New report published by the Language Acts and Worldmaking project 31.01.19

The Language Acts and Worldmaking project today published a report on ‘Attitudes towards digital culture and technology in the Modern Languages’.

The report is based on a survey carried out by the Language Acts and Worldmaking project, one of four projects funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of its Open World Research Initiative, a four-year research programme which involves 15 UK Universities and a range of partners. The project aims to transform modern language learning to shape how we live and make our worlds. This report is part of research carried out by the ‘Digital Mediations’ strand, led by Paul Spence and Renata Brandao in the Department of Digital Humanities, which explores interactions and tensions between digital culture and Modern Languages research.

Key findings:

  • The survey shows that digital culture and technology have had a significant effect on modern languages learning and research, but this is poorly understood, even within the field itself.
  • In the area of language learning there is evidence of significant digital engagement, which can facilitate active, collaborative learning with support for multicultural and multilingual practices.
  • There is little evidence of strategic thinking about how digital approaches might connect across different levels of modern languages education and research.
  • There is considerable consensus for greater training in critical digital literacies, but expectations relating to digital engagement are not met by institutional support.
  • The report recommends more focused attention to digital in future modern language policy documents. It also suggests that ‘digital’ should not just be viewed in terms of ‘technology’, but rather be viewed as part of wider cultural, social and communicative practices.

Responding to the launch of the new report  Paul Spence, Senior Lecturer in the King’s Department of Digital Humanities, said: “This report provides an insight into emerging learning and research practices in modern languages, which are increasingly learner-driven and which revolve around creativity, diversity, authenticity and peer-to-peer dynamics. Far from being replaced by digital languages, modern languages once again show their importance in influencing how we shape our understanding of the world, in supporting multilingual habits and in gaining a more rounded view of digitally mediated culture. There is still enormous potential for critical engagement with digital methods in modern languages, which we will explore further in future studies.”

Notes

  1. The ‘Attitudes towards digital culture and technology in the Modern Languages’ report is available to download on the project website, as well as King’s research outputs.
  2. Language Acts and Worldmaking is part of the Open World Research Initiative a major four-year research programme into modern languages involving 15 UK Universities and a range of partners. The initiative is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council supporting world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: archaeology, area studies, the creative and performing arts, design, digital humanities, heritage, history, languages, philosophy and much more.  The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides economic, social and cultural benefits to the UK, but contributes to the culture and welfare of societies around the globe.
  3. To learn more about the OWRI Initiative please visit Arts and Humanities Research Council or follow us on twitter. Alternatively email Ciaran.Higgins@qub.ac.uk.

Kate Devlin Judges the 2019 Freedom of Expression Awards

Dr Kate Devlin will be one of the four judges on the 2019 Freedom of Expression Awards. Kate Devlin is a writer and an academic in the department of Digital Humanities in King’s College London where she works on artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction. Her book, Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots, explores intimacy and ethics in the digital age.

2019 FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AWARDS

Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Awards exist to celebrate individuals or groups who have had a significant impact fighting censorship anywhere in the world.

Awards are offered in four categories: Arts, Campaigning, Digital Activism and Journalism. Anyone who has had a demonstrable impact in tackling censorship is eligible. Winners are honoured at a gala celebration in London. Winners join Index’s Awards Fellowship programme and receive dedicated training and support.

NOMINEES

Selected from over 400 public nominations and a shortlist of 16, the 2019 Freedom of Expression Awards shortlist exemplifies courage in the face of censorship. Learn more about the fellowship.

Arts

for artists and arts producers whose work challenges repression and injustice and celebrates artistic free expression

ArtLords | Afghanistan

ArtLords is a grassroots movement of artists and volunteers in Afghanistan who encourage ordinary citizens, especially women and children, to paint the issues that concern them on so-called blast walls: walls the country’s rich and the powerful have built around themselves to protect them from violence while the poor fend for themselves. Their work has turned a symbol of fear, tension and separation into a platform where social issues can be expressed visually and discussed in the street. ArtLords has completed over 400 murals in 16 provinces of Afghanistan. In March 2018, for International Women’s Day, ArtLords painted a tribute to Professor Hamida Barmaki, a human rights defender killed in a terrorist attack six years ago.

