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Cruel Optimism

Posted by lostincci on November 26, 2018

Annette Best

What don’t you normally see when you watch a reality television programme? The answer is –or should be- the “warm-up” act; the entertainers who routinely perform before and during breaks in the televised show.

These professionals are an important part of the craft of making TV in front of a live audience, but are little recognised in both the industry and related academic research.

Visiting speaker Annette Hill, however, went some way to putting that right in her CMCI research seminar in which she spoke about her research into this “absent presence” in contemporary television.

Annette (pictured), who is a Professor of Media and Communication at Lund University, Sweden, and currently Visiting Professor here at King’s College London, argued that study of the warm-up act highlighted “cruel optimism” of the creative industries today.

Next up: Guest speaker Dr Tommy Tse, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at The University of Hong Kong will present his research into fashion consumption in Korea and China. The seminar takes place on Wednesday, 28 November, from 16.00-18.00, in room G.01, Norfolk Nuilding, Strand campus. As ever, there will be the opportunity for questions and discussion after the presentation.

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Museums in Arabia Conference

Posted by lostincci on November 21, 2018

Serena Iervolino-585

We are delighted to announce that CMCI will be hosting the international Museums in Arabia conference here at King’s in 2019. It’s part of an established series that operates as a collaborative network for exploring the theory and practice of museums and heritage in the Arabian Peninsula.

The conference will be investigating how different cultural, political, social and economic actors are involved in and shape cultural practices within museums, arts and cultural heritage institutions? And how is this key question addressed within the rapidly developing and complex landscape of the Arabian Peninsula?

The event is jointly organised by CMCI’s Dr. Serena Iervolino and Dr. Sarina Wakefield of Zayed University, United Arab Emirates, who also chairs the series.

Supported by both King’s and CMCI, the conference takes place from 26-28 June 2019. If you are interested in presenting a paper at the conference, abstracts of up to 400 words should be sent to: Further details are available from Dr. Serena Iervolino (pictured) at

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Posted by lostincci on November 20, 2018


CMCI’s Professor Richard Howells continues his (academic) interest in art forgery with a review of Shaun Greenhalgh’s autobiography: A Forger’s Tale: Confessions of the Bolton Forger in The Times Higher Education.

Greenhalgh is self-taught man from Lancashire who claims to have fooled the fine art establishment with a variety of fake works of art including “La Bella Principessa” (pictured) -which is attributed by others to Leonardo da Vinci. He made a comfortable living from it all until he was caught and sentenced to more than four years in prison.

Howells concludes: “Could his autobiography be one of Greenhalgh’s finest creations?”

Professor Howells has published a number of items on art forgery and also appeared on BBC television talking about his prized (by him) collection of fake drawings supposedly by LS Lowry.

The review can be found in the Higher’s “What are you reading?” column, billed as: “A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers”. It’s at

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Welcome New Visiting Scholar

Posted by lostincci on November 16, 2018


We are delighted to Amanda Lagerkvist as Visiting Scholar a CMCI. Amanda is Associate Professor of Media and Communication Studies and a fellow of the Wallenberg Academy in Sweden.

Describing herself as a “media phenomenologist”, Amanda (pictured) also heads the research programme “Existential Terrains: Memory and Meaning in Cultures of Connectivity” in the Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University. She has a particular focus on “death online”, and her work develops a theoretical framework for existential media studies, focusing on digital-human vulnerabilities of online mourning, commemoration, and the digital afterlife.

Her work has been widely published including a monograph Media and Memory in New Shanghai: Western Performances of Futures Past (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). She is currently writing a monograph entitled Existential Media which is contracted with the Oxford University Press.

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On the Road and On the Air: A Vision for Women and Virtual Reality

Posted by lostincci on November 15, 2018

Sarah Stuttgart - Copy

Our Head of Department, Dr Sarah Atkinson, has been on the road and on the air talking about her research on gender and the virtual reality industry.

Funded by the Canadian-backed Refiguring Innovation in Games Project, Sarah’s activities have been numerous and varied, including a two-day workshop here at KCL which brought together 20 leading women from the VR sector to work on a manifesto for the industry.

The vision was formally launched at two industry technology conferences – the new.New Festival in Stuttgart, Germany and the Augmented World Expo festival in Munich. Sarah  is pictured (left) with project collaborators Helen W. Kennedy and Catherine Allen.

She then went on to present the research findings at the ReFig annual conference at the University of British Columbia, Canada, and is currently working on a related publication with Vicki Callahan at the University of Southern California: Atkinson, S. and Callahan, V. (2018) Mixed Realities: Gender, Precarity, and New Models of Work in the Convergence Economy, Wane State University Press.

