Lecture, MLAC events, Research Groups, Workshop

Weekly Bulletin 9-13 May

Monday 9th May

Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site: the Challenges of the Last 30 Years and the Opportunities for the Future, 18:00, Room PG20, Pemberton Building, Palace Green

The next lecture of the Durham World Heritage Site 30th Anniversary Lecture Series will be delivered by Anna Brennand, Chief Executive of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. It will discuss the challenges faced by the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site and explain the opportunities these present for protecting its outstanding universal value, as the Site celebrates its 30 years designation. Anna Brennand has been Chief Executive of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust since June 2013. Before taking up this post Anna was the Trust’s Deputy CEO and Director of Finance & Resources having joined the Museum in 2007. During this time Anna led the successful, multi-award winning £12m redevelopment of Blists Hill Victorian Town, the Trust’s largest site. Anna is a Board Member of the Museums Association, a member of the National Museum Directors Council and sits on a variety of regional tourism bodies. She is also a Trustee of a large Further Education college and a Trustee of World Heritage UK. She lectures at the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage on the topics of Managing Multi-site Museums, Fundraising in the Heritage Sector and Income Generation in Heritage Organisations.The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception at the World Heritage Site Visitor Centre.


Tuesday 10th May


Distinguished Speaker Series – Newcastle University: Professor David Lightfoot, Professor of Linguistics, Georgetown University

Workshop: How to trigger elements of I-languages, 12:00-13:00, Room 2.20, Research Beehive  (lunch provided)

The workshop will be based on Prof. Lightfoot’s paper ‘How to trigger elements of I-languages’ in Gallego & Ott, eds. 2015 50 years later: Reflections on Chomsky’s Aspects.  MIT Working Papers in Lin­guistics 77. Those attending the workshop are asked to read the above paper beforehand. For catering purposes please register here.


Evidence, Policy and Regulations series – Evidence Synthesis by Building a Case Workshop 3: Professor Nancy Cartwright – What will work in my school? What does the evidence say? 14:00-18:00, Senate Suite, University College

This workshop will focus on education as one of the many concrete policy areas where understanding how to amalgamate evidence matters to practice. Participants will propose and probe practical advice for educators who want to use evidence but have to make real decisions in real time with limited resources. Please note that this workshop is no longer an all-day event. Please register interest by contacting the Durham’s Centre for Humanities Engaging Science & Society (CHESS) administrator at admin.chess@durham.ac.uk 


Bowes Lecture Series: Olive Porter and Van Dyck: Religion and Politics at the Stuart Court, Dr Toby Osborne, 18:00-19:00, The Bowes Museum, Dr Toby Osborne

The portrait of the Stuart courtier, Olive Porter, by Anthony van Dyck, which has recently been acquired by the Bowes, rightly takes the centre stage in the forthcoming ‘English Rose’ exhibition. As a portrait painter, Van Dyck pointedly look back to the greatest court portraitist of the sixteenth century, Titian, while setting the standards for court portraits for generations afterwards. What is more, Van Dyck has often been characterised as the painter who captured the spirit of Charles I’s court in its Indian summer before the outbreak of civil war during the 1640s. As this talk explores, his images of English female courtiers, among them, Olive Porter, Alethea Talbot, Lucy Hay, and Mary Hill are especially interesting. These women contributed significantly in their own rights to the style and atmosphere of the Stuart court that encompassed both king and Henrietta Maria, the queen; that style was cosmopolitan, taking its lead from Catholic Europe, and it was Van Dyck, himself experienced as a court painter in Catholic Europe, who brought that dash of European glamour the Stuart court earnestly desired. Click here for more information.


