TESSA grant awarded to Dr Lavinia Brydon

A huge congratulations to Dr Lavinia Bryon for being awarded a TESSA grant which will be used in collaboration with the Gulbenkian to create a ‘live cinema’ festival in the summer term called Beyond the Gulbenkian.

‘Live cinema’ is an umbrella term for experiential cinema events, such as outdoor screenings, sing-a-longs and director Q&As.

Led by students on the module Beyond Cinema, the festival will showcase their ideas for experiential screening events using spaces and resources at the Canterbury campus. The key dates are Wednesday 13th – Friday 15th June.

The main aim of the project is to enhance and celebrate student learning on the module Beyond Cinema, which considers the changing nature of where, when and how audiences engage with film and the moving image. It will allow the third-year students to put their learning into practice, further developing transferable skills and grant them the beginning of a programming/curatorial portfolio prior to graduation. While the festival offers the Beyond Cinema class a fitting celebratory end to their time at the University of Kent, it also seeks to enhance campus life for the wider student and staff community.

The festival will also be open to the public.


Moving Memory Awarded Art Council ‘Celebrating Age’ Award!

A huge congratulations to Moving Memory who, in partnership with the Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury, Kent County Council Arts Unit and Kent County Council Adult Social Care, have been awarded one of the prestigious ‘Celebrating Age’ awards (Arts Council England & Baring Foundation) for ‘Still Stomping’. This project will be carried out over 2 years and promises to extend practice and training in intergenerational performance based activities. The project involves a large team including Digital Artists – Butch Auntie,  Theatre Specialist – Tim Webb of Oily Cart and UoK Sports scientists.

Project overview:

Still Stomping is a multi-strand project, built on the substantial expertise of its partners, which provides a range of imaginative, high-quality creative experiences, devised, led by and involving older people, which challenge assumptions about older people. Activities will include experienced older performers devising and performing with a supporting group of young people; a new participatory group and training for active older people; a creative programme bringing older people in residential care together with primary school children and an exploration of the possibilities of installation work in residential settings. Participants and audiences of all ages will experience work that transcends age, defies pity and lifts the heart.

ARC Research Seminar: ‘Political Thought in Contemporary Art’ (23/05/2018)

The Aesthetics Research Centre invites you to a research seminar with:

Dr. Vid Simoniti, Churchill College, University of Cambridge

‘Political Thought in Contemporary Art’

Wednesday 23rd May 2018 at 5pm in Keynes Seminar Room 1, University of Kent

Political Thought in Contemporary Art

Much of contemporary visual art presents us with a specific political commitment.

Indeed, of all the arts today, visual art comments on pressing political issues most explicitly: on issues such as the deterioration of the environment (e.g. Mark Dion, Agnes Denes),

racism (e.g. Adrian Piper, Kara Walker), or the refugee crisis (e.g. Ai Weiwei, Wolfgang Tillmans). However, when do political messages in art hit home, and when do such works

merely rehearse public pieties? Or, to put the question more philosophically: can art contribute something unique to political discourse, or does it at best reflect what politicians,

pundits and philosophers come up with independently? Here I argue that art can indeed contribute something indispensable to political discourse.

My defence requires an update of some of the accepted tenets of aesthetic cognitivism (the view that art is a source of knowledge), but I hope to make these revisions plausible.

Picture:  Wolfgang Tillmanns, Lampedusa, 2008


I’m the inaugural Jeffrey Rubinoff Junior Research Fellow at Churchill College, University of Cambridge.

​My academic work is in contemporary aesthetics, especially on the question of how art can bring about social and political change. I publish both in Philosophy and in History of Art venues, and occasionally collaborate on art projects. Topics of research include philosophy of art, history of American conceptual art, biotechnological art and, increasingly, art in the digital age.

​At Cambridge, I’m also a visiting lecturer in both History of Art and Philosophy faculties. Before coming to Cambridge, I obtained my D.Phil. (doctorate) at the University of Oxford in 2015.

Everyone is welcome!

Polish Honour for Professor Paul Allain

The School of Arts would like to one of our Drama and Theatre professors, Professor Paul Allain, has been awarded the Witkacy Prize by the Polish International Theatre Institute for his incredible work promoting Polish theatre aboard.

The Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz Prize is an annual award, since 1983, the awardees are honoured with the award for outstanding achievement in the promotion of Polish theatre internationally.

The news was officially announced Tuesday 27th March, the International Theatre Day!

As well as receiving the award, Professor Paul Allain has also been invited to attend an upcoming theatre festival and visits universities in Poland.

For more information, click here

ARC Research Seminar and Exhibition: 3 April 2018


The Aesthetics Research Centre invites you to a research seminar with Dr. James MacDowell (Warwick) who will present a paper with the title “The Irony in Fiction Films”.

This will be followed by the festive opening of the exhibition “Portraits & Philosophy: A Conversation”. More details below. All welcome!

Dr. James MacDowell (Warwick) will present a paper with the title “The Irony in Fiction Films”.

