Masters & Doctoral Programme 
 in Humanities and Cultural Studies 



The London Consortium is a unique collaboration between the Architectural Association, Birkbeck College (University of London), the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Science Museum and TATE. We offer challenging, rigorous postgraduate programmes in the Humanities and Cultural Studies combining criticism and creativity and leading to a PhD degree in Humanities and Cultural Studies from the University of London. In the academic year 2012-13, the MRes in Humanities and Cultural Studies previously offered through the London Consortium, will be run from within Birkbeck, University of London.

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Objects of Emotion: How Our Minds Bring Things To Life

Entry added: June 6th, 2012 | Posted in Blogroll, Conferences, Conferences & Seminars, Lectures & Talks, News, Other Events

Wellcome Collection, 16th June, 10.30-1700

As humans, we have an ability to empathise with one another. Reading emotions and sharing them are integral to our survival and social cohesion. But why is it that objects can also spark these feelings in us? When we watch puppets, what triggers our emotions? Is it their movement or is it simply the stories they tell? And can we be just as moved by everyday objects?

None of these questions have straightforward answers, but in this unique event we’ll uncover the latest science exploring the mysteries of empathy in puppetry and elsewhere in culture.

The morning will start with an extract of Blind Summit’s critically acclaimed performance The Table, followed by discussion about the relationship between puppeteers and puppets. Satellite performances will happen over lunch, followed by a discussion about the ways we relate to objects in the afternoon.

Consortium Director Steve Connor, author of Paraphernalia: The Curious Lives of Magical Things (London: Profile, 2011), will give a talk at this event entitled Feeling Things. Mistrusting our conventional mistrust of the attachment to material things, it will consider some of the emotions that objects help or even teach us to feel – disgust, curiosity, and tenderness. Perhaps, without objects, we would never learn how to love, or love to learn.

£20 full price/£15 concession including a full day of discussion and performance as well as lunch and refreshments.

To book, please call 020 7611 2222.

Boetti and Afghanistan

Entry added: May 4th, 2012 | Posted in News

Boetti and Afghanistan
Tate Modern, East Room
Tuesday 8 May 2012, 18.30 – 20.30

Alighiero Boetti travelled to Afghanistan between 1971 and 1979. He opened the ‘One Hotel’ in Kabul and worked with craftspeople making embroideries and rugs. After the Soviet invasion, he began to work with Afghan refugees in Peshawar. Many of the Persian texts in his embroideries address the circumstances of exile. This panel discusses questions such as: Why did Boetti spend so much time in Kabul? How was the production of his work organised? What was the place of the One Hotel in his practice? What is significant about the Persian texts in his embroideries? How involved was he with the politics of Afghanistan after 1979? Speakers include Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Adam Curtis, Pip Rau and Mario Garcia Torres.

Book Tickets

The Vox Lab conversations

Entry added: April 20th, 2012 | Posted in Miscellaneous, News, Noticeboard

The Vox Lab discussions: a series of free public conversations between leading scientists and writers, artists and poets exploring different aspects of the voice.

Bodily Voices
Tuesday 24 April 2012, 6.30-7.30 pm
The Court Room, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Have you ever formed an image of someone you’ve heard on the radio, and then been surprised when you saw what they actually looked like? Why do we notice other people’s accents, but not our own? Join writer Steven Connor and neuroscientist Sophie Scott for a discussion about voices and bodies.

Affective Voices
Saturday 5 May 2012, 3-4 pm
The Keynes Library, Birkbeck College, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD

We recognize laughs, screams and sobs in another language, but can we spot more subtle emotional signs in the voice of someone from a radically different culture? Is there a gap between how we read emotions on people’s faces and how we express them in our language? Poet Denise Riley and psychologist Disa Sauter discuss voices and emotions.

Interior Voices
Friday 11 May 2012, 7-8 pm
Artsadmin Café, Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial Street, London E1 6AB

Is our inner voice a private dialogue, and what might this tell us about how we think? How does it develop, and why are voices so evocative and powerful? Psychologist and novelist Charles Fernyhough and film-maker Shona Illingworth discuss these questions, and how sounds and voices affect our memories and our sense of self.

Further details and directions to all the events can be found at

These conversations are part of the Vox Lab, a poetry residency at UCL’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. The Vox Lab is funded by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award with support from the London Consortium.

