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MLAC EVENTS BULLETIN: 23rd-29th January

Monday 23rd January

Christopherson Knott Fellows’ Seminar – Kaleidoscopic Justice: Mapping the dimensions of justice for survivors of sexual violence

13:00-14:00, IAS Seminar Room, Palace Green, Professor Clare McGlynn (Durham University)

Justice’ for survivors of sexual violence is the primary justification for almost every law or policy reform on this topic. But what does ‘justice’ really mean? While academics, policy-makers and campaigners espouse various approaches, surprisingly little is known about survivors own perspectives. This paper considers the findings and implications of a project which investigated understandings of justice through interviews and workshops with twenty women survivors of sexual violence. What emerged is a vision of justice conceptualised as ‘kaleidoscopic justice’. This is justice as a continually shifting pattern; justice constantly refracted through new circumstances, experiences and understandings; justice as non-linear, with multiple beginnings and possible endings; justice as a complex, nuanced and difficult to (pre)determine feeling; justice as a lived, on-going and ever-evolving experience rather than an ending or result; justice as unpredictable. The paper will examine the contours of kaleidoscopic justice and its implications for developing law and policy.

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.

Click here for more information.


Ecology, Evolution and Environment Seminar Series – Recent advances at the intersection of paleoecology, econinformatics, and global change research: Leveraging the past to predict the future

16:00, Whitehead Room, Department of Biosciences, Upper Mountjoy, Professor Jack Williams (University of Wisconsin-Madison, US

This Seminar Series is being delivered by the Department of Biosciences.

For more information on the series, please visit the following website:

All are welcome to attend.

Contact for more information about this event.

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The Scale of Things Public Lecture Series: Small Scale, Big Change: the social turn in contemporary architecture

18:15-19:15, Ken Wade Theatre, Calman Learning Centre, Professor Andres Lepik (Technical University Munich)

In recent decades architecture has achieved the public image of an elitist discipline: designing and planning for an extremely small fraction of the global population, for those who have the means and the power to afford their services. But there is a new generation of practitioners using their expertise and knowledge to address the needs and expectations of communities in need, not only in developing countries but also in the highly industrialized ones that confront increasing inequality. Working in slums and favelas, engaging with future users, concentrating on the real needs and working with participation, the resulting projects are often only small in scale but have a strong impact. Not only on the life and education but also in giving back social relevance to architecture in general. A series of exhibitions and publications in recent years aim to spread the knowledge about these projects and to raise the awareness of the public about the ethic dimension of architecture.

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Tuesday 24th January

Iranian archives at Durham: A personal reflection on people, places and the public record

17:00-18:30, the Learning Centre, Palace Green Library, Durham

Durham University is now home to three important archives containing materials relating to Iranian History, Culture and Politics. The archives originate in the work of three British scholars who worked extensively in Iran in the last century. The collection combines the work of the late Anne Lambton, the late David Brooks and Sue Wright. In future years the collection will mark Durham out as an important destination for researchers interested to know more about Iran in the 20th century. In this lecture, Professor Sue Wright herself will give a personal reflection on the content and significance of these three collections.

Durham University is hosting a public lecture to explore three significant archives of material related to twentieth century Iranian history, which will be available to view on the day of the event.

Attendees will hear a lecture by Professor Sue Wright, from the Danish School of Education at Aarhus University, one of three scholars from whom the archive material has been collected. Professor Wright will discuss the significance of the collection and what these reveal about the history, culture and politics of twentieth century Iran.

The archives, which include David Brooks’ Work, Life and Legacy, have been donated by Durham University from the collections of three British scholars who worked extensively in Iran during the twentieth century; Anne Lambton (of the region’s well known Lambton family), late Durham University lecturer David Brooks (Department of Anthropology, 1968-1989) and Professor Sue Wright, who will be giving the lecture.

The lecture is free to attend but space is limited so please register your interest by emailing with ‘Attending Iranian Archives’ as the subject header.

Contact for more information about this event.

