Arts blog

To complement our reviewing of scholarly work in literature and science society members share their responses to and participation in the wider engagement with science among the contemporary arts.

The blog is open for all to read and all society members can contribute. We welcome contributions on any aspect of contemporary culture’s engagement with science, whether through poetry, fiction, theatre, cinema, television, music, dance, exhibitions, performance art, public talks, journalism or popular science-writing. As well as announcements and reviews of new publications or events, members are welcome to post interviews, recordings and links to other websites, including to their own original work.

The one area of engagement excluded from the blog is the academic study of literature and science, which has always been the BSLS’s main focus. Scholarly books will still be reviewed on the reviews pages, and academic events and calls for papers announced on the front page as currently. The blog is owned in common by the BSLS membership, and will not be edited, but it will be monitored, and contributions that are defamatory or infringe copyright will be removed.

You are warmly invited to attend a symposium celebrating 70 years of applied social sciences work at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, and its distinctive contribution to the development of organisational research, business management studies and consultancy. The symposium takes place at the Conway Hall in central London on Thursday 19th October 2017. It is free to attend but booking is required and can be made as either a full day or a morning or afternoon session here.

 

The symposium forms part of a four day festival celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Tavistock Institute, which is taking place in central London from Tuesday 17th October to Friday 20th October. Full information can be found here on the festival website. These events also mark the launch of the Tavistock Institute’s Archive detailed here at: Wellcome Library. For information on accessing the Tavistock Archive, please take a library tour on Tuesday 17th October (book here) or Wednesday 18th October (book here). To see highlights from the Archive please visit the exhibition, ‘Past, Present & Future: From the Tavistock Institute Archive’, on display at the Swiss Church from 17th to 20th October (detailed here).

 

The Symposium:

The symposium will be opened by Cliff Oswick (Professor in Organisation Theory at Cass Business School; chair of the Tavistock Institute’s Council).

Two morning sessions follow: the first paper, ‘Sites of Selection’ will be presented by Daniel Monninger (Max Planck Institute, Cologne) and Dr Alice White (Wellcome Library); the second, ‘Community Development and Organisational Change: Large scale industrial action research in the 1970s’, will be presented by Elliot Stern (Fellow of UK Academy of Social Sciences; Emeritus Professor, Lancaster University; and Visiting Fellow, Bristol University; formerly Tavistock Institute) and Frances Abraham(Tavistock Institute).

 

The afternoon session will open with a keynote presented by the CEO of the Tavistock Institute, Dr Eliat Aram, ‘On Being an Orphan: An untold story’. It will close with a performance by Dreadlockalien (performance poet at University of Warwick 2015; Birmingham’s Poet Laureate 2005-6; host to BBC Radio 4’s Slam Poetry; and Director of ‘Colour Free Visions’, ‘New October Poets’, and ‘Write Down Speak Up’).

 

Free tickets are still available for this special event at Brighton's Booth Museum of Natural History on Thursday evening, which marks the opening of a new exhibition on birds in literature.

'Flying off the Page: Birds in Literature, Victorian Era to the Present' will explore how birds have been depicted in literature and culture over time.

Please book your place for the event here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/flying-off-the-page-birds-in-literature-victorian-era-to-the-present-tickets-33427602860

The event is one in a series planned over the summer, funded by the AHRC as a part of a collaborative project on the history of British Nature Writing. See here for more details: https://landlinesproject.wordpress.com/

 

After the Visions of Nature year at the Oxford University Museum, the anthology Guests of Time, including poems by Kelley Swain, John Barnie and Steven Matthews alongside poetry by Victorian poets connected to the Museum such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris and Gerard Manley Hopkins, has been published by Valley Press. To read more about the anthology and to order a copy, click here.

This year the Oxford University Museum of Natural History has been hosting a series of exhibitions, events and residencies under the theme Visions of Nature. In December, BSLS members John Holmes and Janine Rogers will be taking part in three public events at the museum as part of this celebration of art and poetry inspired by the natural world:

  • On 1st December (7-9 p.m.), John and Janine will be giving a joint talk entitled Building the Book of Nature, drawing on their research for their Canadian SSHRC-funded research project on natural history museum architecture. This talk will explore the architecture and art of the museum, including a guided tour and a pop-up exhibition of designs by John Ruskin, the Pre-Raphaelites and others.
  • On 7th December (6.30-8.30 p.m.), they will be joined by Stephen Wildman, Director of the Ruskin Library and Research Centre, together with researchers and teachers from Oxford, to discuss how science and art have worked together in visualising nature throughout the ages.
  • Finally, on 12th December (7-9 p.m.), John will be joining the museum’s three poets-in-residence, John Barnie, Steven Matthews and Kelley Swain (one-time BSLS Secretary), to launch a new anthology of poems inspired by and connected with the museum, entitled Guests of Time.

