The conference or the hosting organisation is a container, which makes possible the momentary stabilisation of knowledge in some form.
– Elaine Tam, Independent Curator

Conference programme
Beyond the binary variable: feminist quantitative analyses of gendered inequalities
6 Sep 2021 All day, ONLINE

This one-day virtual conference will discuss and debate the possibilities of a feminist quantitative social science, and to learn from each other’s successes and difficulties in integrating feminist theory with quantitative methods. We also hope to advance a vision of feminist quantitative methods and research as not only interdisciplinary but furthermore committed to “ethical, collaborate, participatory, transformative, intersectional, accountable, accessible, and open” (Leung et al, 2019) production of knowledge.

Inside / Outside: the built environment and dialogues between interior and exterior space
22 Sep 2021 - 24 Sep 2021 All day, ONLINE

Through a range of interdisciplinary papers delivered by international scholars, this conference will provide a platform for dynamic and engaging discourse that will consider relations between built interiors and exteriors from a variety of voices and perspectives.

WORKSHOP: “In My Room”: towards moody reading, making room, creating pleasure
10 Nov 2021 1:00pm - 3:00pm, ONLINE

Taking as its main prompt Mati Diop’s short film In My Room, made during the 2020 lockdown, this workshop will explore – through moody reading and collaborative creation – the impact of the pandemic on our sense of the spaces, and specifically the rooms, that we live and work in – some shared, others inhabited alone.

The multimedia craft of wonder
1 Dec 2021 all day, Churchill College

This conference will build upon that scholarship by focusing attention onto the dynamics of representing wonder (and wonders) in, across, and between media: in written genres such as chronicles, poetry, letters, handbills, and songs, how were physical marvels recorded, described, or reconstructed through language and literary form? Conversely, how did language shape physical processes of performance, craft, and construction in playscripts, alchemical writings, and books of secrets? What risks and opportunities did translation between media, modes, and genres present?

From morning hunt to beloved gazelle
15 Dec 2021 - 17 Dec 2021 all day, online

This conference seeks to rethink the literatures and arts of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Persianate and Turkish lands through the presence of non-human animals situated within their ‘worlds’, whether these be pastoral gardens, constructions of the wild, or the interstices of human habitations.

Identity abroad in Europe and the Mediterranean, 11th-15th centuries
7 Jan 2022 - 8 Jan 2022 all day, online

Identity Abroad in Europe and the Mediterranean, 11th-15th centuries aims at exploring the construction, expression, and practical significance of various forms of ‘identity’ among those people who chose or were forced to live ‘abroad’ at least temporarily in Europe and the Mediterranean in the period between the eleventh and the fifteenth century.

Looking at ‘identity’ from within the lens of any single discipline is reductive: the theme is an inherently interdisciplinary one. By including contributions which utilise a diverse range of sources, approaches, and methodologies, and which relate to a wide geographical area and chronological span, the conference seeks to offer a multiplicity of perspectives on its theme as well as to foster discussions and working relationships among its speakers and attendees.

Seminar series | Shifting landscapes of the medieval world
19 Jan 2022 13:00 - 14:30, Faculty of English, S-R 24 / Online
9 Feb 2022 13:00 - 14:30, Faculty of English, S-R 24 / Online
9 Mar 2022 13:00 - 14:30, Faculty of English, S-R 24 / Online
27 Apr 2022 13:00 - 14:30, Faculty of English, S-R 24 / Online
18 May 2022 13:00 - 14:30, Faculty of English, S-R 24 / Online
8 Jun 2022 13:00 - 14:30, Faculty of English, S-R 24 / Online

 The seminars will focus on landscape and allow us to ask questions about the division between culture and nature; the boundaries between countries and cultures; the agency of the nonhuman and more than human; the role of the supernatural and the imagination in shaping history; and the ethics of landscape management, naming, and ownership. 

Seminar series | Distributed cognition and music: listening with and beyond the body
27 Jan 2022 17:00, Online
10 Feb 2022 17:00, Online
24 Feb 2022 17:00, Online
10 Mar 2022 17:00, Online
24 Mar 2022 17:00, POSTPONED due to UCU industrial action
31 Mar 2022 17:00, Online
21 Apr 2022 17:00, Online

This series of events aims to reflect on how distributed models of cognition apply to, and change our perception of, musical engagement. Growing interest in music-making practices outside the normative, and ideally sterilised, settings of the concert hall and the studio has already highlighted the extent to which ‘musicking’ creates living, distributed assemblages out of performers, listeners, instruments, and architectural spaces. In each session of the series, the academics, performers, and practitioners interviewed will share their reflections on the way the language and insights of distributed cognition engage and enrich models of aural encounter in fields such as music performance, environmental studies, history, religious studies, and literature.