The project has received a great deal of media interest including an interview with Sarah and colleagues on the BBC World Service “Click” programme. You can hear it and Sarah at:

The vision itself is published at

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It’s A Wrap

Posted by lostincci on November 12, 2018


CMCI’s Professor Jeanette Steemers reports two reports, wrapping up her Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project “Children’s Screen Content in an Era of Forced Migration: Facilitating Arab-European Dialogue”, which has now officially reached completion.

Working with Naomi Sakr and Christine Singer, the project’s consolidated report, which features recommendations, workshop briefings and a full list of programming samples, and is available here:

Jeanette (pictured) and her team have also published a report on the proceedings of their symposium “Invisible Children: Children’s Media, Diversity, and Forced Migration” which took place here at King’s earlier this autumn. You can download it here:

Although the reports wrap up the funded part, the project website at will continue as a resource for project findings. Here, you can access their first report from the Manchester Children’s Global Media Summit, their second report from the CPH:Dox festival in Copenhagen on children’s factual content, their third report from the Prix Jeunesse festival in Munich on drama and storytelling, and their Project Report to Stakeholders, which summarises the findings of the project.

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“For someone who doesn’t much like camping…”

Posted by lostincci on November 9, 2018

Tent City Cropped

It’s not always obvious what CMCI people do when they are not at work. This blog does not seek to pry into their private lives…. but we can reveal that our programme administrator Rebecca Whitaker has returned from a week volunteering with Help Refugees in Calais, France.

Help Refugees are a grass-roots charity created in the final months of the Calais “Jungle”, and they seek to provide food, clothes, and shelter. Becca kicked off her contribution by working in “Tent World” (pictured), admitting in her blog: “For someone who doesn’t much like camping and is fairly short, tent world was a challenge…”

And so to the kitchen, where she put in hard hours peeling garlic -a big job when you consider that the Refugee Community Kitchen serves around 2000 meals every day in Calais and Dunkirk.

For the full story of Becca’s varied time in Calais, see her blog “Glass Curls” at: This is turn includes links to relevant charities and organisations.

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McMillan on Nolan

Posted by lostincci on November 8, 2018

nolan (2)

CMCI’s Dr Kate McMillan appears in a new television documentary on the Australian artist Sidney Nolan.

Made by ABC in Australia, it explores and celebrates the work of one of the country’s best-known artists, proceeding from his early years to his international career and all the success -and turmoil- that came with it.

Kate (pictured from the film) contributed to the section that explores Nolan’s works on Aboriginal deaths in custody which were never shown in Australia.

The film aired in Australia earlier this month, but is scheduled to be shown on the BBC shortly. We’ll let you know when.

For the preview -featuring Kate- go to:

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CMCI Student Opens Art Gallery in Milan

Posted by lostincci on November 6, 2018

tommaso-calabro Gallery

There cannot be too many PhD students who are combining their studies with opening their own art gallery, but step forward CMCI’s Tommaso Calabro!

Tomasso (pictured) has marked the opening of his new gallery in Milan’s Piazza San Sepolcro with his inaugural exhibition: “Twombly and Tancredi: Homage to Cardazzo”.

And although his premises in the Palazzo Mariettiare are distinctly neo-classical, Tommaso is determinedly specialising in modern and contemporary art.

His opening exhibition pays homage to the Italian gallerist and art dealer Carlo Cardazzo (1908-1963), and to two artists he particularly admired: Cy Twombly (1928-2011) and Tancredi Parmeggiani (1927-1964). It runs until November 30th at Tommaso Calabro Galleria D’Arte, Piazza San Sepolcro, 220123 Milan, Italy: see

Tomasso is currently pursuing his doctoral studies in CMCI, researching a thesis on the establishment of value in the contemporary art market. His supervisor is Professor Richard Howells.

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Alien Beauty

Posted by lostincci on October 26, 2018


CMCI’s Dr Ruth Adams is quoted in an i-D magazine article: “Why is Everyone Obsessed with Alien Beauty: And is it a New Kind of Subculture?”

Here, journalist Clementine de Pressigny argues that: “beauty today is about shaving your head, shaving your brows, adding a third or fourth eye and bleeding black from your hyper-coloured eyeballs.”

“It’s obviously growing on Instagram right now,” agrees Dr Adams “and it’s clearly a backlash against normative beauty standards, although the amount of labour involved is obviously no less.”

Ruth locates the new fashion within punk, goths, new romantics, and the New York hardcore scene.

You can read the full article at:

i-D was founded by former Vogue art director Terry Jones and is now part of the Vice Media stable.



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