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Pick of the week: Brazilian Diaries with Michael Palin and Alan Charlton – 5 Feb

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Brazilian Diaries poster_carnival_tealThe John Brooks Memorial Lecture
Brazilian Diaries
Michael Palin, CBE, FRGS in conversation with Alan Charlton CMG CVO

When: Thursday 5 February 2015 18.00 – 19.30
Where: The Beveridge Hall Ground floor, Senate House Malet Street London WC1E 7HU
All welcome. RSVP: olga.jimenez@sas.ac.uk

Michael Palin established his reputation with Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Ripping Yarns. His work also includes several films with Monty Python, as well as The Missionary, A Private Function, an award-winning performance as the hapless Ken in A Fish Called Wanda, American Friends and Fierce Creatures. His television credits include two films for the BBC’s Great Railway Journeys, the plays East of Ipswich and Number 27, and Alan Bleasdale’s GBH. He recently starred in a three part drama for the BBC called Remember Me. He has written books to accompany his eight very successful travel series, including Around the World in 80 Days, Pole to Pole, Full Circle, Sahara and Brazil. He is also the author of a number of children’s stories, the play The Weekend and the novels Hemingway’s Chair and The Truth. In July 2014, Michael, with his fellow Pythons, performed a ten night sell-out show at the 02 Arena – Monty Python Live.

Michael was made a CBE in the 2000 New Year’s Honours List for services to television drama and travel. In 2002, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Comedy Awards.
In 2005, he was given a BAFTA Special Award and in 2013 he was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship. Between 2009 and 2012, Michael was President of the Royal Geographical Society.

Alan Charlton was British Ambassador to Brazil 2008-2013. He continues his association with Brazil and Latin America through the Robin Humphreys Fellowship.
He also advises De Montfort University on their Latin America strategy as a consultant and governor and holds advisory board memberships of the Brazil Institute, King’s College London,
and ILAS. He has founded the British-Brazilian Conversa, a bilateral group seeking greater bilateral co-operation in public policy, business and education- the first meeting was held in
Cambridge in September 2014 and a second is planned for the last quarter of 2015. He has lectured widely on Brazil and Diplomacy. He is also a governor of Sherborne School.

Digital imaging and manuscripts event at the National Library of Wales

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nedimah logoThis free event is being organised by Professor Lorna Hughes, SAS’s chair in digital humanities, and Professor Andrew Prescott, AHRC digital transformations theme fellow at the University of Glasgow. It will acknowledge the long tradition of the use of scientific aids in manuscript investigations, and also address the opportunities provided by new and emerging technologies such as RTI imaging and Synchrotron light sources. Continue reading →

#PotW: London and the First World War – 20/1 March

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shutterstock_226305892As part of events to commemorate the centenary of the First World War, IWM (Imperial War Museums) in partnership with the Centre for Metropolitan History is organising a major conference that will explore the ways in which London and its inhabitants were affected by, and involved with, the 1914-18 conflict. For the first time London was effectively on the front line, subject to aerial bombing and surveillance, whilst its streets, buildings and spaces were shaped by the needs of mass mobilisation, supply and defence. The war had an impact upon everyday life in the capital in other ways too, including the economy, governance, standards of living, culture, leisure, the physical environment and social life.

Read the full programme

When: 20 March 2015, 09:00 – 21 March 2015 18:00

Where: Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU (20 March) and at IWM London, Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ (21 March)

Register here.

Social Scholar (18 March 2015) Using Social Media for a National Festival (and Learning how to engage online)

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This month at the Social Scholar seminar we are going to look at social media campaigns for national festivals as an example of what can work well and what can be learnt from such campaigns. This should prove to be a useful session for those using or planning to use social media to promote and discuss events and projects. For full details check out our Event Page and register your interest to attend.

Title: Using Social Media for a National Festival (and Learning how to engage online)

Speaker: Dr Michael Eades (SAS)
Time: Wednesday 18 March 2015, 1pm-2pm
Location: Room 243 (Senate House)

Our speaker this week is Dr Michael Eades (School of Advanced Study) and as usual we asked him to answer a few questions for us.

SAS:Hello Michael. Thank you for agreeing to talk with us. Firstly, could you tell us a little more about yourself?

Michael: I am the School of Advanced Study’s Cultural & Public Engagement Research Fellow, more often described as the SAS ‘Public Engagement Person’. I do various things in SAS, including my own research on the Festival in a Box project, but primarily I curate the School’s major outlet for public engagement activity: the Being Human festival of the humanities.  Being Human is the UK’s only national festival of the humanities, and featured over 160 events across the country in 2014, hosted by around 100 universities and cultural organisations.

I’ve worked primarily in cultural and public engagement roles for just over two years now since completing my PhD at the University of Nottingham in 2012. My thesis looked at theories of community and engagement with/reception of culture, so I find my current work an incredibly rewarding way to continue exploring the ideas that informed that research in directly applied contexts. At SAS, my projects in this field have included everything from parkour on the roof of Senate House to curating a ‘human library’ of academics in Senate House Library. All great fun!

