Launch of Playing A/Part website

The School of Arts is delighted to announce the launch of a dedicated website for the Playing A/Part research project, investigating the identities of autistic girls through creative practices.

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Playing A/Part is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the universities of Kent and Surrey, involving academics, arts practitioners and the autistic community in participatory research. Academics from drama and media arts at the University of Kent are working with specialists in psychology and autism at Surrey, alongside a steering group of autistic women and .a multidisciplinary advisory board.  The Principal investigator on the project is Nicola Shaughnessy, Professor of Performance in the Department of Drama and Theatre and the project is in partnership with Limpsfield Grange School in Surrey.

By offering participants (aged 11-16) the opportunity to take part in a range of creative participatory activities, the research aims to gain insights into how autistic girls and adolescents experience themselves and their world. The team are evaluating how creative activities affect self-awareness and well-being. The creative tools include improvisation, puppetry, storytelling and collaborative media production.

The new site includes information about the research and the team, videos about the research, links to publications and further resources, and details of past and forthcoming events.

The site can be found here:

Booking open for the Gothic Feminism conference 2019

The Department of Film and the Histories: Art, Drama and Film Research Cluster are delighted to be organising a conference on ‘Technology, Women and Gothic-Horror On-Screen’, to be held at the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus on Thursday 2 May to Friday 3 May 2019.

The conference has been organised by Dr Frances Kamm, Assistant Lecturer in Film and Media,  and Dr Tamar Jeffers McDonald, Reader in Film.

Gothic Feminism is a research project based at Kent which seeks to re-engage with theories of the Gothic and reflect specifically upon the depiction of the Gothic heroine in film. The project raises questions of representation, interpretation and feminist enquiry in relation to the Gothic heroine throughout film history including present day incarnations. This project illuminates the concerns, contradictions and challenges posed by the Gothic heroine on-screen.

This year’s two day conference will consider the theme of technology in the woman-in-jeopardy strand of the Gothic and Gothic-horror film or television. The keynote speaker shall be Dr Lisa Purse (University of Reading), and topics include ‘Gothic Melodrama and Technicolour Design’; ‘Paranormal Investigations and their Implications for the Feminine Victorian Gothic’; Being a Man, Being a Woman and Being a Monster in Resident Evil: Biohazard’ and ‘Gaze, Gender, and Gothically Haunted Humanoid Inventions’. For the full programme, please see the page here:

Tickets cost £50 waged / £25 unwaged / £5 for Kent students. Registration is open until Monday 22 April 2019; to register for the event, please visit the page here:

History of Art PhD student publishes major biography of Edgar Wind

Bernardino Branca, a PhD student in the History and Philosophy of Art in the School of Arts, has published a major new intellectual biography of the philosopher and art historian Edgar Wind, entitled Edgar Wind, filosofo delle immagini. La biografia intelletuale di un discepolo di Aby Warburg (Milan and Udine: Mimesis Edizioni, 2019).

Edgar Wind (1900-1971) was a German art historian who specialised on the survival of the ancient art of the Renaissance, and was and close collaborator of art historian Aby Warburg. In 1933, after the rise of Nazism in Germany, moved to London and became involved in the Warburg Institute and finally became Oxford University’s first Professor of Art History.

Based on extensive archival research, the volume is the first book-length study of Wind’s extraordinary life and significant contribution to scholarship, and makes an important contribution to our historical understanding of the Warburg tradition of art history.

Bernardino’s own PhD project is on ‘Edgar Wind, The Warburg Circle and the Renaissance’, under the supervision of Dr Ben Thomas and Dr Grant Pooke.

For further details, please see the publisher’s page (in Italian) here:

Alumna Amber Winston on the Coffee Art Project

Kent alumna Amber Winston, who completed a BA (Hons) in Visual and Performed Arts at Kent in 2015 and an MA in History and Philosophy of Art in 2016, is currently Project and Marketing Executive for The Coffee Art Project, an art competition inviting artists to interpret the theme of coffee. As part her role, she selected Dr Grant Pooke, Senior Lecturer and Head of Art History, to be on the competition’s panel of judges.

The Coffee Art Project was featured at the London Coffee Festival, where 46 artist submissions were selected and displayed in a gallery. The Project is a non-profit initiative aimed at encouraging artists by providing them with an open platform to showcase their works.

Artists at all levels can enter one piece of artwork that connects to ‘coffee’ and/or ‘coffee shop’ experience. There is no restriction on media used; providing that they have a link to coffee. The project supports Project Waterfall, a charity committed to bringing clean water to communities which grow coffee. Project Waterfall has raised more than over £1 million and delivered clean water to over 37,000 people across 7 countries in partnership with WaterAid, Charity: Water and Water for People.