April 3, 4-5.30pm, Templeman Lecture Theatre.

It has sometimes been claimed that pictures in general, and films in particular, might find it difficult to be ironic. In his article ‘The Irony in Pictures’ Gregory Currie grounds this claim in the nature of pictorial representation, and elsewhere grounds a weaker version of his position in the nature of ‘classical’ narrative filmmaking. This paper will challenge these arguments by taking up the surprisingly under-explored issue of the irony in motion pictures – specifically, in feature-length fiction films. To ‘be ironic’ an artwork must communicate ironically – rather than, that is, merely depict an ironic situation. This talk will, firstly, outline some theoretical reasons for doubting that this distinction can always be rigidly maintained. It will also propose that the medium of fiction filmmaking – even in its most ‘classical’ guises – routinely blurs the lines between these phenomena such that works are able simultaneously to depict something ironic and communicate ironically.

Opening reception of the exhibition “Portraits & Philosophy: A Conversation”

April 3, 5.30-7pm, A108 Reception Room (next to the Gallery in Templeman Library)

Ten of the world’s leading philosophers of art are portrayed here
by renowned photographer Steve Pyke and visual artist (and Kent graduate) Claire Anscomb. These striking black-and-white portraits are accompanied by short excerpts from the book Conversations on Art and Aesthetics in which Kent lecturer Dr Hans Maes discusses key issues in art and aesthetics with these individual philosophers.

Become acquainted with the thoughts and faces of contemporary aesthetics and let yourself be challenged by this up close and personal view of philosophy.

Peter Stanfield’s Professorial Lecture

You are warmly invited to attend Professor Peter Stanfield’s Professorial Lecture, which will be on his latest research project, Hoodlum Movies: seriality and the outlaw biker film cycle, 1966-1972.

The lecture takes place in ELT2 on Thursday 22nd March from 17:30-20:00.

From The Wild Angels in 1966 until its conclusion in 1972, the cycle of outlaw motorcycle films contained forty-odd formulaic examples. All but one were made by independent companies that specialized in producing exploitation movies for drive-ins, neighborhood theaters, and run-down inner-city movie houses. Despised by critics but welcomed by exhibitors unable to book first-run films, these cheaply and quickly made pictures were produced to appeal to audiences of under-educated mobile youths. Plagiarizing contemporary films for plotlines, the cycle reveled in a brutal and lurid sensationalism drawn from the day’s headlines. Disreputable and interchangeable these films maybe, but their lack of cultural legitimacy and low ambition is a large part of the rationale for this study; inviting questions about seriality and film cycles that are otherwise ignored in histories of 1960s and 70s American film. Hoodlum Movies explains why and how these films were made, who they were made for, and how the cycle developed through the second half of the 1960s before coming to a shuddering halt in 1972.

Professor Kenneth Pickering to be awarded a Doctor of Letters by UWL

Professor Kenneth Pickering, an Honorary Professor in the School of Arts’ Drama Department is being awarded a Doctor of Letters from the University of West London (London College of Music) later this year.

The award is to celebrate Professor Pickering’s recognition as a role model for University’s students through his professional profile and experience.

In the early 1960s Professor Pickering gained the Associate Diploma in Speech (ALCM) when the London College of Music was a free-standing college. When it became part of the University of West London, Pickering supported the development of the degree in Musical Theatre and acted as External Examiner to a variety of their courses.

Professor Kenneth Pickering is still a proud member of the University of Kent as a Honorary Professor and regularly runs sessions here on campus in Canterbury.

ETRN Research Lecture with Professor Annelis Kuhlman (4/4/2018)

Professor Annelis Kuhlmann, Aarhus University (Denmark)

Images of theatre directors and directing: a Danish dramaturgical position

Wednesday 4th April 2018, 5pm,

University of Kent, Canterbury, Grimond Lecture Theatre 3

Images and Imageries in relation to theatre directors are often understood as if mainly concerning the aesthetic result of the production itself. In this presentation, I deal with ‘professional images’ of theatre directors and directorial thinking in Denmark. I am interested in how directors’ artistic identities can be traced forward and away from the apparently dominant ‘almighty father figure’. Instead, in what ways does the director share her thoughts with the participants of the production? I would like to think that aesthetic devices might connect back to a creative mind of the director. These thoughts are intuitively and intellectually organised in often chaotic ways, yet communicate not only with the sensitive and gestural perception of the actors as a means to provoke response, but also with the space (and the spectators within it). The director’s thoughts are in a sense chaotically creative and opaque; yet they do follow certain laws, which, onstage, may make them appear almost subjective, interfering with other uncontrollably collaborative and immersive forces. What kind of image of a profession does all this reveal? Is paradoxical thinking a plausible answer to this question? Is the invisible image a ‘culturally embedded theatre ghost’? And how do we evoke the ghost, so that it becomes a visible and exchangeable artistic knowledge?

The historiographical perspective behind this presentation stems from both a concrete Danish context, but also from a broader, mainly European framework.