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What’s happening to London’s LGBTQI nightlife spaces?

GuestBlogger15 September 2016

pencil-icon Written by Laura Marshall, UCL Urban Laboratory Research Assistant and UCL Geography PhD student

Since May 2016, the UCL Urban Laboratory has been researching nightlife spaces in London significant to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer and Intersex communities since 1986. Led by the centre’s Director Ben Campkin (UCL Bartlett School of Architecture) and PhD student Laura Marshall, the research has been prompted by the wide reporting and activism around the closure of commercial LGBTQI spaces, with a number of high-profile cases in the media, along with the election of Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London, who has renewed discussions of policy change to support culture, social integration and the night-time economy.

Following the success of Night Scenes – an Urban Lab-hosted workshop in July – we took the project to the first-ever Peckham Festival on 10 September, as part of the CAMP-er-VAN.

Bbz at CAMPerVAN

Tia Simon-Campbell and Olivia Mastin from Bbz speaking at Night Scenes @ CAMP-er-VAN © UCL Urban Laboratory]

The CAMP-er-VAN is the creation of designer, filmmaker and UCL Bartlett BSc Architecture graduate Samuel Douek.

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One Day in the City: In conversation with Kazuo Ishiguro

Sophie EPleterski4 July 2014

An unmissable event – UCL’s One Day in the City and Harper’s Bazaar came together to host John Mullan, head of UCL English Language & Literature and former Man Booker judge, in conversation with Kazuo Ishiguro in the packed Darwin Lecture Theatre.

kazuoishiguro1

Writer Kazuo Ishiguro

The Booker Prize winning author was on form. In a day devoted to London in fiction, Ishiguro, or Ish, as he was called by John, announced “I came to explain why I don’t set my novels in London… I’m a bit anti-London.” Excellent start.

The conversation ranged extensively from settings in fiction to Ishiguro’s literary method, writers in London and the peccancy of political naivety in an author.

Ish established from the start the distinction between a novel’s setting and its world: “every novel should have a strong sense of its own world, whether it be severe, bizarre, dark or noire-ish… and the psychological and physical laws that operate in that world.”

The setting, meanwhile, has more to do with the public preconception of a place such as London, Paris in the 20s or New York in the 80s. He cautioned against the use of a setting without acknowledging its reverberations – what kind of noise it creates – adding wryly that “a writer who uses a setting like Nazi Germany without taking into account the Nazis is at best naïve.”

Ishiguro’s antagonistic relationship with settings began with his early novels A Pale View of the Hills (1982) and An Artist of the Floating World (1986). Westerners, knowing little about Japan, tended to take his novels too literally within the context of their Japanese setting. They assumed that he was trying to teach the reader about the Japanese mindset of the time.

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Flickering, lost, forgotten: London’s silent picture palaces

Sophie EPleterski10 June 2014

Hale's_Tours_of_the_WorldWill you come with me to a talkie to-day?

During my second film event of the UCL Festival of the Arts in two days, I was transported back to the origins of cinema in London’s ‘filmland’.  From the bright lights of Leicester Square to the back alleys of Soho, our group of fifteen retraced the steps of early twentieth-century film-goers through Bloomsbury and the West End.

There were a few familiar faces from the previous night’s event Memories of 60s Cinema-Going, all equally curious to discover the hidden stories behind these hitherto innocuous buildings dotted around London.

Led by Dr Chris O’Rourke (UCL Centre for Humanities Interdisciplinary Research Projects) who is researching the social experience of cinema-going in the period of silent film, we began in front of the brutish façade of the Odeon on Tottenham Court Road.

The birth of cinema in London, we were told, was Newman Street, 1894, where private demonstrations of peepshow kinetoscope machines showing a mixture of everyday and spectacular theatrical subjects were captivating 19th century audiences.

From these flickering beginnings, 500 cinemas opened in the London area. Tottenham Court Road alone was home to six including The Majestic Picturedrome, Carlton Cinema and The Court (not the pub) where  The Dominion now stands. Somehow they were all commercially successful, just as today’s Starbucks and Costa manage inexplicably to sell enough Americanos to reside next to each other.

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UCL is Creating Connections with East London

GuestBlogger23 May 2014

pencil-iconWritten by Kim Townsend, Public Engagement Coordinator (East),  UCL Museums & Public Engagement

UCL’s Public Engagement Unit is currently working hard to build relationships and engage with the public in East London.

Creating Connections

As part of this, I attended an event called Creating Connections, which was held in Stratford, East London. Creating Connections is the name of a series of events that are designed to bring together UCL staff and students with representatives from community organisations, charities, residents’ groups and social enterprises, with the aim of finding ways to work together.

Around 60 people gathered in University Square, Stratford for the event, which included themed discussion groups – covering topics like ‘How urban planning affects local communities’, and ‘Supporting health improvements in East London’ – there were also informal networking opportunities over drinks, giving a chance for the East London community to find shared areas of interest with UCL’s academics and students.

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