Author - Sarah Budasz, Blog, events, MLAC events, PG events, Reading Groups, Research Groups

MLAC EVENTS BULLETIN: 13th-19th November

Monday 13th November


IAS Fellow’s Seminar – Politics, psychotherapy and the puzzle of dualism

13:00-14:00, IAS Seminar Room, Palace Green, Dr Wahbie Long (University of Cape Town)

One of the most contested issues in psychology has to do with the relationship of the individual to the social world. This debate arises repeatedly in the field of psychotherapy where questions abound regarding the place of politics in the consulting room. One understanding of the problem is that the broader psychological discipline not only embraces capitalism but also endorses a form of dualism that divides the social-material and psychological domains from one another.

The general result has been for psychotherapists to advocate a form of psychological adaptationism that adjusts individuals to the dysfunctional social structures that surround them. By contrast, many Marxist psychologists have denounced this posture and insisted on folding the psyche back into its material substrate. The outcome of this maneouvre has often played out with these psychologists abandoning either their Marxism or psychology altogether. In this seminar,Dr Long examines the prospects of a viable Marxist psychology-psychotherapy that takes seriously the social determinants of psychological suffering yet is capable of overcoming such dualities as insideness-outsideness, interiority-exteriority, or psychism-materialism.

Places are limited at these lunchtime seminars and so any academic colleagues interested in attending, should contact the Institute in advance to reserve a place.

Contact for more information about this event.


Public Talk: ‘The Charter of the Forest 1217: Landscape, Memory and Sense of Place’.

18:00-19:30, The Learning Centre, Palace Green Library, Professor Guy Standing and Dr Cherry Leonardi

Rob Cowen, prize-winning author of Common Ground, and Professor Andy Wood, Department of History, Durham University will deliver this talk. The 1217 Charter of the Forest was the charter that gave Magna Carta its name. This series of public talks explores the historical meaning and relevance of the charter today.

All events are FREE. Talks will begin at 18:30, with tea and coffee served from 18:00.
Free tickets can be reserved via the Eventbrite website (search #charteroftheforest).
No guaranteed entry without an Eventbrite reservation.

Contact for more information about this event.

This event is free. The talk will begin at 18:30, with tea and coffee served from 18:00.


Tuesday 14th November

IAS Fellow’s Public Leture – An Australian Experiment: 100 years in search of meaning

17:30-18:30, Ustinov College, Dr Tom Murray (Macquarie University, Australia)

The story of Douglas Grant first came to Australian public attention in 1916 through a series of newspaper articles. He is introduced as a ‘sergeant in the King’s forces’ who is about to ship to World War I. The earliest versions of the story focus on how a ‘full-blood Aboriginal’ was taken from his family among the Indigenous rainforest nations of far north Queensland and grew up in Sydney, gaining numerous accomplishments.
This lecture is free and open to all.

The story is told in order to arrive at a singular conclusion: ‘this brief history demonstrates what may be done with an aboriginal when taken early and trained’. In other words, Douglas Grant’s life story is remade as experimental evidence for Aboriginal assimilation into Anglo-colonial society. For the last 100 years numerous biographical attempts on Douglas Grant’s life have yielded conclusions about the possibility of Aboriginal and Australian Settler-Colonial state relationships. Taken together these 100 years of biographical ‘storytellings’ on the life of Douglas Grant yield a fascinating insight into a history of 20th Century racial science, settler-colonial historiography, and the shifting position of Indigenous Australians in the narrative of Australia.

Contact for more information about this event.


The Columba We Deserve: The Archaeology of a Saint’s Cult on Iona in Long-Term Perspective

17:30, The Learning Centre, Palace Green Library, Dr Adrian Maldonado (University of Glasgow)

This event is part of the IMEMS Religious Diversity seminar series for 2017/18.