Seminar series I Beyond cooking: global histories of food-making and gender across the early modern world
4 Feb 2022 12:00, Online
11 Mar 2022 17:00, Online
25 Mar 2022 11:00, POSTPONED due to UCU industrial action
29 Apr 2022 17:00, Online
13 May 2022 11:00, Online

This seminars series explores cross-cultural histories of food and drink production and transformation across the early modern world with a gender perspective. From the kitchens of the Caribbean, crossing the Atlantic to Cape Town and East Asia, these seminars invite us on a long-distance journey to examine particular food processing techniques and their social implications. In particular, these sessions aim to uncover the central role of women in the circulation of culinary knowledge, local practices and global food commodities in different regions.

The state and social welfare in the 21st century
7 Apr 2022 - 8 Apr 2022 All day, Online

This conference zooms in on four interrelated themes relating to the state and social welfare which are pertinent to today’s social and political climate: Covid-19; the future of work; citizenship and social rights; and health care.  The event will stimulate interdisciplinary discussion on social welfare, broadly defined, in an age of austerity from different contexts around the globe.

The post-Windrush generation: black British voices of resistance
6 May 2022 - 7 May 2022 All day, Woolf Institute, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0UB

The aim of this conference is to both reveal how contributors have negotiated racism and racialization through turbulent political periods, and the personal impact of these forces, but also to celebrate identity and resistance, and in doing so provide a cultural uplift that will impel the event to be exciting and engaging for both academics and non-academics alike.

The role of education in the fake news era
24 May 2022 16:00 - 21:00, Faculty of Education and Online event

The Week of Fake News” is a one-off large cross-sector initiative encompassing cinema, music, academic debate and fine arts. It’s objective is to investigate how fake news and media bias have impacted the democratic institutions and the election process in Brazil, drawing pertinent parallels to the UK and the rest of the world.

Beyond cooking: global histories of food-making and gender across the early modern world
26 May 2022 - 27 May 2022 All day, SG1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Rd, Cambridge

This interdisciplinary conference brings into dialogue diverse geographies, disciplines and approaches to reflect on the gender dimension of food and cooking in the crucial period of the early globalisation. We will look closely at the ‘making process’, as a highly gendered and embodied experience and as a form of production and transmission of ideas, skills and identities. Building on recent scholarship on ‘making and knowing’, we consider ‘making food’ as a framework to build cross-cultural stories of food and gender and, thereby, contribute to the growing field of food studies.

What is Smell Studies?
31 May 2022 All day, Online (closed event)

This symposium brings together key figures working on smell across the arts, humanities, and social sciences in order to establish what a field of ‘Smell Studies’ might look like – or whether it is in fact desirable. What might Smell Studies’ key concerns be? What could it contribute to the wider interdisciplinary project of sensory studies? Where are its roots and what does its future look like? These are the questions which this small symposium aims to answer.

Saffron: global history, Cambridge stories
11 Jun 2022 All day, SG1 & SG2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge

This interdisciplinary symposium seeks to explore the history of saffron cultivation and use – both globally and more locally. The symposium is the culmination of a year-long project, under the auspices of the Materiality Research Growth Network, funded by the University’s Research and Collections Programme.  Working with colleagues in the Cambridge University Library, the Fitzwilliam Museum, Botanic Garden herbarium, and a range of college libraries and archives, the convenors have investigated the Cambridge collections in order to develop existing scholarship on the long history of the local and global saffron industry, focusing particularly on cultural practices that developed around saffron use, its material properties (its colour, flavour, and medicinal properties), literary and visual representations, and the religious and political meaning attributed to this expensive commodity, from the Protestant campaign against the ‘saffroned’ ‘staine’ of Catholicism in 17th century Ireland to the ‘saffronising’ of Hindu Nationalism in India today.

