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Latest Intercultural Interaction News

Food sharing among BaYaka

What hunter-gatherers can tell us about human social networks

Published: Jul 21, 2016 5:51:00 PM

UCL Grand Challenge of Intercultural Interaction (GCII): Outcomes

GCII Small Grants

Archaeology, Heritage and Civilisation in Iraqi Kurdistan

GCII Theme: Civilisations

Lead: Dr David Wengrow (UCL Institute of Archaeology)

Main collaborator: Prof Karen Radner (UCL History)

Additional collaborators: Dr Mark Altaweel (UCL Institute of Archaeology); Prof Mike Rowlands (UCL Anthropology)


Project: UCL has an unprecedented opportunity to conduct archaeological and anthropological fieldwork in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Following decades of conflict and a genocidal campaign against its inhabitants in the 1980s, the region is now a focus of major investment and is rapidly becoming a hub of international research. Environmental and cultural regeneration are high on the agenda of local authorities, as is the investigation of the area’s rich, but surprisingly unexplored, archaeological and cultural heritage, and the parallel development of museums and tourism.

The Shahrizor Plain, where UCL has been permitted to work, lies in the province of Suleimaniya, within the heartlands of what was once referred to as the ‘Cradle of Civilisation’; the region in which farming, urban life and literacy began. The current project is in early stages of development, but already involves staff from three UCL departments as well as the newly established department at UCL Qatar, with its focus upon archaeology, museums, heritage and the fostering of intercultural relations in the Middle East. Over the longer term, this project will provide a major vehicle for linking UCL’s expertise across these fields and applying them in an area where they are badly needed.

Negotiating Religion: Inquiries into the history and present of religious accommodation

GCII Theme: Religion & Society

Lead: Dr François Guesnet (UCL Hebrew & Jewish Studies)

Main collaborator: Dr Uta Staiger (UCL European Institute)

Additional collaborators: Dr Claire Dwyer (UCL Geography); Dr Myriam Hunter-Henin (UCL Laws); Prof Cécile Laborde (UCL Political Sciences); Dr Robert Morris (UCL Constitution Unit)


Project: This series of four workshops will discuss the complex processes through which religious communities create or defend their place in a given commonwealth, both in history and in our world today. The focus is on communities' ability to formulate and present their claims, to identify potential spokespeople and their addressees, to secure their institutions and assert their physical and political presence, as well as on the epistemological, political and social conditions facilitating or complicating processes of negotiation.

The four workshops are:

  • Negotiating Religion: European legacies, European challenges
  • Accommodating Religious Communities in Contemporary Europe: Constitutional and philosophical dimensions
  • Negotiating Religion in Urban Space
  • Legal Frameworks: Schools and religious freedom

Grey Areas: Between art and the law

GCII Theme: Human Rights

Lead: Ms Carey Young (UCL Slade School of Fine Art)

Main collaborator: Dr Ralph Wilde (UCL Laws)

Project: The field of human rights is a new vein of research for me, but is highly appropriate given my ongoing artistic research interests in the growing influence of corporations and the legal sphere on to individual and collective subjectivity, and the relationship between law and ideas of ‘reality’. The small grant would provide seed funding for the research, development and production of a small body of artwork which could be exhibited within public exhibitions commencing in 2012–2013.

I would like to engage with Dr Wilde’s research into legal ‘black holes’ (otherwise termed ‘legal vacuums’ or ‘extra-legal zones’) – the often-used term for extraterritorial situations such as military ‘black sites’ or the US detention centre at Guantanamo. I am particularly interested in Dr Wilde’s writings, which problematise and critique the idea of ‘legal black holes’. Particularly interesting to me is Dr Wilde’s view that law is not ‘missing’ from such zones, contrary to much of the literature, and that the application of human rights law may not be the universal salve it is commonly expected to be.

I also envisage using the research phase to look into other human rights issues which also extend my previous research interests, with the idea to develop a major solo exhibition proposal on a human rights theme. I am also interested in the emerging field of human rights law which deals with transnational corporations, as ‘non-state actors’, with regard to human rights, in particular looking at complicity between states and transnational corporations with regard to slippages in human rights protections. Whilst seeing human rights as a contested field, I would like to interrogate the neoliberal idea that we should leave it to the marketplace to regulate corporate behaviour around human rights. I envisage this will lead to ideas for other artistic works.

Where Next for Social Media: How do we bring together theory and practice?

Lead: Dr Simon Lock (UCL Science & Technology Studies)

Main collaborator: Professor Claire Warwick (UCL Information Studies)

Additional collaborators: Dr Jon Agar (UCL Science & Technology Studies); Dr Anthony Watkinson (UCL Information Studies); Dr Steve Cross, UCL Public Engagement


Project: In a very short space of time online social media platforms have become pre-eminent tools of intercultural interaction, supplementing and even displacing many older systems and customs. This project brings together dispersed communities within UCL who research social media platforms. The aim is to share expertise, transfer theory and practice, and pool our intellectual resources in ways that lead to fruitful new collaborations across the university and new ways of using social media for research interactions with stakeholders outside of the academy.

The problem to be solved involves silos. Academics work in disciplinary silos. In those silos, wheels regularly get re-invented and customised jargon and practices thicken the walls. From the outside UCL itself can be viewed as a silo. We know with certainty that research is being conducted on social media and political and social engagement, ideas of privacy, identity, personalization of information, methods of surveillance, notions of public sphere, and corporate control and storage of data. We also know a great many colleagues are investigating new technologies as tools for dissemination and engagement.

With so much going on in the subject area, a clear opportunity exists for opening up the silos and sharing expertise to develop.

