Summer Term Research Events

School of Arts Research Events

Summer Term 2014/15


Wednesday 13th May, 5pm – 7pm,  KLT3          
ARC Research Seminar

Professor Andy Hamilton, Durham University
Art and Entertainment: Louis Armstrong, Charles Dickens, and Howard Hawks

Louis Armstrong was a very great musical artist, who always thought of himself as an entertainer first:  “My life has been music, it’s always come first, but the music ain’t worth nothing if you can’t lay it on the public.” But he knew that his clowning and crowd-pleasing were compatible with being an artist:  “It’s got to be art because the world has recognised our music from New Orleans, else it would have been dead today.”  This paper argues that like the modern Western system of the arts, the modern system of entertainment ­ music-hall, circuses, professional sports­ did not assume definite shape till the 18th or 19th century, though its ingredients were found in classical, medieval and Renaissance periods.  Art can entertain, and entertainment involves art with a small “a”; art and entertainment are interdefined and arose together.  One cannot define the concept of art, without defining that of entertainment and craft; they form a conceptual holism ­ together with the aesthetic, beauty, and related concepts.  Mere entertainment may be defined as an activity involving skill or craft, that aims to please, delight, amuse or excite an audience in a way that calls for little effort from them, whether intellectual or any other kind.  But the highest humane art seeks a broad audience, in a way often deemed unique to entertainment. The examples of Louis Armstrong, Charles Dickens and Howard Hawks are contrasted with the more hermetic high art of Lennie Tristano, Marcel Proust and Andrei  Tarkovsky.  The resulting aesthetics of entertainment questions modernist assumptions that art that aims to entertain cannot be autonomous, and undermines an exclusive polarity of art and entertainment.


Thursday 21st May, 9am- 5pm,    GLT2

Symposium hosted by ARC and CISFMI:

A Symposium on Villains

Little has been said about the appeal of villains, and the important role they play in stories. In what sense can we be said to enjoy the villain’s transgressions – and do we enjoy all sorts of transgressions? In this interdisciplinary symposium we will address what a villain is, which acts or character traits we perceive as villainous, how villains are portrayed and how we feel about villains in various art forms and media, such as in film, television series, video games and theatre.

Dr Helen Brooks, Theatre History
Dr Anne W. Eaton, Philosophy
Professor Roger Giner-Sorolla,  Social Psychology
Dr Jonathan Friday, Philosophy
John Sabo, Social Psychology
Professor Murray Smith, Film theory
Dr Margrethe Bruun Vaage, Film theory

The symposium is free of charge and open to everyone, and you do not need to register. Generously supported by KIASH.


Friday 22nd May, 3pm – 5pm, Marlowe LT2

ARC/AHVC Research Seminar
Anne W. Eaton, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Illinois at Chicago
“A Lady on the Street But a Freak in the Bed”: On the Distinction Between Erotic Art and Pornography

How, if at all, are we to distinguish between the works that we call “art” and those that we call “pornography”?  This question gets a grip because from Classical Greek vases and the frescoes of Pompeii to Renaissance mythological painting and sculpture to Modernist prints, the European artistic tradition is chocked full of art that looks a lot like pornography.  In this paper I propose a way of thinking about the distinction that is grounded in art historical considerations regarding the function of erotic images in 16th century Italy.  This exploration suggests that the root of the erotic art/ pornography distinction was – at least in this context – class: in particular, the need for a special category of unsanctioned illicit images arose at the very time when print culture was beginning to threaten elite privilege.  What made an erotic representation exceed the boundaries of acceptability, I suggest, was not its extreme libidinosity but, rather, its widespread availability and, thereby, its threat to one of the mechanisms of sustaining class privilege.

