With just a few days remaining in my role as Director of CHASE, I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you the very best with your doctoral research - whether you are about to start, are just getting stuck in or are working to an imminent submission deadline.
Sunday, the last full day of the residency. I slept a full ten hours, uncharacteristically, as if my body was already anticipating the early mornings and structured time to which it would soon be returning. It promised to be a fine day, so I set off on long stroll through the Cheshire countryside.
By Friday, everyone had established a morning routine. I had some fruit, cereal and black coffee and then started writing, in the little nook of Scarlet Hall that had become my personal work space over the past week.
I wake early, go downstairs for coffee. The rain is my constant companion. Back upstairs with the coffee, in bed, I write. About anything. The only rule is that I write by hand. Today I copy out two poems: Some Trees by John Ashbery, and To Be of Use by Marge Piercy. I love the rhythm of poetry to start a day.
On May 10-11th 2019, PhD Candidates Sofia Cumming (University of East Anglia, 2017 Cohort) and Federica Mure (Goldsmiths, 2018 Cohort) put together a programme of events centred on the work of German-Jewish philosopher and critic Walter Benjamin (1892–1940).
This piece is a response to a seminar on ‘Politics and reflexivity when studying conflict’ organised by doctoral students from the Courtauld Institute of Art that took place at Birkbeck University on the 19th March 2019. This issue is suggestive for my doctoral project because I am looking at the representation of the First and Second Congo War in popular culture but I am neither Congolese nor of African origin.
This story starts with a letter. As I was sitting in the Houghton Library of Harvard University in the first year of my PhD, I was drawn to a beautifully calligraphed manuscript, inked in an elegant cursive hand.
Intelligent Futures was a postgraduate and ECR conference, supported by CHASE DTP and Sussex Humanities Lab. Over the course of two days, the conference challenged researchers to find original, philosophical and cultural approaches to Artificial Intelligence. The interdisciplinary explorations spanned the social sciences, informatics, psychology, art, literature and more, promoting critical and speculative engagements with technical cognition.
There was a man from London who said his family was from St Lucia; a woman whose accent I couldn’t quite place from the South-West of England; an Iranian poet committed to changing the narrative of queer, female representation in Iran; a Scot who when he opened his mouth I swore was from Barbados (he wasn’t, but his partner was);
Nadifa Mohamed gave a masterclass at UEA on ‘Writing Violence: Literature as Reportage/Recovery’ and she began by sharing with the group how she came to write her debut novel Black Mamba Boy, for which she won the 2010 Betty Trask Award. The novel is a fictionalised account of her father’s experiences as a child and young man in Africa in the 1930s and 40s.
By Elspeth Latimer (CHASE funded student, University of East Anglia)
We began the day with dedicated writing time, where people were free to take up position on the lawns or the garden table or the sofas or the dining table, or the many benches scattered around Great Barn Farm.
Today was the first day of discussions and workshops—and what a perfect place in which to do all these! The weather was wonderful, the atmosphere serene and contemplative, the people all friendly and smart.
The focus of my PhD is ekphrasis in response to modernist paintings, especially those that are very dark or near-black. One example is a poem I wrote about Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square (recently published in The Ekphrastic Review).
NDACA, the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive, is a £1-million Heritage Lottery Fund project which celebrates and preserves this history; the protests, songs and artwork of the individuals who were central to this unique movement. From the satirical cartoons of Crippen, to the subversive cabaret performances of ‘The Tragic but Brave Show’, NDACA tells these stories, bringing new digital and object meaning to the Disability Arts Movement.
With a focus on housing and public space, the first of three sessions co-organised by the ICA, the Architecture Space and Society Centre at Birkbeck (ASSC), and CHASE brought together practitioners, theorists, activists and students to try and answer what might at first seem like a trick question. ‘Where is the social in Architecture?’ Surely the answer is ‘everywhere’? After all, is there any aspect of architectural space and architectural practice which is not thoroughly social?
Saturday 2nd December saw over 200 CHASE DTP Scholars gather at my home institution – the University of Essex, near Colchester, for the twice-yearly Encounters conference. The Encounters experience began in earnest on Friday evening, in Colchester Castle, with a drinks reception.
By Ruth Raymer, University of Essex CHASE funded student and SAG rep
My CHASE placement occurred over a six-month period in the London headquarters of Unruly Media, a global video ad tech firm. Unruly are an industry leader in the distribution of online video advertising—for instance, those ads and trailers that pop up when you are reading an article online, or that you might opt-in to play on your favourite website.
During my placement I worked with INFORM (The Information Network on Religious Movements, based at the London School of Economics. Founded in 1988 by renowned sociologist Professor Eileen Barker, INFORM is a charity that specialises in providing the public with balanced and detailed information on new religions and minority movements.
Delegates from all disciplines, departments and CHASE institutions were offered exclusive access to the hallowed shelves of Norwich Cathedral’s library for one afternoon only. Tucked inside the cloister is a collection of liturgical and secular works which have been donated and accumulated over the years by the diocese, with the earliest printed text in this collection dating to 1474.