Festival of Culture


Festival of Culture Wednesday 6 June

Morning sessions

Immersive Stories | 12:00 - 14:00 | Room M202, Second Floor, Student Central, Malet Street

UCL was the first university in the UK and one of the first in the world to start to teach immersive factual storytelling (VR / AR). In 2017, the MA Ethnographic and Documentary Film launched Studio 4: UCL 360, led by a senior BBC immersive producer under the guidance of a team of outstanding innovators. This year, a number of £4500 bursaries are available for Home and EU students wishing to study in the studio. In this lunchtime session, students and tutors from the first cohort passing through Studio 4 will allow visitors to explore both their own preliminary work and that of other leading producers of immersive non-fiction. Visit us to experience the technology and learn about the opportunities offered.  Bookings of 15 minute time slots are available to explore the latest in virtual reality storytelling. Visitors are required to arrive at least 5 minutes before their slot, and latecomers will not be admitted.

Cities After Hours | 12:30 - 14:00 | Wilkins Building, IAS Common Ground

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

Cities After Hours considers the way in which cities have been the loci of inclusion and exclusion, policing and controlling, after-hours. The historical relevance of the night-time curfew is considered in relation to contemporary policing of the night-time. The impact on the inhabitants of the city streets after hours is considered in relation to the increasing use of "hostile architecture" in public spaces. Professor Matthew Beaumont and Ruth Austin, founders of the UCL Cities After Hours Colloquium, will be joined by other researchers to consider the city 'after hours' from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

Afternoon sessions

Europe Through the Looking Glass: A Little Tour of Children's Books from Across the Continent (2) | 13:00 - 13:45 | Main Quad 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 contexts through the lens of European children's literature. This second session turns to two young-adult books, by a Ukrainian Soviet film director and by one of Sweden's most famous authors abroad (and not Astrid Lindgren). Enchanted Desna is an autobiographical novella, named after the river near which Dovzhenko spent his childhood. It is a beautiful reflection on childhood experience and what it means to recall it. Secrets in the Fire tells the real-life story of Mozambican landmine victim Sofia Alface, and her indomitable spirit. Today's speakers are Dr Uilleam Blacker, lecturer in the Comparative Culture of Russia and Eastern Europe (UCL SSEES), and Dr Annika Lindskog, lecturer in Scandinavian Studies (UCL SELCS).

Orwell's Down and Out: Live | 14:00 - 18:00 |Stone Nest, 136 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 5EZ

George Orwell strongly believed that art and literature could make direct and long-lasting change, focusing the minds and the empathies of his audience on the social or political evils of the day. This event will fuse live art and social activism in an outburst of theatre, music and literature. Drawing on the iconic works of Orwell and combining these with real-life, modern-day testimonies, this immersive production focuses on the phenomenon of homelessness both in the past and present day. Read live by politicians, artists, celebrities, activists and members of the homeless community, and using a combination of music, story-telling, film and performance, this live theatrical event, directed by Hannah Price, will run in London for one day only ahead of a performance in Paris later this year. The Orwell Archive is based in UCL Special Collections, and UCL has been the home of the Orwell Foundation since 2016.

The follloiwng panel discussion will follow Down and Out: Live

Homelessness and Rough Sleeping in London: What are the Policy Solutions? | 18:30 - 20:00 | Stone Nest, Shaftesbury Avenue

Rough sleeping has shamefully returned to the streets of London (and all our major cities). It is the visible end of a wider and more complex problem of homelessness, precarious lives and poverty. In George Orwell's first book, Down and Out in Paris and London, he went on an expedition - but a disturbingly realistic one - to explore what living on the edge was like. After the reading and drama of the performance earlier in the day, this seminar will bring together a wide range of policy experts, including Campbell Robb the CEO of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, together with speakers from an range of disciplines and approaches at UCL and other institutions. The aim is not just to move people, but to help solve the problem. This whole process will be repeated in Paris - a city with its own homelessness crisis - in September.

Use the link below to register your place at Down and Out Live and the panel discussion, Homelessness and Rough Sleeping, using the link below.


Book your tickets here

Can the Language of 11 Year Olds Predict Their Future? | 14:00 - 15:00 | Main Quad Pop Up 102

Professor Alissa Goodman, UCL Institute of Education; Kath Butler, UCL Institute of Education

Nearly 50 years ago, in 1969, more than 10,000 11-year-olds across Great Britain wrote an essay imagining what their lives would be would like by the time they were 25. They were all participants in the National Child Development Study, which began when they were all born, in a single week in March 1958, and which has been tracking their lives ever since. As the study turns 60 in 2018, a team of researchers from the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), Stonybrook University in New York, and University of Melbourne has been analysing the essays written by the 11-year-olds, alongside the data collected about each of them through the study over the past six decades.This session will explore the extent to which the language the 11-year-olds used in their essays would foretell their future lives. We examine the power of the essays in predicting their cognitive function, physical activity and economic status throughout their adult lives.