Please note that places for this event will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. To book your place click here

The monastic site of Iona Abbey, Argyll & Bute, founded in AD 563 by St Columba grew into one of Britain and Ireland’s major centres of intellectual and artistic innovation, and remained an important spiritual and political centre throughout the later medieval period. Today it is one of Scotland’s iconic visitor attractions and has attracted centuries of antiquarian and archaeological interest. The author is currently involved with the latest programme of excavation and reinterpretation on the site, and with new work comes new questions. The question of dating of the pilgrimage activity on the site is now central to our concerns, as it appears it is precociously early and structured the layout of the site through several re-foundations and building campaigns through the years despite numerous changes to its social, political and spiritual status. How was the cult of St Columba emphasised or de-emphasised during these changes? To paraphrase the famous saying by Jacquetta Hawkes, did every age get the Columba it deserved? This paper will summarise the material evidence for pilgrimage to the shrine of St Columba in long-term perspective and show how memory, place and belief are co-emergent with the built environment on Iona.

Adrián Maldonado is the Archaeology Project Support Officer at the University of Glasgow. He administers the Iona Research Group including writing up the results of the unpublished excavations on Iona by the late Prof Charles Thomas.

Contact for more information about this event.



18:15-19:15, ER 141

The word ‘greenth’ sounds like an oddity, but this lecture in our Walpole and His Legacies series will show how it unlocks key ideas about the politics and attitudes of the eighteenth century and our own time. Join the conversation via #WalpoleLegacies.

In 1753 Horace Walpole coined the word greenth. Dictionaries tell us that it means ‘green vegetation’, but it means much more, and in this lecture I’m going to explore some of the ways in which green stuff mattered to Walpole and his contemporaries. Merging green and growth, Walpole’s greenth signals not just greenery, but the urge to see in the growth of the green an account of the natural; in adding an Old English suffix, Walpole signals, too, that greenth is not only natural, but naturally English. If this sounds like a celebration of easy and untroubled pleasure, of a simple communion with nature, I’m going to suggest that it offers us something more complex, that the celebration of greenery and growth—much like our modern economy’s hoped for, but rarely glimpsed, green shoots of recovery—is the stuff of political fantasy, national pride, and suspicion of foreigners both living and dead.

Image credit: Cliveden near Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, in A Description of the Villa of Horace Walpole (1784). Reproduced courtesy of the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.

This lecture is part of the Durham University series of Tercentenary Lectures: Horace Walpole and His Legacies. For further dates please visit

Contact for more information about this event.


Musicon: Classical Indian Ragas

19:30, St Chad’s College Chapel

Josh Feinberg (sitar)
Gurdain Rayatt (tabla)

The programme will feature a selection of classical Hindustani ragas.

Josh Feinberg is the best-kept secret of the Hindustani music scene. Known and loved by top musicians and music lovers, he represents the future of sitar and the growing diversity of the Hindustani music field. Josh has a fresh approach to the instrument, and something unique to say. He has established himself as a leading sitarist of his generation and is making a name for himself with connoisseurs of Hindustani music, as well art music communities around the world.

Josh will be accompanied by Gurdain Rayatt, a disciple of the late maestro Pandit Shankar Ghosh and currently one of the best tabla players in the UK.

Presented with GemArts

Tickets: £10, Students £4, Under 18s £1


Wednesday 15th November

PG Forum: How to write an effective abstract, Part 1

12:00-13:00, ER145

In this workshop we will discuss the elements that go into writing a successful abstract in the context of academic publishing in the humanities. Using a selection of sample abstracts, we will analyse and compare different approaches in order to create model templates of good practice. Depending on student demand, a follow-up event would take place in Epiphany Term offering the opportunity of peer feedback, working with your own abstract submissions.

In preparation for the workshop, you are encouraged to consult the following helpful pages:


Lunchtime Concert: DULOG Showcase

13:15-13:45, Concert Room, Music Department

The lunchtime concert this week will feature members of Durham University Light Opera Group performing songs from their recent shows and other musical theatre hits! The concert is free of charge.

