Festival of Culture


Festival of Culture - Thursday 6 June 2019

Festival of Culture listings by day.

Thursday Morning Sessions

A tour of UCL’s Main Library | 11:30-12:00

Location: Meet at the Festival Hub - UCL Main Quad  

(UCL Library Services)

A tour of the Main Library in the Wilkins Building will take in the Flaxman Gallery and its central sculpture of St Michael overcoming Satan underneath UCL’s iconic dome, as well as the University’s first purpose-built Library, now named after architect Thomas Leverton Donaldson, which opened in 1849. Both have featured in films and television programmes. The current exhibition, From Small Library Beginnings: A brief history of UCL Library Services, will also be visited. Narrating the development of our libraries and learning spaces, today numbering 18 sites in Bloomsbury and beyond, it features highlights from some of the notable collections acquired over nearly 200 years. Coinciding with the exhibition, an installation, Steps to Progress, will be applied to the entrance staircase during 2019. Arranged by PhD student Harvey Wiltshire, representations of texts will celebrate our diverse community and challenge existing conceptions of the literary canon.

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Thursday Lunchtime Sessions

All for an Empty Tunic, All for a Helen | 12:00-13:30

Location: Institute of Archaeology, G6 Lecture Theatre

(Greek & Latin)

The film All for an Empty Tunic, All for a Helen (dir. Dr. Antony Makrinos, UCL Greek & Latin) explores the values and ideas of Homer’s Helen in the works of various other authors (Euripides, Ovid, WWI poetry and Yiannis Ritsos) but also their significance for the lives of modern women and the challenges they face in the modern world. It also invites the audience to reflect on topics that have been important in the story of Helen but also in the lives of modern women. The film was produced by the Summer School in Homer 2018 and was screened for the first time last July at UCL.

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Trauma and Visual Culture: student works | 12:00-14:00

Location: Wilkins Building, IAS Forum

(School of European Languages, Culture and Society)

This event will showcase creative work produced by students as part of the course Topics in Visual Representation: Trauma and Visual Culture taught in SELCS (School of European Languages Cultures and Society). Beginning with the First World War, the course explores visual culture in relation to some of the most painful and complex events of the last 100 years. Asked to creatively engage with visual material relating to the traumatic past, students worked with a wide range of media: from short video essays, to graphic novels, from PowerPoint presentations, to oil painting. Visitors will be invited to reflect on the role of the visual in commemorating violence, on the politics of seeing and the future of empathy in our increasingly ocular- centric time. 

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Women of Bloomsbury walk | 12:30-13:30

Location: Meet at the entrance to the UCL Institute of Archaeology


Scientists, poets, artists, writers, actors, social reformers: join UCL Institute of Archaeology staff Charlotte Frearson and Louise Martin on a walk around Bloomsbury exploring the history of both the Women of UCL & the Women of Bloomsbury. Join us in recognising these relatively unsung humans with talks, quotes from key works & ‘temporary blue plaque memorials’. The walk will be around 1 hour – come rain or come shine! The Institute of Archaeology's Therapy Dog Indy will be joining us on the walk.

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The Human Planet: How we caused the Anthropocene | 12:30-13:30

Location: Roberts Building, G06 Sir Ambrose Fleming Lecture Theatre


There is general scientific agreement that human activity has been a geologically recent, yet profound, influence on the Earth System. Humans have in fact become a geological superpower on a par with plate tectonics or a meteorite impact. It has, therefore, been proposed that we should refer to the present, not as within the Holocene Epoch but instead as within the Anthropocene Epoch. To some the Anthropocene symbolises a future of superlative control of our environment. To others it is the height of hubris, the illusion of our mastery over nature. Whatever your view, just below the surface of this odd-sounding scientific word, the Anthropocene, is a heady mix of science, philosophy, religion and politics linked to our deepest fears and utopian visions. By tracing the development of human society through its five major stages (hunter-gatherer, agricultural, mercantile capitalism, industrial capitalism and consumer capitalism), the death of tens of millions of indigenous people and significant increase in the impact of humans on the Earth Mark Maslin shows what the new epoch means for the future of humanity, the planet and life itself.

