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Structures of Feelings

structures of feelings-2CVAC’s Francisco-J. Hernández Adrián is participating in a workshop held at the Royal College of Art on Friday 15th May 2015. He will be presenting on ‘Children in Waterscapes: Scenes From the Films of Lucrecia Martel, Óscar Ruiz Navia and Carlos Reygadas’.

Details of the full programme are available on the RCA website.


Eleanor Wright/Sam Watson Continuous Material

Exhibition in Durham Castle April 27 – May 9


Ralf Brög Issolation (JV_Malkunst), 2015 Screenprint within custom designed display sculpture

Continuous Material is an exhibition by Eleanor Wright and Sam Watson incorporating the work of six invited collaborators: Eric Bainbridge, Paul Becker, Ralf Brög, Aleksandra Konopek, Sini Pelkki and Josh Wilson.

Watson and Wright present an exhibition that explores Durham Castle’s historical and cultural narratives, evidenced by countless stories and physical alterations. The castle has gone from fortress to comfortable college; Continuous Material asks what it means to preserve a cultural landmark, especially one that has gone through centuries of immense political and religious upheaval and social change.   The exhibition features a number of new and existing works by Wright and Watson and their invited artists that function between sculpture, photography, architecture, literature and curation.

Part of the show involves the commission of a new text based work by the artist Paul Becker – The Opposite of A Pulpit – based on a series of real and fictional walks through Durham, where the artist lived, partly in secret, between 2008/9.

On Friday May 1st, Becker will lead a walk through real and imaginary, personal and fictional spaces and events related to his time living in the city and to the artist Ian Breakwell and the Durham Cathedral Artist’s Residency (1983-2011). The walk will begin at 6.30pm on Framwellgate Bridge and will stop at various points throughout the city, ending up at Durham Castle at 7.30pm when refreshments will be served at the public open evening of the exhibition.

During the exhibition in addition to the regular Castle guided tours, 3 special tours incorporating the show and conceived by Wright and Watson entitled ‘Friendly Takeovers’ will take place on 30th April, 2nd May and 9th May, all at 4.15pm.

These special tours are bookable via the Castle tour website:

This exhibition was sponsored by University College and CVAC and was commissioned by Dr Hazel Donkin, Please feel free to contact her with any queries at

The show featured in The Guardian’s list of the week’s new exhibitions:

Remembering Bhopal: Photo Exhibition

Venue: Durham Town Hall, Market Place, Durham
‪Date: 2nd-22nd April 2015

‪The Bhopal disaster was the worst industrial disaster of all time. In marking 30 years since, Durham Town Hall will be playing host to an exhibition from the 2nd to the 22nd of April titled: “Remembering Bhopal: 30 years of struggle for justice and life with dignity”.

‪The exhibition will feature photos taken by the award winning Magnum photographer Raghu Rai, highlighting 30 years of unimaginable suffering, an injustice never righted, crimes unpunished, and a community that most of the world has forgotten.

‪Free entrance for all. Open everyday from 9 AM – 5 PM.


‪Events page:
Contact: Madhu Dutta ( and Andrew Telford (​)

Treasures of Ushaw College

treasures_ushawUshaw College was founded over 200 years ago just outside the historic city of Durham to educate students for the Catholic priesthood. It can trace its origins back to the exile of university professors at the time of the English Reformation in the sixteenth century, who went on to found a college at Douai, northern France. In addition to its splendid architecture, the college’s library and archival holdings contain a wealth of rare and unique items, including St Cuthbert’s ring, Thomas Cranmer’s personal copy of two Lutheran works and a first edition of the Cabinet du Roi. Treasures of Ushaw College presents more than 45 highlights from these collections, written by leading experts, as well as accounts of the college’s history and the architectural development of the site.

Kelly, James, ed. Treasures of Ushaw College: Durham’s Hidden Gem. London: Scala Arts & Heritage Publishers Ltd, 2015.

Ambiguous Sexualities on the Eighteenth-Century Stage

Thursday 5th and Friday 6th February 2015

Senate Room, University College, Durham University

The theatre is inherently a space of transformation and disguise. As the curtain rises, the stage becomes a Roman forum, chorus girls turn into nymphs, cardboard cut-outs are now mountain ranges. Just as temporal and geographical boundaries are crossed within this fantasy, so too are those of sex as actors perform as women and actresses inhabit male bodies, and characters (try to) pass themselves off as individuals of the opposite sex. What might that crossing or passing mean? What is the effect and importance of that transgression? Is the boundary destabilised, reinforced or even conjured away?

