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In Our Hands

Posted by lostincci on July 8, 2016

Navajo Rug c 1910 (detail)

Scholarly research meets artistic expression at a new exhibition at Somerset House. It’s a collaboration between CMCI academic Dr Richard Howells and London-based art collective Le Gun, under the title “In Our Hands”. It explores the relationship between creativity and Utopia, combining their ideas about the role of aesthetics, culture, mythology and religion in making the world a better place.

The starting point is Howells’ book A Critical Theory of Creativity: Utopia, Aesthetics, Atheism and Design, and this two-room exhibit translates the verbal into the visual, showing Utopia to be a process rather than a destination.

Le Gun’s installation Temple of Perpetual Myth combines with Howells’ cross-cultural selection of exhibits to ask where creativity comes from. Together they illustrate the human drive to take the raw materials of life and make them into things that are better than they instrumentally need to be.

Making in the arts is shown to be both a process and a metaphor for the path to Utopia. This is not a luxury but an obligation. As the philosopher Ernst Bloch declared: “Life has been put into our hands.”

The installation runs until September 30th at the Inigo Rooms, Somerset House, as part of the Utopia 2016 celebration. More at:

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Words, Brush-strokes and Dancing Shoes

Posted by lostincci on July 4, 2016


Words, brush-strokes and dancing shoes have combined in a symposium on translatability across invisible borders in a symposium: Intersemiotic Translation, organised by CMCI Teaching Fellow Dr Ricarda Vidal and Madeleine Campbell.

They explain that intersemiotic translation (such the translation of a poem into dance, or a short story into an olfactory experience, or a film into a painting) opens up a myriad of possibilities to carries form and sense from one culture into another -beyond the limitations of words. The symposium brought together an international group of academics, translators, curators and artists.  For more information, see:

Meanwhile, you can still join Ricarda and her team for a lunchtime of child’s play in The Quad at the Strand Campus on Wednesday 6 July, 1pm – 2pm. If you haven’t yet filled in thier survey, you can do so here: Participants will go into a draw to win a £50 book voucher!

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Anna Reading Speaks at Oxford

Posted by lostincci on June 24, 2016

Professor Anna Reading

Our Head of Department Professor Anna Reading has been speaking at the International Gender Studies Centre at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University.

She presented the final talk on her research project: “Gender and Memory in the ‘Globital’ Age” as part of their “Research in Gender at Oxford” series.

Lady Margaret Hall was founded in 1878 as the first women’s college at Oxford University, and in 1978 started admitting men -one of the first Oxford women’s colleges to do so. The current Principal is former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger.

For more on the Research in Gender series at Oxford go to:

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New Publication from Laura Speers

Posted by lostincci on June 23, 2016

Speers Book Image

CMCI Teaching Fellow Dr Laura Speers has a book chapter just out in an edited volume on the economic geography of music.

The chapter is entitled ‘From Artist to Entrepreneur: The Working Lives of London-Based Rappers‘, and shows how in a changing musical landscape, rappers are having to make sense of their changing role as artists.

You can read it in in B. Hracs, M. Seman & T. Virani (Eds.) The Production and Consumption and Consumption of Music in the Digital Age published by Routledge, 2016.

The book has its own twitter account which you can follow here:

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International Successes for Kate McMillan

Posted by lostincci on June 20, 2016

MacMillan Image

CMCI Teaching Fellow Dr Kate McMillan is celebrating a string of international success.

Just as she prepares to go to St Petersburg, Russia to research new works as a guest of the National Centre for Contemporary Art, she has received Art Council England/British Council funding (via their Artists International Development Fund) to develop and present a new film work ‘The Ghosts of Material Things’ in Berlin next year at the Kunsthaus Bethanian

Earlier this year, Kate presented a solo show, ‘Stones for Dancing, Stones for Dying’ at Castor Projects, London. On top of that she also had a new film work presented at Art Basel HK as part of the exhibition ‘Acentred: Reterritorised Network of European and Chinese Moving Image‘.

Our image shows Stones for Dancing, Stones for Dying, 2016, a digital photograph, 55 x 76cm, courtesy of the artist. And yes, it’s deliberate: It is designed to be shown that way up.

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Promotion Success for CMCI Academics

Posted by lostincci on June 14, 2016

Howells Musgshot 2015JoanneEntwistle-1

Two of CMCI’s staff have just been promoted to senior academic posts. Dr Joanne Entwistle goes up from Senior Lecturer to Reader, while Dr Richard Howells moves from Reader to Professor.