STATIC- Call For Papers

Entry added: March 18th, 2012 | Posted in Archive, Blogroll, Calls for Papers, March, News

Static is the student-led journal of the London Consortium. Aiming to initiate interdisciplinary intellectual debate about paradoxes of contemporary culture, Static presents contributions from an international team of academics, artists and cultural practitioners. The materials, assembled for each issue around a theme, include analytical essays and articles, interviews, art projects, photographic images, etc.
Since 2012, it is accompanied by a sister blog, EcStatic.

STATIC 09: Buttons

‘Careful and curved, cake and sober, all accounts and mixture, a guess at anything is righteous, should there be a call there would be a voice.’
— Gertrude Stein, Tender Buttons

The humble button encompasses ideas of connectivity, intimacy, relation, precision, production (on/off), kindness and smallness. Its origin in the Latin buttare, to thrust, and in the old French boton, bud, roots the button in a potentiality that stretches and plies its usage from metaphor to technology. The domesticity of the button, its closeness to our skin in clothing or its proximity in the home, the laptop, the TV remote control, the microwave, calls us to examine our relations to objects and the ergonomics of their interactions with us. As a mediator between man and machine, how does the button inhabit this interstice and what are the implications of their prevalence within the sphere of modern living? How do buttons function within digital culture? Buttons, too, can encapsulate very real threats; the detonation of nuclear warheads or the transmission of confidential information is only a button’s press away; they can contain and express our most strident political or aesthetic positions, but what happens when these buttons are in the possession of an enemy? They have become integral to the way we communicate: phone, email and the internet all require the push of a button to generate action. Playful and tender, the button functions as ornamentation and fastening, both aesthetic and practical.
We here at Static put forth the potentiality of buttons: a haberdashery of usages.

The submission deadline is 6 May 2012. Please send your submissions to
Static welcomes diverse formats of submission – essays, articles, interviews, short stories, poetry, visual projects, graphic design, illustration, etc. Video and sound pieces will be included in the online version of Static 09.
Submission guidelines and further information about Static can be found at
Please contact the Editors at if you have any queries regarding technical details before submitting your work.

Vox Lab

Entry added: March 15th, 2012 | Posted in News, Noticeboard

The Vox Lab: a poetry residency at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

From February – August 2012, Consortium student James Wilkes is poet-in-residence at UCL’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. He will be working with the ICN’s Speech Communication Laboratory to write a new work of poetry investigating speech and the voice.

As part of his residency, he will be organising public talks between neuroscientists, poets and humanities scholars. Conversationalists will include Steven Connor and Denise Riley from the London Consortium, and Sophie Scott from the ICN.

The residency will result in a symposium and publication in November 2012.

The Vox Lab is supported by the Wellcome Trust and the London Consortium. For further details see the residency blog and follow on Facebook or Twitter

London Consortium Bursaries 2012-13

Entry added: February 27th, 2012 | Posted in News

The London Consortium is pleased to announce that it intends to make available 3-4 bursaries, should suitable candidates present themselves. to applicants who have completed the first year of the London Consortium programme and either wish to enter into the first year of the PhD or are continuing into the second year of the PhD. For overseas applicants, the bursaries will cover the difference between the overseas fee (currently £12330 p.a.) and the UK/EU fee (currently £4242 p.a.). For UK/EU applicants, the bursary will cover the whole fee. The awards will be renewable for two further years beyond 2012-13 (new PhD students) or one further year (continuing PhD students), subject to satisfactory progress. They may not be held concurrently with any other award that covers tuition fees. Awards will be given on academic merit. No separate application is required, but applicants are asked to indicate clearly that they wish to be considered for a London Consortium bursary. The successful applicants will be announced in July 2012.

London Consortium Indian Studentship

Entry added: February 27th, 2012 | Posted in News

The London Consortium is pleased to announce that it intends to award a studentship for the academic year 2012-13 to an applicant to one of its programmes (MRes or PhD) who is currently studying at a university in India, or has been enrolled in a university in India from 2010 onwards. The studentship will be for one year only and will cover the cost of tuition fees (currently £12330 p.a.) and include a maintenance grant of £15,000. The award will be for one year only. For further information about entrance requirements and the application process please see All applicants wishing to be considered for the Indian studentship should indicate this clearly in the supporting statement that forms part of their application. The deadline for applications is Friday 1st June. For further information, please contact our Admissions Tutor, Sarah Joshi –

Hillel Schwartz at the London Consortium

Entry added: February 27th, 2012 | Posted in Conferences & Seminars, Lectures & Talks, News

On 29 Feb, visiting speaker Hillel Schwartz will be giving a talk titled ‘The Noise of Almost Nothing’.