Evening sessions

Shakespeare's Real Life | 18:00 - 18:45 | Wilkins Building, Gustave Tuck lecture theatre

Professor René Weis, UCL English

The talk considers 'real life' references in Shakespeare's plays and poems and what, if anything, these reveal about him and his writing. It is argued that far from standing outside of time and space the works are of their period and, at times, reflect the author's own life. Family, friends, people, politics, the climate, all enter into them. The works allude, among others, to Shakespeare's boy-girl twins, his elder daughter, his son-in-law, his alleged godson, his granddaughter, a friend from Stratford as well political events (for example the Gunpowder Plot) and echoes of the city in which he worked, including the Thames and Southwark Cathedral. The plays and poems have long occupied a rarefied canonical space in the history of culture. Does it matter that they also exhibit traces of cross-fertilisation from the poet's own life and times? Professor René Weis (UCL English) is a Shakespeare biographer and editor.

Popular Feminisms | 18:00 - 21:00 | Wilkins Building, IAS Common Ground

Dr Alexandra Hyde, UCL Centre for Multidisclipinary & Intercultural Inquiries

As gender hits the headlines, including feverish debate around issues of sexuality, harassment and discrimination, how visible are the politics, activism and academic debates that are mobilised under the banner of 'feminism'? What new forms can a feminist 'consciousness' take in contemporary UK culture? What does popular feminism mean for activity within academia and society? In this evening 'salon' we explore the innovative approaches being used to trouble gender politics in the UK today by welcoming speakers from a range of activist and academic profiles to explore their own feminisms and that of others. Organised by a team of PhD and MA students in Gender and Sexuality Studies at CMII, with the support of the Gender and Feminism Research Network (GFRN) and qUCL at the IAS, the event is supported by funding from UCL Changemakers and ESRC DTP.

Filming the Nation into Being | 18:30 - 20:00 | Roberts Building, G08 lecture theatre

Dr Jagjeet Lally, UCL History; Diva Gujral, UCL History of Art

The Films Division of India was established in 1948 to record and represent the social, cultural and political realities and aspirations of the newly independent nation. The Division's founders had studied avant-garde Soviet and German filmmaking, and sought to build the new nation through the wide distribution of film, as documentaries and short films were shown across the country in public interest. The Division now has over 8000 titles of which a small selection will be screened at UCL. The screening will begin with an introduction by Peter Sutoris, author of Visions of Development: Films Division of India and the Imagination of Progress, and will be followed by a discussion of the films chaired by Diva Gujral, PhD student at UCL History of Art. This event marks the finale of UCL's celebration of the 70th anniversary of the birth of India and Pakistan (1947) and Burma and Sri Lanka (1948) during 2017-18.

Windows on the World | 18:30 - 20:00 | Darwin Building, B40

Professor Michael Stewart, UCL Anthropology

Open City Docs runs a leading UCL based MA course in Ethnographic and Documentary Film out of UCL, a unique course that offers high-quality, practice-based learning within a top-level university research environment. This event will screen several graduation films that reflect the quality and diversity of talent on the course. Natalie Allison's careful and considered What Remains scrapes away the surface of an exotic landscape to reveal what remains of the Battle of Okinawa. Paul Zhou's candid and critical China in Ethiopia explores the reality of China's new global commercial ventures; and Boyi Sun's unorthodox, unpredictable insect study Beginning uses a variety of archive sources in to tell a uniquely personal story. A work-in-progress from one of this year's students, Lisa O'Hagan, will also be shown and discussed. The filmmakers will introduce their films and be present for a Q+A afterwards.

Living Data: Place, Presence and Privacy in a Mobile World | 18:30 - 19:30 | Darwin Building, B15

Dr Didem Özkul, UCL Knowledge Lab

As smartphone users, we share snippets of our daily lives with our loved ones and broader public through various mobile communication practices. We leave traces of ourselves - how, where and with whom we used to be, or what we used to do - and contribute to the generation of 2.5 quintillion Bytes of data every day. Some of this data has geospatial references, i.e. location data, providing information on where people and things are located in real-time. This timely session will consider the implications of location data in relation to the systems of mobility which evolve with real-time connectivity and locational tracking We'll reflect on how location data affects our privacy, and our sense of place, presence and memory. Dr Didem Ozkul is a lecturer at the UCL Knowledge Lab, Department of Culture, Communication and Media, part of UCL Institute of Education.

William Blake and the American Counterculture | 19:00 - 19:45 | Wilkins Building, Gustave Tuck lecture theatre

Dr Linda Freedman, UCL English

50 years ago, Allen Ginsberg read William Blake's 'I saw a Monk of Charlemaine' as he stood with the crowds outside the Chicago Democratic Convention to protest against America's increasingly sinister war in Vietnam. In the same year, Theodore Roszak coined the term 'counterculture', bringing his own brand of Blakeanism to the fore. This was a generation in which left-wing American radicals could identify America itself as Satanic - in its imperialism, its capitalism, its racism and its war in Vietnam - but they could also feel America to be vibrantly alive with the radicalism of the arts and theology. Blake spoke to this mood. In this session, Dr Linda Freedman (UCL English) will identify key moments of literary Blakeanism in the American counterculture. Discover how Blake was a formative influence on major writers and musicians from Allen Ginsberg to Bob Dylan, the Doors and Patti Smith, listen to selected songs, and watch Ginsberg's performance of 'Howl' at Six Gallery.

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.


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).

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

Tuesday 5 June

Thursday 7 June

Friday 8 June