Zehra Doğan | Turkey

Zehra Doğan is an imprisoned Kurdish painter and journalist who — denied access to materials for her work — paints with dyes made from crushed fruit and herbs, even blood, and uses newspapers and milk cartons as canvases. When she realised her reports from Turkey’s Kurdish region were being ignored by mainstream media, Doğan began painting the destruction in town of Nusaybin and sharing it on social media. For this she was arrested and imprisoned. Imprisonment hasn’t stopped her from producing journalism and art. She collects and writes stories about female political prisoners, reports on human rights abuses in prison, and paints despite the prison administration’s refusal to supply her with art materials.

ElMadina for Performing and Digital Arts| Egypt

ElMadina is a group of artists and arts managers who combine art and protest by encouraging Egyptians to get involved in performances in public spaces, defying the country’s restrictive laws. ElMadina’s work encourages participation — through story-telling, dance and theatre — to transform public spaces and marginalised areas in Alexandria and beyond into thriving environments where people can freely express themselves. Their work encourages free expression in a country in which public space is shrinking under the weight of government distrust of the artistic sector. ElMadina also carry out advocacy and research work and provide a physical space for training programmes, residencies and performances.

Ms Saffaa | Saudi Arabia / Australia

Ms Saffaa is a self-exiled Saudi street artist living in Australia who uses murals to highlight women’s rights and human rights violations in Saudi Arabia. Collaborating with artists from around the world, she challenges Saudi authorities’ linear and limited narrative of women’s position in Saudi society and offers a counter-narrative through her art. Part of a new generation of Saudi activists who take to social media to spread ideas, Ms Saffaa’s work has acquired international reach. In November 2018, she collaborated with renowned American artist and writer  Molly Crabapple on a mural celebrating murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi that read, “We Saudis deserve better.”

Campaigning

for activists and campaigners who have had a marked impact in fighting censorship and promoting freedom of expression

Cartoonists Rights Network International | United States / International

Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) is a small organisation with a big impact: monitoring threats and abuses against editorial cartoonists worldwide. Marshalling an impressive worldwide network, CRNI helps to focus international attention on cases in which cartoonists are persecuted and put pressure on the persecutors. CRNI tracks censorship, fines, penalties and physical intimidation – including of family members, assault, imprisonment, and even assassinations. Once a threat is detected, CRNI often partners with other human rights organisations to maximise the pressure and impact of a campaign to protect the cartoonist and confront those who seek to censor political cartoonists.

Institute for Media and Society | Nigeria

The Institute for Media and Society (IMS) is a Nigerian NGO that aims to improve the country’s media landscape by challenging government regulation and fostering the creation of community radio stations in rural areas at a time when local journalism globally is under threat. Three-quarters of television and radio stations in Nigeria are owned by politicians, and as a result they are divided along political lines, while rural communities are increasingly marginalised. IMS’s approach combines research and advocacy to challenge legal restrictions on the media as well as practical action to encourage Nigerians to use their voices, particularly via local radio. IMS also tracks violations of the rights of journalists in Nigeria.

Media Rights Agenda | Nigeria

Media Rights Agenda (MRA) is a non-profit organisation that has spent the last two decades working to improve media freedom and freedom of expression in Nigeria by challenging the government in courts. While the constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression, other laws – including the sections of the Criminal Code, the Cybercrimes Act and the Official Secrets Act – limit and even criminalise expression. Through its active legal team, MRA has initiated strategic litigation targeting dozens of institutions, politicians and officials to improve the country’s legal framework around media freedom. Its persistent campaigning and lawsuits on freedom of information have helped improve access to government-held data.

P24 | Turkey

P24 (Platform for Independent Journalism) is a civil society organisation that aims to neutralise censorship in Turkey — a country in which speaking freely courts fines, arrest and lengthy jail sentences. P24’s pro bono legal team defends journalists and academics who are on trial for exercising their right to free expression. It also undertakes coordinated social media and public advocacy work that includes live-tweeting from courtrooms and campaigning through an array of websites, newsletters and exhibition spaces. Its latest effort aims to provide spaces for collaboration and free expression in the form of a literature house and a project connecting lawyers and artists.

Digital activism

for innovative uses of technology to circumvent censorship and enable free and independent exchange of information

Fundación Karisma | Colombia

Fundación Karisma is a civil society organisation that takes on online trolls by using witty online ‘stamps’ that flag up internet abuse. It’s an initiative that uses humour to draw attention to a serious problem: the growing online harassment of women in Colombia and its chilling effect. The organisation offers a rare space to discuss many issues at the intersection of human rights and technology in the country and then tackles them through a mix of research, advocacy and digital tools. Karisma’s “Sharing is not a crime” campaign supports open access to knowledge against the backdrop of Colombia’s restrictive copyright legislation.

