Category Archives: news

The Guardian names Paris neighbourhood one of the “coolest” in Europe

The Guardian has named Paris’ Charonne district as one of the top 10 “coolest” in Europe.

In an article focussing on the less touristy neighbourhoods of Europe’s major cities, the British daily highlighted what makes the former working class district of Charonne so special.

Owing its name to the former village of the same name, Charonne was absorbed by neighbouring Paris in 1860 during the great urban renovation orchestrated by Emperor Napoléon III known today as the “Haussmannisation” of Paris. The Guardian wrote that “Circular Place de la Réunion, laid out in 1850, is the heart of this friendly, bohemian quartier populaire, a multicultural area of working families, artists and musicians. The square comes alive on Thursday and Sunday mornings, when it teems with people browsing market stalls set up by butchers, cheese- and fishmongers, and fruit and vegetable sellers.” Though home to a highly-mixed population, Charonne still looks and feels like a village, but, nestled in the heart of Paris’ dynamic 20th arrondissement, it remains a rather atypical one.

See the full article, with the newspaper’s other top destinations, here:

Sophie Mackintosh appointed to The Paris Writer’s Residency

The University of Kent Paris School of Arts and CultureAmerican University of Paris and the Centre Culturel Irlandais (Irish Arts Centre) are pleased to announce that Sophie Mackintosh has been appointed to the Paris Writer’s Residency. We look forward to welcoming her to Paris to work with our students and to join our community of writers.

Sophie Mackintosh is a writer from Wales, currently based in London. Her debut novel, The Water Cure, was longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker prize, shortlisted for the Collyer Bristow prize, and won a Betty Trask award. In 2016 she won The White Review short story prize, and her fiction, essays and poetry have been published by the New York Times, Granta, and the Stinging Fly, among others. Her next novel, Blue Ticket, will be published in May 2020 by Hamish Hamilton and June 2020 by Doubleday.

Sophie Mackintosh will be in Paris from March 18 to April 18, 2020. Alongside workshops with students from the University of Kent and American University of Paris, she will be holding a public reading at the Centre Culturel Irlandais on Thursday 2 April. We will be in touch shortly with details on how to sign up for this event. In the meantime, you can find out more about her work via the links below.




This is the third year of the Paris Writer’s Residency and previously we have welcomed Daniel Hahn and Sampurna Chattarji to Paris. The Paris School of Arts and Culture gratefully acknowledges support from the School of English and Dean for Internationalisation, University of Kent.

Professor Vybarr Cregan-Reid to take the stage at TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells

The sixth TedxRoyalTunbridgeWells will be held at the Assembly Hall Theatre, where Kent’s Professor Cregan-Reid will be one of 12 thought-provoking speakers presenting to over 1,000 audience members.

With a talk entitled ‘How modern life is written all over your face’, Professor Cregan-Reid will discuss how individuals’ daily actions affect different body parts – from posture, to eyesight, as well as face and skull shape. He will specifically reference how modern life is driving shortsightedness, as well as being responsible for the fact that most humans’ teeth no longer fit in their head (requiring costly and painful dental work). Furthermore, he will explore how these changes have developed within our species over time, some even very recently.

Professor Cregan-Reid said: ‘I was thrilled to be invited to participate in this event and am really looking forward to talking to the TEDx audience about the history of their habits and how they affect their whole body, not just their physical and mental health. These talks are a great way to share ideas and get people to think differently and TED have a tremendous reach – they are the most public of public lectures. TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells will be an inspiring and uplifting event, and the wider speaker programme is full of interesting talks that I am looking forward to watching on the day.’

Vybarr Cregan-Reid is author of Primate Change: How the world we made is remaking us (2018) and Footnotes: How Running Makes Us Human (2016). At the University of Kent’s Paris School, Professor Cregan-Reid teaches on the EN867 The Verbal and The Visual: Dialogues Between Literature, Film and Art module.

At Reid Hall, Paris mayoral candidates discuss the place of the bike in contemporary Paris

With both rounds of Paris’ mayoral elections taking place in March 2020, five candidates including incumbent Anne Hidalgo, visited Reid Hall yesterday to discuss the place of bicycles and cycling in the French capital.

Paris was a world pioneer in developing its successful bike-share system, known as Vélib, in the first decade of the twenty-first century. Representing an important part of the Parisian psyche, each candidate presented his or her plan to make cycling easier and more accessible to Parisians. Forming part of a global trend, Parisians increasingly rely on bicycles to go to work, class, and move freely about the city. To that end, Paris continues to develop bicycle-only lanes across its paved surfaces.

As with all events held at our Paris Centre, University of Kent Paris School of Arts and Culture students had the opportunity to attend the event and ask questions.


The European Qur’an: Islamic scripture in European Culture

On 27 February 2020, in association with Professor Jan Loop, the University of Kent Paris School of Arts and Culture will host a seminar entitled “The Qur’an and the Reformation”. This seminar will be hosted in connection with an on-going research project, EuQu, which looks at at Islamic scripture through the lens of European Culture and Religion.

EuQu is an ambitious six year research project (2019-2025) studying the ways in which the Islamic Holy Book is embedded in the intellectual, religious and cultural history of Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Our research studies how the Qur’an has been translated, interpreted, adapted and used by Christians, European Jews, freethinkers, atheists and European Muslims in order to understand how the Holy Book has influenced both culture and religion in Europe.

EuQu is an ERC Synergy project formed by a consortium led by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC); the University of Naples L’Orientale (UNO); the University of Kent (UoK) and the University of Nantes (UN).

