men chosen to work as slave labourers within the camp. Before being marched off, he caught sight of his wife, Else, and son, Barney, being loaded on to trucks. It was the last time he ever saw them. Join this session to learn about Leon’s extraordinary life, his activism and his struggle to ‘survive survival’.

Read more and book your place.


Maternity in the Age of Shakespeare | 12:30 - 14:30

A number of arresting British portraits from the 16th and early 17th centuries depict their female subjects as visibly pregnant. This session will present these striking images alongside literary depictions of pregnancy by Shakespeare and others, as well as medical writings on pregnancy and motherhood from the period. Surprising differences will be revealed between the understanding of maternity in Shakespeare’s time and our own.


Are You More of a 'Science Person' Than You Think? | 12:30 - 14:00

‘What is science capital? How much do you have? And why does it matter? This interactive session will explain the current 'hot concept' of 'science capital' and will share insights from our research with secondary students, parents, and teachers. We will also share practical ideas for how best to ‘elicit, value, and link’ students’ own knowledge and experiences, to meaningfully connect to young people’s lives, and create more accessible, relevant, and engaging opportunities for them to participate in science.’

This session will be led by members of the Aspires 2 project team. Aspires 2 is a longitudinal research project studying young people's science and career aspirations.


Festival Book Club: Their Eyes Were Watching God | 12:30 - 13:30

Originally published in 1937, Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God was out of print for almost thirty years following initial reactions to its depiction of a strong black female protagonist. The novel was reissued to critical acclaim in 1978. Lyrical, vibrant, and deeply soulful, the novel tells the story of a young woman’s journey to adulthood, and is considered to be one of the most important and enduring works of African-American literature. Join us over lunchtime to discuss this evocative and influential novel.


Bloomsbury’s Forgotten Slave Owners: Walking Tour |13:45-14:45 | Departing from outside the Print Room Café

Colonial slavery helped shape the world we live in today. Even in Bloomsbury, so deeply associated with progress in science and culture, there are connections in almost every street to slave-owners of the British Caribbean or to the enslaved people whose labour contributed to the formation of modern Britain. In this session, the Legacies of British Slave-ownership project, based in the Department of History, will lead a 1 hour walking tour of Bloomsbury, highlighting the connections of the streets around UCL with slavery.


Evening Sessions

Playing With the Language of Maths through Coding | 17:00 - 19:00

Maths is difficult in part because of the language in which it is expressed. Can we find a different language – and set of ideas and approaches - that is more open, more accessible and more learnable? And can we find it without sacrificing what makes mathematics work? Our tentative answer is 'yes': the language of programming might – if we design it right – be just such a language. 


Metamorphosis: Monsters, Beasts and Humans | 17:15 - 18:15

What is human? What is animal, and what is monstrous? We show how ideas about what makes humans, monsters or beasts change through history, shifting their limits and making us wonder: what is human? What is not? Where are the borderlines of humanity, and what inhabits its borderlands? 


A Sense of Belonging: Mosaics from a New Portrait of London | 18:00 - 19:00 | After launch, this session runs from 10:00 - 21:00 until 16th June 

This event explores some challenging, urgent connections between politics and performance. On one hand, we explore the exploitation of performance in politics, using the startling example of West Germany in 1968, which saw activists make politics theatrical in new, spectacular ways reminiscent of Brechtian theatre and avant-garde performance art. On the other hand, the event focuses on ‘activist performance’ through Theatre Reportage, a contemporary type of performance which brings politics into theatre, uses public spaces to combine journalism with the true stories of people denied a voice by war, torture or oppressive regimes.


Lesbians and Much More | 18:00 - 20:00

“Lesbians and Much More” was a 2010 project led by artist Hanna Jarząbek, which followed 12 lesbian couples in four different cities. At that time, sexual minorities had no rights, and homosexuality was often compared publicly with paedophilia or zoophilia. Whilst lesbians’ presence in public space has since become more open and common, legally their situation has not changed. Since the extreme right won total power in Poland (2015), lesbians and other minority groups are increasingly under threat.  


Martin Luther: Catholic Dissident | 19:00 - 20:00

On the eve of All Saints Day (31 October) 1517, it is believed that German professor Dr Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg.  The Theses criticised the Church and the papacy for its abuse of power, and disputed the Catholic view that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. Luther’s writing and action in 1517 are widely acknowledged to have triggered the Protestant Reformation. A recently published new biography, Martin Luther: Catholic Dissident, marks this year’s 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Join the biography’s acclaimed author, Peter Stanford, and Professor Ben Kaplan (UCL History) to discuss the book, and to consider Martin Luther’s extraordinary impact on western civilisation.


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Browse and book onto events happening on other days of the week.