This project uses the 'town meeting' model to get our network started. At the same time, we will initiate some desk-based research to pool together scholarship and identify common themes. Finally, we run some workshops so the network can digest the results and identify avenues for further work. Throughout, we’ll use our understanding of these tools to disseminate and engage.

GCII Reports

GCII Events

20 - 29 January 2016
African Voices

UCL formally launched its African Studies Research Centre with a series of events at the end of January 2016. The events were held under the title 'African Voices @UCL' and were funded by UCL Grand Challenges. African Voices emphasized our goal of co-producing knowledge about Africa with African colleagues on the continent and in the diaspora. Further details.

25 January 2016
Transcending the Past and Reimagining the Future of the South African University
Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand, Professor Adam Habib will discuss how, for universities to lead social change, they have to exist within a higher education system that is responsive to the diverse and multiple needs of the economy and society. Any serious analysis of the higher education system over the last two decades must confront the challenge of trade-offs among equally important, competing imperatives, and the contesting philosophies that have come to define the post-apartheid education project at South Africa’s universities. Further details and registration

  • This event forms part of the African Voices series convened by the UCL African Studies Research Centre
  • Supported by UCL Grand Challenges

26 January 2016
'African Question Time'

This will be a topical discussion in which our panel of visitors from Senegal, Uganda and South Africa are posed questions by the audience at UCL and (via the miracle of technology) by students from around Africa. 'What are the opportunities and challenges that Africa faces in the future? What are the big current issues for higher education in Africa? What differences will it make to Africa now that half the population live in cities? What should the priorities be in African health sectors? Do traditional rulers have any role to play in African politics?" Further details and registration

  • This event forms part of the African Voices series convened by the UCL African Studies Research Centre
  • Supported by UCL Grand Challenges

26 January 2016
“African voices @ UCL” launch of photographic exhibition

In the company of the UCL Provost and with performance by the griot Mosi Conde. Further details

  • This event forms part of the African Voices series convened by the UCL African Studies Research Centre
  • Supported by UCL Grand Challenges

22 January 2016
Heritage, marginality and hybridity in the gold fields of south-eastern Senegal

Lecture by Dr Ibrahima Thiaw, University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar
Over the past millennia, South East Senegal has gained the reputation of an important gold mining region. Today it still lives by that reputation as it continues to attract global investments. The region of has a fascinating past through medieval times, slavery, colonialism and the recent effects of gold mining on national and regional population mobility, and on the preservation of cultural and natural resources. The effects imposed by culture and sociopolitical organisations on small-scale decentralized communities have been vast.  Further details and registration

  • This event forms part of the African Voices series convened by the UCL African Studies Research Centre
  • Supported by UCL Grand Challenges

10 December 2015, 6pm
Let's Talk About Race

Lecture Room 1, Basement, UCL Cruciform Building, UCL, Gower Street, London, WC1
Join this UCL staff-led event to discuss our understanding of race. There should be an open discussion of race, ethnicity and culture on campus, but what’s stopping us? This event, open to all students and staff, will highlight how we interact with race in our everyday lives and how race affects us all.

Dr. Caroline Selai, Senior Lecturer, Psychologist, UCL Institute of Neurology
Dr. Sushrut Jadhav, Senior Clinical Senior Lecturer in Cross-Cultural Psychiatry, UCL Division of Psychiatry

3 December 2015
How to Advise Parliament
Through engagement with parliamentary committees research can generate impact, which is both significant and far reaching, but quite often these channels are under utilised by researchers. This joint event brings representatives from the machinery of Parliament and those who have given evidence into conversation with researchers for an evening of lively insight and dialogue, in an informal and friendly atmosphere. Further details and registration

28 November 2015
Countdown 2030
Countdown 2030 aims to bring the Millennial generation, dynamic early career researchers and established leaders into a debate on the roadmap to 2030: the deadline year of the SDGs and carbon emission reduction by 40%. These ambitious goals, if they are to be achieved, will be achieved by the Millennial generation. Further details and registration

21st and 22nd October 2015 (10:00am – 6:00pm)
Europe from the Outside in? Imagining Civilization through Collecting the Exotic
This conference will consider the historical emergence of a distinct European social imaginary in terms of Europe’s appropriation and internalization of elements from other continents and civilizations. With a focus on the function of ethnographic collections in facilitating this process historically, it will also investigate the status of such collections today. How does European museums’ production of the exotic retain its appeal, apparently undiminished, when faced today with global audiences and changing attitudes to colonial pasts? Further details

12 October 2015
Practising Ethics: Positionality, Spatiality and Subjectivity in Dialogue
In this symposium speakers will consider how ethics is practiced from the perspective of positionality, spatiality and subjectivity in dialogue. Universities tend to have clear guidelines on the ethical procedures involved in gaining informed consent when interviewing subjects, but these often do not consider the subjective experiences and emotional effects of gathering verbal and visual materials. Geography, psychoanalysis, ethnography/anthropology, political science, architectural design and the visual/performing arts offer a more nuanced and conceptual understanding of the possible spatial, cultural and political settings involved in conversing.  Further details

4 September 2015
Minds of Caste
-An inter-disciplinary seminar on how Caste identities shape the Mind

The relationship between caste identity and mental well-being is critical and yet curiously unexplored. Unpacking culturally rooted caste conflict requires addressing the dynamics between victims and victimisers. This unique inter-disciplinary seminar will address some of the following questions: How does caste shape individual minds and determine collective mentalities? Why and how does caste discrimination impact upon the inner lives of both the perpetrators and their victims? Further details and registration

