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Latest Intercultural Interaction News

Professor Henrietta Moore

Prominent social theorist to head new UCL Institute for Global Prosperity

Published: May 15, 2014 10:13:42 AM


UCL Grand Challenge of Intercultural Interaction (GCII): Projects

GCII Small Grants 2012-13

Transnational Slade

Transnational Slade: mapping the diaspora of an art school (Pakistan/Sudan) (£4,932)

Dr Amina Yaquin, Department of Urdu Literature and founding member of Centre for the Study of Contemporary Pakistan, SOAS

Dr Tania Tribe, expert on diaspora studies, Department of Art History, SOAS

Dr Caroline Bressey Lecturer in Geography, UCL and PI on the AHRC funded project Drawing Across the Colour Line

David Beavan, Research Manager, Centre for Digital Humanities

Liz Bruchet, Research Assistant, Slade Archive Project

Susan Collins, Professor of Fine Art, Slade Director, PI on Slade Archive Project

Brighid Lowe, Lecturer, Fine Art Media, Slade School of Fine Art, member of the Slade Archive Project: film history

This project will address current themes within GCII: Transnational History and Migration, by expanding our knowledge of the work artists and Slade alumni, Ibrahim El Salahi (b. 1932 Sudan) and Khalid Iqbal (1929-2012 Pakistan), through new research, digitization and publication of materials held in the Slade Archive and related archives, and the solicitation of new information and accounts gathered through crowdsourcing.

Iqbal studied at the Slade between 1952-1955 and El Salahi between 1956-1959 and both then went on to pioneering roles in the development of art and art education in their respective countries, an aspect of the international impact of the Slade that has yet to be mapped. Influenced by Slade Professor William Coldstream, Iqbal went on to be a founder of the Dept of Fine Art, Punjab University, in Lahore, Pakistan. He is considered a pioneer of a popular realist tradition in Pakistan.

El Salahi founded the Khartoum School of art, he is a pioneer of ‘calligraphic modernism’ in Sudan, belatedly recognised in the US in a touring retrospective exhibition ‘A Visionary Modernist’, curated by the art historian Salah Hassan (Cornell University) to be shown at Tate Modern (July-Sept 2013).

Ideas of African sculpture in archaeology and art in modern Britain: Jacob Esptein, Flinders Petrie, Ronald Moody and Edna Manley

Lead applicant: Gemma Romain (UCL Geography)

Main collaborator: Dr Debbie Challis (UCL Petrie Museum)

Additional Collaborators: Nwakaego Ahaiwe, UCL MA Archives and Records Management student and cultural and community archivist (as named researcher)

Dr Sally-Ann Ashton, Senior Assistant Keeper, Department of Antiquities, the Fitzwilliam Museum

Dr. Caroline Bressey, Lecturer and Director of The Equiano Centre, Department of Geography, UCL

Robert Eagle, Multimedia Producer, UCL Communications and Marketing

This project explores responses to and representations of African and Asian visual culture in modern British society. It focuses on the period of 1907 to 1939, during which visual representations by British artists of African and Asian cultures and peoples were racially constructed in an environment of imperialism and ideas of race difference and also in relation to exoticisation and 'negrophilia'. The start date of the project, 1907, marks the creation of Pablo Picasso's 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon,' said to be the first cubist artwork and heavily inspired by African material cultures. 1907 also marks the Jacob Epstein's first major sculpture in Britain, that of 18 sculptures representing the

'Cycle of Life' and created for the exterior of the British Medical Association building.

The project will investigate these individuals in relation to one another, exploring the various interpretations and artistic responses to Egyptian material culture, with a particular emphasis on the work and worldviews of Flinders Petrie, Jacob Epstein, Ronald Moody and Edna Manley in their interpretations and responses to ancient and modern African sculpture. The project will collaborate with UCL student archivist and community heritage worker Nwakaego Ahaiwe, who will run, in conjunction with the lead collaborators, two research workshops with a group of community artists and archivists, investigating the Egyptian sculptures of the Petrie Museum and the British Museum, the special collections of UCL, the holdings of Tate Archives and Library, and public art created by Epstein such as Night and Day. The group will work with the co-collaborators in creating an exhibition based on their research to be displayed at the Petrie Museum during Spring 2014.

John Donne’s Conversions, 1613–2013

  • Lead applicant: Daniel Smith (UCL English)
  • Main collaborator: Jason Peacey (UCL History)
  • Additional collaborators:

    The proposed events would draw on UCL’s strong core of humanities graduate students researching the early modern period. It would enable them to gain important experience taking responsibility for certain organisational aspects of each event. Additionally, the events would be run in conjunction with the Centre for Early Modern Exchanges, and would draw on the expertise and academic networks of the Centre’s cross-faculty steering committee. The committee includes Professor Helen Hackett (English, co-Director), Dr Alexander Samson (Spanish, co-Director), and the Centre as a whole is represented by member of eighteen UCL departments.