Comparing cultures of solidarity: socialist internationalism and solidarity across the Eastern Bloc and beyond
20 Jun 2022 - 21 Jun 2022 All day, Alison Richard Building

This workshop will explore the cultures of socialist internationalism and solidarity that emerged during the Cold War, with a particular focus on how these practices functioned as a space of interaction between citizens and states across – and beyond – the Eastern Bloc. 

Panel discussion: Transatlantic perspectives of Covid-19 and debt
27 Jun 2022 16:30 - 19:30, Boys Smith Room, Fisher Building, St John's College

The panel discussion includes world leaders from the UK and the USA talking about the transatlantic experiences with covid-19 and debt. This includes Professor Frederick Wherry from Princeton and Mae Watson Grote from the Change Machine discussing the USA experiences, and Professor Karen Rowlingson from University of York and Dr Mia Gray from Cambridge highlighting the experiences of the UK from a social policy and geographical perspectives.

Anti-colonial political thought
1 Jul 2022 - 2 Jul 2022 All day, McCrum Lecture Theatre, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

This conference will focus on arguments against empire deployed by those who resisted its authority in numerous colonial settings spanning Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Far East. Contributors will reconstruct the ideologies deployed by key intellectual figures embroiled in the process, including Pearse, Ambedkar, Gandhi, Nasser, Cabral, Fanon, Nkrumah and Khomeini.

Comics and the Global South
6 Jul 2022 - 7 Jul 2022 All day, Donald McIntyre Building, Faculty of Education, Hills Road, Cambridge

Comics and the Global South will be a two-day conference devoted to exploring the intersections of comics studies and decolonial theory. With an emphasis on the comics form, its distribution, and its circulation, this conference is interested in probing the medium’s potentialities for producing decolonised knowledge and carrying out inter/trans-medial dialogues of South-South solidarity.

The conference attempts to question and challenge the idea that the advent of a cross-cultural comics scholarship requires Europeans to “cross borders.” Instead, we propose to reflect on how those “borders” have already been crossed during a long colonial history.

Tracing the invisible: experiences of inner life
14 Jul 2022 - 15 Jul 2022 All day, Newnham College (closed workshop)

A closed workshop which will discuss what forms can the inner life take? How is it shaped through specific forms of embodied practice? While one’s inner life need not be understood as separate from one’s body or  senses, and the ‘outer world’, certain experiences are strongly felt to be private and inaccessible to external observers. Even if the inner life is ultimately ‘illusory’ (as Merleau-Ponty reminds us), it remains personally meaningful for many.

Programme 2022-2023

Conference programme
Shifting landscapes of the medieval world
13 Sep 2022 - 15 Sep 2022 All day, G-R06/07, Faculty of English, Cambridge/Online

From maps to chronicles, from sagas and songs to emerging cities, landscape plays an active part in shaping the medieval world. Much more than a backdrop to narrative, much more than a passive object of knowledge, much more than patches of space to be allocated and appropriated, landscape is a vital force in narrative, power, and knowledge. For this conference, which follows the seminar series of the same name, we invite contributions from researchers at all career stages working on medieval culture in any language.

Indigenous studies in the United Kingdom and Europe: pasts, presents and futures
22 Sep 2022 - 23 Sep 2022 , Cambridge

This two day conference will provide a platform to bring together emerging Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars and give attendees an opportunity to share their research whilst interacting with senior academics, activists and community leaders all through a critical engagement with the field of Indigenous Studies.

Bodies of water: negotiating urban and rural environment in early modern Europe
16 Jan 2023 , Cambridge

This workshop aims to bring together scholars from early modern social, cultural, and environmental history, as well as intellectual historians and historians of science and material culture, to talk about water across different settings and geopolitical contexts in Europe between 1450 and 1700. The focus will be on early modern communities, their social and political institutions, and how they interacted with water.

The public cost of personal hardship: evaluating the hidden expense of cost-cutting measures on social wellbeing
24 Apr 2023 - 25 Apr 2023 , Online event

This two-day online conference critically examines narratives of economic efficiency associated with cost-cutting paradigms, by thinking about externalised and overlooked costs of personal hardship and financial instability arising in economic austerity. Growing disparity and stark changes to life chances are often dismissed as a problem of personal circumstances or work ethic, with struggling households encouraged to manage their finances more efficiently, seek better jobs, and grow their savings to compensate for uncertainty.


Tel: +44 1223 766886