31 July 2015
Forced Marriage: Health, Wellbeing, Community and Law
Forced marriage is illegal in the UK and has a huge impact on the lives of the people it affects, and yet, little is known about it. This one day workshop will set the scene and explore some of the key questions about forced marriage in regards to culture and honour, the law and police, education and health services.  Further details and registration

23 July 2015
Pioneers for the Future
The 150th anniversary of the ‘Satuma 14’ students’ arrival at UCL gives us opportunity to consider present day Japan and the UK, begin new dialogues and look ahead to the future.  This workshop will bring together a group of visiting Japanese high school students with students from UCL Academy.  Further details

26-28 May 2015
UCL Grand Challenges Research Summer School 2015

The GC Summer School introduces research students to the Grand Challenges, providing an opportunity to discuss the underlying research philosophy and to develop practical skills in preparing proposals that combine expertise from different academic disciplinesFurther details and application form

22 May 2015

Contemporary India – A challenge to the Idea of India?
The Idea of India – embodying its rich civilizational heritage, its well-entrenched democracy and its teeming diversity, its ethos for tolerance and pluralism; and above all, its self-confidence to re-emerge from any challenges continue to thrive in contemporary India. How far has India travelled in these last 67 years since independence? And how has India evolved since then?  Most significantly, what part has the youth of India played in this evolution?  Further details and registration

20 May 2015
Giuseppe Mazzini in (and beyond) the History of Human Rights
UCL Centre for Transnational History's Annual Lecture
Samuel Moyn (Professor of Law and History, Harvard University)
Introduction: Axel Körner (UCL Centre for Transnational History)
Virginia Mantouvalou (UCL Centre for Human Rights) will present a vote of thanks.  Further details

5 May 2015 (deadline)
A Call for Drawings
A Call for Drawings is selecting drawings from artists, scientists and other professionals for an interdisciplinary research project investigating the role of visual thinking and the role of visualizations in cognitive and creative processes. It is a procedure analogous to the practice in the academic world of "a call for papers" in preparation for a symposium or conference at which research is to be presented and information shared. Further details

31 March 2015 (deadline)
‘My Landmark’ Project
Linking UCL and Chinese students as part of the 2015 UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange.
Express in an image and caption what the word "Landmark" conjures in your imagination. How does this word speak to you? Where does it take you? How does it make you feel? Where, or what, or whom, is a landmark to you and how would you communicate it to a student in China.  Call for submissions to take part in a visual exchange between Chinese and UK based students. Further details and application

11 February 2015 (6.30pm)
Nous sommes citoyens: Freedom of Expression after Paris
In the wake of the deadly attacks in Paris recently, there is an urgent need to debate the values that tie us together as citizens – a commitment to freedom of expression and to freedom from violence and fear – and the challenges of sustaining those values in a world of difference and conflict. Further details

21 January 2015
Britain & Europe Series: Pathways to EU reform
Ever since David Cameron’s Bloomberg Speech in January 2013, the question of EU reform has been high on the political agenda. Yet, while we know that the Prime Minister’s support for continuing British membership will be conditional upon the Union’s substantive reform, we know little about how such reform could be achieved.

This Policy Panel, organised in cooperation with the Centre for European Reform, launches a 2-year series on Britain's relationship with the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights.   Further details

27 November 2014
Forced Marriage: the real disgrace

Forced marriage is illegal in the UK and has a huge impact on the lives of the people it affects, and yet, little is known about it. Please join us for an insightful and frank discussion of the subject, where an expert panel will reflect on contemporary issues – including the concept of izzat (honour) – recent changes in UK law, and barriers to tackling forced marriage, as well as reasons to be hopeful of positive change. A screening of the award-winning documentary, Honor Diaries, will introduce the relevant topics and highlight the work of activists across the world that are fighting for women’s rights. Further details and registration

13 November 2014
Hinduism: Civilisations in Contest and Conflict

CREDOC Lecture on India: Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions, Divinity School, University of Chicago
Since the 6th century BCE, Hinduism has held in creative suspension two movements so different as to merit the title of separate civilisations: one is the dominant strain of ritual, of celebration of life, of family, of children, of sexuality, of food and poetry and sculpture and the worship of many gods; and the other is the strain of philosophy, of renunciation, of the drive to become released from the cycle of rebirth, through denial of the senses, of family life, of children.  Further details and registration

6-7 November 2014
Stewardship for Planet Earth: Intercultural communication for sustainable resources
BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities/UCL Grand Challenge of Intercultural Interaction Symposium Series Building on the success of the 2013 symposium this years event will seek to explore the concept of stewardship from a multitude of perspectives. The programme will consist of a mix of plenary, parallel and networking sessions with speakers from across UCL. In addition, we will host a range of external speakers from grassroots community organisations to high profile national and international speakers. Further details

29 October 2014
Launch of the UCL-Lancet Commission on Culture & Health
People around the world construct well-being and health in strikingly different and complex ways, and the impact that alternative socio-cultural values have on health consequences is powerful. To address the vast lacuna in approaches to health policy that use measures of well-being external to biological, biomedical and economic categories, the University College London-Lancet Commission on Culture and Health researched and developed by the cross-disciplinary membership of the UCL Science, Medicine and Society Network examined ways in which health and health systems are critically entwined with domains of culture and reviewed the systematic neglect of culture in health. Further details and registration

23 October 2014 (5.30-7pm)
CREDOC Seminar 1: Civilisation in Political Thought
UCL Institute of Archaeology, room 612 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY The concept of civilisation looms large in current debates about the constitution of Europe, the authority of religious traditions, and national as well as supra-national identity. For a long time, it has informed definitions of enlightenment and backwardness, progress and decline, the West and its many Others. All are welcome. Registration is not required. Open to the public.