Mohammed Al-Maskati | Middle East

Mohammed al-Maskati is a digital security consultant who provides training to activists in the Middle East and in North Africa. Working as Frontline Defenders’ Digital Protection Consultant for the MENA Region, Mohammed teaches activists – ranging from vulnerable minorities to renowned campaigners taking on whole governments – to communicate despite government attempt to shut them down. He educates them on the use of virtual private networks and how to avoid falling into phishing or malware traps, create safe passwords and keep accounts anonymous. As governments become more and more sophisticated in their attempts to track and crush dissent, the work of people like Al-Maskati is increasingly vital.

SFLC.in | India

SLFC.in (Software Freedom Law Centre) tracks internet shutdowns in India, a crucial service in a country with the most online blackouts of any country in the world. The tracker was the first initiative of its kind in India and has quickly become the top source for journalists reporting on the issue. As well as charting the sharp increase in the number and frequency of shutdowns in the country, the organisation has a productive legal arm and brings together lawyers, policy analysts and technologists to fight for digital rights in the world’s second most populous country. It also provides training and pro-bono services to journalists, activists and comedians whose rights have been curtailed.

Journalism

for courageous, high-impact and determined journalism that exposes censorship and threats to free expression

Bihus.info | Ukraine

Bihus.info is a group of independent investigative journalists in Ukraine who – despite threats and assaults – are fearlessly exposing the corruption of many Ukrainian officials. In the last two years alone, Bihus.info’s coverage has contributed to the opening of more than 100 legal cases against corrupt officials. Chasing money trails, murky real estate ownership and Russian passports, Bihus.info produces hard-hitting, in-depth TV reports for popular television programme, Nashi Hroshi (Our Money), which illuminates discrepancies between officials’ real wealth and their official income. One of the key objectives of the project is not just to inform, but to involve people in the fight against corruption by demonstrating how it affects their own well-being.

Center for Investigative Reporting of Serbia (CINS)  | Serbia

Investigating corruption is one of the most dangerous jobs in journalism: three investigative reporters have been murdered in the European Union in the past year alone. In Serbia, journalists face death threats and smear campaigns portray investigative journalists as foreign-backed propagandists. Against this backdrop, CINS stands out as one of the last independent outlets left amid an increasingly partisan media. Using freedom of information requests, the CINS has created databases based on thousands of pages of documents to underpin its hard-hitting investigations. These include stories on loans provided to pro-government tabloids and TV channels. CINS also provides hands-on investigative journalism training for journalists and editors.

Mehman Huseynov | Azerbaijan

Mehman Huseynov is a journalist and human rights defender who documents corruption and human rights violations in Azerbaijan, consistently ranked among the world’s worst countries for press freedom. Sentenced to two years in prison in March 2017 after describing abuses he had suffered at a police station, Huseynov has put his life in danger to document sensitive issues. His work circulated widely on the internet, informing citizens about the real estate and business empires of the country’s government officials, and scrutinising the decisions of president Ilham Aliyev. Huseynov is still in prison and remains defiant, saying: “I am not here only for myself; I am here so that your children are not in my place tomorrow. If you uphold the judgement against me, you have no guarantees that you and your children will not be in my place tomorrow.”

Mimi Mefo | Cameroon

Mimi Mefo is one of less than a handful journalists working without fear or favour in Cameroon’s climate of repression and self-censorship. An award-winning broadcast journalist and the first-ever woman editor-in-chief of private media house Equinoxe TV and Radio, Mefo was arrested in November 2018 after she published reports that the military was behind the death of an American missionary in the country. Mefo reports on the escalating violence in the country’s western regions, a conflict that has become known as the “Anglophone Crisis” and is a leading voice in exposing the harassment of other Cameroonian journalists, calling publicly for the release of those jailed.

 

JUDGING

Each year Index recruits an independent panel of judges – leading voices with diverse expertise across campaigning, journalism, the arts and human rights. Judges look for courage, creativity and resilience. We shortlist on the basis of those who are deemed to be making the greatest impact in tackling censorship in their chosen area, with a particular focus on topics that are little covered or tackled by others. Where a judge comes from a nominee’s country, or where there is any other potential conflict of interest, the judge will abstain from voting in that category.