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IAS Fellow’s Public Lecture – Medieval and Modern Explorations of Human Colour Perception

17:30-18:30, Joachim Room, College of St Hild & St Bede, Professor Hannah Smithson, University of Oxford

Can science today learn from thirteenth century literature? An interdisciplinary team of physicists, medievalists, Latin scholars and historians of science has embarked on a rich encounter with the great medieval English thinker Robert Grosseteste (1175-1253). The team presents Grosseteste’s treatise the De colore (On colour), to reveal and explore the three-dimensional space within which he characterises colour. His later treatise the De iride (On the rainbow) revisits his theory of colour generation, but with surprising results when seen from modern perspectives. By using medieval studies and modern colour science, the treatises can be interpreted in new, stimulating and more complete ways. Almost 800 years after their inception, Grosseteste’s writings prompt us to explore a new coordinate system for colour.

Click here for more information.


IMEMS Lecture: Negotiating Poverty: Franciscan Artistic Patronage at the Dawn of the Fourteenth Century

18:00, Learning Centre, Palace Green Library, Dr Donal Cooper, (University of Cambridge)

This event is free to attend and open to all and will be followed by a drinks reception in the Courtyard Café, Palace Green Library. Please click here to register for this event and other IMEMS lectures.

Abstract: The ample historiography on Franciscan art is littered with unsuccessful attempts to relate the paintings and buildings commissioned by the friars with the conflicts over the observation of poverty that gripped the Order in the years to either side of 1300. This paper avoids the sweeping claims for the doctrinal significance of artworks that scholars have made in the past and presents new archival research on Franciscan communities in Tuscany and Umbria to highlight the complexity of the Conventual-Spiritual divide as it played out in specific convents across central Italy. Recent discoveries by manuscript scholars on the date and authorship of the Meditations on the Life of Christ invite a reassessment of this key devotional text, its relationship to internal debate within the Order, and its impact on Franciscan artistic patronage. Reviewed in this light, the fresco cycles painted by Giotto and Pietro Lorenzetti at Assisi can be understood as complex responses to the Order’s troubles, which absorbed devotional messages derived from the Spiritual experience at the same time as they asserted an approved image of Franciscan poverty.

Dr Donal Cooper is Senior Lecturer in Italian Art at the University of Cambridge and has published widely on the art and architecture of late medieval and Renaissance Italy, particularly the artistic patronage of the Franciscan Order. Publications include his co-authored monograph with Dr Janet Robson on the Upper Church of the Basilica of San Francesco at Assisi, The Making of Assisi (Yale University Press, 2013) which won the Art Book Prize in 2014.

Contact for more information about this event.

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Wednesday 25th January

Temporal and Spatial Scales: Scale in Ecological Systems, Past and Present Seminar Series

12:00-14:00, Kenworthy Hall, St Mary’s College, Professor Sara Cousins (Stockholm University)

Sara’s work combines plant community ecology and landscape history to explore effects of fragmentation and land use change on plant community composition and diversity.
All are welcome. Attendance should be confirmed with

Click here for more information.


The Gilded Thistle: Imagined Capitalised National Identities in Scotland’s ‘Curriculum for Excellence’

13:00-14:00, ED134, School of Education

A seminar from Dr Karen Lowing of the School of Education, Durham University. Everyone is welcome to attend, and booking is not required.

This paper explores culturally embedded linguistic and visual signifiers and mnemonics of national identity construction within the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence. The branding of Scotland, where reductionist mnemonics of kailyards and atavistic ‘noble savages’ are employed, is problematised in this study. The desire for myth and memory, in order to attain a sense of belonging, is also acknowledged.

Recent policy and resources, which support the introduction of Scots Language and Scottish Studies in the curriculum, offer hegemonic ‘capitalised’ national identities (Anderson, 1991; Billig, 1995), constructed through ‘heritage’ Scots language signifiers and ‘tartanry’ mnemonics. Such devices are perpetuated within the curriculum to the exclusion of more ‘modern’ and convincing constructions of Scotland, its languages, culture, people and place.

Drawing from a recent qualitative research project in Scots Language and Identity, this paper problematizes the hegemonic narrative of a ‘gilded thistle’ Scotland in educational policy and practice. The paper offers a conceptualisation of such reductionist hegemonies, by employing critical discourse analysis, with reference to Bourdieusian theory, to challenge such ‘tartanry’ mythologies; the paper makes recommendations to policy and practice for a more inclusive approach to teaching Scots Language and Scottish Studies in Scotland’s classrooms.

