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What is Visual Culture –And Why Should We Care?

Posted by lostincci on April 19, 2018

Howells Inaugural Image

Richard Howells, CMCI’s Professor of Cultural Sociology, is to give an Inaugural Lecture at King’s on: “What is Visual Culture –And Why Should We Care?”

In his talk, Howells will define visual culture as an academic field, especially as distinguished from art history. He’ll argue that art history is a subdivision of visual culture, and not vice versa. He will then proceed to make the case for the study of visual culture today. It is an argument that he promises will include some heretical departures from the orthodoxies of current thought in education and beyond.

The lecture will be followed by a wine and canape reception, and will be introduced by Professor Evelyn Welch, KCL’s Provost and Senior Vice President (Arts & Sciences).

Inaugural Lectures are a traditional way in which UK universities mark the appointment or promotion of new professors. They are open to both university members and the public. Richard Howells’ inaugural takes place on Thursday, May 10, 2018 in the Edmond J Safra Lecture Theatre, King’s Building, Strand Campus from 19:00 to 20:15. The reception follows.  It is open to all and free to attend, but booking is required via Eventbrite. Please click

Further details are available at: The event is organized by the King’s College London Arts & Humanities Research Institute.

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CMCI Hosts International Media Conference

Posted by lostincci on April 13, 2018


The second semester may be over, but CMCI is getting into full international research mode as we host the Media Industries Conference, 2018. Under the theme: “Current Debates and Future Directions” the three-day event provides an interdisciplinary forum for reviewing the past and present state of media industries research, together with future directions in the field.

The conference chair, CMCI’s Professor Paul McDonald, notes the range of disciplines involved in the conversation, including the political economy of communications, sociology of media occupations and institutions, media economics, media management, and media industry historiography, together with critical and cultural studies.

Our international plenary speakers come from: Queensland University of Technology, Australia; Lund University, Sweden; the University of California; Northwestern University in Qatar; RMIT University, USA; Université Grenoble Alpes, Switzerland; University of Texas, Austin; Tallinn University, Estonia; and the University of Rhode Island.

The host committee includes CMCI’s Dr Bridget Conor, Dr Virginia Crisp; Professor Jeanette Steemers, and our Head of department Dr Sarah Atkinson, who has provided a note of welcome in the conference programme.

The conference takes place at King’s College London’s Strand Campus from 18-20 April 2018. Further information, including a list of our sponsors, is available at:

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ACE Award for Ricarda Vidal

Posted by lostincci on April 11, 2018

Talking T

Congratulations to CMCI’s Dr Ricarda Vidal, who has just received news from Arts Council England that she has won for a grant of £9,000 to support her “Talking Transformations: Home on the Move” project.

The money will go towards a travelling exhibition and a programme of public workshops and talks. The exhibition of poems, literary translations, art films and sound work will be installed at the Whitstable Biennale (64a Gallery Whitstable) from June  9th -10th;  the Ledbury Poetry Festival from June 29th to July 8th;  and at the Poetry Library Southbank Centre from July 26th to October 14th.

“Talking Transformations” is a platform to examine what “home” means at a time when notions of “home” in Europe are becoming more fluid, and being challenged and reshaped by unprecedented migration. Full details are at:

“Talking Transformations” is led by Ricarda and Manuela Perteghella, who is a translation theorist, translator and curator.

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Harvey G. Cohen’s US Tour

Posted by lostincci on April 9, 2018

Cohen UCL.2jpg

CMCI Senior Lecturer Dr Harvey G Cohen is off to the United States on a seven-date tour to talk about his latest book: Who’s in The Money?

He kicks off at the University of Texas, history department, on April 11th; then at the Film Forum, New York City, on April 23; on to three days at Lincoln Center, New York City (where he will also be talking about his earlier monograph on Duke Ellington at an event featuring Wynton Marsalis) from April 26th to 28th; and finally four events in two days (29-30th April) at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Who’s In the Money:  The Great Depression Musicals and Hollywood’s New Deal (Edinburgh University Press, 2018) features three 1933 Warner Bros Great Depression musicals: “42nd Street”, “Gold Diggers of 1933” and “Footlight Parade”, all of which will be shown during Cohen’s “residence” at the American Film Institute.

Our photograph shows Harvey speaking  about the book at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles earlier this year, which was followed next day by a talk and signing at Book Soup on Sunset Strip. Last month he was a guest speaker at the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford.

Photo credit: Stefania Marghitu

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Museums and Participation

Posted by lostincci on April 3, 2018


Our 2017-18 CMCI research seminar series ended on a high note with a well-attended presentation: “Museums and Participation- Who Goes.. (and who doesn’t?).”

Our guest speaker, Dr Lisanne Gibson, said that the audience for museums is overwhelmingly predicted by an individual’s level of income and education: Museum visitors are predominantly white and middle class. This led to a need to rethink how museums could better offer a service to the majority, now and into the future.