All are welcome to this attend this joint School of Arts/London Consortium event, which is organised by the London Sound Seminar.

Hillel Schwartz is the author of Making Noise: From Babel to the Big Bang and Beyond (New York: Zone, 2011) and The Culture of the Copy: Striking Likenesses, Unreasonable Facsimiles (New York: Zone, 1998).

The talk will be held in the Keynes Library, Room 114, 43 Gordon Square, 4.30–6pm, 29th February.

Denise Riley’s ‘Time Lived, Without its Flow’ published by Capsule Editions.

Entry added: February 12th, 2012 | Posted in Archive, February, News

Denise Riley’s ‘Time Lived, Without its Flow’

This essay reflects on how perceptions of time may be altered after the sudden death of a child, and why inhabiting this sharply new temporality stops one’s habitual modes of telling. Neither tearful memoir nor testament of hope, the essay charts a vivid experience of such a suspended time and discovers an unsuspected intimacy between time and language. Although a life inside this ‘arrested’ time resists being described, it is neither exceptional or pathological; to outlive one’s child is historically common enough. But, because of this felt suspension of the usual flow of time which enables narration, it leaves few literary traces.

Published by Capsule Editions as an 80-page pocket book, this is the first in a series of stand-alone literary essays by leading contemporary thinkers and writers.

About the author:
Denise Riley is a poet and philosopher. Her non-fiction includes ‘Am I That Name?’: Feminism and the Category of ‘Women’ in History (Macmillan, 1988), The Words of Selves: Identification, Solidarity, Irony (Stanford University Press, 2000), Impersonal Passion: Language as Affect (Duke University Press, 2005) and, with Jean-Jacques Lecercle, The Force of Language (Palgrave, 2004). Her poetry has been widely published; a Selected Poems was issued by Reality Street in 2000.

About Capsule Editions:
Capsule Editions is dedicated to the revival of the literary essay, publishing new work by leading writers from a variety of fields. Capsule is edited by Edmund Hardy and James Wilkes. Graphic design is by Lina Hakim.

London Sound Seminar Spring Term 2012

Entry added: January 26th, 2012 | Posted in Blogroll, Conferences & Seminars, Lectures & Talks, News, Noticeboard, Other Events

The London Sound Seminar offers an opportunity for research students and faculty in London to explore issues relating to the history and theory of all forms of sound-making and auditory culture.


Wednesday 1 February, 4.30-6.00 pm [Rm 113, 43 Gordon Square]
‘The Soundproof Study: Victorian Professional Identity and Urban noise’ in John M. Picker, Victorian Soundscapes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), pp.41–81 [also look at pp.15–16 from Ch.1]

Wednesday 15 February, 4.30-6.00 pm [Rm 113, 43 Gordon Square]
Emily Thompson, ‘Noise and Modern Culture, 1900–1933′, in The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900–1933 (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002), pp.115–168

Wednesday 29 February, 4.30-6.00 pm [Rm 114 – Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square – NOTE DIFFERENT ROOM].
‘The Noise of Almost Nothing’ – talk by Hillel Schwartz (author of Making Noise)

Wednesday 14th March, , 4.30-6.00 pm [Rm 113, 43 Gordon Square]
Friedrich Kittler, extracts from Gramophone, Film Typewriter and forthcoming chapter ‘The God of Ears’ (on Pink Floyd’s ‘Brain Damage’) [selections TBC]

To subscribe to the London Sound Seminar mailing list: from the email address you wish to subscribe with, send the following command within the body of the message to SUBSCRIBE LONDONSOUNDSEMINAR Firstname Lastname

We will use the list for announcements of meetings and events, and it can be used for discussion too. To send an message to the list, simply email

‘Ventriloqua’ performance at the BFI

Entry added: January 22nd, 2012 | Posted in Archive, Blogroll, January, News

Friday 27th January 7pm
BFI southbank gallery

A re-staging of Aura Satz’s  ‘Ventriloqua‘ performance with thereminist extraordinaire Lydia Kavina playing the electromagnetic waves of a pregnant body. Referencing ventriloquism, as in ‘belly-speaking’, the body becomes a musical instrument, an antenna, a medium, through which a pre-verbal, pre-vocal otherworldly voice is transmitted. Meanwhile, a flame alphabet visualizes the sounds in a secret fire-code using a Ruben’s tube.