Contact for more information about this event.

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EDF Energy Renewables and the Blyth Offshore Demonstrator

18:00-19:00, Ken Wade Lecture Theatre, Calman Learning Centre

This talk will provide an overview of EDF Energy Renewables activity in the UK, focusing on the development and delivery of the Blyth Offshore Demonstrator, an innovative offshore wind project that aims to demonstrate new technologies that could reduce the future cost of offshore wind. The five wind turbine project will use “float and sink” concrete gravity base foundations, a first for the industry in the UK, is currently under construction and will be installed off the coast of Blyth during 2017.

EDF Energy Renewables is one of the UK’s leading renewable energy companies. It is focussed on the development, construction and operation of onshore and offshore wind farms and already operates just under 600 MW of wind farms (including the Teesside offshore wind farm off the coast of Redcar), with another 300 MW under construction and more than 1000 MW of consented projects in planning and development. EDF Energy Renewables (EDF-ER) is a 50:50 Joint Venture between EDF Energy and EDF Energies Nouvelles, the renewable arm of the EDF Group. It combines its parent companies’ renewable energy development skills, expertise and resources in one place to lead EDF Group’s renewables development activities in the UK.

Craig Harwood is the Asset Owner for the Blyth Offshore Demonstrator at EDF Energy Renewables. Within his role he owns the project business case and certain commercial steering activities related to the development and delivery of the project. Craig has a background in the renewable energy industry and offshore wind in particular. During this time he has worked on many projects and across a number of organisations including The Crown Estate and RWE Innogy.

Contact for more information about this event.

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Human Scale: Time on a Human Scale Public Lecture series – How to negotiate the modern regime of historicity (1870-1930)

18:15-19:15, Rosemary Cramp Theatre, Calman Learning Centre, Durham University, Francois Hartog (Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales (EHESS))

After a brief survey of the form and extension of what I called the modern régime of historicity, I wish to look at the ways in which it has been accepted, utilized, criticized, or even refuted during the period 1870-1930.

I am going to try and ask how historians, among others, attempt to combine a full recognition of the idea of modern times, geared by progress, with the important task of reestablishing continuity of the French History beyond the gap of 1789 (Jules Michelet). Between 1848 and 1890, the centrality of Ernest Renan’s presence on the intellectual and political stage sheds light on what was at stake in understanding modern historicity in the later nineteenth century.

The break of the Great War will be addressed, notably, through Paul Valéry’s dismissal of History and through the unfinished novel of Robert Musil. We will also take a look at how some historians in the 20th century developed new answers to the crisis of the modern concept of time.


François Hartog is a French historian and Chair of Modern and Antique Historiography at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris. Born in 1946, Hartog attended the ‘École normale supérieure. A former student of Jean-Pierre Vernant and assistant to Reinhart Koselleck, Hartog’s early work focused on the intellectual history of ancient Greece and historiography, while his recent work deals mainly with temporality.

His most recent book to be published in English, Regimes of Historicity: Presentism and Experiences of Time (Columbia University Press, 2015, translated by Saskia Brown), engages our “ways of relating to the past, present, and future.” Hartog also tackles the concept of “presentism,” or how we adhere to present-day ideas to attempt to understand the past via interpretations of writing as the “motor of history” and the “contradictory qualities of our contemporary presentist relation to time.”

Hartog’s research frequently attempts to situate the progressions of time and memory against the realities of repetition and methodologies of understanding history from various theoretical reference points.

His other publications include Mémoire d’Ulysse: récits sur la frontière en Grèce ancienne (Gallimard, 1996), Anciens, modernes, sauvages (Galaade, 2005), and Vidal-Naquet, historien en personne (La Découverte, 2007), as well as countless articles, lectures, and, more recently, a series of podcasts on ancient and modern history.

Contact for more information about this event.

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Castle Lecture Series: Posthuman, all too Human

20:00, Great Hall, Durham Castle

Professor Rosi Braidotti, Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Centre for the Humanities, Utrecht University

Doors open from 7.45pm.

Lectures begin at 8pm, with questions for the speaker at 9pm.


