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Off the Wall

Posted by lostincci on August 25, 2015


Ruth Adams was interviewed on Sky News about the new Banksy exhibition, Dismaland, which has just opened in a derelict entertainment centre in the seaside town of Weston Super Mare.  The satirical exhibition, a pastiche of Disney theme parks, includes exhibits such as a decrepit Cinderella’s castle and a boating lake in which the model boats are packed full of refugees.  It also features work by other artists, notably Damien Hirst, David Shrigley and Jenny Holzer.

Dr Adams was asked who she thought the audience for the show might be, and discussed Banksy’s huge popularity, which extends far beyond the elitist confines of the art world, and what they, and Weston Super Mare might get from it.

You can learn more about the exhibition here:

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“It Don’t Mean a Thing….”

Posted by lostincci on August 14, 2015

Goodman and Ellington

CMCI Senior Lecturer and cultural historian Dr Harvey G Cohen provided commentary on BBC Radio 3, celebrating the history of big band swing music during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.

Along with jazz critic/author and radio host Alyn Shipton and Open University academic Catherine Tackley, he discussed the historical influences of Prohibition, New York City performance venues, the Kansas City “territories,” and radio on the early history of jazz.

The presentation included short period clips starring Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman (pictured together, above) and Fletcher Henderson. To hear the broadcast for the next couple weeks on the BBC iPlayer, you can head towards this address:

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Life In Squares?

Posted by lostincci on August 12, 2015

PL 20 Fry Duccio Three Marys Copy

Our Reader in Culture, Media and Creative Industries Dr Richard Howells can’t find much that is nice to say about the recent BBC TV Bloomsbury Group drama “Life in Squares, but is much more pleased to see his article “Copies and Translations: Roger Fry, Old Masters and the Omega Workshops” just published in the latest British Art Journal.

He hopes this will serve, at least, as  a counterpoint to the series’ implication that all the Bloomsbury Group did was sleep with each other.

The full citation is: Richard Howells, “Copies and Translations: Roger Fry, Old Masters and the Omega Workshops” in The British Art Journal, Volume XVI, No. 1, 2015 (Summer), pp. 47-57. ISSN 1647-2006. Our picture shows a copy of a section of an  Italian altarpiece by Roger Fry.

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Gender Recalled?

Posted by lostincci on July 6, 2015

Professor Anna Reading

CMCI is in at the beginning of new work on themes of memory, gender, human rights and resilience in the arts. It started with a colloquium at King’s involving some twenty five artists, storytellers, theatre practitioners, knitters, photographers, together with academics from many disciplines from across the UK.

Dr Jelke Boesten of the Institute for International Development opened with a presentation on rethinking gender as resilience through the arts and the day ended with Professor Anna Reading, head of CMCI (pictured), responding to the day by asking participants to write the first line of a story they would tell in order to save their life.

The event was organised by Dr Red Chidgey and Dr Jessica Rapson of CMCI, with social media help from students from the CMCI’s MA in Cultural and Creative Industries: Joshua Hines-Dedman, Cindy Fung and Carolin Huth.

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A Critical Theory of Creativity

Posted by lostincci on July 2, 2015


Dr Richard Howells’ new book A Critical Theory of Creativity: Utopia, Aesthetics, Atheism and Design has just been published (London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan and St. Martin’s Press).

It argues that a Utopian drive is aesthetically encoded within the language of form. Combining multidisciplinary theory with case studies ranging from planned communities to the relationship between Navajo theology and design, the book demonstrates how humankind is striving to fashion a better world from the raw materials we inherit.

Building upon the work of Ernst Bloch, Dr Howells sees the ‘fall’ as a liberation and Prometheus as a hero. He takes religion seriously as a cultural narrative, but replaces divine creation with human creativity. Coupled with this liberation from Eden comes a very human obligation that cannot be delegated to God, to nature or to market forces. A Critical Theory of Creativity‘s intellectual compass ranges from Roger Fry to Philip Pullman and Slavoj Žižek, returning always to an empowering, human-centred universe. As Bloch declared in The Spirit of Utopia, ‘Life has been put into our hands.’

Slavoj Žižek describes the book as: “a brilliant and magisterial overview of Bloch’s continued importance for today’s dystopian world…” Dr Howells is Reader in Culture, Media and Creative Industries here at CMCI. For more details go to: The book is also available for the usual online sellers.