Contact for more information about this event.


Back to the Future

14:00-16:00, ER 141, Elvet Riverside


Join us for this inspirational yearly event and meet 5 of our recent MLAC alumni who are coming back to Durham to talk about their careers post degree.

Come and find out how many opportunities are open to language graduates  and how their skills are valued by employers.

There will be a Q&A at the end of the session.  EVERYONE IS WELCOME!


Breath, Pulse and Measure in American Poetry

18:15-19:45, ER142

Prof David Fuller examines Charles Olson’s breath-related theories of poetic structure and how these ideas were taken up by other poets, including William Carlos Williams. Part of Arts of Breath, a series of lecture-performances exploring the role of breath in poetry, fiction, singing, dance and visual art.

Our Arts of Breath Series launches with Prof David Fuller exploring the significance of breath to the Black Mountain Poets.
In his manifesto ‘Projective Verse’ (1950) Charles Olson proposed a new view of poetic structure based on the breath. Olson’s polemic acted as a focus for a group of American poets loosely attached to Black Mountain College, which was associated with experimentation in the arts more generally, and became a central document for much later 20th Century American poetry. Olson’s ideas were taken up, developed and modified by established poets, including William Carlos Williams, and by younger writers with whom both Olson and Williams entered into dialogue, including Robert Creeley and Denise Levertov. This lecture will examine Olson’s breath-related theories of poetic structure and backgrounds to his ideas in earlier American writing. It will consider how poems related to his ideas were presented on the page; using the considerable archive of their extant audio and video recordings, how breath-based theories about structure can be heard in the poems as these were performed by the poets themselves; how ears acculturated to the meters of European poetry can learn to hear and perform for themselves the measures of poetry based in American demotic; and whether a poem is a poem until the reader has learned how to hear its form.

Free, no need to book. All welcome.

Organised by Life of Breath, a Wellcome Trust funded research project exploring breathing and breathlessness.

Contact for more information about this event.


Thursday 16th November

The Continental Philosophy Reading Group: A Thousand Plateaus

13:00, Room TBC

The Continental Philosophy Reading Group will this year focus on Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia.

A Thousand Plateaus is important to quite a lot of interesting philosophy of the moment, especially in the fields of ecologies, post-humanism, assemblage theory and new ontologies. A Thousand Plateaus engages with literary texts, psychoanalysis, semiotics and linguistics in interesting ways, and develops the concepts of the body without organs, deterritorialization and strata. Written as an exercise in non-linear, nomadic thought, it should make excellent reading group material.

All welcome – please contact for more information about this event.


Lumiere Installation 2017 ‘Know thyself’: Converting Bodies and Souls

17:00-18:00, Seminar Room 1, History Department

Building on from ideas explored in Finola Finn’s Lumiere installation, ‘Know thyself’, two complementary papers will examine the role of the heart, as both organ and symbol, in seventeenth-century transatlantic encounters:

Finola Finn, Durham University

‘A broken and believing heart is the kernell’: Inwardness in ‘Know thyself’ and Transatlantic Encounters

Dr Lauren Working, TIDE Project, University of Liverpool

Eating Hearts: Cannibalism and Friendship in England and America

For further details, please see the attached flyer. If you are planning to attend, you may want to consider being on the Bailey before 4pm, as access to the peninsula will be closed to pedestrians without Lumiere tickets between 4 and 7:30pm. After the seminar, we are planning to walk as a group to the ‘Know thyself’ installation, at the Count’s House. Please join us.

Contact for more information about this event.


Friday 17th November

Lumiere Durham Conference 2017: Who are we and where are we headed?

09:00-16:30, Gala Theatre Durham

Lumiere, the UK’s largest light festival will return to Durham from the 16th – 19th November 2017 with a spectacular programme of light installations illuminating the city. This one-day conference, exploring the question Who are we and where are we headed? will take place during the festival.

From fields spanning experimental physics to architecture, and education to theatre, experts will share their experiences, expertise, and opinions on ideas about our changing world.