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Tours of the Slade Graduate Degree Show | Multiple bookable slots

Location: Meet outside the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL Main Quad

(Slade School of Fine Art)

Current students at the Slade School of Fine Art will be leading unique tours of the Slade Degree Show to groups of visitors.

The Slade School of Fine Art is one of the world’s leading art schools, led by artists for artists. Notable alumni include Paula Rego, Paul Nash, Martin Creed, C.W.Nevinson, Mona Hatoum, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd and Sir Antony Gormley.

The Degree Show is a dynamic exhibition of graduating students’ work from across the subject areas of painting, sculpture and media. This show features Graduate students’ work from the MA and MFA degree courses and includes photography, painting, printmaking, sculpture, moving image and sound work.

Don’t miss the opportunity to view or even purchase work from rising stars in contemporary art.

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Digital reconstruction of lost manuscripts | 13:30-14:30

Location: Foster Court, B29 Public Cluster

(Hebrew & Jewish Studies / Information Studies)

Two half pages from a torn manuscript of the Cairo Genizah were last seen in Paris in 1900, and have never been seen since. Find out how a staff-student team from UCL Information Studies and Hebrew and Jewish Studies reconstructed these lost fragments using digital technology, and learn how to do this yourself. An interactive lecture.

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Thursday Afternoon Sessions

Slade Summer School Taster Workshop | 14:00-16:00

Location: Main Quad Pop Up G01 

(Slade School of Fine Art)

Join us for the Slade Summer School Taster Workshop! This fun workshop will be a chance to get a feel of what we offer on our Slade summer courses by experimenting with collage. The drop in workshop is open to everyone; the creative and non-creative, collage is something that everyone can get stuck into! We will be referencing the Slade’s rich history of famous collage artist alumni, such as Richard Hamilton and John Stezaker, who are well known for working with collaged portraiture. All ages welcome!

The Slade School of Fine Art is a world-renowned art school solely dedicated to research and practice of fine art. In its 34th year, the Slade Summer School has established a wide range of short courses over the ten week summer period. Courses of all levels range from three days to three weeks with a ten-week Fine Art foundation course.

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The Advanced Propulsion Lab, UCL East and de-carbonising the transport sector | 16:00-16:20

Location: UCL Main Quad

(UCL East)

A 20 minute talk about fuel cell technology and UCL’s work to de-carbonise the transport system. Focused around UCL’s very own fuel-cell powered car, the Toyota Mirai. Join us in the main quad to see the car and hear about how hydrogen technology can drive a clean future for our energy and transport system. Presented by the Advanced Propulsion Lab and UCell.
UCell is a public engagement group based at the Electrochemical Innovation Lab at UCL, which is focused around comprehensible explaining how and why we should use fuel cells, hydrogen and batteries. 

Drop in, no booking required

Politics in and Off the Saddle: Images of Cavalrymen and Knights in Italian Culture, 1915-1965 | 16:30-17:30

Location: Main Quad Pop Up 102

(School of European Languages, Culture and Society)

This talk deals with images of cavalrymen and knights in twentieth-century Italian culture. It looks at how men on horseback (or off the saddle!) were depicted in literature, arts, popular artefacts and publications, animations, and films, and considers how their images were received, transformed, appropriated and re-adapted in twentieth-century Italy by single authors and artists, cultural movements, and political powers. Images here are regarded as a language and the talk aims to show the power of images to encode messages, tell stories, and express ideas and emotions. 

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Thursday Evening Sessions

How to Be Both: A Celebration of Multiple Belongings and Creative Trajectories, in Europe and Beyond | 17:00-18:30

Location: Bentham House, SB31 Denys Holland Lecture Theatre

(Cities partnerships Programme)

Debates about the political future of Europe are increasingly shaped by nationalist and nativist resentment, but also by the contrasting idea of Europe as a single cultural space, defined by a shared heritage and a common set of values and traditions. Against the binary, we wish to uphold the creative and enabling power of cosmopolitan diversity and multiple belongings. Artists, filmmakers and writers will share their own singular perspectives on a continent which which they call home - but not their only home. Heterogeneity and undecidability, in sharp contrast with dominant discourse, emerge as the crucial values that can form and inform our collective struggle for meaning, and our shared journey into an uncertain future.       

