Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Marxism in Culture

The Marxism in Culture seminar series was conceived in 2002 to provide a forum for those committed to the continuing relevance of Marxism for cultural analysis

Both "Marxism" and "culture" are conceived here in a broad sense.  We understand Marxism as an ongoing self-critical tradition, and correspondingly the critique of Marxism's own history and premises is part of the agenda. "Culture" is intended to comprehend not only the traditional fine arts, but also aspects of popular culture such as film, popular music, and fashion.  From this perspective, conventional distinctions between the avant-garde and the popular, the elite and the mass, the critical and the commercial are very much open for scrutiny.  All historical inquiry is theoretically grounded, self-consciously or not, and theoretical work in the Marxist tradition demands empirical verification. 

Marxism in Culture welcomes contributions that are concerned primarily with principles and methods as well as those that focus on the interpretation of particular cultural practices, historical or contemporary.

Upcoming seminars

Cecilia Vicuña, Saborami (1973) (expanded facsimile version) Bookworks, 2024
Cecilia Vicuña, Saborami

The editors Luke Roberts and Amy Tobin will discuss Vicuña’s socialist feminism and ecological thinking, and will show some archival materials related to the book before opening out to a general Q&A and discussion.

26 April 2024, 5:30 pm–7:30 pm

photo of black men sitting holding black puppets
Against Development: Med Hondo's Migrant Cinema as a Practice of Antisystemic Worldmaking

Nikolaus Perneczky explores Mauritanian-French filmmaker Med Hondo’s migrant practice as part of a wider struggle over African cinema’s means of circulation.

17 May 2024, 5:30 pm–7:30 pm

Anneke Kampman feat. Amy Lally, Sleeping Lions, 2019
Figures of Capital: Music-video as Immanent Critique

Anneke Kampman's talk will centre on the form and function of ‘personality’ within contemporary commercial music-video.

31 May 2024, 5:30 pm–7:30 pm

The Marxism in Culture seminar was set up in 2002 in the aftermath of the large international conference on Marxism and the Visual Arts Now held at UCL in April of that year.  Speakers have included: Caroline Arscott, David Cunningham, Angela Dimitrakaki, Carol Duncan, Suman Gupta, Stathis Kouvelakis, David Margolies, Stewart Martin, Fred Orton, Alex Potts, Marcus Rediker, Adrian Rifkin, Fred Schwartz, Greg Sholette, Blake Stimson, James Van Dyke, Marina Vishmidt, Ben Watson, O.K. Werckmeister, the Warwick Research Collective (WREC) and many more. Marxism in Culture actively supports the research of postgraduate students and early career researchers.

Past seminars

Seminar convenors

  • Dr Larne Abse Gogarty, UCL Slade School of Fine Art
  • Dave Beech Chelsea College of Art, UAL
  • Warren Carter, Open University
  • Luisa Corna, UWE Bristol 
  • Gail Day, Leeds University
  • Steve Edwards Birkbeck University
  • Alex Fletcher Central St Martins, UAL
  • Antigoni Memou, University of East London
  • Andrew.Murray, Open University
  • Dr Jenny Nachtigall, UCL History of Art
  • Paul Rekret, University of Westminster
  • Dr Ben Wiedel-Kaufmann, Art History, Open University