13 October 2014 (6-9pm)
UCL Grand Challenges Celebration
This event will celebrate the first five years of UCL Grand Challenges, and aims to reflect and build upon the personal and institutional experiences gained. Through open discussion we aim to define the actions needed to strengthen, enhance and enable further cross-disciplinary engagement within and beyond our university, for the benefit of society. Further details and registration

10 October 2014
#UCLfacesRACE: Eugenics@UCL (this event forms part of Black History Month 2014)
A fact-filled revelatory exploration of UCL’s hitherto hidden history​ discusses Francis Galton’s ’Eugenics Record Office’, the research constructing unjust racial hierarchies and its legacy. In this first of three conversations in #UCLfacesRace, speakers and the audience are invited to consider how we evaluate the historical memory and, indeed, silence in order to address the challenges today. Supported by a 2014-15 GCII Small Grant. Further event details

16-20 June 2014
UCL Grand Challenges Summer School
UCL Grand Challenges are offering the opportunity for all UCL Research students to apply to this year’s week long Summer School. We seek to provide an experience for research students at UCL that enables them to understand and discuss the Grand Challenges philosophy and also develop practical skills in preparing research proposals that necessitate and combine expertise from different disciplines.  Further details

16 June 2014
Migration and Homes: A One Day Workshop
This interdisciplinary workshop generated some interesting themes regarding the theorisation of ‘home’ in relation to migration – as a built form with particular transnational references; an affective space and site for social relations; as a form of diaspora investment; as a symbolic site of social, political and economic capital. Read report Workshop flyer

  • This workshop was funded by UCL Grand Challenges and UCL Environment Institute

28 April 2014
Big History: How Not to Write a Global History of the 17th Century
A lecture by Geoffrey Parker (Ohio State University) and supported by GCII and held in conjunction with the Centre for Transnational History as part of their annual lecture series and the Centre for Research into the Dynamics of Civilization.   Further details

3-4 April 2014
Does my Culture affect your Care?
International Workshop on the Bloomsbury Cultural Formulation Interview: Theory and Clinical skills, UCL Mental Health Sciences Unit.  A unique interactive, experiential 17 CPD points accredited workshop for clinicians and social scientists working in mental health. Participants will learn key medical anthropological concepts & clinical cultural interview skills. Supported by GCII
Further details and registration

25th March & 28th March 2014
Wonderments of Cosmos Research Prize Competition
UCL Grand Challenge of Intercultural Interaction is making available £6000 to be used as seed-corn funding for an innovative collaborative research project between two or more people from different disciplines within UCL. The applicants are expected to develop their ideas in order to make a grant application to a larger funding body. Limited places are available. Further details and on-line application

11 March 2014
Civilisation: Feasting and Drinking - a CREDOC Provocation
Eating and drinking are frequently described as 'habits' or forms of etiquette indicating a sense of what it means to be civilised or uncivilised. The preparation and serving of food and drink figure prominently in Norbert Elias's understanding of civilisation as a process. Further details

6 March 2014
China and Freedom of Speech: new systems for the accountability of the press - an evening with John Kampfner
UCL’s China Centre for Health and Humanity and Centre for Transnational History invite you to an evening with John Kampfner, ex editor of the New Statesman and a high profile author, broadcaster and commentator. John will discuss China and Freedom of Speech and how to ensure an appropriate system for the accountability of the press. He has made a number of trips to Asia to look at these issues. John will be joined by a panel of experts including Professor Zheng Xiaoguo, UCL’s Pro- Provost for China, Dr Saladin Meckled-Garcia, Director of the UCL Institute for Human Rights, and Stephen Perry, Chairman of the 48 Group Club. This event has been sponsored by UCL's Grand Challenge of Intercultural Interaction and the UCL Institute of Human Rights.  Register

13 February 2014
UCL Centre for Research into the Dynamics of Civilisation (CREDOC): Launch Evening
Within current Chinese intellectual and political debates about the future of ‘civilisation(s)’, the claim is made that China is a civilisation of five thousand years continuous duration. Concepts of the ‘nation’ and the ‘state’, once adapted from Western social and political thought, are being questioned and replaced by a distinctively Chinese idea of modern civilisation. Special guest lecture by Professor Wang Mingming, Minzu University of China, Beijing. Further details and registration

28 January 2014
A CREDOC Provocation: The problem of progress: Life, humanity, civilisation
Investigation of civilisation as a concept and as a social phenomenon is still caught up in the problem of progress. Can we escape the damaging legacy of earlier centuries that set the primitive against the civilised and one civilisation above another in a hierarchy of moral, cultural, religious or racial superiority? Further details and registration.
Further details and registration

21 January 2014
The complexity of decision-making – UCL Honorary Professor Noreena Hertz
UCL Honorary Professor Noreena Hertz discusses her new book Eyes Wide Open which considers how to improve decision-making; managing information excess; assessing the credibility of information; and making best use of advice. This event is chaired by Professor Jo Wolff (UCL Philosophy) with panelists Professor Susan Michie (UCL Health Psychology), Professor Wendy Carlin (UCL Economics) and Dr Claire Craig (Deputy Head of the Government Office for Science). This event is followed by a drinks reception.
Further details and registration

16 December 2013
Dynamics of Civilisation along the Qara Dagh Range
Perspectives on the archaeology, history and palaeoenvironment of Iraqi Kurdistan
At a crossroads between the flood plain of southern Mesopotamia, the Assyrian heartland to the north and Western Iran, the province of Sulaymaniyah (Kurdish Autonomous Region of Iraq) constitutes one of the most fertile agricultural regions of the Middle East. Archaeological research in this important region was limited for much of the later twentieth century, owing to modern political circumstances. This conference brings together a new generation of researchers, whose fieldwork is beginning to fill out this significant gap in the archaeological, historical, and environmental record.  Further details