As well as being a realm of fantasy, the theatre is simultaneously a place within the polis and, crucially, and it offers a collective experience; I am aware of the spectators around me, I sense their reactions to the performance, I hear their conversations in the interval, and I might measure my own responses accordingly. The theatre can embody and portray to the assembled audience its own desires, convictions and anxieties. This re-presentation operates by means of the theatre apparatus, and the spectator’s gaze is consequently subjected to a particular kind of discipline. As Roland Barthes observes, ‘The theatre is precisely that practice which calculates the place of things as they are observed: if I set the spectacle here, the spectator will see this; if I put it elsewhere, he will not and I can avail myself of this masking effect and play on the illusion it provides.’[1] The eighteenth-century writer Louis Sébastien Mercier understood that this organizing of the gaze might have erotic implications: ‘Mais la perspective du théâtre est tout. Ne vous placez pas dans les coulisses si vous voulez jouir’ (‘But perspective in the theatre is everything. Do not sit in the wings if you wish to have pleasure’ – jouir in French also means to orgasm).[2] An analysis of the aesthetic fashioning, the material presentation and, of course, the public reception of the dramatic piece can help us begin to understand how a given society dealt with particular concerns, foremost amongst which are those regarding gender, sexuality and identity.

Generously supported by the MHRA and Durham’s own CVAC, and organized under the aegis of the Phoenix research group (a Durham-Paris Sorbonne joint project established in 2008), this conference brings together ten speakers from the UK, France and Italy. Our aim is to explore how political and social anxieties were examined, contained, and released through the representation of non-normative sexualities on the eighteenth-century stage. Papers will cover a range of topics including cross-dressing and queer identities, and authors such as Marivaux, Voltaire and Beaumarchais. We intend not only to provide historically-grounded analyses of ambiguous sexualities in the Enlightenment, but also to ask more broadly what eighteenth-century theatre can offer to modern theory.

Papers will be given in English or French, and all are most welcome to attend. For further information, please contact Dr Tom Wynn (

[1] Roland Barthes, ‘Diderot, Brecht, Eisenstein’, in Image, Music, Text, translated by Stephen Heath (New York, 1977), p.69.

[2] Tableau de Paris, edited by Jean-Claude Bonnet (Paris, 1994), vol.2, p.1486.

Interdisciplinary Residency Opportunity at Hospitalfield

Hospitalfield is pleased to announce:

Interdisciplinary Programme 2015

March and August 2015 residencies open for applications

Deadline: 19 January 2015, midnight

Residency Period: 16 – 29 March 2015
Residency Period: 17 – 30 August 2015

Eligibility: International and UK-based artists, writers, architects, producers, dancers, choreographers, commissioners, curators, designers, educators, researchers and others developing their working lives within the scope of contemporary cultural practices.

Places: 8 for March and 8 for August.

Cost: £630 for a two week full board residency with work space.

Selectors: Ewan Imrie, Collective Architecture; Nicola White, Writer; with Laura Simpson, Programme Manager, Hospitalfield Arts.

More information about the residency programme at Hospitalfield and the links to the online application:

Hospitalfield’s Interdisciplinary Residency is a highly international part of our programme and is open to those working across the arts who recognise that they require some time to focus on the development of their work. For individuals or collaborative groups it can be a test bed for developing their practice and a scenario to concentrate on a specific project.

Where the other residency programmes at Hospitalfield focus on visual art the Interdisciplinary Programme gives a platform for us to work with a broad range of cultural practitioners.
For more information on all of our events please visit our website to subscribe

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Roman Catholic Art in Chile and England

Francesco Grandi (1831-1891), Saint Francis Borgia Prays in Front of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Rome 1870, oil on canvas, detail, Santiago (Chile), Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church (Photo: Giulio Archinà — © Studio PrimoPiano [])

Francesco Grandi (1831-1891), Saint Francis Borgia Prays in Front of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Rome 1870, oil on canvas, detail, Santiago (Chile), Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church (Photo: Giulio Archinà — © Studio PrimoPiano [])

CVAC has received a generous support from Santander Universities to conduct series of research trips and meetings in Chile in relation to the ongoing project ‘Rome in the World: Pius IX and the Foundation of Global Catholic Heritage’, led by Dr Stefano Cracolici and Dr Giovanna Capitelli. The purpose of these visits is to compare the dissemination of 19th-century Roman Catholic repertoire in Chile and England. In Chile, the turn to Rome to decorate Catholic churches and institutions chimed with the political strategy to disenfranchise a recently independent country from its colonial bonds; in England, it served to refuel with sacred energy the restoration of the English Catholic landscape after its devastation during the early modern period. In both cases, we argue, Rome contributed to create zones of civilisational prestige for an imagined community shared globally. The possibility to conduct a comparative study supported by community-led initiatives in Chile and England would allow us to frame the investigation of a cultural heritage of local significance within a global context, and to explore new avenues for broadening our collaboration, achieving international recognition and exploring innovative forms of impact activities.

