Texts and contexts: the cultural legacies of Ada Lovelace

An interdisciplinary workshop

Tuesday 8 December, 10am-6pm (arrivals from 9.30am)

Rooms L4 and L5, Mathematics Institute, University of Oxford

Attendance is free, registration required


In 2015 the University of Oxford is hosting a number of events to mark 200 years since the birth of mathematician and computer pioneer, Ada Lovelace (1815-1852). As part of these celebrations, this interdisciplinary one-day workshop will bring together postgraduates and early career researchers in literature, history, maths and computing, and anyone with interests in Lovelace, in order to discuss the cultural influence of her work from the nineteenth century to the present day.


We look forward to hearing a wide range of papers on subjects including Lovelace and LEGO, Lovelace’s poetic imagination, and the role that Lovelace can play in teaching computing to primary school children. Our keynote address, ‘Literature, science and medicine in the early nineteenth century’, will be delivered by Professor Sharon Ruston (Lancaster University). Professor Ruston will also take part in an expert panel, alongside biographer Professor Richard Holmes (Falling Upwards; The Age of Wonder), graphic novelist Sydney Padua (The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage), and novelist and critic Miranda Seymour (In My Father’s House).


Attendance at the workshop is completely free, although you must register in advance. Visit blogs.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/adalovelace and follow the registration link. Registration closes on Sunday 29 November.


As well as the workshop, a two-day symposium “Ada Lovelace: celebrating 200 years of a computer visionary” will take place on Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 December, also at the Maths Institute. Thanks to the generosity of the symposium sponsors, there are a number of funded student places available for the symposium. Anyone wishing to apply for one of these places should contact sarah.baldwin@cs.ox.ac.uk.


For more information on the workshop, a full timetable and list of abstracts, visit adalovelaceworkshop.wordpress.com, and for the main symposium go to blogs.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/adalovelace. Email us at adalovelaceworkshop@ell.ox.ac.uk.

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The recent BSLS Winter Symposium, Science in the Archives, held at Reading and hosted by Verity Burke and Claire Stainthorp, was extensively tweeted before and during the event. Verity and Claire have now captured those tweets on Storify, for those who can and those who cannot access Twitter. You can follow the narrative of the Symposium at: https://storify.com/VerityBurke/bsls-winter-symposium-science-in-the-archives

Science Fiction Research Association Conference 2016 CFP -

SFRA 2016 cfp 2.1 Sml


The Astrobiology Chair is a distinguished senior research position in residence at the Library of Congress for a period of up to twelve months. Using research facilities and services at the Library of Congress, the scholar engages in research at the intersection of the science of astrobiology and its humanistic and societal implications. The appointment ensures the subject of astrobiology’s role in culture and society receives considered treatment each year in Washington, D.C. A stipend during the term of appointment supports the scholar.


The Chair is open to scholars and leading thinkers in the fields of philosophy, history, religion, astrobiology, astronomy, planetary science, the history of science, paleontology, Earth and atmospheric sciences, geological sciences, ethics, or other related fields. The Chair may undertake research on a range of societal issues related to how life begins and evolves, or examine the religious, ethical, legal, cultural and other concerns arising from scientific research on the origin, evolution, and nature of life in the universe.


The link to online information about the NASA Chair in Astrobiology and the application is: http://www.loc.gov/loc/kluge/fellowships/NASA-astrobiology.html.


As part of the ongoing series, 'Teaching Romanticism', I am seeking contributions on the topic of Literature and Science. This blog post will consider the opportunities for and challenges of teaching Literature and Science within the Romantic period (broadly defined). Contributors might explore approaches to a particular text, the challenges and advantages posed by interdisciplinary approaches, the use of material culture in approaching literary texts, or any other topic of literary-scientific interest.

Individual entries are typically 200-400 words, although this is variable, and should take around an hour to write. Ideally, I'm looking for for 3-5 contributors, although more contributors writing shorter pieces would also be welcome. Please feel free to contact me to discuss any ideas.

To get an idea of the tone and approach of previous entries, see the on Percy Bysshe Shelley, edited by Daniel Cook:

Due date: 11th January

Please send expressions of interest to Ros Powell (rosalind.powell@bristol.ac.uk)


The next international conference of the Commission on Science and Literature (CoSciLit) will take place from 7th to 9th September 2016 at Pöllau, Austria and will be hosted by Echophysics and the Victor Franz Hess Society, with the support of the European Physical Society. The call for papers will be announced in due course, but please hold the dates if you would like to attend. The conference will follow immediately after another conference at Pöllau on the history of physics, organized by the History of Physics Group/European Physical Society and the Institute of Physics, UK.


CoSciLit was established in 2013 during the 24th International Congress on the History of Science, Technology and Medicine (iCHSTM), held by the Division of History of Science and Technology of the International Union for the History and Philosophy of Science in Manchester. We will be contributing symposia to the 25th iCHSTM, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 23 to 29 July 2017 (http://www.ichst2017.sbhc.org.br). We welcome proposals for both thematic panels and stand-alone papers to include in our symposia. Please send proposals to George Vlahakis (gvlahakis@yahoo.com) by 31st March 2016. Each panel/symposium has to have at least three presenters, and please bear in mind that according to the policy of the Congress only one paper can be given by each individual participating in the conference.