15 November 2013
Colloquium in honour of Professor John North
To mark both a lifetime of service to UCL and his contribution to the study of history, and in particular to the study of ancient religions, the colloquium will focus on the interplay between anthropology and history and on the relationships between ancient history, later historical periods and the contemporary world.  Further details

30 October 2013
UCL Connections Launch Evening
Have you ever been lost on the UCL campus? Wondering what lies behind closed doors? Would like to know more about the research work of one of your colleagues? Or, simply, know what is happening everyday around the University? Or let others know of your academic progress, or even personal news? If so, come to the official unveiling of the UCL Connections project, developed by the three UCL students that won UCL’s Digital Humanities Research Prize in April 2013.
Project update

4 July 2013
Trust and Distrust in the Eastern Bloc and the Soviet Union, 1956-1991
Supported by a GCII Small Grant

This international and interdisciplinary conference will apply the concept of trust and distrust to the history of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc, which, it is generally agreed, were a markedly low-trust societies. We treat trust and distrust as hugely influential factors in explaining how dictatorships operate and how closed societies work. Our starting point is that post-war socialist societies in Europe had their own “habitus of trust” and developed their own “culture of trust” which affected their stability, success and failure. Further details and registration

3 July 2013
Gained in Translation

Sculptural Mobilities: Tracing the flows of sculptural artworks between the Nordic Countries and Europe from the early modern period to the present day
Organised collaboratively by University College London’s Department of Scandinavian Studies, and Kingston University’s Visual and Material Culture Research Centre. This interdisciplinary symposium will investigate the cultural mobility of sculptural artworks. Positioning the Nordic Countries as a contact zone of sculptural exchange, the project will trace the flows of artworks to and from the Nordic Countries and Europe and examine the impacts these flows generate on both local/regional contexts of display and the nature of the sculptural artwork itself.
Call for papers: deadline 15 March 2013
Further details and registration

Gained in Translation
'Gained in Translation' is a series of events at exploring and celebrating the intercultural importance and societal impact of poetry, prose, and drama translated from its original language. The series, supported by GCII, and organised by the School of European Languages, Culture and Society and UCL Centre for Early Modern Exchanges will run in terms 2 and 3 of Academic Year 2012-13.

Upcoming programmes of events for 'Gained in Translation' are available from:

The School of European Languages, Culture and Society
UC: Centre for Early Modern Exchanges 

27 June 2013
Negotiating Gender & Caste in Higher Education
A panel dicussion convened by UCL's Cultural Consultation Service and organised by GCII Does our gender or caste identity - as teachers or students - matter? How are our experiences of teaching and learning shaped, enhanced and challenged by the interplay of our own characteristics such as gender or caste and by those of our teachers? And how are these influenced by the wider culture of an academic department or discipline, the culture of the university as a forum for learning and teaching, and the broader aspects of the host culture? 

21 June 2013
Wonderments of Cosmos: a Trans-Disciplinary Conversation on Cosmological Horizons
A half-day GCII workshop convened by Martin Holbraad, Reader in Social Anthropology, Department of Anthropology

Questions about the origins and contours of the universe and human beings’ position within it are capturing the public’s imagination as never before. The Big Bang on the BBC, CERN and God particles colliding across the press, Stephen Hawking in the opening ceremony of the London Paralympics: all would indicate that ‘the cosmos is cool again’, as the Guardian put it recently. This half-day workshop brings together scholars from across UCL to present the different ways in which their work engages with the wonderments of cosmos, and explore how these may speak to each other.

  • Unique opportunity to engage with the latest cosmology research at UCL
  • 25 places are available at the workshop for UCL academics and research students (PhD and MRes)
  • Further details and registration

31 May 2013
"Gained in Translation": A one day colloquium
JZ Young Lecture Theatre, University College London

The School of European Languages, Culture and Society
UC: Centre for Early Modern Exchanges 

Panels on "Travelling Texts" (papers by Zoran Milutinovic (SSEES) on Sava Nemanjic, Professor Simon Gaunt (KCL) on Marco Polo, Professor Stephen M. Hart (SELCS) on Santa Rosa de Lima), "Literature in Translation" (papers by Dr Alexander Samson and Dr Gareth Wood) and "Translation and Hip Hop" (chaired by Wen-chin Ouyang; papers by Cristina Moreno Almeida on Moroccan hip hop and Nichola Smalley on Scandinavian hip hop). Key-note speaker at 5.00 pm: Professor Terry Eagleton, "The Problem of Literature and the Question of Culture". Reception: Haldane Room 6.00-7.00pm.  There are a limited number of tickets for this event. To sign up for this event click here.

Gained in Translation
'Gained in Translation' is a series of events at exploring and celebrating the intercultural importance and societal impact of poetry, prose, and drama translated from its original language. The series, supported by GCII, and organised by the School of European Languages, Culture and Society and UCL Centre for Early Modern Exchanges will run in terms 2 and 3 of Academic Year 2012-13.

21 May 2013

China in Latin America
This one-day conference convenes specialists working on important aspects of China’s involvement with Latin America. The programme will begin with a history of the Chinese diaspora focussing on the different patterns of migration taken by Chinese workers on their journey to the Americas. Supported by GCII and UCL Institute of the Americas.  Further details

23-25 May 2013

The Art of the Impossible: Culture, Philosophy and Dissent from Havel to the Present

This conference, supported by GCII, seeks to reassess critically the legacy of Václav Havel, to identify more broadly the political, cultural, and philosophical questions that underlie 'East European dissidence', and to consider their implications for dissent today. Further details

16 May 2013

Staging Daniel’s ‘Cleopatra’
The team behind Helen Hackett’s recent production of Samuel Daniel's Cleopatra, supported by GCII, will give a presentation about the project. This will include live-action scenes performed by two leading cast-members, and clips from the DVD of the full performance in March.  Further details

14 May 2013

Western Perspectives on Eastern Europe: New Mental Mapping after the Cold War
Lecture by Larry Wolff, Professor of History and Director of the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies at New York University.