Speakers will include the screenwriter and director Nasheed Qamar Faruqi, the novelist Yara Rodriques Fowler, and filmmaker and artist Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen.

The event will be chaired by Dr Florian Mussgnug (Comparative Literature), the academic director of the UCL Cities partnerships Programme in Rome. 

Organised by Cities partnerships Programme with UCL European Institute and UCL’s Grand Challenge of Cultural Understanding European Voices initiative. 

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Curator-led tour - Motions of this Kind: Propositions and Problems of Belatedness | 18:00-19:00

Location: Brunei Gallery, SOAS


Join a guided tour of Motions of this Kind: Propositions and Problems of Belatedness, an exhibition commissioning the new works and developing ongoing projects by 11 artists from, or working in, the Philippines. Each artist examines transnational and temporal themes in their practice. The exhibition explores the historical, contemporary and global forces that the Philippines, as an island nation, faces. At the centre of each piece of work is the theme of 'belatedness'. The project underscores the way time has been used as a weapon of power, a tool of everyday resistance and a way of dominating the marginalised. 

The tour will be led by Rafael Schacter, a Teaching Fellow in Anthropology at UCL, who has co-curated the exhibition. 

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British responses to the Holocaust | 18:00-19:00

Location: Main Quad Pop Up G01

(Centre for Holocaust Education, Institute of Education)

This is an interactive workshop that showcases the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education's latest teaching resource, based on ground-breaking research we conducted in 2016 into what students in England know and understand about the Holocaust. At a time when competing narratives of British responses vie for prominence in public discourse, in particular around notions of immigration and 'British Values,' this session uses a rich wealth of historical sources from five leading archives to interrogate such narratives. Evidence from The National Archives, Mass Observation, the Churchill Archives, the Wiener Library and the Imperial War Museum will be used to and encourage a rethinking of the sorts of stories we like to tell ourselves about who we are as a nation in relation to the Holocaust, and how we understand this relationship and ourselves now.

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Popular Feminisms: Tactics in Turbulent Times | 18:00-21:00

Location: Wilkins Building, IAS Forum

(Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry / qUCL)

This evening ‘salon’ invites lively discussion and debate on the future of feminist activism in the UK today. The event will bring together speakers from grass-roots and third-sector organisations, politics and protest to share insights on working for gender equality. The aim of this informal, celebratory, networking event is to offer academics, practitioners, students and the public alike a range of innovative ideas for putting research into practice and taking action. All welcome.

This event is organised by the UCL Gender & Feminism Research Network in collaboration with Gender & Sexuality Studies at the Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry, with support from the Octagon Fund and Economic and Social Research Council.

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Impossible Territory - Exploring the World of Translation  | 18:00-21:00

Location: Masaryk Senior Common Room, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies 

(UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies)

An evening of multidisciplinary events celebrating the art of translation with a special focus on the so called 'small' languages of Europe

Translating the War - Bosnian writing through English and other languages
Twenty-five years after the conflict in former-Yugoslavia, people who lived through those troubled times are still writing and producing art which addresses and tries to make sense of the trauma. We bring together two of the most prolific and best-known Bosnian writers. who have written about the horrors of war and the flight for refuge. Faruk Šehić is a veteran whose poetry and prose has achieved cult status in his native country and across the region. Alen Meskovic, himself a refugee, lives in Denmark and writes about his homeland and his war experience through the Danish language. Join us on the unique occasion of having these two authors in London at the same time.