Her presentation drew upon interviews and emerging findings from the AHRC-funded research project: “Understanding Everyday Participation”.

Lisanne Gibson is based at the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester. She has worked in the field of cultural policy studies for over 25 years and focuses especially on cultural participation and value. The CMCI research seminar series is organised by our director of research, Professor Jeanette Steemers.

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CMCI MA Student’s Research Featured in the Independent

Posted by lostincci on March 28, 2018


Research that began as a collaborative dissertation project carried out by a former CMCI MA student Qiuling Liu has been featured in the Independent.

Quiling’s dissertation research led to her published report “Breaking the Binary: Exploring the Role of Media Representation of Trans People in Constructing a Safer and More Inclusive Social Environment”. According to the Independent: “A recent report by King’s College London found that negative representations of trans people in the media can worsen dysphoria causing feelings of shame.”

Recommendations from the report include the need to involve more trans people in the production of media content in order to create safer and more inclusive social environments for trans communities.

You can read the article at: The executive summary of the report can be accessed here:

Quiling’s research was carried out in association with On Road Media and supervised by Dr Red Chidgey, Lecturer in Gender and Media in CMCI.

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Moving Hearts

Posted by lostincci on March 1, 2018


How do you fancy making a human heart –out of clay of course! CMCI’s Professor Anna Reading  hopes there will be 1,000 of them ready by the time the Moving Hearts Procession she is helping to organise sets off from King’s to London’s  Migration Museum at the Workshop in Lambeth on March 24.

Moving Hearts is a collaboration between Anna, Australian artist Penny Ryan, and Dr James Bjork, also from King’s. It builds on Penny’s previous Connecting Hearts Project, which has involved 1000s of people in Sydney reflecting on their connection with people seeking asylum, particularly those in detention.

The organisers say that debates about migration often focus on the divide between those with and those without a right to belong in the UK and that it is easy to forget the hearts we have in common. Moving Hearts invites the public to participate in an art and research project that raises questions about belonging.

If you want to participate, free workshops are being held at venues in central London (including at King’s) until March 17th. More details –including how to register– are available at:  The project is funded by the Alliance PluS social justice theme with UNSW and Arizona State University. The Claytime Collective are providing free clay and firing.

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Creating Exhibitions: From Ideas to Execution

Posted by lostincci on March 1, 2018

creative careers

CMCI’s student-led Creative Careers Committee report a considerable success with their event: “Creating Exhibitions: From Ideas to Execution.”

They wanted to know what were the processes and challenges behind creating an exhibition in the cultural sector– and invited leading practitioners from the creative industries to help them find out.

The panel included Jill Cook, acting keeper of the Department of Britain, Europe and Prehistory at The British Museum; Jennifer Caroline Ellis, head of projects and development at Edouard Malingue Gallery & Co-founder of Young Collectors Collective (YCC); Eloise Maxwell, public relations and communications manager at the National Army Museum; and Catherine Pütz, head of touring exhibitions at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

The ensuing discussion was chaired by CMCI’s Dr Kate McMillan.


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Who’s In The Money?

Posted by lostincci on February 15, 2018

Cohen Who's In The Money Cover

We are delighted to announce the publication of Dr Harvey Cohen’s new book Who’s In The Money? The Great Depression Musicals and Hollywood’s New Deal. Published by the Edinburgh University Press, his monograph outlines the history of the Warner Brothers musicals during 1933 and their political, historical and cultural connections -on and offscreen- with the newly-elected U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal.

Using newly unearthed primary sources, Cohen examines the bitter yet little-known struggle to create a National Recovery Administration (NRA) code of practice for the motion picture industry and at the same time shows how studio moguls sought to curtail workers’ salaries and rights.

Over the next few months Harvey will be talking about this research -and promoting the book- in Hollywood, Oxford, New York, Washington, and the University of Southern California. We’ll be reporting on that in future blogs.

Harvey G Cohen is a Senior Lecturer in Culture, Media and Creative Industries.  For more information, on the book, go to:

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The Book of Dust

Posted by lostincci on February 13, 2018

Book of Dust

The latest Philip Pullman novel is reviewed by Richard Howells, our Professor of Cultural Sociology, in the current (London) Times Higher Education.

Fans will recognise this as La Belle Sauvage, the much-anticipated “prequel” to Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, which featured Lyra, Oxford, assorted witches, and armoured bears: A heady mixture of the familiar and the imaginary, woven around an epic struggle between good and evil.

Howells is not only a fan of Pullman: He has also discussed His Dark Materials in his own recent book: A Critical Theory of Creativity: Utopia, Aesthetics, Atheism and Design (2015; paperback 2017).

La Belle Sauvage is itself part of a trilogy The Book of Dust, with two more parts yet to come. Howells’ review is included in the Higher’s “What Are You Reading” feature in print and online at:


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