This lecture, supported by GCII, will discuss the idea of Eastern Europe, as first conceived in the eighteenth century, and how that idea has been recently transformed during the twenty years since the end of the Cold War. Further details

1 May 2013

Negotiating Religion: Inquiries into the History and Present of Religious Accommodation

This conference is the closing event of a four-worshop series, supported by a GCII Small Grant,  which took place at UCL in 2010-12. It offers a cross-disciplinary assessment of these different forms in which religious identity, commitment and community are negotiated in the contemporary world. Further details

April 2013

UCL Digital Humanities Month
How can the use of computational tools and techniques transform your research in the humanities? How can the use of humanities approaches transform your research in the digital sciences? Digital Humanities Month at UCL aims to explore the cross-disciplinary research between computing, the humanities, culture, and heritage at UCL through a series of talks and workshops which will highlight the opportunities that exist at UCL, introduce you to the projects, tools, and individuals engaged in this space at UCL, and encourage others to get involved. UCL Digital Humanities Month, supported by GCII, is convened by Melissa Terras, UCL Digital Humanities.

Interdisciplinary Conference on Migration: Global Development, New Frontiers   Conference Website

March - September 2013

Gained in Translation
'Gained in Translation' is a series of events at UCL exploring and celebrating the intercultural importance and societal impact of poetry, prose, and drama translated from its original language. The series, supported by GCII, and organised by the School of European Languages, Culture and Society and UCL Centre for Early Modern Exchanges will run in terms 2 and 3 of Academic Year 2012-13.

21 March 2013 (6.30 pm) Bloomsbury Theatre, UCL

Gained in Translation: From Poetry to Film: Roland-Francois Lack, David Harsent, Graham Henderson

Roland-Francois Lack, 'Voltaire in Wandsworth', a talk about famous French writers in London

Screening of No. 8 New College Street, a documentary about the house where Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine lived in 1873

Screening of House of Knives, which re-creates the passionate relationship between the two poets when they lived at No. 8 New College Street, followed by Q&A with directors and actors.  For more information about this event, please contact the PI of "Gained in Translation", Stephen M. Hart stephen.malcolm.hart@ucl.ac.uk

3 March 2013

Gained in Translation: Samuel Daniel's Tragedie of Cleopatra
Daniel's tragedy (composed in 1594) was one of the earliest English plays about Cleopatra, and almost certainly influenced Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. Its original performances would have included female actors in country house settings. Our Jacobean-style production will shed light on female participation in drama in Shakespeare's time, and on early modern ideas of female heroism. It will also illuminate the history of perceptions of race; and, since it draws on classical and French sources, the importance of international influences in shaping the English Renaissance.

1 March 2013 

Cultural Heritage - Values, Identity and Wellbeing Domain
2.18 Chadwick Building, Main Quadrangle, UCL, Gower StreetThe domain co-leads: Beverley Butler (Institute of Archaeology), Anne Lanceley (Women's Cancer), Murray Fraser (Bartlett School of Architecture) and Andrew Flinn (Dept of Information Studies) are holding a preliminary meeting / workshop to introduce research and researchers at UCL interested in heritage and value, well-being and identity.  This workshop will provide an opportunity for individuals with similar interests to meet each other and discuss potential collaborations and to contribute to the discussions on the vision and priorities for the domain. Register

29 January 2013

Grand Challenges Small Grants Showcase Reception

Learn more about our small grants scheme, which supports cross-disciplinary projects up to a maximum of £5,000, and the projects which have been made possible in the past. Four UCL researchers will make short presentations about their projects. Further details and registration. Interested in applying for a small grant in the 2012-13 financial year? Apply online (closing date: Friday, 15 February). 

15 January 2013

Inaugural Lecture by Prof Lisa Jardine (UCL Centre for Editing Lives & Letters)
Temptation in the Archives
Details and booking

14 September 2012

Intercultural Communication for Tourism Professionals Workshop
This workshop, supported by GCII, offers tourism professionals the opportunity to gain a further understanding of  the interplay between language, communication and culture in the context of tourism. Dr Clyde Ancarno, Linguist and Project Manager of Language and Culture in Tourism at UCL.   Workshop flyer

21 September 2012

Communication in London's tourism industry
This roundtable meeting, supported by GCII and convened by Dr Clyde Ancarno, Linguist and Project Manager of Language and Culture in Tourism at UCL, will focus on communication practices within London’s tourism industry. A range of questions will be examined, such as, for example, issues related to communicating in a culturally diverse workplace.  A wide range of experience and knowledge will be pooled together: tourism professionals, academics, trainers with experience in training tourism staff, representatives of tourism-related institutions and local authorities. Roundtable flyer

28 June 2012

The pursuit of Olympic ideals – physical, neural and aesthetic
Organised by UCL Events

What were the ideals surrounding the ancient Greek Olympic games?

8-9 June 2012

Language Diversity in the Nordic countries and the UK
Organised by UCL Scandinavian Studies

The aim of this seminar is to take a different approach to talking about language practices. The seminar brings together ‘witnesses’ (incl. a Saami speaker) who have personal experience of speaking or working with people who speak minority languages, regional dialects or urban vernaculars, and academics who study languages in the Nordic countries and the UK.