All three events are free and open to all. If you would like to reserve seats in advance, please click here.

Cafe Culturel (run by students from Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences and Biomedical Sciences, at University of Birmingham) starts a new year of events. The first event in the new calendar, on Tue 18th October 2016, 6:30 pm, at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum, is workshop/cafe event with the title Cognitive Decline: Presentations and Representations. Starting from the current RSC production of King Lear (https://www.rsc.org.uk/king-lear/), a panel made up of a visual artist (Tom de Freston), a theatre critic (Prof. Russell Jackson) and a psychiatrist (Consultant Femi Oyebode) will present views and then engage in a discussion with the audience on the theme of how the various manifestations of cognitive decline are represented in various forms of art. The evening will comprise a short presentation from the members of the panel, which then will be followed by an extended questions and answers session, to which the public are invited to contribute. You can find more details and perspectives about the event on our Cafe Culturel blog: https://cafeculturelbirmingham.wordpress.com/, or you can contact Dr. Emil Toescu (e.c.toescu@bham.ac.uk); or check the Cafe facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Cafe.Culturel.Birmingham/.

And if you are interested in attending, please book your (free) ticket at https://cafeculturel_cognitivedecline.eventbrite.com. There are only a limited number of seats available, so please register if you are sure that you will be able to attend.

William Rowan Hamilton, the great 19th century mathematical physicist, tried his hand at poetry, so it is entirely appropriate that he should be celebrated in that form. Iggy McGovern, physicist and poet, has written a sonnet sequence which reflects views of Hamilton by his contemporaries.

McGovern's work is characterised by a wry sense of humour. Participants will perform the readings, some of which will have a scientific perspective, from the likes of Airy and Tait, but others will feature notable figures from Irish society.

Date: 14 June 2016

Start time: refreshments at 17:15 for a 17:45 start

Location: Institute of Physics, 76 Portland Place, London W1B 1NT, UK

This event is open to all with an interest. The fee to attend is £5 for non-members; IOP members can attend for free. Numbers are limited so advanced registration is advised. To register, click here

 

Explore the humble beginnings of the citizen science movement

From classifying the cosmos to tracking British bees, citizen science has captivated the imagination of the British public; online platforms such as Zooniverse have over 1 million participants. But, you might be surprised to hear that this isn't a new thing. Long before the internet put data at our fingertips, researchers capitalised on the power of many.

Join the Constructing Scientific Communities team for an informal discussion-based event. Learn how 19th-century models are offering ways of harnessing this huge popular interest, and how these models are helping to advance science.

  • Free to attend, no registration required
  • Seats allocated on a first-come-first-served basis
  • Doors open at 6pm

Speakers

Professor Sally Shuttleworth - Professor of English Literature, University of Oxford
Professor Chris Lintott - Professor of Astrophysics & Citizen Science Lead, University of Oxford
Dr Berris Charnley - Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Constructing Scientific Communities

Chaired by Katherine Mathieson, Director of Programmes, British Science Association

For more information please go to https://royalsociety.org/events/2015/05/citizen-science/

Institute of Art and Ideas video debate.

According to Richard Dawkins 'Science is poetic, ought to be poetic and has much to learn from poets'. Can poetry really contribute to the progress of science or is the poet's eye 'in fine frenzy rolling' no more than an imaginative flourish?

Mathematician and game theorist Ken Binmore, moral philosopher Mary Midgley, and award-winning poet, novelist and great-great granddaughter of Charles Darwin Ruth Padel, examine the nature of science and art.

http://iai.tv/video/poetic-theories

Sunday 28 September, 2pm

Double the Stars, a historical novel based on the life and adventures of astronomer Caroline Herschel, written by Kelley Swain (poet and former BSLS Secretary), will be being launched in the Octagon Room of Flamsteed House at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London! All welcome – click here for details.

As part of this year's Oxford Open Doors programme, BSLS Chair John Holmes will be giving a talk explaining how the Pre-Raphaelites became involved in the design of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in the 1850s, and how the Museum itself encapsulates in stone, iron, and glass its own scientific conception of the truth of the natural world. The talk will be at 3 p.m. on Saturday 13th September at the Museum. The event is free, but you can reserve a seat by through this website.

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