louise20Amoore20IMG_0464-800x445 On Wednesday 7 June 2017, Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Research in Media and Culture and the Vasari Research Centre for Art and Technology will be co-hosting a talk from Professor Louise Amoore on the subject of ‘Cloud Futures’. The event – details of which are pasted below – is free and open to all, but booking via Eventbrite is essential. Look forward to seeing some of you there!

Cloud Futures, a talk by Prof. Louise Amoore

This event is co-sponsored by the School of Arts, BIRMAC and the Vasari Research Centre for Art and Technology

Wednesday 7 June 2017 | 18:00-19:30, followed by a drinks reception held in the Keynes Library until 20: 30

BO3, 43 Gordon Square WC1H OPD | Map

The algorithmic architecture of cloud computing is becoming ever more closely intertwined with sovereign authority – from the sharing of intelligence data, to border controls, immigration decisions, and drone strikes.

Developing an analogy with the aesthetics of the cloud chamber of early twentieth century particle physics, the talk by Prof. Louise Amoore will explore the geopolitical capacities of the cloud in cloud computing. How does the cloud render perceptible that which could never be visible on a register of human vision? Like the cloud chambers of twentieth century particle physics, contemporary cloud computing is concerned with rendering perceptible and actionable that which would otherwise be beyond the threshold of knowable futures. Through the computational logics of machine learning and back propagation, the global present becomes governed by cloud reasoning on three distinct registers: condensing traces; discovering patterns; and archiving the future.

Agenda :

18:00 – 18:45 : Prof. Louise Amoore (Durham University), with a talk entitled, ‘Cloud Futures’
18:45 – 19: 00 : Response from Dr. Joel McKim, Director of the Vasari Research Centre for Art and Technology (Birkbeck, University of London)

19: 00 – 19: 30 : Q&A with the audience

19.30 – 20.30 : Drinks reception in the Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square

This event is free, but reservation is required | Click here

Biography for Prof. Amoore:

Louise Amoore is Professor of Political Geography at Durham University. Currently, she holds a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship for a project on ‘Ethics of Algorithms’, in which she is interested in how the relative opacity and unreadability of the algorithm could form the starting point, and not the limit, of an ethical sensibility. The fellowship is affording Louise the time to write a new book for Duke University Press, Cloud Ethics, where she addresses the themes of cloud atlases, learning machines, authorship, madness, and doubt.
In her previous work, Louise has looked at post 9/11 transformations in probabilities, where technologies amplify the possibilities in high impact, low probability events. This work, published in her 2013 book, The Politics of Possibility: Risk and Security Beyond Probability (DUP), reflects her interest in histories of computation and data mining, techniques of risk management, and the aesthetics and politics of securing against uncertain future possibilities.


Neon_Open_SignNext week I have the pleasure of hosting another very interesting research event – a presentation from my colleague Leo Havemann, a sharp Learning Technologist at Birkbeck. Leo will be speaking about just what we might mean when we invoke the idea of ‘open’ in higher education, and in particular how we tend to fall back on an idea of making resources – rather than our pedagogic and research practices – open or available. The full abstract is below.

The event is free and open to all, no registration required.

Satellite Research Seminar
6pm, 24 May 2017 (followed by a wine reception)
Birkbeck, University of London
Room G01, 43 Gordon Square, WC1H 0PD

Free and open to all

Openness in education: content, collaboration, connectivity

Leo Havemann
Learning Technologist, Birkbeck


The proliferation and politicisation of the concept of openness in educational contexts invites us to consider whether teaching and learning in higher education (HE) can ever truly be considered open or closed and therefore what, if anything, is to be gained by claiming educational practices are open. A key strand of the drive to open education is the movement for Open Educational Resources (OER), which proposes that the application of open, permissive licenses to teaching and learning resources is a means of widening access to knowledge and enhancing teaching quality. More recently, the literature on Open Education has seen a shift away from a resource-focused discussion, to an inclusive but wider notion of Open Educational Practices (OEP) (Andrade et al., 2011).

OEP are often understood to involve working with open content and facilitating access to knowledge ‘in the open’, such as through the development of open resources by students as a form of assessment. However, the nature of openness when discussing OEP is more multifaceted and elusive than in the OER context, as the aspirations and implications of OEP resist simplistic and bounded explanations and are perhaps better understood as residing in forms of collaboration or connectivity (Cronin, 2017; Nascimbeni & Burgos, 2016).

While many educators within HE choose to share their work and reveal their processes for the benefit of others, enthusiasm for OEP may be dampened by the perception that this creates additional labour and lacks professional recognition and reward. This seminar will consider the usefulness of the notion of OEP with regard to a case study of a Birkbeck module designed to support students to ‘Step Up to Postgraduate Study in Arts’. I will also consider the structural, technical and skills barriers that inhibit the wider adoption of openness in education, arguing that OEP is best understood as a commitment to opening up access to knowledge as a social and public good, which connects to deeper historical notions of the purposes of HE.