6 June 2012

Peacemaker: The Foraker Act (1900) and the Poetry of Evaristo Ribera Chevremont by Professor Benigno Trigo (Vanderbilt University)

Organised by UCL Spanish & Latin American Studies and supported by GCII.

This paper explores an early book of poems by Evaristo Ribera Chevremont (1896-1976) titled The Slinger Hurled the Stone (El hondero lanzó la piedra). Trigo analyses the effect of the first Constitution of Puerto Rico under the government of the United States on that book in particular, and on Puerto Rican cultural expression in general during the first decades of the twentieth century.

25 May 2012

Workshop on the Right to Work

Organised by UCL Institute for Human Rights and the UCL Labour Rights Institute. The value of work cannot be underestimated in today’s world. Work is instrumentally valuable because productive labour generates goods needed for survival, like food and housing; goods needed for self-development, like education and culture; and other material goods that people wish to have in order to live a fulfilling life.

April 2012

Rousseau 300
A series of events, supported by UCL GCII, commemorating Rousseau’s tercentenary. Organised by the UCL Centre for Transnational History, these events aimed at a comprehensive re-evaluation of Rousseau's enduring legacy after 300 years.  The opening keynote lecture of the conference: ‘The vicissitudes of recognition: the legacy of J-J Rousseau’ can be listened to again. It was given by Professor Axel Honneth (Institute for Social Research, Frankfurt, and Columbia University). 

30 April 2012

Where next for social media research?
A Town Meeting supported by GCII.
This meeting is intended to bring together people from different parts of UCL who may be interested in research on social media, both theory and practice. The aim is to foster greater research collaboration and identify future potential at UCL.

13 March 2012

Debating Social Rights
Organised by UCL Institute for Human Rights and the UCL Labour Rights Institute.
Professor Conor Gearty (LSE) and Dr Virginia Mantouvalou (UCL) will debate the role of courts and the role of legislatures in the protection of rights such as the right to housing and the right to work.

February to June 2012

Negotiating Religion: Inquiries into the History and Present of Religious Accommodation
A series of workshops to discuss the complex processes through which religious communities create or defend their place in a given commonwealth, both in history and in our world today.  Funded through the UCL Grand Challenges Small Grants Scheme.  Convened by Dr François Guesnet (UCL Hebrew and Jewish Studies) and UCL European Institute.

12 December 2011

Cultural Heritage and Global Change
A workshop organised by GCII and European Institute on behalf of the League of European Research Universities (LERU).

23 November 2011

Negotiating Religion: Workshop 1: European Legacies, European Challenges
This first workshop addressed the history of religious conflict and accommodation, and gauges the impact of religious skepticism and secularization in Europe.

2 November 2011

A UCL Civilisations Network?
A Town Meeting organised by GCII.
Civilisations constitute important counters in the global play of politics and warfare in the twenty-first century. Nations and other communities (religious, political, ethnic) find their identity and their legitimacy in a perceived continuity with ancient civilisations.

23 June 2011

How It All Began: The origin of the universe
How the Universe came into existence is a subject of strong international scientific interest, involving widely different methodologies.

16 June 2011

Migration, Law and the Image: Beyond the veil of ignorance
Supported by GCII.
Examining a range of examples from science fiction narratives of alien species, to stories of conquest, colonization, and ethnic cleansing, to the development of contemporary practices of detention and border policing, the lecture will argue that immigration in our time has ceased to be a merely transitional phase in human life, and threatens to become a permanent condition for growing numbers of people.

15 June 2011

Intercultural Knowledge Transfer: Europe and Islam in late Antiquity and the Middle Ages
This workshop investigates the role of culture and knowledge transfer between different religious communities, focusing, in this case, on exchanges between Mediterranean culture of late antiquity and emerging Islam, Jewish-Islamic cultural transfer, and instances of knowledge transfer from Islamic sources to Jewish communities.

8 June 2011

Francis Bacon in International Collaboration
Supported by GCII

4-8 April 2011

UCL Migration Week 2011
A series of lectures, panel discussions, conferences and exhibitions, organised by GCII, exploring migration from a number of academic perspectives.

14 February 2011

UCL Science, Medicine and Society Network
A Town Meeting organised by GCII.
The proposed UCL Science, Medicine & Society Network would act as a mechanism and as a forum to bring key players together from departments across UCL and UCL Partners, facilitating interdisciplinary analysis and response to major issues impacting health and wellbeing during a period of profound demographic, social, political, economic, environmental and technological change.

11-12 February 2011

A three-part exploration of Carmen across times, cultures and media. An interdisciplinary conference will explore issues of intercultural and intermedial translation and adaptation through the prism of Carmen.

The Financial Crisis and the Labour Market – Prof Edward P Lazear (Stanford)

Backlash? The resurgence of homophobia in contemporary cities

Romani politics in Contemporary Europe

Migration and the Body – Prof Nancy Scheper-Hughes (University of California Berkeley)
Migration and Wellbeing: Lecture Series at the British Museum

Examining the Relationship between Migration and Security – Prof Elspeth Guild
UCL Global Migration Symposium Series

Rewriting Histories: The Transnational Challenge

Migration and the Clinic – Dr Sushrut Jadhav (UCL Mental Health Sciences)
Migration and Wellbeing: Lecture Series at the British Museum

Critical Minds: Critical Spaces

Infrapolitical literature: Hispanism and the Border – Prof Alberto Moreiras (Aberdeen)
GC Associated Guest Lecture Series

Managing Immigration Policy in High Income Countries – Professor Gordon Hanson (UC San Diego)
UCL Global Migration Symposium Series

