Festival of Culture


Festival of Culture Monday 4 June

Morning sessions

Miltonathon | 10:00-18:00 | Main Quad Temporary Pop Up G02

Professor Eric Langley, UCL English

"The mind is its own place, and in itself / Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven." First published over 350 years ago, John Milton's breathtaking epic poem Paradise Lost is regarded as one of the most influential works in Western literature. Set across three worlds - heaven, earth, and hell - Paradise Lost tells the story of the creation and fall of humankind. Join students, staff, actors and literary celebrities for a communal, start-to-finish reading of Paradise Lost, as we bring the text alive to new audiences and established fans alike. This event is part of an ongoing, popular series of readathons organised by UCL English. Dr Eric Langley lectures in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature, and Dr Emma Whipday is a specialist in family, gender, and power on the early modern stage.

Elizabeth I at 60 | 12:00-13:00 | Roberts Building, G06 lecture theatre

Professor Helen Hackett & Professor Karen Hearn, UCL English

In 1593, 425 years ago, Queen Elizabeth I celebrated her 60th birthday. What did she look like at 60? In modern screen representations the older Elizabeth is usually in a grotesque state of physical decay, with flaking white make-up, black teeth, and a garish orange wig. However, the visual and written evidence from the early 1590s is far richer and more complex than this. Using portraits, literature, and eye-witness accounts from the period, this session will investigate how the ageing Queen was viewed by her contemporaries, and will ask: can we discover the truth of what Elizabeth was like at 60? This session will be led by literary scholar Professor Helen Hackett and art historian Karen Hearn, Honorary Professor, UCL English.

Put Me in the Story! | 12:30 - 14:00 | Wilkins Building, IAS Common Ground

Dr Natalia Kucirkova, UCL Institute of Education

The popularity and growth in sales of personalised products have soared in recent years. The dramatic rise in digital book reading across the world, along with increased urbanization, globalization and multiculturalism, have led to a particularly heightened commercial interest in personalised products for young children. This talk focuses on personalized books and personalised digital reading. We'll draw on research with personalised books in UK primary schools to consider the ways in which digital personalization affects children's reading experience and their learning. Dr Natalia Kucirkova is Senior Research Associate in the Department of Learning and Leadership at UCL Institute of Education. She was awarded an ESRC Future Leaders grant in 2017 for her project on personalisation within children's digital books.

Afternoon sessions

Time for Tea? British Values in Schools | 13:15 - 14:00 | Main Quad Temporary Pop Up 102

Professor Carol Vincent, UCL Institute of Education 

What is a 'British value'? Supporting the monarchy? Queuing? In 2014 the British Government called on schools to actively promote fundamental British values (FBVs), seeing this in part as an effective way to prevent the radicalization of young people. FBVs are defined as democracy, individual liberty, the rule of law, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths. Drawing on data from an ongoing project based at UCL Institute of Education (IOE), this session will explore the ways in which teachers have engaged with FBVs, and discover how they're being promoted in schools around Britain. We'll also consider how this new educational requirement affects young people's development of a citizenship identity in 21st century Britain. Carol Vincent is Professor of the Sociology of Education in the Department of Education, Practice and Society at IOE.

Know Your Normal | 13:15 - 14:00 | Roberts Building, G08 lecture theatre

Dr Laura Crane and Jack Welch, UCL Institute of Education 

Everyone's 'normal' is different. But what are the consequences on our mental health when we are pressured to act more like other people and their view of 'normal'? Co-presented by UCL Institute of Education social scientist Dr Laura Crane, and young autistic advocate Jack Welch, this session will explore themes from an innovative co-produced 2017 research project on the experiences of mental health in young autistic people. Autism affects 1 in 100 children, young people and adults in the UK. Whilst autism is not a mental health condition, around 70-80% of children and adults on the autism spectrum have experienced mental health problems. You'll be encouraged to reflect on what your own idea of 'normal' is, and through interactive discussions, we'll think about how we perceive and treat people whose 'normal' might be different to our own. What will you learn about your 'normal'…?

