Funding awarded for aesthetics and comedy conference

Professor Simon Kirchin, Professor of Philosophy and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, and Dr Graeme A. Forbes, Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, along with colleagues in the University’s School of Arts, have been awarded funding from the British Society of Aesthetics, for ‘Aesthetics and comedy: how to do things with jokes’, a conference about the philosophical background of comedy.

Dr Forbes said, “analysing comedy is said to be like dissecting a frog: no-one’s that interested, and the frog dies. But comedy writers and performers often analyse comedy: to craft new material or perfect timing. By bringing comedy writers and practitioners together with philosophers we can potentially change how comedians understand their craft, but also add fresh impetus to debates in aesthetics, ethics, and theoretical philosophy about how comedy works and what it is for.”

The conference will take place in October 2019, bringing together philosophers from a number of areas with comedy practitioners. The University of Kent is uniquely placed to host such a conference, as the home of the Aesthetics Research Centre, the Centre for Practical Normativity, and the Centre for Popular and Comic Performance. As well as being the home of a number of philosophers interested in comedy and performance, Kent is one of the leading universities for the academic study of comedy, both nationally and internationally, and hosts the British Stand-up Comedy Archive and the British Cartoon Archive.