Eley Williams

‘The Zebra Did It’
Dictionaries as Loci for Surreptitious Fictions
30th January @ 5.00pm


In this presentation I hope to address the ways in which factual dictionaries might be judged to contain or reveal fictitious and fictional content, and whether such content can be assessed as ‘creative’ work. My practice centres upon writing a novel where the main character inserts purposively fictional pieces of information into an encyclopaedic dictionary; my presentation will provide an opportunity to illustrate various strategies by which I have attempted to creatively interrogate the problematic ethics of lexicography (its attempts to ‘register’ rather than ‘fix’ language – and vice versa – for example), literary hoaxes, and whether a dictionary can be claimed as a creative text.

Brief Bio
Eley Williams is currently a PhD candidate in Creative Writing, her thesis focusing upon the meeting points between lexicographical probity and creativity. Previous writing commendations include the Christopher Tower poetry prize and awards from the London School of Journalism, the Franco-British Council and London Fringe Festival Short Fiction Awards. Recent projects have included her short story ‘Hang-Ups’ being developed for an interactive installation with ShadowStage, the country’s first contemporary shadow theatre company, and a prose piece set to music by composer Steven Jackson for ‘Noise of Many Waters’, the Royal Northern College of Music’s exhibitive showcase event.



Nik Wakefield

Time-specificity of Performance
30th January @ 6.00pm


To make a loaf of sourdough bread takes time. First of all, because you aren’t going to add any yeast, your starter must be at a relatively active stage of fermentation, in order to ensure that it will rise when added to flour, water and salt. For a developed flavour, allow to rise in the refrigerator, which slows the rising process, for twenty-four hours. Bake on a stone in the oven with a pan of hot water below to steam the crust. Sourdough bread is easier on the stomach due to the subtraction of added yeast. It also has a more complex flavour than most breads. A loaf will stay fresh for a week.

This process is a useful metaphor for my research into time-specificity. I aim to reveal the relationship between performance and duration. The work is split into three questions – what is the temporality of performance, what is to be done with that time afterwards, and thinking in terms of time, what exactly is the nature of performance? These three questions are examined through research into contemporary live art, my own practice and the philosophy of Henri Bergson.

Brief Bio
Nik Wakefield is from Seattle, Boston, New York, Uwchygarreg Machynlleth, Stroud and Egham. After nearly not graduating high school, he went to community college, then received a B.F.A. Cum Laude in Theatre arts from Boston University, an M.A. with Distinction from Aberystwyth University, and is currently working on a Reid Scholarship awarded PhD by practice on Time-specificity in Performance. He is Head of Performance at Heritage Arts Company and has worked professionally with Every House Has A Door, Punchdrunk, Gideon Reeling and The Conciliation Project.

Diana Damian

Criticism as Political Event
Towards a Poiesis of Critical Practice
16th January @ 5.00pm

DAMIEN_in between 2 seconds

My research is concerned with examining the politics of contemporary critical practice in performance and live art, locating the critical moment as a practice “against certainty, in the second between two seconds” (Hélène Cixous).

In this presentation I engage with Jacques Rancière’s challenge to mastery as a form of domination and his articulation of a society in which the distribution of the sensible denotes both a partitioning and a commonality as essential modalities of contextualising the eventness of criticism embodying inherent dualities within its architecture. There is a domain of sensible knowledge that can be made visible through the critical gesture, assuming that resistance forms an integral differentiation of spectatorship, a being together apart; an encounter more deeply rooted within both the Subject and object that sees a fold within its politics.  I will consider the ways in which distance can be reconstituted as dissensus within the politics of the critical encounter, touching upon questions of situatedness that can propose the delineation of a critical practice.

Brief Bio
Diana Damian is a London-based performance and live art critic and curator. Her PhD research examines taxonomies of critical practice, locating the political within the critical process and deconstructing the critical encounter. Diana is Performance Editor at Exeunt and founder of Post: Critical Practice, a platform dedicated to exploring the meeting point between performance, curation, criticism and the digital sphere.  She is a regular contributor to publications in Europe and the UK, and is part of an EU funded collective of writers exploring the forms criticism can take in contemporary performance and visual art practice in a series of performative interventions and artist collaborations.


Tim Cresswell

Don McKay and the Phenomenology of Stone.
16th January @ 6.00pm

Tim Cresswell (centre) with Don McKay and his partner -the artist Marlene Creates.
Tim Cresswell (centre) with Don McKay and his partner -the artist Marlene Creates.

This presentation focuses on the Canadian poet Don McKay’s poetry collection Strike/Slip (2006). It brings McKay’s poetic practice into conversation with both McKay’s own essays on the role of the wild in the contemporary world and with the work of the archaeologist Chris Tilley and his monograph, The Materiality of Stone (2004). McKay uses the contrast between rocks and stone to approach the familiar transformation of nature into culture – the raw into the cooked. He does so through a close engagement with the nature  (or essence, to use phenomenological terminology) of rocks/stones. This involves a knowledge of, and poetic use of, the lexicon of geology. Through poetic close attention combined with a working knowledge of geological science, McKay mobilizes rocks/stones to reflect on the this process of engaging and transforming nature as dwelling. The wild diversity of registers (from the scientific to the slang) in McKay’s poems puts the limits and possibilities of language at the center of the ways in which humans dwell on the mineral earth – the ways in which they ceaselessly attempt and fail to engage the wild.

If there is time – the presentation may include some poems from the ‘creative’ part of my thesis which have been informed by the themes of dwelling and travel.

Brief Bio
As well as being a PhD candidate in the Creative Writing programme, Tim Cresswell is Professor of Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of five books including Geographic Thought: A Critical Introduction (2013) and On the Move: Mobility in the Modern Western World (2006). Tim is also a poet who has published widely in national magazines in the UK. His first collection, Soil, is being published by Penned in the Margins in July 2013.

URL: Tim’s blog is called Varve and can be found at tjcresswell.wordpress.com