In collaboration with our Chilean co-investigator, Prof Fernando Guzmán Schiappacasse (Director of CEP), we intend to develop a collaborative partnership between the Centre for Visual Arts and Cultures at Durham University and the Centro de Estudios del Patrimonio (CEP) at the Universidad Adolpho Ibañez in Santiago and Valparaiso, with the additional involvement of the Durham Centre for Catholic Studies and Centre for the Ethics of Cultural Heritage. During our visit to Santiago, we will conduct a series of meetings with non-academic partners working in the heritage and conservation sectors, such as the Fundación Altiplano, the Centro de Conservación, Restauración y Estudios Artísticos (CREA) and Centro Nacional de Conservación y Restauración (CNCR). Further contacts will be established with crucial cultural institutions, such as the Centro de Estudiantes del Colegio San Ignacio de Alonso de Ovalle, the Centro Patrimonial Recoleta Dominica CPRD) and the Dirección de Bibliotecas, Archivos y Museos (DIBAM) in Santiago.

Stefano Cracolici,

Durham University

Banff Research In Culture 2015

Demos: Life in Common
Banff Research in Culture 2015 – Summer Research Residency
Program dates: June 1, 2015 – June 19, 2015
Application deadline: December 10, 2014

Faculty: Alex Hartley, Nina Power, Astra Taylor, others TBA

Demos: Life in Common
Banff Research in Culture 2015 – Summer Research Residency
Program dates: June 1, 2015 – June 19, 2015
Application deadline: December 10, 2014

Faculty: Alex Hartley, Nina Power, Astra Taylor, others TBA
Further info, including application information, can be found at:
(Contact: Brandy Dahrouge:

The word demos names ‘the people’, and thus democracy is, at its most basic constitutive level, the shared power of people thinking and acting. Democracy is grounded upon the capacity of the people to narrate and decide the shape of collective life. But the ‘democracy’ we experience and live with today has devolved into practices of state sovereignty and governmentality, a society characterized by social and economic inequality, and an under-represented and disenfranchised electorate. And it seems, too, that hopes in technology as a mechanism that might yet create a new common ground have failed to achieve their promised ends.

Demos: Life in Common invites participants to consider the ways in which we constitute and experience collective life in this century. We seek to bring together artists, writers, researchers, and cultural producers who in their work explore the ways in which we might reinvigorate democratic life today—not just ‘democratic’ in its narrow, political sense, but as life in common in which being and belonging engenders the full flourishing of individuals and communities. What new forms might politics take today—a time that bears little resemblance to those bygone centuries that gave birth to many of our political structures and imaginings? How is collective self-determination mobilized and what do recent events demonstrate about the will of the people and the will of the state? What is the role of new technologies in enhancing or impeding social equality? Might it yet help to create new forms of community and belonging? And how might contemporary cultural, artistic and intellectual activities enliven the belief of the dêmos in its own capacities and possibilities?

“Demos” also names cultural and social practices that suggest other ways in which we might pursue our inquiries during this program. A demo is also an essai—an attempt, a test, an experiment in sound that allows musicians to record their own creative efforts and to share their ideas with others. And, demos are what groups engage in when they want to draw attention to problems and limits that existing structures of government, law or economy can’t address or even apprehend. Demonstrations are a site at which the demos tries to upend the ossified language of culture and politics by upsetting the patterns of the quotidian, taking to the streets and affirming their collective displeasure en masse. Over three weeks, participants will engage in experiments of thinking, acton, and making—demos that challenge the self-certainties and pieties of existing structures and practices, and so help to envision and enable renewed forms,of democratic life.

We look forward to receiving compelling and original proposals from thinkers and artists.

Banff Research in Culture 2015
Banff Research in Culture (BRiC) is a residency program designed for scholars and artists engaged in advanced theoretical research on themes and topics in culture. Graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty (pre-tenure), activists, writers, and practicing artists from around the world will convene at The Banff Centre for three weeks to contemplate the theme Demos: Life in Common.

BRiC is designed to offer researchers and artists with similar interests from different disciplinary and professional backgrounds, an opportunity to exchange opinions and ideas in a fruitful and intensive environment. Participants are encouraged to develop new research, artistic, editorial, and authorial projects, both individually and in connection with others. Participants will attend lectures and seminars offered by visiting faculty. This program aims to develop new approaches toward the study and analysis of culture, as well as create lasting networks of scholars and artists who might use this opportunity as the basis for future collaborative work.