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Dr Querol’s Paper at the École Normale Superiéure

Posted by lostincci on June 30, 2015

Nuria Querol

CMCI’s Dr Nuria Querol was in Paris to give a paper gave a paper at the ARTLAS Conference: “South-South Axes of Global Art” at the prestigious École Normale Superiéure. The conference focused on South-South axes of global art circulation from the beginnings of decolonisation to the present day.

Her presentation “The Delhi Biennale: Paradoxical Conditions in South-South Axes of Global Art and Politics” examined the proposed but never realised Delhi Biennale in the mid 2000s, its relation with the ideas and politics of the global south and what factors shaped the ultimate non-realisation of the exhibition.

The paper drew on Dr Querol’s long-standing research on globalisation and curating contemporary art, particularly in India and China. This research will feed into the new MA module “Art and Globalisation” that she is convening for CMCI next academic year.

For more information on the conference, go to:

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The Upside of Decline and Fall

Posted by lostincci on June 26, 2015

Recently minted PhD graduate Dr Jonathan Theodore has a double cause for celebration: He has just signed a contract for the publication of a book based on his doctoral thesis.

His book will investigate representations of the “decline and fall” of Rome from the late nineteenth through the early twenty-first centuries. Jonathan is showing how writers, filmmakers and the media have conceptualized this decline and the parallels they have drawn, deliberately or unconsciously, to their contemporary worlds.

Publication is due in June 2016 with Palgrave Macmillan. His research supervisor was CMCI’s Reader in Culture, Media and Creative Industries, Dr Richard Howells.

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Who Dunnit?

Posted by lostincci on June 25, 2015


Who invented the cinema? If you are French, you will probably say: “The Lumière Brothers”. If you are American, no doubt: “Thomas Edison”. But CMCI’s Dr Richard Howells appeared on BBC Radio 4’s flagship “Today” programme to argue for a third candidate: Louis Le Prince, a Frenchman who worked in England before moving to the United States.

Unfortunately, Le Prince died under mysterious circumstances before he could take any credit for his invention, which Dr Howells likened to a philosophical tree falling, unheard, in a metaphorical forest.

The interview was with BBC Media and Arts Correspondent David Sillito. For the whole story of Le Prince see Dr Howells’ research article: “Louis Le Prince: The Body of Evidence” in Screen, Volume 47, Number 2, Summer 2006, pp. 179-200, and his more journalistic piece: “A Movie Murder Mystery” in The Times Higher Education Supplement, July 23, 1999, pp. 18-19.

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Btihaj Ajana Awarded Marie Curie Fellowship

Posted by lostincci on June 23, 2015


Congratulations to CMCI lecturer Dr Btihaj Ajana who has been awarded a prestigious Marie Curie Fellowship.

Dr Ajana will be working on the project ‘The Over-examined Life: Ontologies of the Quantified Self, researching the social significance and ethical dimensions of metric culture as manifested through the example of the Quantified Self movement.

The Marie Curie scheme aims to enhance the creative and innovative potential of excellent international researchers, enabling a full focus on research activities in a multidisciplinary setting. Dr Ajana will be hosted by the Institute of Advanced Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark, and the award will run from October 2015 to September 2017.

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‘The cloud is not green, cheap or safe’

Posted by lostincci on June 23, 2015

Anna internationellt-mote-kulturfo

Professor Anna Reading, head of CMCI, brought ‘the cloud’ back to earth with a keynote address to 200 people at the Public Concert Hall in Norkopping, Sweden.

Her talk: ‘Cloud Memories: The Material Fabrication, Frictions and Flow of Digital Memory” opened the annual Cultural Studies International Conference in Sweden and also garnered coverage in the Swedish media. It drew on research from an international project with Dr Tanya Notley at the University of Western Sydney, where Anna Reading is Visiting Professor, to show how saving our memories and data to the cloud is costing people’s livelihoods and the earth, as well as destroying far older indigenous memories that include 60,000 year old rock art.

“The ‘cloud’ has material environmental consequences that include the use of rare earths in our digital devices. Our tablets and mobile phones, desktops and cloud storage need rare earths which are difficult to process without radioactive waste and the potential destruction of ecological systems and communities” said Professor Reading. The processing of rare earths to meet the needs of our thirst to save everything to digital memory is leading to international protests in Malaysia which Professor Reading and Dr Notley’s research has been following.

For more information and media coverage, go to: and

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