The 2019 judging panel:

Khalid Abdalla
Actor and Filmmaker

Nimco Ali
Writer and Social Activist

Kate Devlin
Writer and Academic

Maria Ressa
CEO and Executive Editor

SPONSORS

The Freedom of Expression Awards and Fellowship have massive impact. You can help by sponsoring or supporting a fellowship.

Index is grateful to those who are supporting the 2019 Awards:

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pia-3
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For more information, go to: https://www.indexoncensorship.org/2019/01/awards-2019/

EVENT | What is love? 14.02.19

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Looking for a great way to spend your Valentine’s evening? Why not join us at the Ri? We’ll discuss personal love stories from around the world, explore what companies learn about you through online dating and discover what the future holds for sexual companion robots. Open to those on first dates, flying solo, catching up with old friends or couples who are simply looking to get out of the house. There will be a cash bar available after the event and a book signing session with the panellists; non-fiction writer Laura Mucha and Lecturer in Artificial Intelligence Kate Devlin.

About the speakers

Laura Mucha has a varied professional background. She has worked as a face painter, studied flying trapeze, philosophy and psychology, and swam in Antarctica before becoming a lawyer at an international law firm.

Her current book Love Factually explores love by combining academic research with interviews she has conducted with hundreds of strangers across 40 countries on every continent.

Kate Devlin is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London. Having begun her career as an archaeologist before moving into computer science, Kate’s research is in the fields of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), investigating how people interact with and react to technology in order to understand how emerging and future technologies will affect us and the society in which we live.

Kate has become a driving force in the field of intimacy and technology, running the UK’s first sex tech hackathon in 2016. In short, she has become the face of sex robots – quite literally in the case of one mis-captioned tabloid photograph. She has written articles on the subject for New Scientist, Prospect and Sunday Times amongst others, featured on BBC Radios 1–5, and made a number of TV appearances, along with TEDx talks and numerous other tech and philosophy events, festivals and comedy nights. She was probably the first person to say ‘sex robots’ in the House of Lords – in an official capacity, at least.

Timing

The doors will open at approximately 6.30pm, with a prompt start at 7.00pm.
Latecomers will be admitted to the gallery.

Book signing

Copies of Laura’s book, ‘Love Factually: The Science of Who, How and Why We Love’ and Kate’s book, ‘Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots’, will be available for purchase and signing after the talk.

Accessibility

The theatre is on the first floor and there is step-free access from the street via lift.
The closest underground station is Green Park, which is step-free.
There is space at floor level in the theatre for wheelchair users.
Seating is usually unreserved for our events. If you and your group require seating reservations, please do let us know by email and we’ll be more than happy to help. Email: events@ri.ac.uk.
Carers can receive a free ticket to an event by emailing events@ri.ac.uk.
Our theatre is equipped with an Audio Induction Loop.

 

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Date and time

Thur 14 February 2019
19:00-20:30 GMT

Location

The Theatre
The Royal Institution of Great Britain
21 Albemarle Street
London
W1S 4BS
+44 (0)20 7409 2992

 

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EVENT | Surveillance Capitalism, Governance and Social Justice: Moving beyond Data Centrism 30.01.19

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What is at stake with data politics beyond privacy, security and efficiency? How do data systems reflect broader systems of injustice – and what might this mean for advancing social justice in an age of datafication? Join us for a public talk with Lina Dencik (Cardiff University) on her research about data justice and her work with the Data Justice Lab.

Surveillance capitalism, governance and social justice: moving beyond data centrism – Lina Dencik (Cardiff University)

The use of data and algorithmic processes for decision-making is now a growing part of social life. Digitally monitoring, tracking, profiling and predicting human behaviour and social activities is what underpins the new information order described as surveillance capitalism(s). Increasingly, it is also what helps determine decisions that are central to our ability to participate in society, such as welfare, education, crime, work, and if we can cross borders. How should we understand what is at stake with such developments? Often, we are dealt a simple binary that suggests that the issue is one of increased (state-)security and efficiency on the one hand and concerns with privacy and protection of personal data on the other. Recently, we have also seen a growing focus on questions of bias, discrimination and ‘fairness’ enter this debate. In this presentation, I will take stock of these concerns, and will draw on a number of different case studies across policing, welfare and border control that looks at the implementation of algorithmic processes in practice. I will make the case that we need to understand data systems as part of a broader transformation of governance that places much greater emphasis on why these technologies are developed and implemented in the first place and stresses how data practices relate to other social practices, rather than focusing on the data system itself. In so doing, I will outline a more comprehensive engagement with data politics, as the performative power of or in data (Ruppert et al. 2017), that considers how algorithmic processes relate to wider interests, power relations, and particular agendas. I will end by considering what this means for addressing challenges and advancing social justice in an age of datafication.