Demos: Life in Common is the fifth edition of BRiC following Distributed Intimacies (2014); Dock(ing); or, New Economies of Exchange (2013); The Retreat: A Position of dOCUMENTA (13) (2012), and On the Commons; or, Believing-Feeling-Acting Together (2011). The Banff Centre is a world-renowned facility supporting the creation and performance of new works of visual and digital art, music, dance, theatre, research and writing.

The 2015 edition of BRiC is generously supported by The Banff Centre, the University of Alberta, and the Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto.

Plotting the Crisis: Ecologies, Commodities, and the Arts

Organised by Kerstin Oloff, Michael Niblett and Chris Campbell

The seminar, which was jointly sponsored by the Institute of Hazard Risk and Resilience, Warwick Global Research Priorities, and the Arts and Humanities Faculty (Durham), took place on May 24th 2014 and featured talks by scholars from a variety of disciplines, including environmental history, postcolonial literature, visual arts, and critical geography. It was well attended throughout the day, with participants coming from a range of universities, including York and Newcastle. The symposium formed part of a series of events held over the past year in different universities (including University of Warwick, University of Guyana and University College Dublin) and concerned with developing new analytical approaches to the relationship between cultural forms and ecological and economic crises.

The day consciously situated itself within the current global crises. In his keynote speech “The Capitalocene: On Nature and the Origins of our Ecological Crisis”,  Jason W. Moore, an important environmental historian, questioned the usefulness of the increasingly popular term of the “Anthropocene” for understanding these crises in their interrelatedness. Instead he proposed a world-ecological perspective as a method that would transcend what he terms the consequentialist bias, that is, an understanding restricted by the Cartesian dualism between Nature and Society that would see the latter as impacting on the former. The current crises therefore need to be understood within a longer history of periodic booms and busts — simultaneously economic and ecological — that foster the conditions for, or exacerbate the effects of, hazards and disasters of all kinds, from soil erosion and extreme weather events to epidemics and social violence.

Andrei Molodkin, “Democracy”, 2005.

In her talk on oilscapes and visual arts, Janet Stewart addressed the relation between society, ecology, politics, economy and crisis from a perspective focused on energy. She was particularly interested in how visual artists render our over-reliance on oil visible, and thus help conceptualize the fuel-drenched habitus of those living in the developed world. Further, she discussed the way in which these critical artworks help to shed light on global inequalities that are entrenched by oil, as its extraction is facilitated by violence and accompanied by the dynamics of boom and bust.

Chris Jordan “Midway – Message from the Gyre” (2009 – present)

Treasa deLoughrey was similarly concerned with how the arts engage with the omnipresence of oil. In her talk, she discussed, for instance, Chris Jordan’s photographs of bird cadavers filled with plastic alongside Edward Burtynsky’s notion of the Toxic Sublime, reflecting on the ways in which these artworks complicate notions of “natural” disasters.

The second keynote speech spoke again directly to the symposium’s key theme, exploring how aesthetic forms have responded to the crisis-ridden logic of capitalism. Like in the two preceding talks, the underlying question revolved around the role of the arts in helping to think through and interrogate narratives of crisis, reconstruction, and development.  Sharae Deckard, a literary scholar from the University College of Dublin, sought to apply such an integrated perspective to the current endeavors to theorize the field of world literature, as previously advocated by Michael Niblett in “World-Economy, World-Ecology, World Literature” (2012). In particular, she examined the irreal aesthetics produced within the context of violent neoliberal social relations and ecological degradation in Mexico, focusing on, for instance, a literary engagement with the maquiladoras on the border to the United States.

The day ended in a lively roundtable discussion, in which Durham and Warwick faculty engaged with the speakers and shared some of their own perspectives. As a result of this day, a new research group on “Ecology and the Arts” will run in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures in 2014-2015. The next conference organised by a member of the World Ecology Group – “World-Society, Planetary Natures” – will take place at SUNY Binghamton in summer 2015.


Islands, Images, Imaginaries

islandsWith this special issue of Third Text, ‘Islands, Images, Imaginaries’, we seek new ways of seeing and imagining spaces, particularly the complex places of islands. Whereas several other studies in this vein have usefully probed different insular image-making processes to intervene within existing area studies or shift the understanding of national or imperial imaginations, this collection attempts to think through a more global arc in order to examine processes that unexpectedly cross boundaries. Our focus highlights the longue durée of colonialism, particularly the ways in which advanced capitalism has amplified the dispossession of insular subjects in the wake of shifting forms of imperial tourism and militarism. We investigate how fantasy, politics and economics work together to produce islands and the stakes of such imbricated discourses.

Sean Metzger, Francisco-J. Hernández Adrián and Michaeline Crichlow, ‘Introduction: Islands, Images, Imaginaries’, Third Text 28.4-5, pp 334-5.