Thursday 26th January

Agamben reading group (26 January, 16 February and 2 March)

17:00, A56

The Use of Bodies is possibly Agamben’s master work, concluding his famous Homo Sacer series. Moving from early Greek philosophy to the present, from Plato and Aristotle, through Paul and the Church Fathers, scholasticism, Leibniz and Spinoza, to Heidegger, Debord and Foucault, the book asks the following questions: What are bodies? What is at stake philosophically in the exploitation of our own bodies and those of others? How are bodies affected by our habits, our care, our mastery of techniques? How might thought about human potentiality and life be reinvigorated by a new conception of bodies and their uses? Because Agamben’s thought ranges so widely, the group aims to bring together colleagues and postgraduates from MLAC and other departments to collectively read this fascinating and complex text.

The reading for 26 January is Part II, Chapters 1 and 2.


Dickens and Over-hearing

17:30-20:30, Palace Green Library, Dr Peter Garratt

Dickens’s universe is thronged by innumerable well-defined voices, and his fiction carefully renders the acoustics of individual human speech and utterance. But what does Dickens reveal about what it’s like to overhear others? In this lecture, Peter Garratt will suggest why overhearing can help us unlock Dickens’s writing and creativity.

Overhearing is a special form of listening: it implies being drawn into secretive, fragmentary and possibly unsolicited auditory contact with proximate voices. As a novelist, Dickens felt he overheard some of his characters in the act of inventing them, such as Mrs Gamp, the alcoholic nurse from Martin Chuzzlewit, who would whisper incessantly to the author around the time he was writing the novel–a jovial torment Dickens was unable to fight off. At another level, the narrative style of his novels positions the reader at times as an overhearer, while overhearing becomes a dramatic device of its own when voices travel and escape from context or cross boundaries in key scenes. And, related as it is to eavesdropping and spying, overhearing divulges narrative secrets and misinformation. Most strikingly perhaps, Dickens’s most autobiographical fiction suggests that memory can take the form of overhearing oneself.

This is a free event organised as part of the Hearing the Voice project.

To book a place, please visit:

Contact for more information about this event.

Click here for more information.


Annual Lecture with CVAC, Theology and Religion: ‘Change is Continuity at the Venerable English College, Rome’ with Dr Richardson

17:30-19:15, Ushaw College, Dr Carol Richardson

We are delighted to invite to Durham, Dr. Carol Richardson from Edinburgh Collge of Art to give our annual lecture at Usahw College

Drinks Reception: 5.30pm; Lecture: 6pm-7.15pm

All are welcome; registration is required. To book a place, please email or telephone Jane on 0191 334 1656.

Contact for more information about this event.

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Van Mildert Senior Common Room Lecture: Electricity and Life

18:00-21:00, Ustinov Room, Van Mildert College
In this lecture Professor Stuart Wilson explores how the science of “electrophysiology” developed during the 19th and 20th centuries and explain how electrical phenomena underlie almost all biological processes.

This is a one-off event.

Contact for more information about this event.


Saturday 28th January

Defiant Requiem – Verdi at Terezin

19:30, Durham Cathedral

This is the UK Premiere of Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín which tells the story of courageous Jewish prisoners in the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp during World War II who learned Verdi’s Requiem Mass and then performed this compelling work 16 times as a statement of defiance and resistance, answering the worst of mankind with the best of mankind.

The concert/drama features a full performance of Verdi’s famous oratorio with actors, video testimony from surviving members of the choir, and original Nazi propaganda film footage. The performance is powerful, dramatic and inspirational, with a contemporary message of hope.

Creator & Conductor: Murry Sidlin,
Lecturer: Jane Arnfield
Rafael Schächter: Ali Pritchard
Soprano: Gweneth-Ann Rand
Mezzo-soprano: Alison Kettlewell
Tenor: Philip Sheffield
Bass-baritone: Keel Watson
Orchestra: Durham Choral Society Orchestra and Durham University Orchestral Society
Choirs: Durham Choral Society and Durham University Chamber Choir
Choirmaster: Michael Summers
Executive Producer: Tony Harrington

Tickets £25.00, £22.00, £10.00 (Concessions £20.00, £18.00, £8.00),

Tickets available from Gala Theatre Box Office 03000 266600 or

For more information contact The Forge on 01207284515, or

Click here for more information.


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