Translation Challenge - Hungarian Prose and Verse in English Version 
What do we read when we read literature in translation? What is the difference between the original writer’s and the translator’s text? Seemingly everything – after all, they are not in the same language. That’s precisely the point. Yet we believe that the two texts are the same. They have the same name (or title), the same author, and the translator’s name has started appearing on the cover pages of translated works only recently. What is, then, translation: this fata morgana which lures us into believing in the sameness of two texts, one of which is, in fact, the (trans)version of the other? Equivalence in translation has preoccupied scholars and theoreticians for centuries. This Translation Challenge offers exciting practical insights into the translator’s craft and their struggles, in the most practical ways, with sameness and difference between the original text and its English version. While exploring the (im)possibility of translation in general, the focus of this session will be on work by two translators of Hungarian literature, both of whom are affiliated to UCL SSEES. Thanks to their contribution, we shall gain insights into what happens between a Hungarian and an English sentence, and what the intricacies of this process are when translating from less-widely-used languages such as Hungarian.

Publishing Translation
Three of London's leading publishers of translated literature (Istros Books, Francis Boutle Publishers and MacLehose Press) come together to discuss their work: how does a foreign book end up being chosen for publication into English? What is the process of translation and editing that each book must go through? What are the challenges faced by publishers of translated literature and how have they overcome them? There will be possibly for members of the audience to ask questions about pitching titles and gaining an insight into the business. 

This event will be hosted by Professor Eric Gordy, Professor of Political and Cultural Sociology at UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES).

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Performance Lab: Vigil | 18:30-19:30

Location: Grant Museum of Zoology

(UCL Culture)

A Cinnamon-coloured Cryptic Tree Hunter. A Problematic Flasher. Dusky Seaside Sparrow. Fire Millipede from Hell… Vigil is a wild, playful encounter with internationally threatened species.

Performer Tom Bailey explores today’s mass animal disappearance through award-winning theatre company MECHANIMAL in collaboration with UCL researchers.

What critics said about Tom Bailey’s award-winning project Zugunruhe:

‘Extraordinary… moving and enlightening’ New Scientist 
‘Unusual, utterly compelling solo show’
★★★★ The Herald 
‘Never thought I would be so engrossed by watching a man pretending to be a marsh warbler trying to fly the nest for first time’ – Lyn Gardner, The Independent

Part of Performance Lab and the UCL Festival of Culture.

This event has a £5.00 charge. 

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“Left-behind Britain” and “France Périphérique”: challenging representations of social-territorial divides in convoluted times | 19:00-20:30

Location: Bentham House, SB31 Denys Holland Lecture Theatre

(Cities partnerships Programme)

Regional inequalities between metropolitan areas and other parts of the country have been a long standing feature of the geography of the UK and France. In the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, and in the context of the “Gilets Jaunes” protests, debates about territorial divides, socio-economic and class inequalities have intensified. In this panel, speakers from the UK and France will unpack media, political and scholarly narratives of “left-behind” and “peripheral” places, and assess the role of different stakeholders in constructing and countering those narratives. How have such terms become popular? How (un)helpful are they? Do they conflate the social and spatial dimensions of inequality? How can research institutions, think-tanks, journalists and others produce helpful research and reporting to improve public debates and policy solutions and help mend socio-territorial divides in convoluted times? Panellists include: Claire Colomb, Aurélien Delpirou, Adrian Favell, Sarah Longlands, Philippe Marlière, Sophie Pedder, Olivier Sykes, and John Tomaney.

Organised by Cities partnerships Programme with UCL European Institute and UCL’s Grand Challenge of Cultural Understanding European Voices initiative. With support from the French Embassy in the UK - Higher Education Research and Innovation Department (in association with The Borders of Identity seminar series supported by the Fonds d’Alembert 2019).

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Engage & Enrage | 19:00-21:00

Location: Main Quad Pop Up 101

(Institute of the America / UCL Culture)

How do institutions prevent some groups from accessing and participating in politics? And how does anger motivate us to get involved, especially when democracy isn’t always democratic?

Explore the changing face of women’s participation in Brazilian politics in an evening of game-making sessions and interactivity against the landscape of politics in Latin America. The event will be led by Dr Malu Gatto, Assistant Professor of Latin American Politics at the UCL Institute of the Americas and cross-cultural theatre company ZU-UK, who are renowned for their distinctive personal and political approach to creating interactive and participatory events.

Join us for an entertaining and thought-provoking evening of rage and change. Drinks and nibbles will be provided to keep the game-making going…

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