The grant from UCL Grand Challenges will enable a seminar series exploring the poetry, letters, and sermons of John Donne, one of the seventeenth century’s most outstandingly significant literary and religious figures. This year marks 400 years since the composition of one of Donne’s most important poems, ‘Goodfriday, 1613. Riding Westwards’, which explores the author’s intensely intellectual religious meditations at a crucial period in his life. UCL’s Centre for Early Modern Exchanges will celebrate the occasion with three seminars on Donne’s life and writing around 1613. These events will promote Intercultural Interaction by bringing together scholars from different countries, investigating the ways that intellectual cultures interacted in the early modern period, and promoting dialogue across different present-day research cultures.

Because Donne is such a pivotal figure in the interchange between Catholic and Protestant aesthetics in the turbulent post-Reformation period, this proposal appeals to the Grand Challenge of Intercultural Interaction, particularly ‘Early Modern Exchanges’ and ‘Religion and Society’. In 2011-12, GCII supported a programme of events entitled ‘Negotiating Religion’. Our proposed seminar series will develop these events’ aim to ‘stimulate debate about the complex relationship between religion and society’ – this time with a particularly timely literary and historical focus. A GCII grant for ‘John Donne’s Conversions, 1613–2013’ would enable a cross-disciplinary seminar series drawing on UCL’s existing expertise and a particularly vibrant international community, which would appeal beyond the academy: a one-off historical celebration.

Coordination and Collaboration

When two people collaborate, they become more like each other. They sway their bodies, chose their words, wave their hands and move their eyes in concert. This is termed this ‘behavioural coordination’, but there is no clear understanding of why it happens or what it produces. In this project, we intended to use state of the art technology, firstly, to quantify multiple channels of coordination in a natural social interaction, and secondly, to control the behavioural coordination experienced by people in virtual reality interaction.We will investigate participants of European, Asian and African origin to capture 'rules' during face to face interaction including eye contact, nodding, and amount of facial mimicry.

We will quantify how people of different cultures move their faces, and what effect this has on intercultural communication and the impressions people form of each other. By replaying and manipulating these recorded interactions in virtual reality, we can then test experimental predictions: for example we can generate an avatar representing a Chinese participant, but animate it in a more 'western' manner, thereby increasing or decreasing certain facial motions so that a speaker conforms to cultural norms of the listener. In this way, we can develop tools to foster intercultural communication.

Trust and Distrust in the Eastern Bloc and the Soviet Union, 1956-1991

This international and interdisciplinary conference will apply the concept of trust and distrust to the history of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc, which, it is generally agreed, were a markedly low-trust societies. We treat trust and distrust as hugely influential factors in explaining how dictatorships operate and how closed societies work. Our starting point is that post-war socialist societies in Europe had their own “habitus of trust” and developed their own “culture of trust” which affected their stability, success and failure.

Contact: a.tikhomirov@ucl.ac.uk

Increasing Awareness of Organ Donation in Black and Minority Ethnic Groups

  • Lead applicant: Dr Cecil Thompson (Chair, UCL’s Race Equality Group, UCL General Surgery)
  • Main collaborator: Bimbi Fernando (Renal Transplant Unit, Royal Free Hospital)
  • Additional collaborators:

    Jayne Kavanagh and Katherine Woolf, Department of Medical Education, UCL

    Amir Gander, Department of Surgery, UCL

    Jessica Sims, Department of Primary Care Research, King's College London

It is well known that organ donation and transplantation are important issues for people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups. They are overrepresented on the active transplant waiting list due to prevalence of particular conditions (e.g. diabetes, hypertension and hepatitis), underrepresented as deceased donors and nearly twice as likely as people from white backgrounds to refuse organ donationfor their deceased relatives. The problem is due, at least in part, to a lack of awareness by these groups of the Organ Donor Register (ODR) and the need for organs for transplants, because of faith and cultural stances toward organ donation, and because of a perceived lack of trust in doctors and the healthcare profession. We propose to address these problems with an educational campaign targeted at key stakeholders: patients, researchers, clinicians, BME community groups, medical, potential medical, primary & secondary school students.

The campaign will consist of a main one day conference for key stakeholders, with workshops before, during and after. Some of the workshop findings will be discussed at the conference.

GCII will be supporting six ad hoc projects in the forthcoming academic year.  Further details will be posted shortly.

Grand Challenges Student Project, 2012-13

Grand Challenges Student Fund

UCL’s Grand Challenges are looking for students with bright ideas for tackling some of the world’s big issues – and are offering funding and support to turn those ideas into reality.  Grants of up to £750 are available to support student led projects.  More

Explore Previous GCII Projects

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