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Visual Cultures

Organised by: Dr Jenny Chamarette and Dr Anna Kemp

SLLF has significant expertise in the field of visual cultures. Colleagues have published in areas including film, new media, photography, painting, installation, performance, illustrated manuscripts and picture books. Many are also makers and creators with experience in film production, theatre directing, painting and curating. The aim of this new research forum is to bring colleagues together in order to foster collaborations within and beyond the School.

The Forum was founded in 2013.

Please see below for details of past and upcoming events

29th May 2013. 'Speed-research' event. To launch the forum, we organised an 'speed-research' event at which colleagues had the opportunity to share their research ideas one-to-one and find fruitful connections, in an informal and lively format. The event was also an opportunity to brainstorm a programme of events for the following year. Colleagues expressed a desire to invite speakers from other Schools in the University in order to find out more about the role of the visual in other disciplines, and also to invite practitioners and artists to discuss their work.


2013-14: Semester A

26th September 2013: Adapting children's literature to film. This was a joint event with Children's Literature/Children's Lives research cluster. We read Julia Donaldson's picture book Room on the Broom and reflected on how it might be adapted to a 25 minute film, before watching and responding to the film itself.

16th October 2013: Professor Peter McOwan 'Sight, Salience and Sensing'. Professor Peter McOwan from the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science gave a fascinating and entertaining talk about the machinery behind sight, and the ways we can build simple mathematical  models for vision and use these in diverse applications. In particular Prof. McOwan examined computer systems capable of recognising facial expressions and their use in social robotics. There was also a little magic!

24th October 2013: Translation Games: What we made. This event was part of the ongoing Translation Games project led by QMUL's Jenny Chamarette and KCL's Ricarda Vidal. It was part of KCL's Arts & Humanities Festival 2013: Being Human.

19th November 2013:Dr Yasmin Ibrahim: 'Non-stop Capture; The politics of looking online'. Dr Yasmin Ibrahim from the School of Business and Management gave a thought-provoking paper on the sharing of images on a global platform via digital media. The paper considered the politics of looking in postmodernity where both new sociabilities and risks are created with the embedding of these technologies in our everyday lives.

2013-14: Semester B / Summer

22nd January 2014. Ben Woodiwiss 'Look/Think Films: Aesthetic experiences in contemporary independent filmmaking'. The Forum was delighted to welcome the writer-director Ben Woodiwiss from Look/Think Films ( whose stimulating talk discussed the consolidation of aesthetic theory, film history, and real-world filmmaking precedents which Look/Think Films follow to create a unique position in low-budget UK independent cinema.

11th February 2014. Lara Hancock and Nia Roberts 'Making Picture Books'. The forum was delighted to welcome the picture-book editors at international publisher Simon & Schuster for a wonderfully engaging and lively session on the process of making picture books. This was a joint event with the Children's Writing cluster.

5th March 2014, Translation Games: Special Editions event at the Saison Poetry Library in the Southbank Centre. The next installment of the Translation Games Project. There was concrete poetry, live poetry performance, digital art, film (or film-talk) and a 'scent' artist.

26th March 2014. British Fashion Film. This event, co-ordinated by Jo Stephenson, was part of QMUL's Living British Cinema Festival. It looked at the promotion of the British fashion industry in British film and media. The aim of the event was to bring together figures from the industries of fashion, media, film, and academia in discussion of the influence film and media texts have on the success of the British fashion and manufacturing industries.

Wednesday, 14th May, 4.30-6 pm, Film and Drama Studio (Arts Two):Ballet Black.  The award-winning dance company Ballet Black will perform an extract from their show War Letters and discuss the challenges and pleasures of translating the written word into dance.  Ballet Blackcelebrates the talents of black and Asian dancers from around the world, and is an Associate Company of the Royal Opera House. Recent accolades include the Critics' Circle National Dance Award for Best Independent Company of 2012. The event is free but booking is recommended. To register for a place please contact Dr Anna Kemp (


Thursday 15th May, 5.30pm, Room 220 in the Geography Building. Public Lecture: Professor Christoph Lindner: 'Retro-Walking the Global City: Perambulatory Modernism to Slow Urbanism'

SLLF invites you to a lecture to be given by Professor Christoph Lindner, Professor of Media and Culture at the University of Amsterdam and Director of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. Professor Lindner, a specialist on cities, globalization and visual culture, is Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film in May.