A.W. Eaton is an Associate Professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She received her Ph.D. from The University of Chicago in both philosophy and art history in 2003. She works on topics in feminism, aesthetics and philosophy of art, value theory, and Italian Renaissance painting. Her special interests include the epistemological and ontological status of aesthetic value, the relationship between ethical and artistic value, feminist critiques of pornography, representations of rape in the European artistic tradition, and artifact teleology (for more details and publications, see her website). Professor Eaton was a Laurence Rockefeller Fellow at Princeton’s Center for Human Values in 2005-6. She is the editor of the Aesthetics & Philosophy of Art section of Philosophy Compass and a member of the board of trustees of the American Society of Aesthetics.    Website:


Wednesday 27th May, 12pm – 2pm, Room TBC
KIASH/AHVC Research Seminar as part of KIASH Visiting Expert Lecture Series on Sex in Art, Literature and Theory:

Professor Camilla Skovbjerg Paldam, Aarhus University, Denmark
Erotic Utopia – Wilhelm Reich’s influence on Danish Surrealism

It is a well-known fact that French surrealism of the 1920s and 30s had a strong emphasis on eroticism, but the radical utopian turn surrealist eroticism got when it reached Denmark in the beginning of the 1930s warrants further investigation. Danish artist Vilhelm Bjerke-Petersen (1909-1957) was the first to write a comprehensive introduction to Surrealism in a Nordic language, namely the book Surrealismen. Livsanskuelse. Livsudfoldelse. Kunst (Surrealism. Outlook of life. Conduct of life. Art), 1934. In this talk I will investigate Bjerke-Petersen’s erotic utopia, focusing on the impact Wilhelm Reich’s psychoanalytical theory had on his ideas. My claim is that the inspiration from Reich informed Bjerke-Petersen’s focus on sexual liberation, in contrast to French surrealism which was more inspired by Freud. Where Freud saw a need for the Superego in culture, Reich suggested that a liberated, ‘natural’ sexuality would free mankind of any impulses to violence and suppression and lead to a classless society


Wednesday 27th May, 5pm – 7pm, KLT3
AHVC Research Seminar

Dr Grant Pooke, Senior Lecturer in History of Art, University of Kent
Francis Klingender, Art History and the Cultural Politics of Détente

Francis Klingender (1907-1955) was a Marxist art historian, sociologist, cinéaste, and, for many years, a Communist activist who played a formative role in the development of cultural studies in the United Kingdom. Born of British parents abroad he was part of the early Weimar diaspora and émigré community, reaching London c.1926. Klingender studied economics and sociology at the LSE between 1927 and 1934, completing a doctorate which was subsequently published as The Condition of Clerical Labour in Britain (1935). His most well known works include Money Behind the Screen (with Stuart Legg, 1937), Hogarth and English Caricature (1944), Art and the Industrial Revolution (1947), and Goya in the Democratic Tradition, actually written during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s but published in 1948.

From the early 1930s until the late 1940s, when Stalin denounced President Tito, Klingender remained an active member of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). He knew at least three of the ‘Cambridge Five’ (Anthony Blunt professionally, Donald Maclean from his activist student days and Guy Burgess through membership of the CPGB). Redacted MI5 surveillance files confirm that Klingender was subject to routine surveillance from 1931 until his death, attention that was renewed after Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean fled to Moscow in 1951. Directly recruited by John Grierson to research aspects of the film industry, Klingender also played a more clandestine role in seeking to propagate and extend Soviet cinema screenings in London, working through the Soviet Trade Legation and other pro-Comintern organisations. Until fairly recently, Klingender’s art historical and intellectual legacy has received fragmentary and passing attention, supported in part by perceptions of his ‘outsider’ status, a somewhat peripatetic professional life and early death during the initial stages of the Cold War.

Using material from a major archive and personal library previously thought lost, this paper sets out to explore the particular character, trajectory and primary influences on Klingender’s art history.  Presenting research to appear within the forthcoming, co-edited Ashgate publication, Art History & the Cold War, it will also speculate as to some of the reasons for the apparent de-politicisation and change in focus evidenced in Klingender’s later publications as détente hardened into Cold War.


