Author - Catherine Ellis, MLAC events, News

Events Bulletin 10th-16th October

Monday 10th October

IAS Fellows’ Seminar – Tipping the Balance: A Comparative Study of the Scales in the Visual Rhetoric of Justice

13:00-14:00, IAS Seminar Room, Palace Green, Professor Massimo Leone (University of Turin, Italy)

Some symbols so skillfully traverse epochs and cultures that they are depicted as almost ‘natural’ embodiments of abstract values. The balance is one of these symbols, adopted to represent justice from ancient Egypt until the present time. Power appropriates this ‘natural meaning’ in order to construct a rhetoric of fairness. Yet, semiotics unveils that the balance, like every symbol, is not natural at all, but underpinned by a specific ideology. From the semiotic point of view, the balance is a device that produces indexes, i.e., causal signs that visually signal an invisible property, weight. Although this translation is not automatic, but based on specific indexical circumstances (such as the type of balance, the weighing techniques, and the measuring standards that are used), the balance is paradoxically turned into a symbol of justice precisely because it is depicted as a non-semiotic device, as an instrument that cannot lie, as a machine.

The paper will provide initial elements for a trans-historical and cross-cultural study of scales in the visual rhetoric of justice.

Fellows’ seminars take place on Monday lunchtimes in the seminar room at Cosin’s Hall.

Places are limited and so any academic colleagues interested in attending a seminar should contact the Institute in advance to reserve a place.

Contact for more information about this event

Annual Borderlands Lecture ‘Filling the Space Between: Plato, Interfaith and Faith-Secular Dialogue’, Professor Angie Hobbs

18:15-19:45, ER201

This talk considers whether a reworked ancient Greek ethics of flourishing, particularly as conceived by Plato, can be of use in current inter-faith and faith-secular dialogue; in part by providing an inclusive area where people of different beliefs can discuss profound ethical questions through a shared cultural heritage.

Click here for more information.

Monthly meeting of Western Front Association, Durham Branch

19:30-21:30, Durham TA centre, Gilesgate, Durham DH1 1JR

A talk by Peter Hart, best selling author and Oral Historian at the Imperial War Museum, on the war in the air 1914-1918

Peter will be talking for about an hour on the subject noted above. There are comfy leather sofas and cheap refreshments. The TA centre is at the top of Gilesgate just by the roundabout/new traffic lights. Entry is round the back of the building.

Contact for more information about this event.

Tuesday 11th October

IMEMS Start of the Academic Year Welcome Reception

17:30, World Heritage Site Visitors Centre

This event is free to attend and open to all.

Contact for more information about this event.

IAS Fellow’s Public Lecture – Complexity, Scale, Story: narrative models in Will Self and Enid Blyton

17:30-18:30, Birley Room, Hatfield College, Dr Richard Walsh, University of York
Will Self and Enid Blyton are not often mentioned in the same sentence, but this lecture will reveal that they have an unexpected interest in common: scale. By a happy biographical accident, Dr Richard Walsh is well qualified to expound upon the particular focus of this common interest, which is a rather eccentric model village called Bekonscot. But both writers are also, of course, interested in stories, and that is where my more academic interest as a narrative theorist comes in. Their negotiations with questions of scale in their stories provide a point of departure for my own concern with the distinctive qualities and limitations of narrative form.

Narrative is itself a way of modelling, one specifically adapted to dealing with processes; it is highly privileged as such, both culturally and cognitively, yet it models some processes – specifically, complex systemic processes – rather poorly. Scale has a role to play in the context of complex systems, too, and my claim is that we can use it to mediate between complexity and story. By reflecting upon the way the notion of scale bears, respectively, upon complexity and upon narrative form, we can make some progress in understanding their problematic relation to each other.

Click here for more information.

Cafe Politique presents: Britain, Europe and the rest

18:00-20:00, Ustinov College, Fisher House

To kick off the new academic year at Ustinov, Café Politique takes you on a mythical journey exploring how Britain, Europe and the rest of the world have been constructed. Presentations from PhD students, Michael Laiho and Tom Spray (Durham University), and Dr. Ipek Demir (University of Leicester), propagate new ways of understanding how geographical spaces come into being from the perspectives of EU’s Arctic policy, Victorian literature, and the debate around multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism and Brexit.

Click here for more information.

Wednesday 12th October

Navigating Interdisciplinarity – Workshop

09:00-13:00, Kenworthy Hall, St Mary’s College, Professor Veronica Strang, Institute of Advanced Study
Interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary collaboration contains challenges at each stage in the research process. These include different foci of attention; different conceptual approaches and models; different languages; different kinds of data and forms of analysis; different kinds of output; different measures or assessments of quality. How can interdisciplinary projects be developed coherently? How do practitioners learn to engage productively with other disciplinary areas? In a partnership between the Institute of Advanced Study and the Department of Anthropology, this one-day workshop makes use of anthropology’s expertise in cultural translation.

Designed to assist cross-disciplinary communication and support collaborative interdisciplinary research, the workshop will focus examples on the IAS’s annual theme and include members of the IAS Fellowship. Registration to attend is essential. Please contact: to book a place.

Contact for more information about this event.

Metacognition in Childhood and Adolescence: Developmental Trends and Educational Implications

11:45-13:45, Collier Room, St Hild & St Bede

The School of Education is excited to welcome Professor Wolfgang Schneider from the University of Würzburg to their Research Seminar Series. Everyone is welcome. Please confirm attendance to by 5 October.

This presentation deals with major developmental trends in children’s and adolescents’ declarative and procedural metacognitive knowledge. In a first step, the relationship between young children’s theory of mind and the acquisition of metacognitive knowledge is explored. Next, the distinction between declarative and procedural knowledge is explained, and developmental trends in both components of metacognition are described in more detail. One of the main reasons to study metacognition was the expectation that metacognitive knowledge should be theoretically and empirically related to cognitive behavior and performance. Thus special attention is given to the relationship between metamemory and memory, again with a focus on developmental trends. A last major issue concerns possible implications of metacognition for the field of education. Examples from international school comparison studies (PISA) and related work is used to illustrate the potential of metacognition in different educational areas, and to show directions for future research.

Sandwiches, tea and coffee to be provided at 11:45 and the seminar is due to commence at 12:15.

Click here or contact for more information.

Thursday 13th October

‘Pope Francis Among the Wolves’ Talk by Marco Politi (Author and journalist, Rome)

17:30-19:15, Dun Cow Cottage, Dun Cow Lane, off Palace Green

This talk forms part of the Catholic Theology Research Seminar series. This seminar series provides a forum for scholarly discussion of pertinent issues in the Catholic traditions of theology and church.

All are welcome to attend. There is a pre-seminar drinks reception from 5.30pm with the seminar beginning at 5.45pm. A group from the seminar often goes for a meal afterwards.

Click here for more information.

Saturday 15th October

Twenty-Five Years of Regeneration: A Pat Barker Symposium

10:00-17:00, Kenworthy Hall, St Mary’s College

Twenty-five years after the publication of Regeneration, this conference will exploring the legacy and influence of Pat Barker’s seminal First World War novel, Regeneration, and the representation of the War in literature generally

Registration for this unique symposium is now open. For details see

Click here for further information.


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