James Newton publishes on anarchist cinema

Dr James Newton, Lecturer in the Department of Media Studies, has new published a new book The Anarchist Cinema (Intellect Books, 2019).

This book examines the complex relationships that exist between anarchist theory and film. No longer hidden in obscure corners of cinematic culture, anarchy is a theme that has traversed arthouse, underground and popular film.

In the book, James explores the notion that cinema is an inherently subversive space, establishes criteria for deeming a film anarchic, and examines the place of underground and DIY filmmaking within the wider context of the category. He identifies subversive undercurrents in cinema and uses anarchist political theory as an interpretive framework to analyse filmmakers, genres, and the notion of cinema as an anarchic space.

For more details, please see the publisher’s page here:

Film staff publish on cinema’s Gothic heroines

Dr Tamar Jeffers-McDonald, Reader in Film, together with Dr Frances A. Kamm, Associate Lecturer in Film, have just edited a collection entitled Gothic Heroines on Screen (Routledge, 2019), which will be published in May.

Gothic Heroines on Screen explores the translation of the literary Gothic heroine on screen, the potential consequences of these adaptations, and contemporary interpretations of the form.

Each chapter illuminates the significance of this moving image mediation, relating its screen topics to their various historical, social, and geographical moments of production, while maintaining a focus on the key figure of the investigating woman. Many chapters – perhaps inescapably – delve into the point of adaptation: the Bluebeard story and du Maurier’s Rebecca as two key examples. Moving beyond the Old Dark House that frequently forms both the Gothic heroine’s backdrop and her area of investigation, some chapters examine alternative locations and their impact on the Gothic heroine, some leave behind the marital thriller to explore what happens when the Gothic meets other genres, such as comedy, while others travel away from the usual Anglo-American contexts to European ones.

Throughout the collection, the Gothic heroine’s representation is explored within the medium, which brings together image, movement, and sound, and this technological fact takes on varied significance. What does remain constant, however, is the emphasis on the longevity, significance, and distinctiveness of the Gothic heroine in screen culture.

As well as their introduction, Tamar has contributed a chapter entitled ‘Blueprints from Bluebeard: Charting the Gothic in contemporary film’ and Frances has contributed another entitled ‘The Gothic in Space: Genre, Motherhood and Aliens (1986)’. Lawrence Jackson, Senior Lecturer in Film and Head of Film Practice, has also contributed a chapter entitled ‘Bluebeard in the Cities: The Use of an Urban Setting in Two 21st Century Films’.

The book will be available in May, and you can read further details about it here:


Call for contributions for ‘Inside Out’ symposium

Contributions are sought for a two day symposium as part of the Playing A/Part research project, led by Nicola Shaughnessy, Professor of Performance in the Department of Drama and Theatre, and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, to be held at Kent on Thursday 4 and Friday 5 July 2019.

The symposium is titled ‘Inside Out: Autistic Identities, Participatory Research and Gender’. The first day will explore perspectives on participatory research practices, ethics and themes, and the second day will explore perspectives on gender and creativity.

Contributions are invited in the form of posters or creative artefacts from projects that engage with the symposium themes, issues and questions. These might include:

Creative practices with autistic participants

  • Participatory research, neurodiversity and inclusive practices
  • Ethical issues in participatory autism research
  • Creative research methodologies and neurodiversity
  • Gender, sexuality and neurodiversity
  • Monotropism and related concepts
  • Interdisciplinary and inclusive research outcomes.

If you wish to contribute provide a 150 word abstract outlining the rationale, content and form of the work to be featured (whether a poster or creative artefact). Please send to playingapartconference@kent.ac.uk with the subject line ‘Inside Out Proposal’. Please note the preferred language for this event is identity first (i.e. autistic person/s).

The cost of the conference will be £25 per day or £40 for both days, with fee waivers available on request.

The deadline for proposals in Friday 24 May 2019.

Paul Allain to deliver keynote address

Paul Allain, Professor of Theatre and Performance in the School of Arts and Dean of the Graduate School, will give a keynote address at an international theatre forum and conference in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, held between Friday 10 and Sunday 12 May 2019.

