Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Sense and Sensation Seminar Series: Critical Stories of Sense and Sensation

16 March 2017, 4:00 pm–6:00 pm

João Loureiro - Senses

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Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Common Ground, Ground Floor, South Wing, Wilkins Building

We are pleased to welcome Professor Tim Mathews (French and Comparative Criticism, UCL) who will be presenting extracts from a number of pieces of 'critical creative writing' for this 'Sense and Sensation' Seminar.


Sense and Sensation: the wordplay is a reminder that language originates in the body as much as anywhere. And not only language but the meanings that arise and seek expression. Artwork, the work that goes into fashioning an aesthetic artefact: like all work, it does not deal directly in sensation, but does so at a distance, in which the labyrinths joining sensation to the endpoints or nerve ends of meaning are explored. I'm currently engaged in developing a form of writing aimed at providing encounters with the work of art, the work in art. Textual without being welded to a method, autobiographical while being fascinated with masks, the writing I'd like to present is an expression of faith in critical writing, its range, and its capacity to explore what engagement with art can tell us about our relations with each other. It will take the form of a number of short pieces, published, about to be published, and in development, concerned as a whole with sensations shared and broken of place, shock and transformation.  

'Sense and Sensation' is one of the Institute of Advanced Studies' major research themes for 2016-2017. This seminar series, organised by the two Junior Research Fellows working on the 'Sense and Sensation' research strand, aims to stimulate a dialogue on this rich topic in UCL more generally. These sessions aim to draw together as many researchers as possible whose work contributes to the theme of 'Sense and Sensation', understood in its broadest possible formulation, from across the departments and schools at UCL.

We hope that by conducting a conversation between researchers and academics in this environment we will be able to engender debates outside our traditionally conceived disciplines, forge fruitful inter-disciplinary collaborations and enrich our understanding of how questions of 'Sense and Sensation' shape our knowledge of the world. The seminars' scholarly work will be supported by a welcoming, informal atmosphere in which all are encouraged to share their ideas. All postgraduate students, post-docs and staff are welcome.

The seminars will take place monthly during term-time at 4-6pm on the following Thursdays:

  • 16 March 2017: Tim Mathews, UCL French and Comparative Criticism - 'Critical Stories of Sense and Sensation'
  • 16 May 2017: Hannah Holling, UCL History of Art - 'Permanent Impermanence: Sensing change in Nam June Paik's technological assemblages'
  • 22 June 2017: Matthew Beaumont, UCL English and Urban Lab, 'The Insomniac Nights of Vincent Van Gogh' (IAS Seminar Room 11, First Floor, South Wing)

The first hour of each session will be given over to a presentation from a single contributor, and in the second we will discuss the ideas put forward more generally.

Each session will take place at the IAS Common Ground (Ground Floor, South Wing, Wilkins Building), with tea and coffee provided. For more information, or if you have access requirements or other queries, please contact: Dhanveer Singh Brar and Alicia Spencer-Hall. We look forward to meeting you at the seminars!

Image credit: João Loureiro - "senses". (Via Flickr; CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)