Part of the Samsung Art+ prize at the BFI project space

Artist Talks at the AA

Entry added: January 15th, 2012 | Posted in News

Artist’s Series Organised by Parveen Adams

6.30-8.00 at the Architectural Association

Friday 27th January: Becky Beasley, ‘Feet and Hinges’

Friday 3rd February: Monika Sosnowska

Friday 2nd March: Anri Sala

Friday 9th March: Mary Kelly, ‘Dialogic Space’

The Apathy Complex

Entry added: December 13th, 2011 | Posted in Blogroll, January, Listings, News

The Apathy Complex

A six-week, multi-disciplinary course at Tate Modern
Saturdays 25 February – 31 March 2012
Led by Richard Martin and Lucy Scholes

In contemporary society, we are constantly urged to participate, to engage and to get involved. To be apathetic – about politics or culture – is regarded as irresponsible, indulgent and even dangerous. Such extortions are accompanied by widespread disaffection and feelings of social alienation. Yet, from Greek philosophers through nineteenth-century novelists to contemporary artists, apathy has held its own creative possibilities.

These competing ideas lie at the heart of the fascinating apathy complex that will be explored in this new six-week course. We’ll take a thoroughly multi-disciplinary approach, placing film, literature and critical theory alongside works by modern and contemporary artists represented in the Tate collection. We’ll also discuss how the exhibitions of Yayoi Kusama and Alighiero Boetti might contribute to the debate.

Booking details, plus a full course outline, are available here.

Aura Satz’s work shortlisted

Entry added: December 12th, 2011 | Posted in Blogroll, December, Listings, News

Aura Satz’s work has been shortlisted for the Samsung Art+ Prize.
Her Oramics: Atlantis Anew, a film about the Oramics Machine made in collaboration with the London Consortium, will be shown at the exhibition.

Out of the Archive: Artists, Images and History

Entry added: November 11th, 2011 | Posted in Conferences & Seminars, News

Out of the Archive: Artists, Images and History

Filipa César, Black Balance (work in progress) 2010 © Filipa César

Friday 18 November 2011, 10.30–17.30
Saturday 19 November 2011, 10.30–17.30

A conference developed in collaboration with the London Consortium.
This conference was originally conceived by the Colonial Film project team, and coincides with the launch of the Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire website.

Drawing on contemporary art practice, this two-day international conference explores the relationship between historical research and artists’ methods and processes when working with recorded images found in archives. Contributors address current debates around the validity of research generated through artistic strategies, how these processes complicate forms of historical narration, as well as how they inform and challenge conventional methods of historical research.

Contributors include: Sven Augustijnen, Frédérique Berthet, Adam Broomberg, Bernadette Buckley, Filipa César, Oliver Chanarin, TJ Demos, Mary Ann Doane, Nanina Guyer, Mark Nash, Colin MacCabe, Naeem Mohaiemen, Laura Mulvey, Michael Renov, Zineb Sedira, Louise Sheedy, Patrik Sjöberg and Chou Yu-Ling.

Tate Modern Starr Auditorium
£30 (£25 concessions), booking required


For tickets book online
or call 020 7887 8888.

London Sound Seminar Autumn Term 2011

Entry added: October 4th, 2011 | Posted in Conferences & Seminars, News

The London Sound Seminar offers an opportunity for research students and faculty in London to explore issues relating to the history and theory of all forms of sound-making and auditory culture.

Sound Objects

12 October – Steve Connor on Tape [4.30–6pm, Rm 112, 43 Gordon Square]

John Hurt in Krapp’s Last Tape
Atom Egoyan, Steenbeckett
Steven Connor, ‘Looping the Loop: Tape-Time in Burroughs and Beckett’

26 October – Aura Satz on the Oramics machine [4.30–6pm, Rm 112, 43 Gordon Square]

9 November – Jonathan Tee on the Public Address System [4.30–6pm, Rm 112, 43 Gordon Square]

7 December – Holly Pester on the Answer Machine [4.30–6pm, Rm 213, 43 Gordon Square] [Note the change in location: this will be held in Steve Connor's office, Rm 213, 43 Gordon Square]

To subscribe to the London Sound Seminar mailing list: from the email address you wish to subscribe with, send the following command within the body of the message to SUBSCRIBE LONDONSOUNDSEMINAR Firstname Lastname

We will use the list for announcements of meetings and events, and it can be used for discussion too. To send an message to the list, simply email

Science Museum Lates: Gaming – Wednesday 28 September

Entry added: September 19th, 2011 | Posted in Blogroll, Lectures & Talks, News, September

Come along to this month’s Science Museum Lates on Gaming (on 28th September from around 7pm), where the Consortium speaker will be Rob Gallagher.

