Masters & Doctoral Programme 
 in Humanities and Cultural Studies 


the london consortium organises regular lectures and events in collaboration with its constituent institutions. In addition, we encourage students to organise events and other activities, working where they can with the resources available from one or more of the institutions.

If you would like to receive up-to-date information on forthcoming events at the London Consortium via email, subscribe to our mailing list:

Email Address:

Recent and forthcoming events include:

Herbarium Anthology Launch

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

Herbarium is an anthology of nearly 100 poems written by 56 poets celebrating and exploring the contemporary resonances of medicinal plants and herbs. You are invited to the launch of the anthology at a free event from 7pm on Friday 22nd July in the beautiful setting of the Urban Physic Garden, Southwark.

Friday 22 July
7.00pm – 9.00pm
The Urban Physic Garden
100 Union Street, SE1 0NL

The anthology is edited and contains poems by Consortium students. Copies will be on sale for £5 on the night.

London Consortium Visiting Speakers Series: Anthony Julius

Entry added:July 3rd, 2011 | Posted in Lectures & Talks, News

The London Consortium presents:

Anthony Julius, Is There Anything to be Said for Censorship?

July 7, 6:30pm
Tate Britain, Clore Auditorium
Millbank, SW1P 4RG

Anthony Julius is the chairman of the London Consortium and one of the UK’s most prominent litigation lawyers. He was head of the law firm Mischon de Reya’s litigation department for ten years and served on the management board from 1985-1997. As the Firm’s senior solicitor-advocate, he has appeared in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal and acted for many high profile clients. He is renowned for defending Deborah Lipstadt in the David Irving Holocaust denial trial, as well as representing Princess Diana during her divorce. He is now at the forefront of the firm’s work in public advocacy. Anthony was a member of the Faculty of Law of UCL for three years and is now a Visiting Professor at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of several major books, including T.S. Eliot: Anti-Semitism and Literary Form, Transgressions: The Offences of Art, and most recently Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England. Anthony is Chairman of the Jewish Chronicle newspaper and Vice-President of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

This is the final talk in the London Consortium’s summer term Visiting Speakers series. It is free and open to all, but please RSVP: to secure a place.

The London Consortium Visiting Speakers Series: Esther Leslie

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

The London Consortium Presents:
Esther Leslie: Time and Money

June 24, 6.30 pm
Birkbeck College, room B20
Malet Street, Bloomsbury London WC1E 7HX

Time and money , as the old adage goes, are co-articulated. This paper considers in particular the watch and the clock as they come to the fore in the writings of Georg Simmel and Walter Benjamin.The significance of inflation in Benjamin’s political and moral economy is one point of investigation, which then mutates into the epoch of stabilsation and New Objectivity, an aesthetic that Benjamin castigated, but also found highly expressive of the state of the times.The paper closes with reflections on depression as screened in Brecht’s 1932.
Esther Leslie is Professor of Political Aesthetics at Birkbeck College (University of London) and known for her publications on Walter Benjamin. She is an editor of the journals Radical Philosophy, Revolutionary History and Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory.

This is the third talk in The London Consortium’s ongoing Visiting Speakers Series.

This event is free but please RSVP for attendance:
We hope to see you all there.

Joan Baixas in Conversation with Aura Satz

Entry added:June 15th, 2011 | Posted in News

The Monster’s Smile
Joan Baixas in Conversation with Aura Satz


Saturday 18 June 2011, 14.00-16.00
Theatre director, dramatist, poet and painter Joan Baixas talks about the seminal project ‘Mori el Merma’, for which his company La Claca collaborated with Joan Miró. Originally performed to international acclaim in 1978 with grotesque puppets inspired by Miró’s graphic representations of Alfred Jarry’s ‘Ubu Roi’ and painted together with Miró, it was subsequently revived as ‘Merma Never Dies’ for Tate Modern (2006) and has gone through several other incarnations (and incineration) since then. In conversation with artist and writer Aura Satz, they will explore a range of issues, from the political moment of the 1970s (itself one of the key themes in the Miró exhibition) to wider ideas about the use of puppets, props, and art in performance.

During the act, Joan Baixas will perform a short solo painting performance in homage to Joan Miró: The Monster’s Smile.

With support from Institut Ramon Llull

Tate Modern  Starr Auditorium
£9 (£5 concessions), booking recommended

For tickets book online, or call 020 7887 8888.