Bio: Dr Lina Dencik is Reader at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture (JOMEC). Her research concerns the interplay between media developments and social and political change, with a particular focus on resistance. In recent years, she has moved into the areas of digital surveillance and the politics of data and she is Co-Founder of the Data Justice Lab. Lina has written several articles and books, most recently, Digital Citizenship in a Datafied Society (with Arne Hintz and Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, Polity Press 2018). Her current project, funded by an ERC Starting Grant, is ‘Data Justice: Understanding datafication in relation to social justice’ (DATAJUSTICE).

This event is part of an ongoing seminar series on “critical inquiry with and about the digital” hosted by the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London. If you tweet about the event you can use the #kingsdhhashtag or mention @kingsdh. If you’d like to get notifications of future events you can sign up to this mailing list.

 

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Date and time

Wed 30th January 2019
16:00-17:30 GMT

Location

The Old Anatomy Lecture Theatre, K6.29
Strand Campus, King’s College London
Strand
London
WC2R 2LS

 

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EVENT | Quantum Queerness 29.01.19

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As part of the Early Career Research Talks series, Conor McKeown will discuss his ongoing research project “Quantum Queerness”, currently modestly supported by the AHRI in King’s. The main objective of QQ is to foster an intimate relationship with our other multiple quantum selves. Using a cultural analytics approach I aim to make a series of praxis-lead durational pieces and subsequent visualisations that combine computer programming, videogame design and videogame play as a reaction to the work of science philosophers Karen Barad and David Deutsch. Above all, however, the works are filtered through a queer method suggested by Halberstam: that of failure. Halberstam writes, “under certain circumstances failing, losing, forgetting, unmaking, undoing, unbecoming, not knowing may in fact offer more creative, more cooperative, more surprising ways of being in the world”. My experiments and their goal are doomed to failure. They are haunted by the fact that an intimate relationship with our ‘other multiple quantum selves’ is not possible. What’s more, it is their separation from us, their ‘cutting’ away from us through apparent and transitory material becoming (and necessary unbecoming) that allows our apparent sense of self to coalesce.

The talk will unpack the three experiments that make up the project. The first experiment is a live stream through Twitch – a platform popular for videogaming – of my attempts to create a ‘Bell State’ using the programming language Q#. This live stream – and recordings of it – aim to infuse a dive into the world of quantum computing with emotion and consequence. The second experiment is an attempt to build a small ‘game’ or interactive program that models an idea of self and selves as I have understood it within Deustch’s description of a multiverse. It is, however, ultimately doomed to fail as it is made within finite constraints. The final experiment, currently underway in King’s, is a visualisation of multiple different playthroughs of the game Gone Home (Fullbright, 2013). An installation of the game is set up in a locked room and players are invited to play the game for as long as they wish, engaging with the story of Sam Greenbriar and her difficult childhood. As they play, their gameplay footage is recorded and catalogued. At the end of the project, this footage will be combined into one long video that shows the many divergent paths – and implicit failures therein – of the various players, along with the eventual cessation of instability and uncertainty into one, apparent, concrete self. Above all, these works aim to show how we should embrace failure in our attempts to grapple with the difficult or impossible to visualise or describe in search of rewards outside of the realms of traditional success.