Science fiction meets fictional science

Many videogames borrow narrative and aesthetic tropes from science fiction. But as a medium that combines representation and simulation, digital games are also capable of supplementing science fiction with ‘fictional science’, of implementing made-up physical laws that promote a reconsideration of our relationship with science and technology.

Maya Deren: 50 Years On

Entry added: September 12th, 2011 | Posted in Blogroll, Lectures & Talks, Miscellaneous, News, October

Maya Deren: 50 Years On
BFI, Oct 4th – Oct 12th 2011

Curated by Elinor Cleghorn; a collaboration between BFI and the London Consortium

Fifty years after the death visionary filmmaker, theorist and proselytiser Maya Deren, the art and influence of one of experimental cinema’s most inspiring and charismatic figures is celebrated and explored. This dedicated programme of screenings and events includes ‘Maya Deren: New Reflections’ (Saturday 8th October) a one-day symposium exploring Deren’s legacy through the lenses of visual art, choreography, anthropology and film theory.

For full programme details and to book tickets please visit the BFI link here

Rubbish Screening and Symposium, 29th – 30th July 2011

Entry added: July 25th, 2011 | Posted in July, Lectures & Talks, News

Two events dedicated to reading the matter and metaphors of waste and value, in and through spaces, objects and language.

Rubbish film double-bill

Friday 29th July
6pm – 9pm
Birkbeck College
B20 Main Building
Torrington Square
London, WC1E 7HX

Trash Humpers (Harmony Korine, 2009)
The Gleaners and I (Agnès Varda, 2000)

Rubbish Symposium

Saturday 30th July
Birkbeck College
B20 Main Building
Torrington Square
London, WC1E 7HX

Keynote – Professor Steven Connor
Respondent – Professor Esther Leslie

Henderson Downing (Birkbeck) – “No Shit, Sherlock”: Psychogeography and Other Rubbish Theories
Natalie Joelle (Birkbeck) – The Back Art of Things: Gleaning and Picking in Agnes Varda’s The Gleaners and I and Lucy Walker’s Waste Land
Lisa Mullen (Birkbeck) – Undead Toys: When Objects Refuse to be Rubbish
Terri Mullholland (Oxford) and Sian Thomas (Poet) – The Things that Remain: The Abandoned House as Archive of Poetic Memory
Daniel Rourke (Goldsmiths) – On Kipple and Things
Rosemary Shirley (Sussex) – Keeping Britain Tidy: Litter and Anxiety
Jon Tee (Birkbeck) – ‘Sound, Noise… Rubbish? Ballard’s “The Sound-Sweep”, Musique Concrète and the “Music for Magnetic Tape Project”‘
Tony Venezia (Birkbeck) – “There is no real magic” – George A. Romero’s Martin as Rustbowl Fantasy
Will Viney (London Consortium) – ‘Unproductive and Uninhabited’: Wastes of Place and Time
James Wilkes (London Consortium) – Follies, Ruins, and Fossils: Paul Nash’s Swanage Photographs

Chairs: Dr. Brian Dillon (Kent); Zara Dinnen (Birkbeck); Matt Wraith (London Consortium)

The symposium will be followed by a wine reception.

Both events are free.

Course Director – MA Film Curating

Entry added: July 19th, 2011 | Posted in News

The London Consortium and the London Film School seek to appoint a Course Director for its recently-launched MA in Film Curating.

The successful applicant will have an understanding both of film programming and of the theory and practice of curating, and will be responsible for coordinating the teaching for the degree and providing support for its 20 students.

The post is a one-year appointment with a salary of £35,000.

Full details of the degree can be found at:

Please send a cv and letter of application to The London Consortium, 24 Litchfield Street, London WC2H 9NJ.

Closing date for applications is 19th August 2011.

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