The London Consortium Visiting Speakers Series: Christopher Turner

Entry added:June 6th, 2011 | Posted in News

The London Consortium Presents:
Christopher Turner:
Adventures in the Orgasmatron: Wilhelm Reich and the Invention of Sex

Thursday, June 16 · 6:30pm – 9:30pm
The Swedenborg Society
20-21 Bloomsbury Way WC1A 2TH
London, United Kingdom

This is the second talk in The London Consortium’s ongoing visiting speakers series.

Christopher Turner is the editor of Icon magazine and an editor at Cabinet. He was in the first cohort of the London Consortium, writing a PhD on the topic of disgust. He also writes for the Guardian, Sunday Telegraph and London Review of Books. His first book, Adventures in the Orgasmatron (HarperCollins), is due out in early August.

This event is Free but
Please RSVP for free attendance:

Tom McCarthy: readings, discussions and a symposium

Entry added:June 5th, 2011 | Posted in Conferences & Seminars, July, June, Lectures & Talks, News

Tom McCarthy on Robbe-Grillet: Thursday 9 June, 7:00pm at the Institut Francais, 17 Queensberry Place, London
tickets and information here.

Words on Mondays with Robert Coover: Monday 13 June, 7:00pm at Kings Place, London N1 9AG
Discussion with Robert Coover, John Banville, and Tom McCarthy.
tickets and information here.

Electra presents Dirty Literature Series: Thursday 16 June, 7:00pm at the National Portrait Gallery
Francesco Pedraglio and Tom McCarthy
Tickets and information here.

Calling All Agents: A symposium on the work of Tom McCarthy
Birkbeck College, Univeristy of London, 22-23 July
Calling All Agents: A symposium on the work of Tom McCarthy’ is the first academic symposium on the work of British novelist Tom McCarthy. This event will feature papers on McCarthy’s three novels, Remainder (2005), Men in Space (2007) and C (2010), as well as his role as General Secretary of the International Necronautical Society, and his relationship with the Tintin series. The day will conclude with a reading by and Q&A session with McCarthy.
Registration and information here.

London Sound Seminar Summer Term 2011

Entry added:May 31st, 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.

All meetings are in room 112, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1

Wednesday 1 June 2011 4.30-6.00
Sound Poetry
Bob Cobbing, ‘Some Statements on Sound Poetry’
Roland Barthes, ‘The Grain of the Voice’, in Image-Music-Text (London: Fontana, 1977), pp.179–189*
Henry Chopin, Sound Poetry, especially “Vibrespace” (1963), “Le Soleil est mécanique” (1972) and “Le Rire est Debout” (1969)

Wednesday 22nd June 2011 4.30-6.00
Digital Sound
Aden Evens, Sound Ideas: Music, Machines and Experience (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005), Chapter 3 ‘Sound and Digits’, especially ‘The Question Concerning the Digital’ pp. 62-80 and ‘The Grain of the Voice’ pp.114-124
Jonathan Sterne, ‘The Death and Life of Digital Audio‘, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 31 (2006): 338-348.

Wednesday 29 June 2011 4.30-6.00
Walter Ong, The Presence of the Word: Some Prolegomena for Cultural and Religious History (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1981), pp.111–138 [first published 1967]
Jonathan Sterne, The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), pp.13–19

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

London Consortium Visiting Speakers Series: Professor Beatriz Colomina

Entry added:May 26th, 2011 | Posted in June, Lectures & Talks, News

The London Consortium presents:
Professor Beatriz Colomina
Towards a New Posthuman Architect

Wednesday June 1st, 7pm
The Royal Institute of British Architects, Lutyens Room
66 Portland Place, W1B 1AD

Air travel was revolutionized in the late1950s with the arrival of commercial jetliners. Le Corbusier saw the collapse of traditional space and time as nothing less than the emergence of a new kind of human. En route to India, in his favorite airplane seat, he notes: “January 5, 1960. I am settled in my seat by now acquired number 5, -alone, admirable one-man seat, total comfort. In fifty years we have become a new animal on the planet.” This posthuman is an animal that flies; the airline network is its “efficient nervous system,” its web covering the globe. The hyper-mobile architect is a symptom of a globalized society in which humanity will be necessarily transformed.

Beatriz Colomina is Professor of Architecture and Founding Director of the Program in Media and Modernity at Princeton University. She is the author of Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture as Mass Media (MIT Press, 1994), Sexuality and Space (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1992), and Domesticity at War (ACTAR and MIT Press, 2007). Recently she curated with a team of Ph.D. students from Princeton the exhibition “Clip/Stamp/Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines 196X-197X.”  The catalogue of the exhibition, co-edited with Craig Buckley, has just been published by ACTAR. Her next research project is “X-Ray Architecture: Illness as Metaphor.”
This is the inaugural talk in the London Consortium’s ongoing visiting speakers series.