The conference is titled ‘Out of the Frame’ and will explore street/open space theatre, its funding and role in society. The conference is organised by the Shoshin Theatre Association and the Committee on Theatrical Sciences of the Regional Committee of the Magyar Tudományos Akadémia [Hungarian Academy of Sciences].

Paul will be delivering the keynote address on Saturday 11 May, with a paper titled ‘Space Invaders or Alien Friends? Close Encounters of a Theatrical Kind’.

Paul’s talk will briefly trace key aspects of a theatre history which depicts the movement of certain key experimental theatre directors and groups from cities into the countryside, across Europe and in Asia too. The list is long, but Polish company Gardzienice and Japanese director Tadashi Suzuki stand out. Paul will ask what made these pioneers move to the country, what they sought, and what lessons we might learn from them for theatre-making today. How did other spaces and ‘new natural environments’ change training and acting, group dynamics, understanding of and encounters with an audience? Are such Romantic models still desirable and do artists still have such a choice? Or has choice now become urgent need in this age of mass migration?

The conference is part of the Rural Inclusive Outdoor Theatre Education 2 (RIOTE2) project, co-founded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

More information about the conference can be found here: https://www.shoshintheatre.com/outoftheframe

‘Comedy and Mental Health: Future Directions’ conference

The Theatre and Performance Research Cluster and the Identities, Politics and the Arts Research Cluster in the School of Arts warmly invite you to conference entitled ‘Comedy and Mental Health: Future Directions’ to be held at the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus on Wednesday 1 May 2019.

The conference has been organised by Dr Dieter Declercq, Assistant Lecturer in Film and Media in the School of Arts.

At this event, eight speakers from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds will deliver short presentations on what they consider the most pressing questions and challenges for future research on mental health and comedy, especially stand-up comedy. The event is designed to stimulate further research into comedy and mental health by identify new research topics, exchanging methodological strategies and explore interdisciplinary and collaborative research.

Sessions will include ‘Comedy, Humour and Mental Health. An Attempted Overview and Some New Directions’; ‘Taking of the Mask and Laughing: Autistic Humour, Passing and Mental Health’; ‘Women Stand-Ups, Self-Denigrating Comedy and Mental Wellbeing’ and ‘Has the Growth of Stand-Up Comedy Contributed to Greater Awareness of Mental Health Issues?’

For the full programme, please see the page here:  www.kent.ac.uk/arts/newsandevents/calendar.html?eid=37635

The conference is free to attend and is open to all. Registration is open until Monday 29 April 2019; to register please email Dieter at dd324@kent.ac.uk.

Margherita Laera wins funding for theatre translation education resource

Dr Margherita Laera, Senior Lecturer in Drama and Theatre in the School of Arts, has just won Follow-On Funding for Public Engagement and Impact from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for a budget of £77k to fund a project on foreign-language plays in translation, targeting secondary school students and teachers.

This project will address the issue of under-representation of cultural difference in the British secondary school drama curriculum by creating an open-access educational website of video resources to engage secondary school children with foreign-language plays. By targeting young drama students and their teachers, the project will provide training for future theatre-makers and audiences to appreciate stories from diverse contexts and empathise with culturally distant others.

Increasing representation of non-English languages and cultures on English-speaking stages is of paramount importance to foster understanding among communities in multicultural societies, such as the UK, but also in the US, where translations of foreign-language texts tend to be rare and immigration high.

The website will include newly commissioned filmed extracts of five plays in the original language and two English translations, in order to highlight how translation strategies can have an impact on the production. The videos will be entirely new and curated for the project, featuring a professional cast. The site will also include film interviews with key practitioners working in the field; extensive contextualisations of the plays by academics and theatre- makers; and teaching resources clarifying how to integrate the resource into the GCSE, A-Level, BTEC and IB curricula.

To learn more about AHRC Follow-On Funding for Public Engagement and Impact, please see the page here: https://ahrc.ukri.org/funding/apply-for-funding/current-opportunities/followonfunding/


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: https://gothicfeminism.com/conference-programme-2019/

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: https://store.kent.ac.uk/product-catalogue/faculty-of-humanities/school-of-arts/arts-events/gothic-feminism-2019

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:

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: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-night-in-the-west-end-1914-1918-tickets-55152965003