Among the speakers will be Durham University Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart Corbridge; Tony Heaton OBE, Founder of NDACA (National Disability Arts Collection and Archive) and Chief Executive of Shape, a disability-led arts organisation working to provide opportunities and support for disabled artists; Judith Knight MBE, Founder and co-director, Artsadmin, an organisation which supports and produces the work of contemporary artists and companies working across all artistic disciplines; and The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham.

Also featured are Anuradha Henriques, Founder and Editor of Skin Deep, a multimedia platform that amplifies voices of colour through the discussion of race and culture; Noeline Kavanagh, Artistic Director of Macnas, an internationally acclaimed theatre company staging groundbreaking and award-winning performances for festivals and communities around the world; and Selina Nwulu, a poet, writer and campaigner who will read poems in response to the conference theme and create a new work especially for the day.

The conference will be hosted by Artichoke in association with Durham County Council and supported by the European Commission.

Image credit: Mysticète, Top’là Design, Catherine Garret, Lumiere Durham 2015. Produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matthew Andrews

To book tickets


El Camino de Santiago, un producto del pasado con futuro. Génesis y gastronomía en el Camino de Santiago: a seminar with Cristobal Ramírez

15:00, ER152

El Camino de Santiago is the pilgrimage route to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in the Galicia region of northwestern Spain. Tradition has it that the remains of the apostle St. James are buried there after having been transported by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain and buried on the site of what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela.

Cristóbal Ramírez will give a presentation about this pilgrimage route which has existed since the 10th Century and try to answer several questions about it: Was the body of the Apostle really buried in the Spanish city of Compostela, which was thought to be close to the end of the world at that time? Why did its discovery cause a wave of pilgrimage that continues today? The presentation will also look at “historical gastronomy”. In other words, what would pilgrims eat in the Middle Ages? Why, in some places, were they given a litre of wine a day, for free?

Cristobal Ramírez is a journalist at La Voz de Galicia and lectures at the Universidad da Coruña. He is the president of the Asociación de Periodistas del Camino de Santiago. He has published many books and won several prizes and awards.


Sunday 19th November

Being Human: a festival of humanities – a taste of the past

11:00-15:10, Blackfriars Restaurant & Banquet Hall, Friars Street, Newcastle, NE1 4XN

Durham University is running two events as part of the Being Human, National Festival of Humanities, this November. The Festival takes place in the middle two weeks of November across the UK, involving hundreds of events showcasing humanities research in all its variety and richness.

The two events, supported by the Festival, Durham University’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities, the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and the Institute of Advanced Study, take place on the 19th and 25th November. The IAS took a leading role in the early establishment of the Festival which is run from the School of Advanced Study in London.

For the full Festival programme see:

A Taste of the Past

Blackfriars Restaurant and Durham University’s Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies presents ‘A Taste of the Past’, a series of interactive activities, tastings, a poster exhibition and live music, all connected to medieval food. Featuring the story of the earliest medieval recipe collection, associated with Durham Cathedral, the event will look at medieval food in a wider compass: how was food sourced, prepared, preserved and eaten? What was medieval food? Working with the modern restaurant kitchen at Blackfriars brings all of this into a contemporary perspective, with insights from the restaurant bringing this cuisine to the table, and with a delicious musical accompaniment.

TIMINGS – Session 1
11:00 Welcome introduction
11:20 Musical entertainment
11:50 Talk on medieval food
12:30 Medieval food demonstration

TIMINGS – Session 2
13:00 Welcome introduction
13:20 Musical entertainment
13:50 Talk on medieval food
14:30 Medieval food demonstration

This event is free and open to the public – adults and children. If you would like to attend please email us here stating your name, contact number, number of people attending (including any children) and which session you wish to attend. Please note numbers are limited so early booking is essential. If you would like to have Sunday Lunch with please book seperately here.

Contact for more information about this event.


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