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Date and time

Tue 29 January 2019
14:00-16:00 GMT

Location

1.12 Franklin-Wilkins Building
Waterloo Campus
Stamford St
London
SE1 9NH

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EVENT | Rethinking the Meaning of ‘Books’ and ‘Authorship’ in the Digital Age 24.01.19

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“Rethinking the Meaning of ‘Books’ and ‘Authorship’ in the Digital Age: The KITAB Project and Its Work on Text ‘Reuse’” – Sarah Savant

This lecture focuses on the size of the Arabic tradition (ca. 700-1500), and the likely role that written practices and cultural expectations played in its development. It is arguably the largest written tradition up to its day, rivalled only by medieval Chinese. I focus, first, on recent work assembling a corpus of 1.5 billion words and the composition of this corpus, including the large number of sizable works. I consider these works in light of evidence for a much larger body of no-longer extant material. Second, I introduce the concept of text “reuse,” our method for detecting and measuring it, and my theory. The theory is this: that the substantial reuse of earlier works resulted both in the emergence of very large works, especially from the 10th century onwards, and secondly, that this reuse resulted in the loss of earlier texts, now absorbed in various ways (including abridgement) into larger ones. Finally, I examine the cultural expectations underpinning reuse, and also how they should make us reconsider, at different times and places, notions of the “book” and “authorship.”

Bio: Sarah Bowen Savant is a cultural historian, focusing on early Islamic history and history writing up to 1100, with a special focus on Iraq and Iran. She is the author of The New Muslims of Post-Conquest Iran: Tradition, Memory, and Conversion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), which won the Saidi-Sirjani Book Award, given by the International Society for Iranian Studies on behalf of the Persian Heritage Foundation. Her other publications include The Excellence of the Arabs: A Translation of Ibn Qutaybah’s Faḍl al-ʿArab wa l-tanbīh ʿalā ʿulūmihā (with Peter Webb; The Library of Arabic Literature; Abu Dhabi: New York University Press, 2016), as well as articles and edited volumes dealing with ethnic identity, cultural memory, genealogy, and history writing. Her current book project focuses on the history of books in the Middle East. With a team, she is developing digital methods to study the origins and development of the Arabic and Persian textual traditions. Please see kitab-project.org.

This event is part of an ongoing seminar series on “critical inquiry with and about the digital” hosted by the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London. If you tweet about the event you can use the #kingsdhhashtag or mention @kingsdh. If you’d like to get notifications of future events you can sign up to this mailing list.

 

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Date and time

Thur 24 January 2019
17:00-18:00 GMT

Location

K-1.14, King’s Building
Strand Campus, King’s College London
London
WC2R 2LS

 

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EVENT | SHOWCASE: King’s College London x Somerset House Studios 29.01.19

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A showcase of King’s College London x Somerset House Studios collaborations

Five artist-academic project teams have worked together over the last six months to research and develop new critical perspectives on contemporary culture and society.

The evening will be hosted by Dr Munira Mirza, Executive Director for Culture at King’s College London. The River Rooms have step free access. For any other access requirements please let us know..

17.45: Doors open, refreshments

18.00-18.15: Welcome

18.15-19.15: Project presentations: Technologically Fabricated Intimacy;

Mossi forecasts: reading weather in Burkina Faso;

Euro-vision, or the making of the automated gaze

19.15-19.45: Break

19.45-20.25: Project presentations: Sense of Time;

3 Days of Fat

20.25-20.30: Closing remarks

20.30-21.00: Refreshments and networking

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Date and time

Tue 29 January 2019
17:45 – 21:00 GMT

Location

Somerset House
River Rooms, Somerset House Studios, New Wing
London
WC2R 1LA

 

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EVENT | Digital Tools for the Study of Theatre

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How can digital tools be used to study theatre and performance? Join us for a public talk with Miguel Escobar Varela from the National University of Singapore.

Digital Tools for the Study of Theatre – Miguel Escobar Varela (National University of Singapore)

This talk looks at a range of DH tools to study theatre performances. The first part of the talk looks at quantitative methods to analyze non-textual aspects of theatre. It describes techniques for the analysis of movement (obtained both from video and from motion capture systems), the analysis of relationships (using networks of fictional characters and of performers and crew members) and the analysis of geotemporal data (venues and performance times). The second part of the talk considers the role of interaction design in disseminating theatre scholarship through augmented archives, Tangible User Interfaces and intermedial essays. All the case studies refer to theatre practices in Southeast Asia, but the talk aims to show the more general applicability of these approaches for the digital study of intangible heritage elsewhere in the world.

Bio: Miguel Escobar Varela is a theatre researcher, web developer and translator. In his research, he applies computational methods to study Indonesian theatre and develops interactive websites to share his results with the wider public. He is Assistant Professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Academic Advisor on Digital Scholarship to the NUS Libraries. He directs the Contemporary Wayang Archive (http://cwa-web.org) and convenes the informal Digital Humanities Singapore group (http://digitalhumanities.sg). A list of his writings and digital projects is available at http://miguelescobar.com.

