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UCL events news and reviews


UCL’s Festival of Culture

By ucqajha, on 31 May 2017

Written by John Bilton, Third Year Archaeology Student

In under a weeks’ time, UCL’s Festival of Culture will be in full swing. The Festival is a week-long extravaganza running from June 5 – 10, showcasing the best of UCL’s Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

There’s a great spread, from lectures on Women and the 1984-‘5 miner’s strike and Dance in West Africa to film screenings and tours of the Olympic Park, the site for UCL East. The festival is open to students, staff and members of the public, and all the events are entirely free – though make sure you book tickets, because they get snapped up quickly.

I’m a third year Archaeology student, and I’m helping to organise the festival. It’s certainly been interesting so far: I’ve recorded a passage from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (keep an ear out, it’ll be revealed shortly). I’m working closely with the Dickens Museum to prepare the Dickens Night Walks, a fascinating event exploring nocturnal London through Charles Dickens’ eyes, complete with readings, insights and performances from some of UCL’s best-known Dickens experts. And I’m working with the wonderful Joint Faculty communications team who are based in the Andrew Huxley building, a few feet away from the Print Room Café and all the coffee anyone could want to keep them running for a festival with more than 80 events!

Make sure you come along to the Festival. Whatever your interest, we’ll have something for you. I’ve put a list of some of my top picks below, though speaking as an archaeology student, I’m especially looking forward to the Festival of Archaeology and ‘Heritage on the Move’ – I jump at any chance to mess around with archaeology equipment without all the camping. ‘Refugees in the voluntary sector’ and ‘Are local people experts?’ are also definitely worth a visit. Both events deal with how we can help vulnerable people – especially migrants and refugees – in the UK today; few issues are more important right now.

If you think this sounds interesting and would like to lend a hand, get in touch with me (john.bilton.14@ucl.ac.uk) – we’re looking for as many guides, photographers and bloggers to help out at the festival as we can get. You’ll meet the speakers, attend the events, and (best of all) you’ll get a free t-shirt.

So, come along to the festival! Keep an eye on this blog for more posts and updates, as well as on our Instagram and Twitter. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

UCL Festival of Culture 2017: John’s top picks:

  • Trump in the Age of Captain America / Captain America in the Age of Trump – How has Trump’s political performance been influenced by the Captain America comics?
  • Constructing Gender in AI: The New Femininities – This session will screen Her (2013) and Ex Machina (2015), two films which explore the artificially-created female character. How do these films conceptualise what femininity stands for?
  • Metamorphosis: Monsters, Beasts and Humans – A look at how our ideas about what makes something animal, human or monstrous changes through time.
  • Image Management in Politics: Ancient and Modern – Experts in ancient oratory will explore the tactics, techniques and topics used by ancient speakers such as Demosthenes and Cicero, and see how they stand up to some certain modern-day English-speaking politicians…
  • The Story of an ‘Other’ Little Mermaid: Queer and Film in Poland – Is there queer film in Poland? This event will give an historical account of queer cinema in Poland, as well as focusing on some specific films, such as 2015’s The Lure.
  • Reading for Pleasure – Come and see Professor Alice Sullivan explore the positive influence of reading for pleasure on learning
  • A Wolf in Tiger’s Clothing – When is a tiger not a tiger? Dr Tim Beasley-Murray will explore the symbolism of the tiger in Judith Kerr’s popular children’s book ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’.
  • 1967: A Sexual Revolution – 1967 saw the decriminalising of homosexual ‘acts’ in private between consenting men (aged over 21), and the legalisation of abortions. 50 years later, this event seeks to celebrate the achievements of the equality agenda over the past 50 years but also to explore important existential questions LGBT people and women may now face in a changing political world.
  • Growing up Global – How has globalisation affected young people? This talk will focus particularly on Brexit and how friendships are formed in London’s highly diverse schools.
  • Queering the Museum – What role can museums play in challenging our understanding of gender and sexuality? What does it mean to cast a queer eye over gender and heritage?

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