The Centre hosts workshops, seminars, conferences and public lectures, including an Annual Lecture, to address matters of interest to comparative literature in its broadest sense.

We are delighted that Marina Warner has agreed to give the Centre’s inaugural Annual Lecture, Viral Spiral: Multiple Shape-shifting from Ovid to Covid. We shall publish more details as soon as the date is confirmed.

In the meantime, please see below all of our upcoming and past events.

A range of further events are being planned in conjunction with theatres – notably our partner the Gate Theatre – museums and galleries, in the UK and abroad, as well as with the Borough of Lewisham, London Borough of Culture 2022.

Our members belong to a range of networks and societies (for example, LINKS, the London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Studies; EAM, the European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies; MDRNOut of the Wings, the theatre collective of translators and theatre-makers; the Carl Einstein-Gesellschaft / Societé Carl Einstein; and many more), and regularly participate in or organise events with these networks.

All events and activities prioritize diversity and inclusivity, which is central to our ethos.

We pay special attention to the support of graduate students and early-career researchers. In particular, as members of networks such as LINKS, CHASE, Mnemonics, and the Emerging Translators Network, our staff regularly offer graduate and early-career training events.

Upcoming events


Margaret M. McGowan † (1931-2022), Dance, Performance and Politics: A Study of how Choreography developed in Court Ballets to meet changing political needs

The contribution of dance for propaganda purposes was taken for granted in Renaissance Europe. Professor M. McGowan explores what we know of choreography at this time, and the influences of Italian and French creators of ballet. She studies the role of diplomacy and how, increasingly, dance became a vehicle for political strategies. As the nature of dancing changed and became more complex, so its ability to express was increased and its effect on audiences was more powerful. This transformation is explored in detail through examples of court ballets, intermezzi and masques from the Early Modern period.

We are very sad to announce that Professor Margaret M. McGowan, CBE, Fellow of the British Academy and Research Professor at the University of Sussex, passed away on 16 March 2022. Her talk will be recorded and will be uploaded to the webpage soon.

Annual Lecture:

Marina Warner, Viral Spiral: Multiple Shape-shifting from Ovid to Covid

A group of metamorphoses in myths and legends features gods and in between creatures, who are not quite divine and not quite mortal either,  who can change their shape multiple times. For example, Mestra, the daughter of Erichsychthon, is given this gift by the gods when her father sells her, and she is able to elude the clients he panders her to.

Marina Warner will explore stories of multiple transformations in and out of different bodies, and reflect on their significance in relation to today’s concerns with fluid identities and interspecies contact and contagion.

The date of Marina Warner inaugural lecture in our Annual Lecture series will be confirmed soon.

Seminar Series: The London Beckett Seminar

The London Beckett Seminar meets eight times a year, and brings together national and international scholars, researchers, postgraduate students and the general public to discuss issues arising from the prose, theatre and poetry of Samuel Beckett that pertain to aspects of literary, philosophical and historical analysis with particular attention to translation studies, performance and practice, digital humanities and visual cultures. Inherently interdisciplinary in approach, the seminar has established a vibrant research network for postgraduate students, early-career researchers, and established academics on a national and international level.

The 2022-23 programme will be announced soon.

Find out more about the programme for 2021-22…

Event Series:

Sing in me, Muse: The Classical, the Critical, and the Creative

A Series of talks, workshops, readings, discussions on the social, political and cultural relevance of the classics to our times.

This series of Classical Reception Studies events, starting in Autumn 2022 and convened by Isabel Hurst and Lucia Boldrini, will bring together scholars and students from a variety of disciplines with creative writers and other artists, to examine how the literary and material cultures of ancient Greece, the Near East and Rome have been adapted and rewritten at later times and other places.

In response to Marina Warner’s CCL Annual LectureViral Spiral: Multiple Shape-shifting from Ovid to Covid‘, in Autumn 2022 we will explore the shape-shifting of Ovid’s MetamorphosesFind out more about the series…

Events in this series include:

Abigail Ardelle Zammit, #wearedaphne – Retelling the Assassination of Malta’s Foremost Investigative Journalist through Ovid’s Metamorphoses
The poet Abigail Ardelle Zammit will discuss how she has adopted hybridity and erasure as a vehicle for dissent.  Her dialogue with Ovid’s Metamorphoses employs the violence of the blackout technique as literary tool and political commentary, selecting and obscuring words from Ovid’s tales – most noticeably from Daphne’s transformation into a tree – to retell the events leading to and following the assassination of the controversial Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Find out more…


Michael Simpson and Barbara Goff, Votes for Medea: The British women’s’ suffrage movement and the classical franchise
As classical civilisation lost its hold on the commanding heights of the British cultural economy in the early 20th C, so that by 1920 Ancient Greek was no longer required to enter Oxford, it conversely developed a new profile as a resource for progressive movements. In 1921 the Crewe Report on the ‘Position of Classics in the Educational System of the United Kingdom’, commissioned by the Government of Lloyd-George, included an impassioned plea by the Labour Party for the importance of classics in the national life. Find out more…

Event Series:

Auto / Bio / Fiction

Convened by Lucia Boldrini (Goldsmiths), Natasha Bell (Goldsmiths) and Lucia Claudia Fiorella (University of Udine, Italy) and starting in Autumn 2022, Auto / Bio / Fiction will include monthly talks, seminars, roundtables, readings, reading groups, book launches and live book reviews.

Our speakers will include critics and practitioners. Our aim is to put in dialogue (and possibly in dispute) different interpretations and practices of biofiction, autofiction and neighbouring genres and art forms, and discuss the questions raised by these forms and their critical and textual encounters.

The programme will be published closer to the date.  Find out more about the series and planned speakers…

Past Events