This event is part of an ongoing seminar series on “critical inquiry with and about the digital” hosted by the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London. If you tweet about the event you can use the #kingsdhhashtag or mention @kingsdh. If you’d like to get notifications of future events you can sign up to this mailing list.

 

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Date and time

Wed 23 January, 2019
16:30 – 18:00 GMT

Location

S-1.27, Strand Building
Strand Campus, King’s College London
London
WC2R 2LS

 

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EVENT | No Business of Yours: How the Large Corporation Swallowed the Future

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When and how did economic growth become such a central concern of democratic political life? How might climate change challenge this conception of politics? Join us for an evening talk with Timothy Mitchell (Columbia University) at King’s College London, co-hosted by the Institute for Policy Research (University of Bath) along with the Department of Digital Humanities and the Department of History (King’s College London).

No Business of Yours: How the Large Corporation Swallowed the Future – Timothy Mitchell (Columbia University)

The foundation of good government, political parties often claim, is to manage and improve the economy. That conception of politics is both surprisingly recent, and one that may not have long to live. Before the mid-twentieth century, no one defined democratic politics in terms of the growth of an object called “the economy.” By the middle of the present century we may have little democracy left, given the threat of climate collapse, if we do not find a better way to define the purpose of political life. To format a different politics we must understand how politics first created “the economy” as its object. The answer lies in the rise of the large corporation, and the strange new relationship to the future that the modern business firm engineered.

Bio: Timothy Mitchell writes about colonialism, political economy, the politics of energy, and the making of expert knowledge. Trained in the fields of law, history, and political theory, he works across the disciplinary boundaries of history and the social sciences. His most recent book is Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil. He is currently working on a study of durability, examining how the more durable apparatuses for capturing wealth characteristic of late nineteenth-century colonialism (railways, canals, apartment buildings, dams) engineered a new method of extracting income from the future—a future we now inhabit precariously today. Like much of his work, this research combines the study of the built world, technical devices, ecological processes, and the history of economic and political concepts. Professor Mitchell teaches at Columbia University in New York.

 

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Date and time

Thu 17 January, 2019
18:00 – 20:00 GMT

Location

Bush House Auditorium
Bush House, North Wing, King’s College London
30 Aldwych
London
WC2B 4BG

 

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EVENT | Data that Warms: Remaking our Relations with Data through Commodifying Infrastructural Discard

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What kinds of infrastructures and relations underpin data societies? How is the heat of data streams being harnessed and commodified by data centre operators? How does the commodification of infrastructural discard modify the ways in which we live with and feel data? Join us for a public talk with Julia Velkova (University of Helsinki).

Data that Warms: Remaking our Relations with Data through Commodifying Infrastructural Discard

Infrastructures are things and relations between things that allow the traffic of waste, power, and finances (cf Larkin). In the past few years, new infrastructural arrangements have been made between data centre operators and energy companies across Europe in order to commodify and traffic the waste heat that servers produce in the process of computing and storing ‘the cloud’, and dissipate it in urban homes and offices (Velkova 2016).

In this talk I draw on ongoing empirical work with data centre operators and energy companies located in Finland, Sweden and France to illuminate the cultural imaginaries, and actual infrastructural connections through which the meaning, the value and the ways in which we live with and feel data (Lupton 2018; Kristensen & Ruckenstein 2018; Kennedy & Hill 2017) are redefined. I argue that these new interconnections have crucial implications for the data economy, energy politics, and urban life that become intimately interconnected, and literally powered by data streams.

Bio: Julia Velkova (@jvelkova) is a post-doctoral researcher at the Consumer Society Research Centre at the University of Helsinki. Her current project explores the waste economies behind the production of ‘the cloud’ with focus on the production and management of residual heat, temporalities and spaces of data centres in the Nordic countries. Her work on data centres has been published in Big Data & Society, and is also forthcoming in a special edition of Culture Machine.

This event is part of an ongoing seminar series on “critical inquiry with and about the digital” hosted by the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London. If you tweet about the event you can use the #kingsdhhashtag or mention @kingsdh. If you’d like to get notifications of future events you can sign up to this mailing list.

 

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Date and time

Wed 16 January 2019
16:00 – 17:30 GMT

Location

The Old Anatomy Lecture Theatre, K6.29
Strand Campus, King’s College London
Strand
London
WC2R 2LS

 

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