Dr Michael Mack – English Studies, Durham University: Thinking Through Ghosts and Contaminations: The Cases of Henry James and Alfred Hitchcock, 18:15-19:30, Elvet Riverside 140


Does the ghostly slow things down? How is James’s and Hitchcock’s respective questioning of acceleration pertinent to a better understanding of our contemporary digital culture? This culture places a premium on actions, on doing. Acceleration has been ever increasing since the industrial revolution. Speed elevated doing: the sheer quantity of actions. James and Hitchcock in different yet related ways show how actions without the perceptive work of understanding can have deleterious consequences. Here perception is no longer removed from the world of action as has traditionally been the case in standard oppositions between the contemplative and the active life of politics. Anticipating the neuroscientific exploration of mirror neurons, the 1908 preface to The Portrait of a Lady makes a strong case for the discovery action within perception. Crucial here are Isabel Archer’s quasi-ghostly visitation in chapter 42. In a similar way, Hitchcock’s films make us see how behind what we take to be innocent dwells a more sinister, ghostly world which we perceive when the speed of our perception slows down. 


Guest Lecture (for Research Students): Corpus Linguistics as a Research Method: An Introduction, Yufang Qian, 17:00-18:30, ER143

The past few decades have seen corpus linguistics emerging as a new and dynamic social research method. Text corpora provide large databases of naturally-occurring discourse, enabling empirical analysis of the actual patterns of language use; and, when coupled with (semi-)automatic computational tools, the corpus-based approach enables analysis of a scope not otherwise feasible. Examples of real life language use are collected, in order to support or negate the researcher’s hypothesis. Corpus access software can not only demonstrate the non-obvious in a single text, but expose ‘hidden thoughts’ beyond the researcher’s expectation. Corpus investigation is useful for critical linguists, because the observed frequent repetitions help the researchers to identify and make explicit descriptions of texts. Corpora can play an extremely important role in critical social research, allowing researchers to identify objectively widespread patterns of naturally occurring language and rare but telling examples, both of which may be overlooked in a small-scale analysis. In this talk, Professor Qian, a corpus linguistics specialist, will introduce corpus linguistics as an effective research method, and some popular corpus analytical tools.


Distinguished Speaker Series – Newcastle University

Professor David Lightfoot, Professor of Linguistics, Georgetown University: Public Lecture: The Complexity of Language, 17:30, Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building, Newcastle University

Children are not taught the relevant properties of their native language at any stage.  Rather, certain simple information is built into us biologically, which enables the acquisition of simple properties. Simple biological systems interact with simple acquired properties to yield the apparently messy and complex systems of mature knowledge.


Wednesday 11th May

Justice and the Arts Research Group Roundtable, 12:00-14:00, ER 206

Plagiarism II (John O’Brien, Dario Tessicini, Dr Annalisa Cippolone, Dr Catherine Dousteyssier-Khoze, Dr Tom Wynn)


Work in Progress Session, 12:00-14:00, ER146

A two-hour final Work in Progress Seminar to reflect on and culminate this year’s seminar series. Details to be announced.


Ecologies and the Arts Research Group, 16.00, ER143

‘Out of my control? Landscape and the subject in the medieval Spanish novela sentimental’, Dr Sarah Buxton (MLAC)



Thursday 12th May


A Funny Kind of Devotion? Laughter in the Biblical Drama of Late Medieval Towns and Cities, 14:00-14:30, Chapel of the Nine Altars, Durham Cathedral,

A free public talk as part of the exhibition Plays, Processions and Parchment: Festive Traditions in the North East of England. When people think of medieval Christianity they often summon up visions of mumbling monks and self-flagellating martyrs, opulence and grandeur paired up with austerity and strict morality. But where was the laughter? Where were the jokes? (And were they funny?) In this talk we’ll look at some intriguing evidence of popular drama from towns and cities in the North East, giving us a glimpse of a robust performance culture where humour and laughter could be entirely bound up with devotion.


Friday 13th May


A one-day symposium by the Ecologies and the Arts group: “Aesthetics of Crisis: Ecology, Disaster and Representation”, 09:30, IAS Seminar room, Cosin’s Hall, Palace Green

A one-day symposium by the Ecologies and the Arts group “Aesthetics of Crisis: Ecology, Disaster and Representation” (IAS), sponsored by the IHRR, website: https://aestheticsofcrisis.wordpress.com/about/





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