How did Amber come to be involved in The Coffee Project? ‘After graduation, I went went on to a sales job for 20 months as a Business Development Executive, and took on another few roles throughout the business to gain some corporate experience’, she explains. ‘After this I took a big leap, took a big cut in pay, got myself a job in London as a marketing intern for a start-up company to experience in a more creative and autonomous role. After this ended I applied for a social media role at the Allegra Foundation, then – after seeing my work experience and past roles, plus my degrees – they asked me to take on the Coffee Art Project’.

On why Amber chose Grant: ‘I had to select judges who would be able to fairly judge artwork based off four categories; Creativity, Impact, Connection to Coffee, and Spirit of Humanity. The reason I asked Grant to be on the panel was because he taught me since I started at Kent – I admire his vast depth of knowledge and how he made me try harder at each piece of written work on his subjects even though I struggled with dyslexia. I remembered he taught a class on globalisation (which is part of coffee culture) and thought that he would judge each piece with the same amount of composure he has for all his previous students’ work’.

To see all Coffee Art Project entries, please click here:

A Night in the West End 1914-1918

On Saturday 27 April 2019, Gateways to the First World War will hold a lecture-concert entitled ‘A Night in the West End: 1914-1918’ at Westgate Hall, Canterbury. The event has been organised by Dr Helen Brooks, Reader in Theatre and Cultural History in the School of Arts, and Dr Emma Hanna, Senior Research Fellow in the School of History.

Gateways to the First World War is a centre for public engagement with the First World War centenary, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The aim of the Gateways team is to encourage and support public interest in the centenary of the First World War through a range of events and activities such as open days and study days, advice on access to materials and expertise, and signposting for other resources and forms of support.

In this lecture-concert, Helen and Emma bring together their respective expertise in the histories of wartime music and theatre to explore the story of the wartime West End. With the Invicta Concert Band and singers bringing the songs to life, this is a unique opportunity to experience the music and stories from some of the biggest hits of the war years, including Chu Chin Chow, A Little Bit of Fluff, The Bing Boys Are Here and The Maid of the Mountains.

The event will also include a collection for Soldiers’, Sailors’ & Families Association, the Armed Forces charity.

The event starts at 7pm and is free to attend. Tickets can be booked here:

Funny Rabbit instalment three

Funny Rabbit, the comedy club created by Dr Oliver Double, Reader in Drama in the School of Arts, is a new kind of comedy club – radical and exciting, but also warm and snuggly as a bunny rabbit. Whether you’ve never seen live comedy before or you’ve been watching it for decades, Funny Rabbit is for you.

The third show on 12 April 2019 features star acts Vikki Stone, who has appeared on The John Bishop Show (BBC1), The Now Show (Radio 4), as well as This Morning (ITV), and Jack Gleadow, winner of Great Yorkshire Fringe Comedian of the Year 2017, Amused Moose National New Comic 2017, and Leicester Mercury Comedian 2018. The show will also feature a joke competition from Olly as host and compere.

In addition, two students from the School of Arts will be performing guest acts: Christy Hinchliffe and Patrick Mckinley, who are both studying on the BA (Hons) Drama and Theatre programme.

Tickets cost £5/£7. For details and to book, please see the page here:

Maurizio Cinquegrani on the depictions of Nazi war criminals in Latin America

Dr Maurizio Cinquegrani, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Film, will be presenting a paper at the International Congress on Visual Culture: Latin America from the Image, the Historical Narrative and Visual Culture, to be held in San Juan at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico on Monday 15 April 2019.

Maurizio’s paper is entitled ‘Ratline Escapees and the Cinematic Landscapes of Post-War Latin America’. From Frederick Forsyth’s thriller The Odessa File (1972) to George Steiner’s philosophical novella The Portage to San Cristobal of A.H. (1981), where Adolf Hitler is found alive in the Amazon jungle over thirty years after the end of the war, and to the Führer’s brief appearance in ‘Bart vs Australia’ in The Simpsons (S06E16), where he is seen struggling with his car phone in the Buenos Aires of the 1990s, the afterlife of the Third Reich has continuously been narrated or reinvented on film, literature and other media.

Based on a chapter from a monograph that Maurizio is currently writing, his paper focuses on the ways in which the presence of Nazi war criminals in Latin America, following their escape across the so-called ratlines after the war, has been portrayed on film since 1946. It explores a diverse range of case studies including classical Hollywood cinema and Latin American films, spanning across different genres including dramas, espionage, and science fiction. Two main tensions are going to be identified throughout his study: on the one hand there is vague Latin-American topography used in films exploiting post-war events to fabricate a generic cinematic space with no ties to historical accuracy; on the other, a group of films focusing on the escape and capture of Adolf Eichmann see the unfolding of a more coherent cinematic landscape.