Migration and Democracy – David Nugent (Emory University)
Migration and Wellbeing: Lecture Series at the British Museum

Beyond the Ghetto: An interdisciplinary perspective on patterns of ethnicity in the built environment

Caught in Flux: Housing and communities in transition

Migration and Human Trafficking – Sophie Day (Goldsmiths College)
Migration and Wellbeing: Lecture Series at the British Museum

The Humanities and the Anxiety of Violence beyond the Ghetto – Professor Homi Bhabha (Harvard)

Globalisation and Cosmopolitan Citizenship: Migrating Bodies, Practices and Ideas – Prof Peggy Levitt (Wellesley College)
UCL Global Migration Symposium Series

Accommodating Religious Diversity in a Secular Society Prof Lord Bhikhu Parekh
GC Associated Guest Lecture Series

Migration and Social Suffering – Richard Rechtman (Institute Marcel Rivière, Paris)
Migration and Wellbeing: Lecture Series at the British Museum

Crime and the Humanities

Sexuate Subjects: Politics, Poetics, Ethics

UCL Institute for Human Rights: Official Launch Event

An Early Career Researchers' Evening: the Blue Sock Salon

Destination London: Writing Cities from Eastern Europe

Nominal Commitment to Human Rights: A Global Survey

The Current Crisis: Alternative histories – Prof Charles Maier (Harvard)
Global Perspectives on the Current Economic Crisis

Action to End Genocide Dr James Smith, Aegis Trust
GC Associated Guest Lecture Series

Migration, Climate Change and Indigenous Rights – Mary May Simon (President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami)
Migration and Wellbeing: Lecture Series at the British Museum

The Social Craftsman – Prof Richard Sennett (LSE)
Global Perspectives on the Current Economic Crisis

Migration and Religion –  Ehsan Masoon (The British Council') in conversation with Wendy Kristiansen (Le Monde Diplomatique)
Migration and Wellbeing: Lecture Series at the British Museum

The Impact of the Current Crisis on the Developing World – Prof Frances Stewart (Oxford)
Global Perspectives on the Current Economic Crisis

UCL Centre for Early Modern Exchanges: Launch Event

Ben Page and Claire Dwyer organised a one day workshop in the Department of Geography to explore Migration and Homes. Building on Ben’s ongoing work on transnational homes and house building in Cameroon the workshop brought together speakers from both UCL and beyond with shared interests in migration and home from different disciplinary backgrounds.

Presenters included UCL’s Kate Smith discussing return migration and the eighteenth century East India Company family; JoAnn McGregor (Sussex) on diaspora investement in Zimbabwe ;Steve Taylor (Northumbria) on changing transnational home building in the Punjab and Caroline Melly (Smith College, Mass.) on ‘embouteillage’, migration and urban transformation in Dakar, Senegal. Discussant comments were provided by Victor Buchli (UCL Anthropology) and Ann Varley (UCL Geography).

The interdisciplinary workshop generated some interesting themes regarding the theorisation of ‘home’ in relation to migration – as a built form with particular transnational references; an affective space and site for social relations; as a form of diaspora investment; as a symbolic site of social, political and economic capital. Of particular value in the workshop was the cross-disciplinary and cross-national perspectives offered by the participants. The workshop organisers are exploring a themed special issue or similar publication. The workshop will also be generative for funding proposals to be submitted to further Ben Page’s work in this area and further collaborative research by the interdisciplinary members of the Migration Research Unit which organised the workshop.

This workshop was funded by UCL Grand Challenges and UCL Environment Institute

Pioneers for the Future - marking 150 years of the UCL (UK)-Japan relationship

UCL Grand Challenges: UCL – Japan Young Challenge, July 2015: Report from Professor Shin-ichi Ohnuma (Convenor)

UCL's Pioneers for the Future workshop (23 July 2015) convened by Professor Nick Tyler, and organised by GCII, brought together a group of Japanese high school students with their counterparts from UCL Academy.

This workshop marked the 150th anniversary of the ‘Satuma 14’ students’ arrival at UCL in 1865 and gave us an opportunity to consider present day Japan and the UK, begin new dialogues and look ahead to the future. Two years previously in 1863 five noblemen from the Choshu clan, the ‘Choshu 5’, who had also travelled secretly to London to study at UCL. When they returned both groups played leading roles in modernising Japan. They were not only the first Japanese students to enrol at UCL, but were also the first to study outside their country. A strong and lasting connection between UCL and Japan was established as a result.

The workshop began with a talk from Dr Juan Rojas (Institute of Global Health, UCL) which considered the nature of culture; a term in widespread use but one that is imprecise and difficult to define. Students then worked together in small groups and explored the distinctive features of British and Japanese culture and were asked to identify the most important issues for the world in the next 200 years. Trade; war and peace; finance and prosperity; an ageing population; discrimination, the environment; poverty; natural disasters; and communication, technology and languages, were all highlighted. In terms of solutions and future collaboration students thought that, we need to minimise use of natural resources, help people in poor countries realise that they can be as rich as people in developed countries, improve education and prepare for natural disasters. Plus there was enthusiasm for more events like this workshop.

During the workshop a cartoon artist, Sidsel Soren, produced a visualisation of the discussion.

This workshop was convened as part of a series of events, led by Professor Shin-ichi Ohnuma (Institute of Ophthalmology) to mark the 150th anniversary of UK (UCL)- Japan academic interaction.

The workshop was facilitated by Amanda Scott, facilitatethis!

  • Click on the photogragh below to see a high resolution version of the workshop discussion.
Pioneers for the Future - marking 150 years of the UCL (UK)-Japan relationship

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