Please RSVP for free attendance:
£5 on the door, pending availability, for unconfirmed guests.

Under the Cranes (2011)

Entry added:April 18th, 2011 | Posted in Blogroll, News

Screening of Under the Cranes (2011), directed by Emma-Louise Williams, assistant director, Consortium alumnus Walter Stabb.

Sat 30th April at 1.30pm at the Rio Cinema, Hackney (Part of the the East London Film Festival) .

Using the script of Dalston poet Michael Rosen’s documentary play Hackney Streets, Under the Cranes is a meditation on place as central to our experience of history. Shot on location in Hackney and intercut with rare archive footage, its cast of characters includes Shakespeare, Anna Sewell, Anna Barbauld, a Jamaican builder, a Bangladeshi restaurant owner and the Jewish 43 Group taking on Oswald Mosley. Streets, parks, cemeteries and markets, both past and present, create ‘layers of lives’ that raise questions about the process of ‘regeneration’; and even while David Cameron claims that “multiculturalism has failed”, this film celebrates how “the world comes to Hackney”.

Information about tickets and festival programme here. Film reviews and information here.

Passport to Peking

Entry added:April 12th, 2011 | Posted in News

Passport to Peking 

Lecture at the National Portrait Gallery 

12 May 2011, 13:15 – Ondaatje Wing Theatre – Free

History, comedy, travelogue and cultural history collide as Patrick Wright uncovers the story of four British delegations who ventured behind both the iron and bamboo curtains in 1954, in response to Chou En-Lai’s invitation to ‘come and see’ the new China. Wright will look at three British artists who went to China over the summer and autumn of 1954. Of these, Denis Mathews, then head of the Contemporary Art Society at the Tate Gallery, is little known. However, Paul Hogarth and Stanley Spencer, both considerable figures in the art world, were instrumental in producing a ‘portraiture’ of New China. The architect Hugh Casson also went and produced drawings that are very evocative of the time and place. Find out and see more in this lunchtime lecture.


Big City Stories

Entry added:March 23rd, 2011 | Posted in Blogroll, News, Noticeboard

Big City Stories, is a collection of film extracts depicting Black London in the twentieth century. This compilation of archive footage presents the changing lives, and, changing perceptions of Black Londoners as their place was established among the city’s diverse cultures and communities.

Big City Stories will be launched at the Ritzy Picturehouse, Brixton on the 26th March as part of the cinema’s centenary celebrations; and at the BFI Southbank on the 12th April.

For more information on the project please check out the facebook page here.

Tickets for the screenings are available from the BFI website or Ritzy Picturehouse.

Women’s History Month Exhibition

Entry added:March 1st, 2011 | Posted in News

Women’s History Month
Green Lens Studios
March 8th – 22nd 2011

Opening night – International Women’s Day:
Tuesday 8 March, 6:00pm-9:00pm

Exhibition runs 9th March to 22nd March 2011, 10.00–17.00

Location : Green Lens Studios, 4a Atterbury Road, London N41SF

This March, to celebrate Women’s History Month, Green Lens Studios in collaboration with project curators Jonida Gashi and Roger Orwell, are staging an exhibition by a group of international female artists based in London. In this exhibition the transnational and multi-ethnic nature of women’s history will be explored through differing media. Each artist will engage with a particular aspect of this history through the media of: painting, sculpture, exterior architecture, sound, moving image, writing and mark-making. In some ways these are hidden histories in that messages of female identity are opened up and exposed from within.

The participating artists are: Lina Hakim (Lebanon), Bommsoon Lee (South Korea), Mina Salimi (Iran), Macarena Yanez (Chile), Linshu Zhang (China).

An Evening of Duets with Aura Satz at the Barbican Gallery

Entry added:March 1st, 2011 | Posted in Lectures & Talks, News


On the 17th of March the Barbican Art Gallery presents an evening of duets, taking a cue from works by Laurie Anderson and Trisha Brown on the same theme. In this event, Aura Satz presents new performance works using acoustic devices such as a Chladni plate and a sound sensitive flame.

Performances from 7 to 10 pm. Tickets and other information may be found here .

Arte Povera and Beyond: Milan, Turin, Rome

Entry added:February 13th, 2011 | Posted in News

A two day symposium on Arte Povera.
Saturday 12th March at the Italian Cultural Institute, 12:00 – 6:00pm
Sunday 13th March at Camden Arts Centre, 12:00 – 5:00pm

See Poster here for full details on speakers and tickets.

