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Liberal Arts News

Blog post: A Sustainable Serenissima

Senior Teaching Fellow in the Liberal Arts Department Dr Bryan Brazeau looks back on the largely successful Venice and Sustainability project, hosted in Liberal Arts. Find out what staff and students discovered in this innovative problem-based module during their time in Coventry and Venice, and watch a media project looking at cultural sustainability in the city produced by Global Sustainable Development students.

The Black Women's Project takes home two awards at the Bright Network’s Society of the Year Awards 2019

Members of the executive team collecting their awards at the event

On Wednesday 4 December 2019 in London, The Black Women's Project won the Women's Society of the Year and the Society of the Year at the Bright Network's Society of the Year Awards 2019. The Bright Network's Society of the Year Awards is an annual day of celebration and recognition for university societies around the country that have made a real difference on campus.

The current executive team has had a flying start in their new roles, winning multiple awards at the event in December last year. Matilda Oduntan and Olamide Ajisafe, second-year Liberal Arts students, are currently Welfare Officers at The Black Women's Project. We spoke to Matilda and Olamide about the organisation's recent achievements.

Thu 16 Jan 2020, 09:23 | Tags: Event, The Black Women's Project, Awards

Dr Gavin Schwartz-Leeper to give first lecture of 'Revolution! Art and change' course

'Revolution! Art and change', a ten-week art history and theory course is taking place throughout this month. From the Reformation to the French and Russian revolution, this lecture series will explore the world's major political and cultural upheavals through the prism of art.

On this ten-week lecture series, join a roster of art world scholars and experts as they dissect some of the most significant revolutions in history and how artists have been shaped by them. The course will look at major events such as the print revolution that ushered in the Gutenberg Bible, and subsequently the Reformation; the French and Russian revolutions that toppled established orders; and the work of the Impressionists, who changed our perceptions of what art should or could be.

Read more here

Dr Gavin Schwartz-Leeper, Deputy Head of the School for Cross-faculty Studies (Liberal Arts), will be giving the first lecture of the series. The lecture will help launch the course by presenting ways of thinking about revolutions transmedially: comparing a range of art objects and ideas from different revolutionary case studies. This method will then be used to look at representations of martyrdom in the woodcuts in John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, a hugely influential ecclesiastical history published during the reign of Elizabeth I.

The course will take place at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. To find out more and to book onto the course, please see here.

Fri 10 Jan 2020, 11:30 | Tags: liberal arts, Art and Revolution, Event

Dr Kirsten Harris to speak about Walt Whitman at New Departures event

As part of The Hepworth Wakefield's New Departures event, Senior Teaching Fellow in the Liberal Arts Department Dr Kirsten Harris will be exploring Walt Whitman's rich cultural legacy and influence on Alan Davie and David Hockney. Dr Kirsten Harris will be delivering a talk entitled 'Experimental Lines: Walt Whitman's Cultural Afterlife'.

The event itself, happening on Saturday 18 January 2020, will feature writers, poets, researchers, musicians and filmmakers, looking at the influence of 19th- and 20th-century experimental music and literature on the works of David Hockney and Alan Davie, and the creative circles they moved in. To book your place please see here. Student tickets are available.

If you plan to attend the event, you might also be interested in visiting the 'Alan Davie & David Hockney: Early Works' exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield, with free entry until Sunday 19 January 2020. To find out more, please see here.

Fri 10 Jan 2020, 10:01 | Tags: liberal arts, Event

Paper accepted for publication: Laughter in oral histories of displacement

Recently, the Head of School for Cross-faculty Studies Dr Stéphanie Panichelli-Batalla’s paper on laughter in oral histories of displacement was accepted for publication by The Oral History Review. The Oral History Review aims to explore the nature and significance of oral history and advance understanding of the field among scholars, educators, practitioners, and the general public.

Title: Laughter in oral histories of displacement: 'one goes on a mission to solve their problems'


Although the use of humor and laughter in oral history has started to appear in oral history literature, it is still very much under-researched. Most of the studies analyze humor and laughter together, while Kate Moore focuses on laughter on its own. Humor and laughter, although linked, are two different concepts. While humor is a mental ability to perceive and/or express something funny, laughter on the other hand is a sound or a sequence of expirations, produced as the expression of an emotion, which can be set off by a humorous trigger, but not necessarily. It is therefore important to distinguish both. This paper will build on Moore’s study by exploring the use of unilateral laughter in eleven oral histories of exiled Cuban internationalist healthcare professionals. However, unlike Moore’s study, this research will not be limited to difficult memories. Our analysis will deepen our knowledge on the history of the Cuban global universal healthcare system by giving a voice to its participants, analyzing therefore, not solely the facts and statistics of the program but, as Portelli states, the meaning that its participants give to it when reflecting on their experience from the present. By exploring the occurrence of laughter, this paper intends to shed light on the relevance of focusing on unconscious reactions in oral history narratives, in order to better understand emotions linked to the narrated memories. The analysis will show that unilateral laughter is recurrent in the interviews when participants reflect on a change in their identity, the implications of working for a state program, and their need for respect of human dignity. It will highlight the impact the mission had on their personal and professional lives during and after their humanitarian experience. These stories of displacement will also show what Norrick has called the dual humorous perspective of the participants, but rather than solely referring to the time of the interview and age of the participants, we will also assert that another key factor to be taken into consideration is the situation of displacement as well as the degree of acculturation of the participants.

Fri 03 Jan 2020, 12:58 | Tags: research, publication

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