Other members of the consortium are the University of Amsterdam (UvA); Autonomous University of Barcelona; and the Humanities Research Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Additional partners include the New York University Abu Dhabi; the Ruhr-University Bochum; The University of Chieti; Columbia University; the Courtauld Institute of Art; the University of Erfurt; the King’s College London; the University of Notre Dame and the University of Sussex.

The project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

The full programme of the conference in Paris can be found here.

Students participate in seminar on psychogeography

Students enrolled on Paris School module The Verbal and the Visual: Dialogues between Literature, Film, and Art spent Friday afternoon learning about and participating in their own experiment in psychogeography. Under the direction of guest seminar leader and author Professor Vybarr Cregan-Reid, University of Kent students combed the streets of Paris in their bare feet in order to explore their urban environment from an unfamiliar (and sometimes uncomfortable!) perspective. Psychogeography was first made popular as a concept in France in the 1950s, notably by philosopher and artist Guy Debord.

Tamar Jeffers McDonald on Star Attractions

Dr Tamar Jeffers McDonald, Reader in Film and Head of the School of Arts, and Dr Lies Lanckman, Lecturer in Film at the University of Hertfordshire, have edited a new collection entitled Star Attractions: Twentieth-Century Movie Magazines and Global Fandom (University of Iowa Press, 2019).

During Hollywood’s ‘classic era’, from the 1920s to 1950s, roughly twenty major fan magazines were offered each month at American newsstands and abroad. These publications famously fed fan obsessions with celebrities such as Norma Shearer, Mae West, Doris Day and Elvis Presley. Film studies scholars often regard these magazines with suspicion, perhaps due to their reputation for purveying scandal and gossip, their frequent mingling of gushing tone, and blatant falsehood.

Looking at these magazines with fresh eyes and treating them as primary sources, the contributors of this collection provide unique insights into contemporary assumptions about the relationship between fan and star, performer and viewer. In doing so, they reveal the magazines to be a huge and largely untapped resource on a wealth of subjects, including gender roles, appearance and behaviour, and national identity.

The volume includes a number of chapters contributed by alumni and students from the PhD in Film at Kent, including Ann-Marie Fleming, Oana-Maria Mazilu, Sarah Polley and co-editor Lies Lanckman, who completed her PhD in Film at the University of Kent in 2017.

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

MA in History and Philosophy of Art student exhibits in Brussels

Artistic works by Janise Yntema, who is studying the History and Philosophy of Art MA at the University’s Paris School of Arts and Culture, are being exhibited at the Green Door Gallery in Brussels.

Janise Yntema is already regarded as one of the foremost contemporary artists working in the ancient technique of beeswax encaustic, and by using original photography within her work has brought a contemporary platform to this historic medium.

The exhibition at the Green Door Gallery in Brussels is entitled “PRAETER terram”. The works on display interrogate us on where we locate ourselves in a changing environment where sustainability is our only hope. Yntema’s use of beeswax ensures environmental concerns remain inherent within the works she produces.

The Farmed Land grey concrete by Janise Yntema

The Farmed Land by Janise Yntema

The exhibition runs from 28 November 2019 to 12 January 2020 at the Green Door Gallery in Brussels, Belgium. The gallery is open from 2-6 p.m. Friday – Sunday and also by appointment at other times.

Janise is originally from New York and received her formal art training at Parson’s School of Design. Her works are found in the collections of several museums including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Gutenberg Museum in Germany and the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.

PSAC director to present at annual Wimbledon BookFest

The academic director of the Paris School of Arts and Culture Professor Ben Hutchinson will present his new publication, Comparative Literature: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press) at the annual Wimebledon BookFest on Saturday, 5 October 2019. Professor Hutchinson will take part in the Intellectual Speed Dating event, and present with three other authors who have also published in Oxford University Press’ Very Short Introduction series.

High-level but digestible overviews written by experts in their field, the Very Short Introduction series is a wonderful way to discover a new subject.

Conceived as a form of “intellectual speed dating”, at the BookFest the audience will be split into small groups and will move around the event space, enjoying ten minutes with each of four authors for a pithy introduction to the topics covered.

Further information including ticketing can be found by visiting the Wimbledon BookFest website.

Film Studies alumna documentary screened on the BBC

Alumna Ece Ger, who graduated with an MA in Film – including a term at Kent’s at the Paris School of Arts and Culture – in 2015, saw her documentary film Meet Jim, Citizen of the World screened on BBC Scotland last Saturday 17 August 2019.

He dined with The Beatles and shacked up with the Rolling Stones. He rubbed shoulders with soul diva Mama Cass, folk troubadour Leonard Cohen and a fledgling Pink Floyd. He was a figurehead for a new generation of playwrights. After he was stopped at Munich airport with a bag full of blank ‘world passports’, he lectured bewildered German border police about the virtues of ‘world Government’.

Today, at 83, Jim Haynes just won’t slow down: this ‘godfather of social networking’ organises open dinners every Sunday night in the Parisian artist studio that’s been his home for the past 50 years. Total strangers, unknown both to him and to each other, meet in his living room and Jim’s friends show up to cook cheerfully for crowds of 60 or more. It’s simple: you sign up, you come over, you meet Jim. As he once said: ‘My home is a World Government Embassy that never closes.’

The documentary composes an impressionistic portrait of Jim Haynes the man and the cultural phenomenon, as seen by the many and diverse people whose lives have been touched by his. The film is a hymn to the lasting spirit of the 60s, an inspirational living proof of how we can all chose to live on the bright side: to Jim, the choice is ready-made: ‘Life is short: we have a duty to enjoy ourselves.’

The documentary first premiered as Meeting Jim at the Edinburgh International Film Festival last year. It was supported by a crowdfunding campaign that ran in early 2016. For more details on its background, please see the page here.

If you’re in the UK, to view the documentary, please see the page on BBC iPlayer here: