Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Invitation to our report launch, 17 September 2009

August 19, 2009

Report Launch

Community Archives and Identities:

Documenting and Sustaining Community Heritage

17 September 2009


Wilkins Old Refectory, UCL

Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

Map and directions

Andrew Flinn and Mary Stevens will give a short presentation of their findings. This will be followed by feedback from participating organisations and an opportunity for general discussion. There will be a drinks reception from 6pm.

The report represents the culmination of a 20-month research project in the Department of Information Studies at UCL. More information about the project is available on our website.

If you would like to attend please email Some space will also be available for the display of publicity material, so please do bring along flyers and leaflets.

This research is financed by the Arts and Humanties Research Council (AHRC).


Call for papers: engaging communities

August 19, 2009

The International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies at Newcastle University is announcing a two-day graduate / postgraduate conference on the theme of engaging communities, 3rd – 4th December 2009.

This conference will bring together research postgraduates and early-career researchers to share and discuss issues concerning the engagement of communities in relation to heritage, museums and galleries practice, including community-led initiatives.

Call for papers:

Papers may present, but are not limited to, research and / or case studies

* engagement of communities through museum, galleries and heritage practice
* community-led projects
* local community involvement with archaeological site management
* projects initiated and steered by local communities
* internet community development and partnerships
* the role of engaging communities when representing difficult histories
* social history studies
* cultural policy-making with an emphasis on engaging communities
* education and learning
* cross-cultural communication
* safeguarding of communal cultural heritage, including intangible cultural expressions

By ‘engaging’ the research ‘community’, this conference will provide an opportunity to reflect on a range of issues, including the following:

The conference will question how, within the research community, do we go about researching ‘communities’ in the context of heritage, museums and galleries? What are the epistemological, theoretical, methodological and ethical issues that frame this field of study? How are current researchers tackling such issues and what can we learn from the different responses
coming out of the various contexts and academic backgrounds that are currently engaged with this research problem? How does the artificial division of fields and disciplines within academic research communities influence the ways in which ‘community’ / ‘communities’ is conceived, conceptualised and studied? How might improving communication and understanding of the range of theoretical and methodological approaches between different ‘disciplines’ in the research community move the field of
communities and heritage, museums and galleries forward?

Deadline for 200 word abstract: September 15th, 2009
Email abstract (word doc) to:

Journal of Media Practice Symposium: ‘Mediated memories’

June 23, 2009

Title: Journal of Media Practice Symposium
Location: University of Sussex
Description: This year the symposium will focus on the theme of ‘Mediated Memories’ and will include a strand on the uses and construction of memory in contemporary media practice. Topics for consideration include:

* the use and creation of archives
* oral histories
* family memories
* cultural memory and narrative
* cultural memory and documentary practice
* forgetfulness in the age of information
* dementia
* home movies past and present
* the uses of nostalgia
* reminiscence
* computer memory
* memory and identity
* amnesia and the unconscious

Start Time: 09:00
Date: 2009-07-13
End Time: 17:00

Call for papers: new media

June 18, 2009

From EASA media anthropology network:

Natalia Rulyova and Jeremy Morris, The University of Birmingham, in cooperation with Vlad Strukov, the University of Leeds, and Seth Graham, SSEES, University College London, are organising a series of two workshops New Media in New Europe-Asia. We are applying for CEELBAS support to run the workshops and are planning to have the best papers published in a special issue of Europe-Asia Studies. We invite contributions from scholars working in a range of disciplines and taking disciplinary, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches to new media in Russia, Eurasia and Central Europe. We have outlined the themes of the workshops below.

SSEES, UCL, 28 May 2010

The Nature and Culture of New Media

  • Do the internet and new media liberate from the hegemony of large mass communication corporations? What is the future of the mass media in the age of digital technologies: popularity versus authority?
  • What coding and decoding strategies do new media audiences use? Do they take advantage of the limitless resources of the web?
  • How has the dichotomy posed by the traditional contrasts between text and image changed due to new media technologies?
  • How have social networking, blogging, and video-posting websites changed the relationship between the media and audiences?
  • What impact have new media had on the developments in pop and celebrity culture?

Contact Natalia Rulyova, for more information.

Film screening by GPI generation

June 17, 2009

Title: Film screening by GPI generation
Location: George Padmore Institute, 76 Stroud Green Road, London N4 3EN, UK
Description: The True Reggae Story

GPI Generation is a new group at the GPI encouraging participation from young people in the activities of the Institute. In 2007 GPI Generation showed the film Dream to Change the World to a group of young people and held a discussion about their responses to John La Rose\’s legacy and their own lives and work. Since then they have held a number of discussion meetings and accomplished a video of Irma La Rose speaking of her early life in Trinidad and Venezuela.

Today the group are screening The True Reggae Story a Nu-Beyond summer school project that involved six young women and four young men aged between 15 and 17. In 2006, these young people interviewed 32 artist/dee jays for a study of Reggae Dancehall Culture during the 1970s and 1980s in London. Most of the interviewees were artists who had operated Reggae Sound Systems during those two decades.

The film will be followed by a discussion with participation from Lez Henry, the director of the project, some of the young people who took part in the making of the film, and members of GPI Generation, many of whom are involved in the music business.

Event on GPI website.
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2009-06-24
End Time: 21:00

Documenting diasporic identities: report on the CRONEM conference, 11 June 2009

June 12, 2009

Yesterday, I presented a poster about our work at the annual conference of the Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Migration (CRONEM) at the University of Surrey. The abstract for the poster is available here and the final version can be downloaded here. (Condensing it to A4 size did some funny things to the layout – sorry…).

The aim of our poster was to stimulate a discussion about future research challenges relating to the role of online ‘archives’ in constructing identities in diasporic communities. No one has as yet given us any pointers as to how we might design an appropriate research methodology, but there was a broad consensus that these are important future questions.

An additional reason for attending was to catch up on the latest debates about how societies ‘manage’ diversity. There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about the ‘backlash’ against multiculturalism, a phenomenon which has filtered through to the heritage sector (for example through the side-lining of the Heritage Diversity Task Force at the GLA). Ien Ang, the opening keynote speaker set the tone by taking on this issue right from the start.  She argued that the policy shift needs to be situated not just in the context of 9/11 and its aftermath, but also within the wider framework of neo-liberal globalisation, which has fuelled transnational flows whilst at the same time raising anxieties about diversity in many populations undergoing rapid change. She highlighted the need for social conditions to facilitate conversation and exchange between ‘different’ people, in order to contribute to the ‘normalisation’ of cultural diversity. But she also did not suggest that inter-cultural dialogue was any sort of panacaea: as she put it, “there is no definitive way of resolving the multicultural question,” only “ways of juggling multiple identities.”

This weary (although not necessarily pessimistic) realism seemed to me to characterise many of the arguments I heard, and this seems to me to be a shift from the tone of the discourse of few years back, when ‘cosmopolitanism’ and ‘inter-cultural dialogue’ were being touted as possible paths towards harmonious liberal democracies. Perhaps liberal democracies have also lost some of their sheen; certainly, the erasure of conflict around aspects of identity no longer seems either achievable or, to some, entirely desirable. Amanda Wise for example posed the very pertinent question, drawing on her research into interactions between Muslim and non-Muslim communities in Australia, of just what the best possible outcome looks like? Should we be worried if friendships across cultural divides remain rare, as long as people can find ways to ‘rub along together’ in the workplace, or civic spaces?

The theoretical thread was pursued by Floya Anthias, who offered a ‘thought piece’, rather than research findings. She made a number of useful points, including on the theme of ‘identity’, which she sees as an unhelpful category (as do many others). Instead, she argued, we should consider ‘claims’ people make on ‘representational or distributive resources’ (on the basis of a strategic identity) and the ‘attributions’ that are imposed on members of particular groups. Overall, the emphasis should not be on ‘difference’ per se, but the way ‘identities’ are mobilised to construct boundaries.

One of the most troubling sessions I attended was about citizenship, and specifically the introductin of citizenship ceremonies and education in the UK. Eleni Andreouli, Bridget Byrne and Charlotte Chadderton all seemed to confirm that in both registry offices and the classroom, an implicitly racialised, exclusive notion of ‘Britishness’ is being pushed by registrars and teachers, who have received minimal (if any) training in order to enable them to fulfil their new roles. This is partly because government guidelines have produced a Britishness that is negatively construed; in other words, it is a concept that is presented as having become necessary because our national ‘community’ is experiencing unprecedented threats (from terrorists, benefit cheats, illegal migrants etc.). There is nothing in this formulation to suggest everything that immigrants have contributed to Britain, or indeed that we are all, on some level, immigrants or descendants of immigrants.

The thing that concerned me most however in this respect is the extent to which there is a huge gap between academia and policy; very little of this critique seems to me to feed through to the government agencies in question. This discrepancy is most marked in the area of border controls. Over lunch I discussed this with Dama, a Madagascan musician who was performing that evening and who has been participating in Southampton’s fantastic TNMundi project. However much ‘transcultural capital’ individuals like himself may enjoy, travelling between Europe and Africa across networks of musicians, promoters, producers and so on none of this counts when he has to cross a border into the EU. His immense capital is immediately devalued; few border officials (and the policy-makers who instruct them) speak only the language of threat and control, very often with racist undertones. Social theorists need to work harder to engage a hostile and suspicious audience, it seems to me.

And finally, I experienced a disconcerting turning-of-the-tables when Suzanne Wessendorf presented a paper based on her ethnography of an area of London I know very well, and where I used to live. The tensions she observed across class divides (primarily, rather than ‘race’ or ethnicity) rang very true from my own experience, and I found myself thinking of endless episodes that could have constituted moments from her fieldwork. It is not always comfortable, being the observed rather than the observer, however remotely and it reminded me just how important it is to present findings in the form of a dialogue, rather than an academic judgement if they are to be at all well received.


Irish in Britain Seminar Series: Irish Connections: London’s County Associations, talk by Nicole McLennan

June 3, 2009

Title: Irish in Britain Seminar Series: Irish Connections: London’s County Associations, talk by Nicole McLennan
Location: The Old Staff Cafe, London Metropolitan University, Tower Building, 166-220 Holloway Road
Description: The Irish in Britain Seminar Series provides an opportunity for students, researchers and
scholars of Irish Studies to debate and disseminate the latest research in the field, in the light of
these developments. For over twenty years the Irish Studies Centre has provided a forum for
teaching, learning and research and this seminar series is an informal but informative means and
opportunity for anyone interested in engaging with current issues and research
about the Irish in Britain.
Start Time: 18:30
Date: 2009-06-10
End Time: 20:00

Launch of Black Cultural Archives catalogue

May 29, 2009

Last week I attended a celebration and launch event for the Black Cultural Archives. It was a momentous, and very joyous occasion, honouring the contribution of so many individuals to the work of the archives (in particular on this occasion the women involved in the Black women’s movement oral history project) and marking a real milestone: the opening up of the collections to visitors and the launch of the online catalogue.

This is what it looks like (in slightly squashed form – sorry):

Screen shot of BCA catalogue 29 May 2009

Happy browsing!

Meanwhile, if this has really caught your imagination, the BCA is currently recruiting a collections manager to take the project through to the next stage. More details here.


Workshop with Untold London – programme now on line

May 29, 2009

Check out the programme for next week’s workshop here. Registration is still open, so do email Sara Wajid (swajid [at] if you would like to attend.

In addition, I can confirm that we are delighted to welcome a member of the Remembering Olive Collective, who will discussing their innovative use of web 2.0 technology to develop and sustain their campaign.


BASA seminar

May 27, 2009

Title: Black and Asian Studies Association seminar
Location: Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, 28 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DS

Speaker: Cliff Pereira

Title: Black and Asian Community voice and Local History – The Bexley example
Start Time: 18:00
Date: 2009-06-10
End Time: 19:30