These films will be made to dialogue with documentaries and archival footage on Jewish migration to Latin America before and after the war. Case studies include Notorious (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1946), Gilda (dir. Charles Vidor, 1946), Operation Eichmann (dir. R.G. Springsteen, 1961), They Saved Hitler’s Brain (dir. David Bradley, 1969), Boys from Brazil (dir. Franklin J. Schaffner, 1978), Algunos Que Vivieron [Some Who Lived] (dir. Luis Puenzo, 2002) and Wakolda (Lucia Puenzo, 2013). Additionally, the paper is based on Maurizio’s study of archival footage held at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

To find out more about the congress, please see the page here:

Call for papers: ‘Performing Multilingualism in Europe and Beyond’

Dr Margherita Laera, Senior Lecturer in Drama in the School of Arts, and Professor Peter Boenisch from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, are organising a conference entitled ‘Performing Multilingualism in Europe and Beyond: Migration, Globalisation, Utopia’ with the participation of Gintersdorfer / Klassen and Maxim-Gorki-Theater, Berlin. The conference will feature Professor Yana Meerzon (University of Ottawa) as keynote speaker, and will be hosted by the School of Arts on Friday 13 September 2019.

In an increasingly inter-connected world characterised by flows of people, goods and capital, multilingualism has become a feature in many social environments, highlighting the importance of translation in human communication. Whether enforced by financial waves, mass movement, tourism, education systems or colonialism, speaking multiple languages has become a feature of increasing importance in our societies. How do theatre and performance makers deal with multilingualism?

In the UK, the population is made up of 13.5% foreign-born and 8.9% non-British citizens (Migration Observatory, 2015). Still, multilingual theatre and performance in the UK is rare and mostly confined to the fringe theatre sector. Experiments such as those by Nina Raine (Tribes, 2010), Simon Stephens (Three Kingdoms, 2012) and Katie Mitchell (The Forbidden Zone, 2014) remain few and far between.

Elsewhere, particularly in continental Europe, Canada and Asia, the genre of multilingual theatre has gained new currency in the context of globalization, international mobility and movements of migration. Practitioners like Luk Perceval, Jan Lauwers, Anestis Azas, Michel Tremblay, Krzysztof Warlikowski, Robert Lepage, Lola Arias, Angélica Liddell, Fausto Paravidino, Ong Keng Sen, Robert Wilson and others have experimented with multilingualism. Under the artistic directorship of Milo Rau, National Theatre Ghent’s 2018 manifesto proposed ten commandments for a ‘theatre of the future’, where number six prescribes that at least two languages must be spoken in any given production. A number of European theatres, such as the Maxim-Gorki-Theater Berlin, had started long before the refugee situation of 2015 to foster cultural diversity and multilinguality within their ensembles, integrating exile artists from Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan and elsewhere (not all of them refugees), and allowing multiple languages to interweave in performance. In the work of these artists, multilingualism can perform both ideas of inclusivity and exclusivity, and signify both utopian and dystopian worlds.

Meanwhile, scholarship on multilingual theatre has been intensifying in recent years, but the field is still very much under-researched. Marvin Carlson’s Speaking in Tongues (2009) prompted colleagues to think about these practices, their histories and development in contemporary theatre. Since then, special issues of Linguistica Antverpiensia, New Series. Themes in Translation Studies (2014) on multilingualism in film, theatre and opera, and the special issue of Modern Drama (61.3, 2018) on multilingual theatre in major world cities have advanced the horizons. Linguistic diversity in the arts and everyday life is the focus of ‘Creative Multilingualism’, a UK Arts and Humanities Research Council-sponsored research project based at the University of Oxford, part of Open World Research Initiative. ‘Creative Multilingualism’ has co-founded this conference and the research project of which it is part, headed by Prof. Peter Boenisch (co-I, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London, and Aarhus University, Denmark) and Dr Margherita Laera (PI, University of Kent, UK).

This conference seeks to stimulate an exchange between UK theatre makers and theatre artists from overseas, who engage with multilingual performance practices in the field of theatre dramaturgy, playwriting and performance-making. Our objective is to begin to chart the ‘state of the art’ of both advanced creative practice and academic discourses on multilingual theatre, and to map out core issues and problems for future research. We are interested in hearing the perspectives of artists, scholars and audiences alike.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Multilingualism in rehearsals
  • Multilingualism and performers
  • Multilingualism and dramaturgy
  • Multilingualism and audiences
  • Classifications and new trends of multilingual performance
  • Multilingualism and ideology
  • Multilingualism and migration
  • Multilingualism and post-colonialism
  • Multilingualism and/as Utopia/Dystopia

The organisers invite the submission of 300-word proposals for 20-minute papers by 6 May 2019.