Architectural Association Talks: Organised by Parveen Adams

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

A series talks will take place at the AA in the months of January and February.

Mark Cousins will lecture on Technology and the Subject from 5.00-6.00 on the following Fridays: 28 January,4 February, 11 February, and 25 February. Cousins is Director of Histories and Theory at the Architectural Association, and a founding member and Senior Fellow of the London Consortium.

On selected dates, immediately following these lectures, invited artists will discuss their work as well.
Peter Welz: 28 January 6.30-8.00. Welz has worked with the choreographer William Forsythe, transforming his bodily rhythms with video, photography, drawing and sculpture, into a three-dimensional portrait.

Hito Steyerl: 11 February 6.30-8.00. Steyerl is concerned to loosen ‘documentary’s complicity with dominant forms of a politics of truth’ in the examination of the relations between the global economy and film. She focuses on the image as a restless and transitory object, subject to violent dislocation in what she calls ‘the vicious cycles of audiovisual capitalism’

Jeff Kipnis in conversation with Tobias Rehberger: 25 February 6.30-8.00. Jeff Kipnis is Professor of Architectural Design and Theory in the School of Architecture at Ohio State – a curator, filmmaker, designer, architectural critic and theoretician. Rehberger has been called a conceptual sculptor who invents tasks for others to carry out.

Entrance is free
Architectural Association / 36 Bedford Square / London

For more information, please see here

On Living in a World of Facades: Talk by Patrick Wright

Entry added:January 17th, 2011 | Posted in News

On Living in a World of Facades
8 February, 18:00 AA Lecture Hall

From Prince Potemkin’s villages to the Berlin Wall, Iraq and the Truman Show, this lecture will describe how theatrical techniques have been employed to shape public and political reality in the modern era. It will consider three aspects of theatrical technique and their extension into the wider world: the growing symbiosis between acting and political leadership in the contemporary media landscape; the way in which the iron curtain, initially a metal barrier fitted into theatres as an anti-fire device, was used to define relations between blocs, states and nations in the twentieth century; the extent to which theatrical ideas of scene-building have been put to use in politics, architecture and international media reportage extending up through the war in Iraq.

Entrance is free
Architectural Association / 36 Bedford Square / London

Flyer poster here.

Hidden: A six-week, multi-disciplinary course at Tate Modern

Entry added:January 16th, 2011 | Posted in Blogroll, Conferences & Seminars, News

A six-week, multi-disciplinary course at Tate Modern
Saturdays 5 March – 19 April 2011
Led by Lucy Scholes and Richard Martin

Contemporary culture is fascinated by the ‘hidden’ – “ the idea that secret desires and covert activities are taking place behind closed doors. This new six-week course places architectural, cinematic and psychoanalytic theories of interiority alongside the models explored by modern and contemporary artists within the Tate Collection. Concepts of containment and concealment will be assessed across a range of contexts and media with some key questions in mind: In what sense are our memories and desires housed? Do individuals contain a chamber of secrets waiting to be unlocked? What remains truly ‘hidden’ to us?

The course begins with Michael Haneke’s film Cache (2005), which has provoked widespread debate over its representation of personal and political concealment. In the weeks that follow, we will investigate the psychology of hidden spaces, Freudian theories of narrative, the role of family life, and the myths of the modern media. The course ends with a trip to Tate Britain to see Mike Nelson’s labyrinthine installation The Coral Reef (2000), which explores the unseen layers of contemporary society. Each weekly session will pivot around a central theme, with film clips, illustrated presentations and short handouts offering suggestive directions of inquiry.

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

Wheatsheaf Lectures – New Ecologies of Sound

Entry added:January 4th, 2011 | Posted in Blogroll, Conferences & Seminars, Lectures & Talks, News

In the first three months of 2011 a series of four talks will explore the nexus of ‘sound’, ‘noise’ and ‘music’ from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. In the context of a bourgeoning sensitivity to the auditory across a range of disciplines, these talks will consider how particular formulations of these interdependent notions transform ‘sound’ from an isolated attribute of sensory experience into a embedded, ecological means of world-inhabitation.

As has been an ongoing tradition for the London Consortium, the series will be held in the Wheatsheaf pub (25 Rathbone Place, W1T 1DG) – a favourite of 1930s writers such as George Orwell and Dylan Thomas – a venue that will also provide a great opportunity for continuing informal discussion following each paper.

The current series has been organised by London Consortium and Birkbeck College postgraduate students Matt Clements and Jonathan Tee, and is also associated with the London Sound Seminar. It is free and open to all.