Andrade, A., Ehlers, U.-D., Caine, A., Carneiro, R., Conole, G., Kairamo, A.-K., Holmberg, C. (2011). Beyond OER: Shifting focus to open educational practices: OPAL Report 2011. Retrieved from http://duepublico.uni-duisburg-essen.de/servlets/DerivateServlet/Derivate-25907/OPALReport2011_Beyond_OER.pdf

Cronin, C. (2017). Openness and praxis: Exploring the use of open educational practices in higher education. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. Retrieved from https://aran.library.nuigalway.ie/handle/10379/6394

Nascimbeni, F., & Burgos, D. (2016). In Search for the Open Educator: Proposal of a Definition and a Framework to Increase Openness Adoption Among University Educators. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning,17(6). http://doi.org/10.19173/IRRODL.V17I6.2736


BIMI-PITT Next week sees the second edition of the biennial research workshop organised by Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image (BIMI) and Film Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. It takes place between Wednesday 10 May to Friday 12 May 2017 – and extends into Saturday 13 May with a version of my well-wrought urban media tour, which takes a circuitous path from Fitzroy to Soho Square.

The workshop is free and open to all, and the organisers are particularly keen to welcome students and researchers in the areas encompassed by BIMI’s mission: Film and Media, English, History of Art, Languages, Law, History, Philosophy, Politics, Geography, Psychosocial Studies, Applied Linguistics, and Psychological Sciences.

Below I have appended the basic programme, but if you’d like to see the full presentation abstracts, the contributor profiles, and details of screening materials – and also if you want to book your free place for the event – visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/urban-change-current-research-in-film-television-and-media-studies-tickets-33888045055

If you can only make the urban media tour, you can just show up at the southwest corner of Fitzroy Square at 2pm (sharp!) on Saturday 13 May 2017 (map: http://bit.ly/2pZY0cA). We will end the tour around 3.30ish at Soho Square (a visit to a local pub afterwards is a possibility…).


The second edition of the biennial research workshop organised by Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image (BIMI) and Film Studies at the University of Pittsburgh will take place Wednesday 10 May to Friday 12 May 2017. The idea of the workshop is to bring together faculty and postgraduate students from Birkbeck and Pittsburgh to share their ongoing research, to get to know each other in person, and to develop collaborative research projects together. The first edition, “Cinema and the City”, May 2015, was a productive and enjoyable occasion, which has already generated several joint research initiatives, including journal publications, student and staff exchanges, public lectures, curatorial projects, and study days.

The forthcoming edition, entitled “Urban Change”, pursues the broad theme of cinema and the city, while addressing more precisely how moving image culture – in all its changing forms and formats, both aesthetically and technologically speaking – has responded and continues to react to the ongoing economic, social and political transformation of urban environments. These environments are understood as physical spaces but also as places to live, work, love and play, both individually and in terms of interpersonal and community relationships. While the cities of Pittsburgh and London remain significant topics for exploration, the geographical and historical coordinates of this workshop are entirely open, and participants will be exploring urban contexts and examples drawn from France, Algeria, Canada, India, Russia, Japan, Hong Kong, Denmark and Sweden.

The workshop is open to all, from Birkbeck and beyond, and we will be especially happy to welcome students and researchers working across the range of research areas and disciplines that BIMI is committed to representing as part of its mission: Film and Media, English, History of Art, Languages, Law, History, Philosophy, Politics, Geography, Psychosocial Studies, Applied Linguistics, and Psychological Sciences.


Below you will find the BASIC PROGRAMME of the workshop: if you wish to read the presentation abstracts, the contributor profiles, and details of screening materials, or BOOK a place for this FREE event, please follow this link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/urban-change-current-research-in-film-television-and-media-studies-tickets-33888045055


WELCOME/INTRODUCTION with tea & coffee in Cinema foyer

Presentation #1
Randall HALLE, Pittsburgh: The Record of Modernity, the Poetics of Urban Change – Heinz Emigholz’s Architecture and Autobiography

12:30-1:30 LUNCH BREAK

Presentation #2
Joel McKIM, Birkbeck: Transitional Vancouver: Stan Douglas’s Circa 1948

Presentation #3
Curry CHANDLER, Pittsburgh: Visualizing Urban Change and Differential Space in Chris Ivey’s East of Liberty series: Gentrification, Community Activism, and Documentary Film as Aesthetic Spatial Practice

3:30-4:00 TEA BREAK

Presentation #4
Melissa BUTCHER, Birkbeck: Creating Hackney as Home – Five Reflections on a London Borough

Early Film Exhibition Tour, with Ian Christie, Birkbeck: Early Cinema Sites in Leicester Square and the West End
Meeting point for the walk (tbc): Birkbeck, School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square.



Presentation #5
Neepa MAJUMDAR, Pittsburgh: Wiring for the Talkies: Bombay’s Cinema Theatres, 1927-1940

Presentation #6
Nikhil Thomas TITUS, Pittsburgh: Curated Desires: Examining Intersections of Low-Cost Film Exhibition, Migrant Audiences, and Gentrification in Mumbai

12:30-1:30 LUNCH BREAK

Presentation #7
Michael ALLEN, Birkbeck: What Goes Up Must Come Down – Negotiating Social Continuity and Change in the Representation of Post-War Architecture in British Film and Television.

Presentation #8
Adam HEBERT, Pittsburgh: Wheels and Reels on Both Sides of the Pond – Skateboarding and City Planning from Philadelphia to London

3:30-4:00 TEA BREAK

Presentation #9
Nancy CONDEE, Pittsburgh: Moral Repository – “The landscape of the Russian soul corresponds with the landscape of Russia”



Presentation #10
Mark BEST, Pittsburgh: Giant Monsters, the City of the Future, and Spectacles of Urban (Non-)Destruction: Gamera visits Expo ’70

Presentation #11
Kevin FLANAGAN, Pittsburgh: Hong Kong-D.C. Connection – Transnational Martial Arts Cinema between Regional Production Contexts and Global Audiences

12:30-1:30 LUNCH BREAK

Presentation #12
Kelsey CUMMINGS: Analysing Evocations of Urban Destruction in Romantic Comedy, with a Focus on Representations of Women’s Bodies

Presentation #13
Janet McCABE, Birkbeck: Female Cartographies, Spatial Mappings, Regional Tourism – Location and The Bridge (Bron/Broen)

3:30-4:00 TEA BREAK


Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Austria, 2016, 94 minutes, followed by a response to the film by Carl Lavery, University of Glasgow, in conversation with Anna Reading, Kings College London. More information: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/events-calendar/essay-film-festival-prelude-3-homo-sapiens



Contemporary Urban Media Tour, with Scott RODGERS, Birkbeck: The Mediated City: A Tour of Media and Mediation from Fitzroy to Soho Square
Meeting point for the walk: Southwest corner of Fitzroy Square (map: http://bit.ly/2pZY0cA)


Ordinary digital humanities: Free event at Birkbeck, 15 May 2017

May 2, 2017

In a couple of weeks’ time I am happy to be hosting an event as part of Birkbeck Arts Week on the subject of ‘Ordinary Digital Humanities’, featuring a talk from Lesley Gourlay (UCL Institute of Education). The publicity blurb below has more than enough information, I suspect, for you to get the idea. The […]

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Call for chapter proposals: Music cities

April 28, 2017

This looks really interesting – a call for chapter proposals towards an edited collection on Music Cities. The deadline is 15 May, so fast approaching. Based on the listserv email I saw, the editors are seeking contributions that look at the city-based music scenes as scenes – i.e. their urban situation, rather than urban representations […]

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Thinking media through the city (Birkbeck Excellence in Teaching Award talk)

February 28, 2017

Slightly last minute here, but if anyone is interested in hearing about an alternative assessment technique in media/urban studies, I have just the thing for you. Tomorrow (1 March 2017) I will be giving a 4pm talk at Birkbeck’s Centre for Transformative Practice in Learning and Teaching, around the ‘urban media inventory’ assessment that I […]

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New academic posts announced at Birkbeck

February 2, 2017

Today a series of new academic posts at Birkbeck have been advertised, on the Birkbeck jobs website (which is due for an upgrade, don’t be put off!) and elsewhere, such as the Times Higher Education website. These look to be a great set of positions, many focusing on globalisation and the transnational, very apropos of […]

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Politicians and other performers: forthcoming presentation

January 5, 2017

In just a few weeks I will be presenting a paper at what looks like a very interesting symposium here at Birkbeck considering the increasingly important relationships between politicians and performance. I have pasted the programme, as well as my own abstract, below. Many of the other contributors will be drawing centrally on practices and […]

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Bloomsbury’s Gordon Square: Workplace becomes media production space

December 20, 2016

[Note: this post has been edited to remove details of the specific production in question. I’m being cautious as a colleague reminded me of a non-disclosure agreement to which I am indirectly a party. However I have decided not to remove the entire post, since the rest pertains to observations made in outdoor public space, […]

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It’s a wrap: Mediapolis roundtable on the urban in media theory

December 13, 2016

Just a quick note to say that the roundtable on ‘The Urban as Emergent Key Concept for Media Theory’ in Mediapolis: A Journal of Cities and Culture has reached it’s conclusion. Now available are opening essays and responses from Zlatan Krajina, André Jansson, Myria Georgiou, Giorgia Aiello and me. Here’s an excerpt from my concluding […]

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