Evening sessions

Women Writing Suffrage | 18:00 - 19:30 | Wilkins Building, IAS Common Ground

Professor Andrei Rogatchevski, UCL Institute of Advanced Studies

This session marks the 100th anniversary of universal suffrage in Eastern Europe, with a focus on Russia and Ukraine, where women gained their voting rights a little earlier than elsewhere (in 1917). Join us to uncover the extraordinary lives of female Russian or Ukrainian authors and activists, most of whom went to jail or exile for their convictions. We'll learn about, amongst others, Larisa Reisner, considered to be one of the finest writers of the Bolshevik Revolution, and the Pussy Riot punk band, founded in Moscow. The evening will conclude with an England-first performance, by members of the London-based Sputnik theatre company, of the one-act play This Elephant Speaks Ukrainian by Natalia Vorozhbyt, regarded as the leading Ukrainian writer of her generation. Professor Andrei Rogatchevski is a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at UCL's Institute of Advanced Studies. He is currently working on a monograph about the formation of the National Bolshevik Party.

Sex and Migration | 18:00 - 20:00 | Darwin Building, B40 lecture theatre

Professor Robert Mills, Director of qUCL

Samira is a short film about the life history of Karim, an Algerian migrant man selling sex as a transvestite at night in Marseille. Karim left Algeria as a young man when his breasts started developing as a result of taking hormones. He was granted asylum in France as a transgender woman, Samira. This screening will be a followed by a Q&A with the director, Professor Nick Mai (Kingston University). This event is sponsored by qUCL, an academic network which brings together UCL staff and students with research and teaching interests in LGBTQ studies, gender and sexuality studies, queer theory and related fields.

Voices from the First World War | 18:30 - 19:30 | Roberts Building, G08 lecture theatre

Ruth Austin, UCL School of European Languages, Culture and Society

Marking 100 years since the end of the First World War, this session will bring together staff and students from UCL French to reflect on the experiences of the regular soldier, the poilu. Hear a selection of readings in the original language and in English translation, including fiction, letters, witness accounts and songs. UCL French, part of UCL's School of European Languages, Culture & Society (SELCS), is at the cutting edge of current debate in French literature, culture, politics and film, and is consistently ranked among the best in the world.

Poets Poets: A Reading and Discussion of Poetry by Bridget Minamore and Mark Ford | 18:30 - 20:00 | Roberts Building, G06 Lecture Theatre

Dr Julia Jordan, UCL English

Poets Poets was founded in 2016 by members of the UCL English Department in order to promote contemporary poetry through a range of activities, including workshops for London schools (in association with the Petrie Museum), a Poets Poets Day (to be held this year on Saturday 16 June) at which poets read and discuss published work or work-in-progress before an audience, and partnerships with the Globe, the London Review of Books and Poet in the City.

Mark Ford has written four collections of poetry, most recently Fleeing (Faber & Faber, 2018). He has also published two monographs, Raymond Roussel and the Republic of Dreams (Faber & Faber, 2000) and Thomas Hardy: Half a Londoner (Harvard University Press, 2016), and is the editor of the anthology London: A History in Verse (Harvard University Press, 2012). His most recent collection of essays, This Dialogue of One: Essays on Poets from John Donne to Joan Murray (Eyewear, 2014), was awarded the Poetry Foundation's 2015 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism. He is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement and the New York Review of Books.

Bridget Minamore is a writer from and based in south-east London. She has written with the National Theatre's New Views programme, and at the Royal Opera House. Bridget has also read her work both nationally and internationally, from Cheltenham Lit Fest and the Southbank Centre, to literary festivals in Rome, Vancouver, and Kraków. She has been commissioned by Historic England, the Tate Modern and ESPN, and in 2013 was shortlisted to be London's first Young Poet Laureate. Titanic (Out-Spoken Press), her debut pamphlet of poems on modern love and loss, came out in May 2016.

REMOTE CONTACT Artist Talk & Exhibition | 19:00 - 19:45 | Bloomsbury Gallery - 34 BLOOMSBURY STREET, LONDON,WC1B 3QJ

Ben Eaton, Technical Director, a member of the interactive arts studio Invisible Flock, is a digital artist and creative technologist interested in the critical use of new technology, as well as place, hardware and sound. He will talk about the artefacts and process of the development of the REMOTE CONTACT exhibition, which will be open from 18:00 on Monday 4 June and run daily, 10:00 - 18:00, until Friday 8 June.

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.

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).

All day events

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.

There will be a special exhibition opening with wine reception on Monday 4th June from 4.00 until 6.00pm in Masaryk Senior Common Room (4th floor) at SSEES.

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Thursday 7 June

Friday 8 June