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    Archive for the 'Arts and Humanities' Category

    MD4: Mysticism and Insecurity

    By Jacinta M Mulders, on 5 January 2018

    MD4 at The Koppel Project. Photo credit: Kai Syng Tan

    The Global Engagement Funds are intended to support UCL academics collaborating with colleagues based in other countries. Last year, they enabled Professor Andrew Stahl of the UCL Slade School of Fine Art to bring several brilliant Thai artists to the UK for a fourth edition of Monologue/Dialogue. Curated by Professor Stahl, Monologue/Dialogue is an exhibition series alternating between Thailand and the UK. Originating from a British Council initiated and funded residency and exhibition in Bangkok, Professor Stahl has organised and participated in the project since 2006. The key focus of the project has been to celebrate transcultural conversations by bringing together artists mainly from Thailand and the UK but also from different parts of the world to install or construct work together, and develop existing contacts between UK and Thai universities and in some way to reflect on the transcultural nature of today’s discourse for artists.

    This edition, ‘MD4: Mysticism and Insecurity’, took place in London’s Koppel Gallery in Baker Street. It involved 16 artists mainly from Thailand and the UK, but also from Singapore, Bangladesh, China and Japan.

    In collaboration with Dr Kai Syng Tan (UCL Institute of Advanced Studies), an artist, curator, and researcher, Professor Stahl organised numerous events in the gallery including tours of the exhibition and discussions engaging the public, students and artists. The project received additional funding from the Royal Thai Embassy and was opened by his Excellency the Thai ambassador.

    Links

    Greenlandic: Languages of the Arctic

    By Jo Harris, on 13 June 2017

    Pat Lok, biosciences student, UCL, explores the Language of the Arctic

    The largest island on earth yet inhabits one of the smallest group of Arctic language speakers – Greenland. Greenlandic is an Eskimo-Aleut language with neighbouring countries such as Siberia, Russia and Northern Canada speaking a language originated from the same language family. It is polysynthetic; where multiple words make up one complete word that could mean a sentence, this is due to Greenlandic being mostly an oral spoken rather than written only until recently. An example would be “Sukulaatitortarpugut” which means “we regularly eat chocolate” in Greenlandic. This is common in Germanic language where a long word is composed of small words altogether that means a sentence.

    Flag of Greenland - the colour red symbolises the Sun and the colour white symbolises ice and snow.

    Flag of Greenland – the colour red symbolises the Sun and the colour white symbolises ice and snow.

    Greenland has a complicated political identity; Greenland is an autonomous state but its citizens possess Danish passports yet Greenland is not part of the European Union. Greenlandic became the official language of Greenland recently in 2009 but secondary education is still mainly taught in Danish. A lot of street signs entail both Greenlandic and Danish translations which emphasise the frequency of use of both languages.

    Watch it back

    This session was delivered as part of the Festival of the Culture. You can watch it back on YouTube.

    Icy landscapes

    Greenland is well known for its icy landscape which its name suggests otherwise. Greenland obtained its name as part of an advertising campaign from more than 1000 years ago; Erik the Red who was a Norwegian Viking went on exile from Norway and then Iceland and eventually discovered Greenland. He called it ‘the green land’ in order to attract potential settlers to Greenland but Greenland isn’t exactly green, ice covers approximately 80% of the surface of Greenland and since ice is prevalent across the country, there are different words to describe different types of ice. Some examples are listed below:

    Greenlandic English
    Sea/ lake ice Siku
    Glacier/ steady ice Sermeq
    Iceberg Iluliaq
    Melted ice for fresh water Nilak

    Radically changing food habits with new undergraduate course

    By Guest Blogger, on 10 June 2017

    ­Written by Francis Lecomber, student on UCL BASc2096

    csfoodHow can we change our relationship to food? That’s been the central question for the new UCL Arts and Sciences BASc course “Citizen Science for Radical Change: Co-design, Art and Community” (BASC2096), which ran for the first-time last term. At a pop-up exhibition this week, selected students from the course showcased final projects exploring the factors that affect our decisions over what to eat.

    The course brought together multiple disciplines to explore food, based on an open source interdisciplinary method developed by our lecturer Kat Austen for her project Vital. Incorporating elements of chemistry, citizen science, community co-design and philosophy, the course encouraged students to think both analytically and creatively in their approach to learning, whilst embracing the overarching theme of food as a unifier of different peoples. The learning process itself is studied throughout the course, as we were encouraged to investigate the many different forms of knowledge and the hierarchical structure in which they exist – a structure that often places quantified data far above sensory perception in terms of value. This overarching theme continuously shaped and changed our approach to knowledge acquisition.

    Throughout the course, we worked with students from Newham’s NewVIc Sixth Form College, where we ran workshops and scientific experiments. At the end of the term, we co-designed exhibits and performances with the NewVIc pupils, which helped inform our personal designs for our final projects.

    In these final projects, the diverse threads of the course are woven into a major design piece. These designs were exhibited here, at the UCL Art Museum, on Monday 5th June as a part of the university’s theme of Transformative Technologies. In their diversity, they capture the multiple meanings food has to us, and the effect of engaging with it in an interdisciplinary way.

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    The Forgotten Slave Owners: Tracing British history before the abolition of slavery

    By Natasha Downes, on 9 June 2017

    Written by Natasha Downes, Media Relations Manager, UCL

    Most British history has focused on the abolition of slavery, forgetting 200 years that preceded it where Britain played a lucrative role in the transatlantic slave trade.

    But a team of researchers at the UCL Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership (UCL project) have been working to uncover a history that Britain has been quick to forget; the story of slave owners.

    Curious to know more I attended the UCL Festival of Culture event entitled ‘Bloomsbury’s Forgotten Slave Owners’, to hear more about the UCL project and watch an excerpt of the BAFTA-winning documentary series, Britain’s Forgotten Slave-owners.

    Why focus on slave owners?

    Focusing on Britain’s slave owners may seem like an odd concept but as Dr Nick Draper (UCL History and Director of the project), points out it’s by “rethinking these aspects of British history that we can think about how wealth has been distributed economically, physically and socially.”

    Over almost 10 years the UCL project team have been unravelling the vast records of information kept on British slave owners at The National Archive, Kew, which they have curated into an accessible online database. Here, there are the names of 46,000 slave owners that were recorded after the abolition of slavery in 1838.

    Through the documentary we hear the uncomfortable story of how the abolition of slavery brought about the compensation of those 46,000 slave owners to the sum of £17 billion in today’s value, which Dr Draper highlights as “the biggest bailout since the banking bailout in 2009”.  Those that were enslaved were not rewarded compensation, and still to this day the contention over repatriations remains.

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