George Vlahakis and John Holmes, CoSciLit


There remain a few places left for the next Winter Symposium - do sign up quickly if you wish to attend. The event is free.

Science in the Archive Registration

Sign up is taking place through Eventbrite:


Event Details:

Location: Museum of English Rural Life and University of Reading’s Special Collections

Date: Saturday 14th November 2015

Organisers: Verity Burke and Clare Stainthorp, at v.burke@pgr.reading.ac.uk and cgs288@bham.ac.uk

4-5 July 2016, Department of Drama and Theatre Arts (George Cadbury Hall), University of Birmingham, UK

Conference organisers: Dr Vicky Angelaki and Professor Graham Saunders

We are witnessing a growth in new work in theatre and performance that deals with the current intricate relationship between environment and economy, referred to by some as the Anthropocene; a geological age in which energy and resource consumption habits are creating the conditions for environmental crisis. This in turn has not only led governments around the world to making difficult moral and ethical decisions, but also all of us to consider our responsibilities towards the environment, and the consequences of our individual and collective actions.

Recent written and performance work for the stage that has focused on the economy in relation to diminishing resources and global warming/climate change has included:

Steve Waters, The Contingency Plan (2009, Bush Theatre); Nick Payne, If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet (2009, Bush Theatre); Richard Bean, The Heretic (2011, Royal Court Theatre); Moira Buffini, Matt Charman, Penelope Skinner and Jack Thorne, Greenland (2011, National Theatre); Filter and David Farr, Water (2007, Lyric Hammersmith; 2011, Tricycle); Duncan Macmillan, Lungs (2011, Studio Theatre, Washington DC); Stephen Emmott and Katie Mitchell, Ten Billion (2012, Royal Court Theatre); Duncan Macmillan, Chris Rapley and Katie Mitchell, 2071 (2014, Royal Court Theatre); Rimini Protokoll, Welt-Klimakonferenz (2014, Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg); Tanya Ronder, F*ck the Polar Bears (2015, Bush Theatre).

We have also seen an increasing number of visual arts projects responding to warnings of crisis, as well as interdisciplinary scholarship developing around the issue of environment and global economies.

This two-day international conference provides a forum to address the various and manifold artistic developments in the fields of theatre and performance, at a time many consider a crucial historical junction. In addition, the conference aims to bring together academics and practitioners working across different areas of theatre and performance and in related interdisciplinary areas.

We are now inviting proposals for papers on topics that might include, but are not limited to the following areas:
– New writing focusing on questions of environment, economy and climate change
– Performance, the visual arts and climate change
– The ethics of spectatorship and citizenship in the context of international performances and increased mobilities, including the ethics and sustainability of environmentally-focused theatre/performance and offsetting our footprints as theatre makers and scholars
– Theatre and performance historiography on the environment and climate change

Please submit proposals (250 words) along with a 150-word biographical note to v.angelaki@bham.ac.uk no later than 15th March 2016. Thank you.

Proposed Panel at the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE) Conference, at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Calgary Alberta, 28-31 May 2016.

Museums, Collections, and Memory Objects: Literary Intersections

Call for Papers:
This panel, inspired by the recent intersections of literary and material culture studies, invites proposals that consider literary perspectives on museums, objects, and cultural or personal memory. Museums, as public and private institutions, frequently ask us to re-member – to re-collect – a common past, be it artistic, cultural, social or scientific. They contain collections and individual objects that memorialize the past, or address a broader conception of the past (which may, in fact, be beyond even collective human memory, for example evolution in natural history museums). Museum buildings themselves, in turn, can become monumental testimonies to historical periods and cultural movements. Patterns of collecting and memory objects of other kinds intersect with literary culture in complex and intriguing ways: the ways in which memory is inscribed, literally or figuratively, both reveals and restricts information – and often involves an act of fictionalizing as much as an act of remembering. This panel will explore how memory and representations of the past intersect with literary culture through an engagement with museums, collections, and/or the memory objects contained within them.

Submit proposals to: Sophie Thomas (sophie.thomas@ryerson.ca) and Janine Rogers (jrogers@mta.ca)

When submitting a proposal, please send the following: a file containing a 300 to 500-word paper proposal, without personal identifying marks; a file containing a 100-word abstract and a 50-word biographical statement; a filled-out copy of the 2016 Proposal Information Sheet available on the ACCUTE website.


The Commission on Science and Literature is seeking nominations for the Council Board by Friday 30th October. We have received nominations for President, Treasurer and Secretary, and for the regional officers for Asia, Australasia and South America. We would especially welcome nominations for the Webmaster, the PhD student member of the council, and the regional officers for Africa, North America and Europe. Candidates should be nominated by two members of the Commission, though this may include the candidate herself/himself. Please send nominations and applications (together with a short CV and a photo if possible) to Prof. John Holmes at J.Holmes.1@bham.ac.uk

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