The lecture examines spatial and cultural practices of the street at two pivotal moments in the urban history of New York City: the rise of the modern sidewalk in the 1890s and the later reconfiguring of that urban form under current conditions of globalization. Focusing on streetwalking, the discussion moves between analysis of the 'perambulatory modernism' of writers and artists like John Dos Passos and Mark Rothko, to consideration of 21st-century experiments with 'slow urbanism', such as the High Line elevated park on Manhattan's West side.

The event is held jointly with The City Centre and will run in Room 220 in the Geography Building. It will start at 5.30pm and will be followed by a wine reception. All are welcome and there is no need to book.


Tuesday 20th May, 10am - 3pm, Postgraduate Workshop: Professor Christopher Lindner: 'Visual Culture and Global Cities'

SLLF invites postgraduate students to attend a workshop to be given by Professor Christoph Lindner, Professor of Media and Culture at the University of Amsterdam and Director of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. Professor Lindner, a specialist on cities, globalization and visual culture, is Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film in May.

This 1-day workshop is aimed at postgraduate researchers in the humanities and social sciences interested in the interrelations of visual culture, cities, globalization, and creative practice. The morning session will focus on recent scholarship on globalization, urban aesthetics, and creativity, and will ground the discussion in analysis of examples from film, photography, architecture, new media, and urban design. The afternoon session will address methodological issues in interdisciplinary cultural analysis, as well as practical strategies for collaborative research and publishing.

The workshop will run in the Lock Keeper's Cottage, Room LK1. It will begin at 10 am and will end at 3 pm.

Please contact Prof Shirley Jordan to book a place (


Tuesday June 17th, 2014: Media Piracy: the politics and practices of borrowing

A one-day symposium hosted by the AHRC Network project 'Bazaar Cinema: Re-purposing Media and debating cultural rights of Youth Communities in London and Mumbai'

Keynotes: Lawrence Liang (Alternative Law Forum), Anne Barron (LSE)

Questions of media piracy are typically modeled in conversation between lawyers, judges, government ministers, and media lobbyists, far from the ordinary ways in which people access or make the media they want. This symposium takes a fresh look at what Ravi Sundaram has called 'cultures of the copy' from the perspective of new frameworks (open source, policy, creativity, and self-organisation) and new practices (of forwarding, peer to peer sharing, hacking, and everyday consumption and media habits). Whilst government agencies, media industries and their marketing apparatuses are variously trying to freeze or extract value from the emergent cultures of media piracy across postcolonial, industrial, and political-economic contexts, there are broader interests at stake. The symposium explores what frameworks can help the different communities of media creators, digital activists, hackers, researchers and everyday tinkerers move beyond the moralism of copyright and toward the pragmatic considerations of creating a contextual movement for a vibrant and participatory digital commons.

Location: Queen Mary University of London, Arts 1 Mile End Road campus:


Saturday 31st May, 11am- 7pm: Debout! Feminist Activism and the Moving Image in France and Beyond

A symposium at Queen Mary, University of London, presented by Visual Cultures, Electra and Think Tank.

With screenings from the collection of the Centre Audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir

Speakers: Nicole Fernè¡ndez Ferrer (Centre Audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir), Kate Ince (University of Birmingham), Laura Guy (Manchester Metropolitan), Lucy Reynolds (Central St. Martins), Ursula Tidd (University of Manchester), Marina Vishmidt (Cinenova), Ed Webb-Ingall (Filmmaker), Emma Wilson (University of Cambridge), George Clarke (Tate)


Location: Hitchcock cinema, G.19, Arts One Building, Mile End Campus



Related events:

Post Production

Post Production is the QMUL Postgraduate Film Forum founded and run by Jo Stephenson and Hollie Price. The forum holds research meetings approx. once a month in term time, attended by staff and postgraduates. Details of the meetings can be found on the Post Production blog:



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