If you would like more information about these events please contact: Jonathan Tee (jonathantee [at] cantab [dot] net) or Matt Clements (m.clements [at] bbk [dot] ac [dot] uk).

Wednesday, 19th January, 7pm
Eric Clarke – ‘Musical Meaning: an Ecological Approach’
Eric Clarke went to the University of Sussex to read for a degree in Neurobiology, and graduated with a degree in Music. In 2007 he was elected to the Heather Professorship of Music at Oxford, and is currently an Associate Director of the AHRC Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music. For 10 years he was a member of the improvising string quartet The Lapis Quartet. Eric Clarke’s research embraces a number of areas within the psychology of music, music theory, and musical aesthetics/semiotics. He is the author of a recent monograph on listening (Ways of Listening. An Ecological Approach to the Perception of Musical Meaning OUP, 2005) and co-editor of a volume on Empirical Musicology (OUP, 2004). He has also published more than 60 papers and book chapters on music related topics.

Tuesday, 1st February, 7pm
David Toop – ‘A Sinister Practice: The Uncanny Space Between Improvisation, Composition, Live Performance and the Digital Domain’
David Toop is a composer/musician, author and curator who has worked in many fields of sound art and music, including improvisation, sound installations, field recordings, pop music production, music for television, theatre and dance. He has published five books, including Ocean of Sound, Haunted Weather, and Sinister Resonance: The Mediumship of the Listener. He has released eight solo albums, including Screen Ceremonies, Black Chamber and Sound Body, As a critic he has written for many publications, including The Wire, The Face, Leonardo Music Journal and Bookforum. Exhibitions he has curated include Sonic Boom at the Hayward Gallery, London, Playing John Cage at Arnolfini, Bristol, and Blow Up at Flat-Time House, London. Visiting Professor at the University of the Arts London, he is a Senior Research Fellow at London College of Communication.

Wednesday, 16th February, 7pm
Henry Stobart – ‘Saturating the Soundscape? Conceptualizing Sound and Silence in the Andes and Beyond’
Henry Stobart is Reader in Music/Ethnomusicology in the Music Department of Royal Holloway, University of London. His research has principally focused on indigenous music of the Bolivian Andes; examined from a wide range of perspectives. His books include the monograph Music and the Poetics of Production in the Bolivian Andes (Ashgate, 2006) and several edited volumes: The New (Ethno)musicologies (Scarecrow, 2008), Knowledge and Learning in the Andes: Ethnographic Perspectives (co-edited with Rosaleen Howard; Liverpool University Press, 2002), and Sound (coedited with Patricia Kruth; Cambridge University Press, 2000). He is currently working on a monograph provisionally entitled Digital Indigeneity and has been invited to write a theoretical volume on ethnomusicological perspectives to Music and Environment.

Tuesday, 1st March, 7pm
Karin Bijsterveld – ‘Car Sound Ecologies: A History of Listening to and in the Automobile’
Karin Bijsterveld is historian and professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society Studies, Maastricht University. She is author of Mechanical Sound: Technology, Culture and Public Problems of Noise in the Twentieth Century (MIT Press 2008), and co-editor (with José van Dijck) of Sound Souvenirs: Audio Technologies, Memory and Cultural Practices (AUP 2009). With Trevor Pinch, she is working on The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies. She has recently been awarded with a NWO-VICI grant for the project Sonic Skills: Sound and Listening in Science, Technology and Medicine, 1920s-now.

Sound Seam: Film by Aura Satz at the Wellcome Collection

Entry added:December 15th, 2010 | Posted in Blogroll, Lectures & Talks, News

Creating an ethereal resonance between sound and vision, ‘Sound Seam’ begins by enticing the viewer through the mouth of a series of gramophone horns, like a portal into another place and time. The film invokes the idea that every surface, in particular parts of our anatomy, is potentially inscribed with an unheard sound or echo of voices from the past. The process of exposing these hidden sounds is mirrored by the various processes associated with record cutting, record playing, overwriting and erasing technologies, as the seemingly infinite grooves are seen spinning and distorting at high magnification, with a dizzyingly hypnotic effect.

‘Sound Seam’ is created by Consortium fellow Aura Satz with funding from the Wellcome Trust Arts Award grant scheme. It runs as a single screen projection in the Forum at Wellcome Collection from 9 December 2010 to 16 January 2011. For more information see the Wellcome website.

A small publication with contributions from Steven Connor and Tom McCarthy will also be available during the exhibition.