Friday 29th May, 9am – 6pm, Aphra Theatre

Symposium hosted by:  NoRMMA (Network of Research: Movies, Magazines, Audiences) and supported by KIASH and CISFMI

“Performing Stardom”: New Methods in Critical Star Studies

Confirmed keynotes:

Dr Catherine Grant, University of Sussex
Dr Kieran Fenby-Hulse, Bath Spa University 

The event will focus on ways to explore film studies research through non-traditional approaches. Examples include: performance, video essays, interpretative dance, creative fiction/non-fiction, poetry, music, and any kind of multimedia project. Through this symposium, we would like to explore the connections between scholarship and fandom, research and creativity, the benefits and disadvantages of exploring an (audio)visual art through (audio)visual means, and the development of the innovative and ever-emerging field of practice as research.  More info and a preliminary programme at:  Do let the organisers know ASAP via if you wish to attend – registration is free.


Saturday 30th May, 10am – 5pm, Jarman Building, School of Arts
Symposium hosted by CKP and the Beacon Institute:

Interacting with Dementia

You are warmly invited to a one-day interdisciplinary symposium on Arts and Dementia. This will feature interchanges of practices, scholarship and the sharing of ideas from a range of creative disciplines to include digital arts, dance, drama, music, film, photography and sculpture. The event is an interactive forum to explore different ways of engaging with dementia with plenty of space for networking and discussion. We will consider key questions such as ethics, evaluation, funding and public engagement. We hope the event will generate ideas for future connections and collaboration as well as offering insights into how practitioners from different creative disciplines are working with dementia.  The symposium will feature a variety of presentations to include posters, workshops, demonstrations of practice, screenings, interactive sessions and short papers.

RSVP to: by 15th May please.  (Any queries please contact Sarah Passfield at the same email address)


Monday 22nd June, 5pm – 7pm,  Marlowe LT2

CISFMI/ARC Research Seminar

Dr Ted Nannicelli, Lecturer in Film and Television Studies, University of Queensland
Making Do With Agency: Agency, Authorship and the Appreciation of Television

This paper addresses a puzzle regarding the creation and appreciation of television. Recent scholarship has made it clear that the material production of television is a fundamentally collaborative enterprise. Particularly in the case of serial television drama, an astonishing number of “above the line” workers like writers, producers, and directors and “below the line” workers like cinematographers, art directors, sound designers, and editors contribute to the creation of an overall seriesThis essentially collaborative nature of television production has led some theorists to conclude that television (and sometimes film) is therefore essentially collectively authored (Caldwell 2008; Gaut 2010). While others have questioned whether such contributors have the proper control or authority to be regarded as authors (Livingston 2009), I focus on another problem with this view — namely, the problem of properly attributing blame to those individuals responsible for the relevant features of artistically and ethically flawed works. However, even weaker views (e.g. Livingston 2009), according to which film is only sometimes collectively authored, don’t translate as satisfactory accounts of collective authorship in television. I argue that inasmuch as Livingston’s account of joint-authorship is indebted to Bratman’s work on shared agency (1999, 2014), it cannot account for collective creation in hierarchically-organized groups like television production teams. And yet it seems like the appreciation of television as an art form requires some concept of authorship. I offer a number of desiderata any account of television authorship must meet, and I suggest that although authorship rarely obtains in television, we can, in most appreciative contexts, make do by simply speaking of “agency.”

Ted Nannicelli is Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at the University of Queensland. He is the author of A Philosophy of the Screenplay (2013) and co-editor of Cognitive Media Theory (2014). He is currently working on a new book, Appreciating the Art of Television: A Philosophical Perspective, to be published by Routledge.


Saturday 27th to Monday 29th June, Jarman Building, School of Arts

Symposium hosted by CKP and the Beacon Institute: The Beacon Institute

Interacting with Autism

You are warmly invited to attend this conference of the latest international research and innovative drama-based practices, used successfully to interact with autism. nteracting with Autism is a conference featuring a range of projects using performance-based practices (drama-music-movement) to engage with the experience of autism. Emerging from Kent University’s “Imagining Autism” project 2011-2014, this conference is designed as a research exchange between international interdisciplinary project teams to share practices and outcomes and to discuss future directions in this new approach to autism research and to consider the potential of the work for the cultures of arts, education, health and science.  Presentations will include latest research and applied practice from UK and international experts in interdisciplinary collaborations.  RSVP to: please.  (Any queries please contact Sarah Passfield at the same email address)