 

SAS: How important do you think social media is to public engagement work?

Michael: Very important indeed. Social media is changing the way that people interact and communicate – making ideas and the people behind them more accessible. But it is also raising some serious challenges. As communication speeds up and barriers break down, we have to be very careful to keep a sense of perspective and try to work with new technologies ethically.

With that said, both blogs and Twitter, particularly, were crucial to spreading the word about the Being Human festival. We worked really hard to use them to build up an online community of followers and fans of the festival. Essentially what we have at the moment is a small (but growing) army of ‘humanities geeks’ following us online. Exactly what we wanted!

 

SAS: What can we expect from you at the Social Scholar?

Michael: I want to do two things in my Social Scholar session. Firstly, I’ll go through some of the thinking behind the Being Human social media strategy in 2014 and some of the campaigns through which we built up a following. These included runaway successes such as our ‘shelfies’ campaign in autumn 2015, and some things that didn’t work so well, too.

The second thing that I want to do is to try to gather some ideas from the audience about what we might do for Being Human campaigns in 2015. It’s always good to do a bit of brainstorming for projects like this, so to anyone who is thinking of coming along… please do come with some ideas! I can’t promise not to steal them, unfortunately, but they’ll help us to keep raising public awareness of the humanities. That’s what the festival is there for and it’s a good cause.

To find out more about the seminar check out our Event Page and register your interest to attend. The seminar is FREE and open to all.

#PotW: John Coffin Memorial Reading: a roundtable panel with three New and Next Generation Poets – 13 March

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shutterstock_57134689This free public event is a conversation/public reading featuring 3 leading New/Next Generation poets (a major poetry promotion, run by the Poetry Book Society). Ian Duhig (1994), Patience Agbabi (2004) and Hannah Lowe (2014) will speak publicly about their experiences and what being nominated has meant for them.

A wine reception will follow.

The event will form part of a conference entitled “New Generation to Next Generation 2014: Three Decades of British and Irish Poetry” (hosted by IES, in collaboration with Oxford Brooks, Aberystwyth, Durham, Reading and the Poetry Books Society) which is timed to coincide with the final performance of a national tour at the Southbank on 16 March. For more details on the details, please visit:http://www.ies.sas.ac.uk/conferences/New-NextGeneration.

When: 13 March 2015, 18:00 – 20:00

Where: The Chancellor’s Hall (Senate House, first floor), Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Register via Eventbrite

What does your sense of smell mean to you?

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Image: @ wong yu liang/shutterstock

The best public engagement is underpinned by world-class research. In March, the Institute of Philosophy’s Centre for the Study of the Senses held a launch event for the national charity Fifth Sense that brought together leading researchers, clinicians, campaigners and loss-of-smell sufferers to raise awareness of the effect on people’s quality of life if they lose their sense of smell.

What we know as ‘taste’ is really taste, touch and smell;
you don’t have strawberry receptors on your tongue, for
example – that’s all smell.
– Professor Barry Smith, Institute of Philosophy

The Centre for the Study of the Senses often calls on its wide range of international partners to create events that bring the latest findings to the national subject communities and the wider public. Its launch event for Fifth Sense included an international workshop, open to all interested parties, that featured leading researchers on olfaction (the sense of smell) from philosophy, psychology and neuroscience.

Jay Gottfried (Chicago) discussed the close connection of sense of smell to memory and emotion; Juyan
Lim (Oregon) explained why odours reaching our nose from the mouth are experienced as tastes.
Ilona Croy, from Europe’s leading centre for the study of olfaction in Dresden, and Spanish philosopher, Marta Tafalla, spoke about the many roles smell plays in everyday life. Marta, who was born without a sense of smell, and unable to taste most flavours, spoke movingly about her search to find out what she was missing. Philosophers and psychologists from the universities of Glasgow, Oxford, Roehampton and Warwick were invited to comment on these talks.

The following day, the team from the Centre joined together with clinicians, medical researchers, campaigners and anosmia (loss of smell) sufferers from Fifth Sense to explore life without this sense. Patients spoke of the emotional changes the loss had caused, while others spoke of ways to work around the condition. Fifth Sense founder Duncan Boake and Professor Barry Smith (director of the Institute of Philosophy), spoke about the role of smell in creating the experience of flavour. Duncan revealed how his interest in food now focused on texture and the basic tastes of sweet and sour, salt and bitter, and he offered advice to anosmia sufferers to enhance their experience of eating.

The day’s event generated a lot of press attention and raised awareness of how important our
often-neglected sense of smell is, and researchers from the workshop spoke of the importance and
significance that patients’ testimonies gave to their research.

This blog post was originally published in the School of Advanced Study Annual Report and Review 2014 which is available from the School in hard copy or from the SAS website (click here). For more information check out the websites for the Centre for the Study of the Senses and Fifth Sense.

Image: © wong yu liang/Shutterstock.

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