Joanne Entwistle’s research specialities include the sociology of fashion and, most recently, light: Her new research comes under the umbrella ‘Configuring Light/Staging the Social’, as we’ve reported previously in the CMCI Blog. The final project report ‘Tackling Inequalities in Public Lighting’ was published last month.

Richard Howells has written widely on visual culture, while his most recent research has extended this to cultural and social theory. His latest monograph is A Critical Theory of Creativity: Utopia, Aesthetics, Atheism and Design. As we reported in the blog last month, his TEDx talk on Utopia is now available on the Internet.

Commenting on her promoted colleagues, CMCI Head of Department Professor Anna Reading said she was “delighted with their well-deserved success”. The new titles are effective from September 1st 2016.

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CMCI Research Presented in Canada

Posted by lostincci on June 13, 2016


Our Head of Department, Professor Anna Reading, and CMCI’s Dr Jessica Rapson have returned from Canada, where they presented aspects of their research work at the international symposium “Economies of Memory” at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

Professor Reading spoke about her work with activists at Australia’s longest site of female containment with a paper entitled “The Female Memory Factory:  Global Economies of Memory, Gender and Labour” (see her photograph below)

Dr Rapson presented new work on the memories of slavery and sugar plantations in the Southern States of the United States. You can read more at:

Image credit: Photograph by Anna Reading, Parramatta Female Factory and Girls Home, Parramatta, Western Sydney, Australia, 2012.

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Lookin’ Good?

Posted by lostincci on June 6, 2016

Creative Fashion

If you are a creative worker, how important is your appearance and does it matter at work?

CMCI Senior Lecturers Dr Joanne Entwistle and Dr Paul Sweetman are researching the way creative workers dress and whether there are clear distinctions between dress for work and dress outside of work.

They hope to find out how important (or not) it is to manage one’s appearance as part of a creative career. They question whether increasing competition and insecurity, ‘portfolio careers’, and the erosion of clear distinctions between leisure and work throw up particular issues for the management of appearance for creative workers.

If you work in the cultural and creative industries and are interested in taking part in a focus group exploring these issues, contact Jo or Paul directly: or You will be provided with full details of the project: The focus groups will last approximately one hour and will be held at King’s College London on the Strand. TfL travel costs will be reimbursed. The personal data of all participants will be treated confidentially and subsequently anonymised.

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CMCI Explores the Creative Economy in Africa

Posted by lostincci on June 3, 2016


We are hosting a one-day seminar ‘Exploring the Creative Economy in Africa’ taking place here at King’s on the 27th of June. You are invited.

The event is organised by CMCI’s Dr Roberta Comunian in collaboration with Ejemen Ojeabulu (African University of Creative Arts) and Sam Jones (Sound Thread) with the support of King’s Worldwide Partnership Fund, The Faculty of Arts & Humanities and us at the Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries.

The organisers say that in recent years there has been a growing interest on the role of the cultural and creative industries in developing economies, not only in reference to their economic contribution but also in connection with social change and cultural engagement. Our event brings together academics, practitioners and policy makers.

The full programme for the event is available here.  For more information, go to: and to register, go to: The cost of registration is £5 and this will help cover catering costs (including two coffee breaks, lunch and an evening reception) for participants.

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Richard Howells’ TEDx Talk Goes Live on the Internet

Posted by lostincci on May 31, 2016

Howells TEDx

Why do we bother about beauty? Where does creativity come from? And what can aesthetics tell us about the path to Utopia? These are some of the questions posed by CMCI’s Dr Richard Howells in a TEDx talk, just released on the Internet.

In his 16-minute, illustrated presentation in the famous TED format, Howells proceeds from Navajo design to Utopian critical theory to show what aesthetics can teach us about the Utopian drive to make the world a better place. Utopia is a process which is wholly in our hands, he argues. It is entirely up to us.

Dr Howells, our Reader in Culture, Media and Creative Industries, was speaking as part of “Utopia: Breaking the Rules”, a TEDx event organised by  the Courtauld Institute of Art in conjunction with King’s College London and Somerset House. The event was recorded in front of a sell-out, live audience with the videos now available via TED.

You can see Richard Howells’ TEDx talk at:;Recent and

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