Please send your proposals to:

Richard Misek at AMiM 2019 and the ICA, London

Dr Richard Misek, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Film, will be participating in two events this month.

First off, Richard will be delivering a workshop at the Approaches to Multimodality in the Media (AMiM) symposium to be held on Queen Mary University of London on Friday 12 April 2019.

The workshop is entitled ‘The Audiovisual Essay: A Primer’. Inspired by the rise of remix culture in the 2000s, the ‘audiovisual essay’ (or video essay) has over recent years developed into one of the most significant new tools for conducting film and media research. Video essays allow researchers to work directly with the audiovisual media that they study and to harness the combined critical power of word, image, and montage. They also provide an effective platform for disseminating the results of data visualisation and other emergent digital humanities methodologies. The audiovisual essay now regularly features in various online academic journals including Movie, NECSUS, and InTransition, and has become widely accepted both as a platform for research and as a research methodology in itself. Meanwhile, the vast public interest in video essays promises a level of impact otherwise unimaginable to the typical media scholar: Kogonada’s work, for example, has typically gained millions of views, and even specialised scholarly videos typically gain thousands of views.

However, creating audiovisual essays is not easy. This workshop aims to help participants take their first steps in conducting ‘videographic film and media studies’. It does so by providing an overview of the basic technical tools needed to create video essays, and of the various creative and scholarly approaches that currently exist to videographic film and media studies. Due to time constraints, the workshop will not involve any hands-on creation. However, participants can expect to come out of it with an enhanced understanding of both the practical and the conceptual tools required to conduct make audiovisual essays.

To find out more, please see the AMiM page here:

Following this, Richard will be chairing a seminar on 18 April 2019, entitled ‘Re-framing the City on Film: Documentary as Memory’, which explores the work of Polish filmmaker Ewa Podgórska as part of the Frames of Representation festival at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London.

The event is free and tickets can be obtained here:

Call for papers: ‘Pro-Social Play’

Professor Nicola Shaughnessey, Professor of Performance in the Department of Drama and Theatre and Dr Dieter Declercq, Assistant Lecturer in Film and Media Studies, along with Dr Chiao-I Tseng from the University of Bremen, are organising an international conference entitled ‘Pro-Social Play! Storytelling and Well-being across Media Borders’. The conference will be hosted by the School of Arts from Thursday 17 October to Saturday 19 October 2019.

Plenary speakers include Charles Forceville (Media Studies, University of Amsterdam); Tobias Greitemeyer, Social Psychology (University of Innsbruck; Anja Laukötter, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin); and Harry Yi-Jui Wu, (Medical Ethics and Humanities, Hong Kong University).

The conference will also include a screening of Dark River (2017), followed by a round table discussion with Clio Barnard, the award-winning director and Reader in Film in the School of Arts, as well as workshops by artists at the arts charity People United on prosocial performances.

This truly interdisciplinary and international conference brings together scholars of  empirical and theoretical research as well as practitioners working on narrative arts for promoting pro-social behaviours and mental well-being across different media. To date, the pro-social narratives have often been studied with a focus on testing people’s media exposure and pro-social effects. Nevertheless, as explicitly pointed out by most of these studies, we also need to investigate how the narrative factors are designed, structured and mobilised in a specific coherent way to effectively achieve the intended prosocial and mental health purposes. Hence, it is crucial to advance the theoretical link between the design choice of narrative, media technological features for engaging people in difficult topics and their pro-social response. Establishing the link is precisely the main objective of this conference. This includes, but is not limited to, the following topics:

  • Narrative factors for evoking people’s empathy, achieving educational purposes
  • Link between prosocial behaviour and mental health
  • Storytelling, practical application and mental health
  • Narrative medicine​
  • Technology features of different media platforms that afford, strengthen or constrain the pro-social, persuasive functions of narratives
  • Impact of social cultural conventions on different narrative designs
  • Historical perspectives of pro-social storytelling
  • Transmedia comparison of pro-social messages, for instance, across film, TV, comics, video games, games, literature, etc.
  • Pro-social storytelling in social media
  • Pro-social storytelling through live performances and live interaction
  • Balance between emotional engagement and message credibilities
  • Empirical evidence of pro-social, persuasive functions in storytelling across media
  • Pro-social narrative designs for children and adolescents

Submissions may take the form of research papers on these themes, or workshops by artists, designers, health professionals and other practitioners working on pro-sociality and storytelling.

Please send abstracts of 300 words max. along with a short biography of 100 words max. in PDF or Word format to by Sunday 30 June 2019.

For more details about the conference, please see the page here: