Learn a Language continues to bring together Goldsmiths’ linguistic and cultural super-diverse community

Learn a Language, a tandem language learning and development initiative, started by Dr Carla Figueira in ICCE, continues this academic year to support students and staff to find a language buddy with whom to develop conversational skills in foreign languages, intercultural competencies and to celebrate Goldsmiths’ super-diverse community.

The scheme uses an Exchange Board on to pair up individuals, who then meet up with their buddy regularly and spend half the time talking in each of the respective languages to practice and learn. Supporting the scheme, the Library makes available language learning resources and dedicated guides. Language mixer events delivered by students and staff provide an opportunity for the cementing, augmenting and enhancing the foreign language and intercultural skills of students and staff at Goldsmiths.

This voluntary staff-student initiative developed from a language exchange board started by Dr Carla Figueira in 2013 for ICCE students. In 2017 it was offered to the whole of College. This development was enabled by a successful application to the Annual Fund by Dr Figueira, jointly with Dr Sarah Maitland, from ECL, and the then Goldsmiths Students’ Union International Officer, Jun Lim. Further funding contributions from Student Recruitment and Engagement and also the support of many individuals and services at Goldsmiths, such as TaLIC, allowed the widening of the offer.

This academic year, Learn a Language offers students HEAR paid opportunities, thanks to the support of the Pro-Warden International and International Development and Academic Partnerships. A student administrator and a group of student language facilitators – covering currently French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, Korean – support Dr Figueira and Dr Maitland in the delivery of the initiative.

The Learn a Language leadership team continues to work to develop in College awareness of the need for a more structured and sustainable approach to and support of linguistic and cultural diversity at Goldsmiths. If you can help, please get in touch via email or attend our next mixers advertised on

Dr Oonagh Murphy invited to contribute to AHRC workshop on the future of digital scholarship in Cultural Institutions at the National Museum of African History & Culture, Washington DC

The AHRC recently held a two-day workshop exploring future funding priorities and shared challenges in the UK-US in partnership with the Engineering and

National Museum of African History & Culture, Washington DC

Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress. As part of the program for this ground breaking new transatlantic conversation The British Consulate hosted an evening reception at the Ambassador’s private residence.

Dr Murphy was invited to share her work on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, and was joined at the event by a number of core members of the Museums + AI Network (whichs she co-leads).

Library of Congress – recent acquisitionsof core members of the Museums + AI Network (which she co-leads).

AHRC said their first activity in developing this new area of funding was ‘convening leading experts from academia and cultural institutions from both countries examining the impact digital technologies are having (and will have) on museums and related institutions.’ This gathering brought together a diverse range of professionals including data scientists, archaeologists, digital curators, and ornithologists.

The second day of the workshop was held at the Library of Congress, and participants were able to explore issues around shared collection challenges.

This event will help to shape thematic areas within future funding calls, and provide a foundation for the development on transatlantic partnerships.



Theory, Culture & Society Journal ranked #1 in Cultural Studies

Theory, Culture & Society has recently been ranked as 1/41 in Cultural Studies, with an Impact Factor of 2.174. (Web of Science Group’s annual Journal Citation Reports and Journal Impact Factor results)

Theory, Culture & Society was also ranked 1/41 in Cultural Studies, with an Impact Factor of 3.119 in the 5 year Impact Factor Ranking.

The 2019 release aggregates the meaningful connections of citations created by the research community through the delivery of a rich array of publisher-independent data, metrics and analysis of the world’s high-quality academic journals.

Theory, Culture & Society was founded by Mike Featherstone (editor-in-chief) in 1982 to cater for the resurgence of interest in culture in the social sciences. It has built up a large international and multidisciplinary readership through its ability to raise and discuss emergent social and cultural issues in an open, non-partisan manner.

Theory, Culture & Society has sought to critically explore the relationship between culture and society and advocated a more central role for social and cultural theory in understanding social life. TCS has worked across the borderlines between sociology and cultural studies, the social sciences and the humanities and has moved towards a broader transdisciplinary frame of reference.

The politics of culture-led urban regeneration in Latin America

Políticas Culturais em Revista, the prestigious Brazilian Cultural Policy Journal, has published its latest open access issue which includes an article by ICCE member Dr Cecilia Dinardi on culture-led urban regeneration in Buenos Aires. The journal, based at the Federal University of Bahia since 2008, has an international editorial board of outstanding experts in the field – such as George Yudice, Renato Ortiz, Ana Rosas Mantecon, and Daniel Mato, among many others – and publishes two issues per year in Portuguese and Spanish.

Cecilia’s article provides a sociological critique of the politics underpinning culture-led urban regeneration in order to unsettle the role of culture as panacea, that is, as a universal cure to the city’s myriad problems. Drawing on a case study – the redevelopment of the post office palace into a commemorative cultural centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina – the analysis offers an in-depth account of the policy process by which industrial heritage is redeveloped through a cultural rhetoric. The paper develops an innovative methodological strategy engaging with the past, present and future of an emblematic public building. It finally concludes by drawing attention to the urgent need to adopt a critical perspective to the study of culture-led urban regeneration in Latin America, one which situates the analysis in historical and political terms and acknowledges the contending circumstances out of which these urban strategies often emerge.

The article (in Spanish) is free to read at:

Professor Victoria Alexander represented ICCE and Goldsmiths at two conferences this summer.

American Sociological Association’s Conference Flyer, 2019

At the American Sociological Association’s (ASA) conference in New York City (10-13 August 2019), she spoke on boundaries in art in a sole-authored paper entitled ‘Classification in Art, Revisited’. This paper was in one of three sessions on boundaries run by the Culture Section of the ASA.

Current scholarship in the sociology of the arts tends to dichotomize the fine arts (still commonly referred to as high culture) and the popular arts (once referred to as mass culture), but with a recognition of the blurring of these two categories. DiMaggio (1987) theorized this dichotomy in his work on classification in art. However, focus on this division is problematic because it ignores a crucial similarity between the fine and popular arts, in that both are created and developed in (commercial or nonprofit) production systems for distribution to audiences who receive them. In other words, they separate production from consumption. This paper argues that it is problematic to overlook the division between producers and consumers. Indeed, other forms of artistic creativity, where production and consumption co-occur or blur, have been largely ignored in sociology and in studies of classification in art. Folk art, amateur art, and peer-production in digital spaces have not been effectively theorized as a contributing to classification (or declassification). A more complete theory of classification in art needs to consider the relationship between production and consumption, in systems where these are separated and those where they are not.


European Sociological Association’s Conference Programme Cover, 2019

The European Sociological Association’s (ESA) biennial conference was held closer to home this year, in Manchester (20-23 August 2019). Professor Alexander delivered a paper, co-authored with Anne Bowler, ‘Aesthetic Power and Aesthetic Fields: Theoretical and Conceptual Tools for Integrating the Work of Art into Sociological Analysis’.

In 1987, Wendy Griswold discussed the importance of “aesthetic power” in sociological studies of art. She suggested that some works are more powerful than others, in their ability to link to “present and pressing” social concerns (p. 1104) and to sustain multiple coherent interpretations along with the capacity to “linger in the mind” and to “enter the canon” (p. 1105). More recently, Jeffrey Alexander (2008; 2012) has developed the concept of “iconicity” in a meaning-centred sociology. J. Alexander’s concept may at first brush seem similar to Griswold’s, but there are important differences. In this paper, we consider the notion of aesthetic power more fully, distinguishing it from iconicity, and integrating it into an aesthetically inflected sociology of art. We focus on a case study of a single work, a carved limestone sculpture entitled Boxer by the American artist William Edmondson (1874-1951). This sculpture is notable in that, in 2016, it set a new world-record price for Outsider art sold at auction and established a blue-chip auction market for the field. We analyse the elements of aesthetic power evident in the work and its reception. Our analysis also considers Edmondson’s canonization along with wider debates in the Outsider art world, which we characterize as an “aesthetic field.” We show that a consideration of the work of art itself is necessary for understanding the record-breaking sale of Boxer. This underscores the importance, more broadly, of attention to the work of art in arts sociology.

Both papers will be submitted for peer-review journal publication.

Skin Matters: An Interview with Marc Lafrance

Tomoko Tamari has published an interview article in Theory Culture & Society.

Following the Body & Society special issue, Skin Matters: Thinking Through the Body’s Surfaces (vol. 24, 1–2), Tomoko Tamari conducted an interview with the special issue editor, Marc Lafrance. He argues for the skin as an interface, which both resists and reinforces binary oppositions. Lafrance is particularly interested in the relationship between the skin and subjectivity, focusing on those who are suffering from traumatic stigmatizing experiences. This theme is also elaborated in the debates around the issue of human-made skin in ‘regenerative medicine’. He argues that while the development of medical technology for human-made organic skin tends often to be welcomed, the actual experience of face-transfer patients following skin graft surgeries is one of physical and psychological hardship along with a complex sense of self-wholeness and ‘reflexive embodiment’. Reflexivity is also an important phenomenon encouraged by the media and social media, which constantly feature representations of the skin.

Skin Matters: An Interview with Marc Lafrance
Tomoko Tamari

First Published August 25, 2019

Adrian De La Court receives recognition from the Enterprise Catalyst Award at the National Enterprise Educator Awards 2019

Adrian De La Court, second from right. Photo taken from

On Thursday September 5 at the National Enterprise Educator Awards 2019 Adrian De La Court from ICCE was runner up in the Enterprise Catalyst category. One of three finalists, he received his award at a Gala Dinner in Oxford town hall. The other finalists came from universities that engage teams of enterprise educators in Kings College London and the University of Wales, The award presenters remarked on the innovative nature of his pedagogical approach as well as the strong impacts Adrian has made. Sian Prime and Adrian are the key deliverers of entrepreneurship education in ICCE and to get this recognition at national level is a great achievement.

The award abstract for Adrian was as follows:

Adrian De La Court has developed Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship education at Goldsmiths, using innovative techniques and access to new finance to support creative and social innovation. He has developed a unique innovative, interactive pedagogical approach that engages students, develops their confidence and has led to robust, sustainable enterprises emerging from students’ creative ideas. His work influences at a global level. He has embedded entrepreneurial thinking into students’ practice and has empowered the careers of many.

We were also delighted that many of our colleagues from Central Asia [Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan] partners in the British Council Creative Spark project were there in Oxford, to see the award presented.

“It is a real honour to be nominated and to be runner up for this award – particularly given the other award winners focus more on tech and more conventional forms of enterprise. It feels as though the approach I have developed with Sian has been endorsed by the lead body for entrepreneurship education.”
Adrian De La Court

“This award is richly deserved for Adrian who has been at the heart of developing entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking across college through the SYNAPSE Programme as well as supporting many cohorts of T1 entrepreneurs to succeed in their new businesses. Great for ICCE and Goldsmiths.”
Mark d’Inverno
Professor of Computer Science and Pro-Warden (International) at Goldsmiths, University of London

‘It is great that Adrian has had national recognition for his innovative pedagogy and for changing the lives of so many entrepreneurs.”
Sian Prime & Gerald Lidstone [ICCE]

Lord Bilimoria CBE DL, Patron of Enterprise Educators UK and Chairman of Cobra Beer Partnership said, “As Patron of Enterprise Educators UK. I am Delighted to be speaking at the annual international conference, at Oxford Brookes. Britain today is a country which champions entrepreneurship and our universities have a crucial role in championing entrepreneurship with our students as well as with the communities in which we are located.”


Both Adrian De La Court and Sian Prime teach on the MA in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship in ICCE.

When a 1981 Diary Meets Twitter: Reclaiming a teenage girl’s ordinary experience of the Northern Irish Troubles

Dr Oonagh Murphy has published a new paper exploring life on the Irish Border from the perspective of teenage girl in the British Journal of Military History. The article was co-written with Dr Laura Aguiar (Public Records Office Northern Ireland ~ Nerve Centre), and is a collaborative project with Bronagh McAtasney author of @NrnIrnGirl1981. McAtasney began to tweet her recently rediscovered teenage diary under the handle @NrnIrnGirl1981 – and quickly grew a large and engaged following, with followers in equal parts charmed, and shocked with her tails of ‘teenage angst, boys and hunger strikes’. This article analyses the diary entries through the prism of a feminist reading of lived experience and conflict, and finds that:

> The Northern Irish Troubles (1969-1998) have been the focus of many cross-disciplinary literature and official and unofficial storytelling projects.

> In this paper we take an unusual object of study: a Twitter account set up by Bronagh McAtasney who recently rediscovered her 1981 teenage diary and has been tweeting entries from it since.

> The findings show that the very banality of her experiences can function as a counter-narrative to the overheard (male) heroic accounts of the conflict, adding a female and young perspective.

The article is free to read in the British Journal of Military History, the BJMH is co-edited by Prof Richard S. Grayson and Dr Erica Wald who are based in the Department of History at Goldsmiths.

When a 1981 Diary Meets Twitter: Reclaiming a teenage girl’s ordinary experience of the Northern Irish Troubles

McAtasney’s Diary has now been placed in the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland.

Curator, Computer, Creator – ICCE Academic leads public conversation on the future of AI at Barbican Centre

What does the future hold for museums as we enter the age of AI? Can a tech-savvy museum that connects with modern times enrich the way we experience art? These are just some of the questions that we discussed at a series of public conversations as part of the Curator, Computer, Creator event on the 4th of July at the Barbican Centre.

Dr Oonagh Murphy, Principal Investigator and cofounder of the Museums AI Network explained the event format as being that of a conversation – “The conversation was designed as an open platform to provide the opportunity for members of the public and experts to engage in a free flowing conversation around the current and potential use of AI”. Members of the public were invited to pull up a seat, ask a question, listen or linger for as long or as little as they liked. The event which took place in the Life Rewired Hub, was part of the public program for the centres current exhibition – AI: More than Human.

The conversations were attended by around 75 people, and were hosted by Curator, Luba Elliott and Charlotte Frost, Director of Furtherfield, with contributions from National Gallery, Wellcome Collection, One by One, Future Everything, British Library, The Bartlett.

This event was delivered by the Museums AI Network, which is funded by the AHRC and led by strategic partners in the UK and US including: Pratt Institute, American Museum of Natural History, The Met, National Gallery (UK).

International experts gather to discuss the future of AI in museums

event poster

The Museums AI network which is led by Goldsmiths academic Dr Oonagh Murphy held its first meeting at Goldsmiths on the 26th and 27th of June 2019. The meeting, a two day working group brought together key museum practitioners, academics, policy makers, funders, artists and data scientists to begin to examine what the key – ethical, strategic and delivery challenges and opportunities these technologies might offer the museum sector.

The second working group will take place in September in New York at Pratt Institute, where participants will continue to develop tools and resources that can be used as instructive templates to support the development, management and funding of AI technologies from machine vision to machine learning.

Working group participants enjoying the London weather

With participants drawn from key UK and US stakeholders – National Gallery, Science Museum, British Library, V&A, Tate, Wellcome Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Princeton University Art Museum, American Museum of Natural History, Cooper Hewitt-Smithsonian Design Museum, NESTA, The Bartlett, Serpentine Galleries, Pratt Institute, University of Oxford, University of Leicester, Warwick University, Doteveryone, DCMS, Arts Council England.

Summary of working group discussion – sketch by Meriel Royal, National Gallery

Participants testing the Doteveryone ‘consequence scanning framework’

The Network is funded by the AHRC the network has a number of strategic partners in the UK and US including: Pratt Institute, American Museum of Natural History, The Met, National Gallery (UK).