The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Failure of Narrative Imagination

Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (HCAS)
Our Jane and Aatos Erkko Professor Molly Andrews will give an online lecture "The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Failure of Narrative Imagination" , June 18, at 4 pm CET (5 pm Finnish time). The lecture is part of the ongoing lecture series organized by the Network of European Institutes for Advanced Study.

More information and Zoom link:…/18-jun-the-covid-19-pandemic-and-…

Hidden in plain sight: Exploring Notting Hill Carnival's narratives of rights, resistance and being

CNR-TCRU graduate research seminar with Michelle Harewood, University of East London

Tuesday 9 June 2020, 5-6.30pm
Audio file of the event
All welcome, particularly graduate students
From the 1500s, captives from Africa were taken to the Americas and enslaved by Europeans. To dehumanise them, attempts were made to erode their culture, religion, and language. Their traditional forms of communication were forbidden and their sense of self forcibly eroded. The enslaved people used these same cultural resources in resistance. Knowledge was encoded and transferred through the generations using oral, artistic, and performance traditions. This was a fight to keep history, culture, and identity alive; it was a fight to remain human. Subsequently, Caribbean carnival became a propagator for this knowledge. As a decolonial project, it is a space for silenced voices to be heard. Narratives of Notting Hill Carnival are used to explore hidden expressions of rights, resistance and being present within Caribbean carnival arts and performance.

Biographical notes

Michelle Harewood is a PhD researcher at the University of East London. Her research focuses on political and counternarratives embedded in cultural practices. She has fifteen years of experience working globally in the fields of international development and human rights with non-governmental organisations. As an accredited trainer Michelle has educated professionals in the effective use of culture within these fields.

'We Are Not Ourselves All of the Time and We Are Not All of Ourselves at Any Time; Heteronyms, Personas and Contemporary Art'

TCRU-CNR graduate research seminars are online!
Zoom event on 12/5/20, 5pm

Jeroen van Dooren, Royal College of Art.
'We Are Not Ourselves All of the Time and We Are Not All of Ourselves at Any Time; Heteronyms, Personas and Contemporary Art'.

Audio file of the event 

How does the adaptation of the literary concept of the heteronym from fictional writing to contemporary art practice affect the artist’s identity and resulting narratives? What does it mean to create and embody a fictional artist who is separate from the self, and how does this alter our perceptions of selfhood? We Are Not Ourselves All of the Time and We Are Not All of Ourselves at Any Time brings together the literary concept of the heteronym, contemporary art, fictional writing and considerations of the relationship between the self and other, originating from a personal experience of mental health issues relating to divided subjectivities. The research creates fictional worlds within contemporary art in order to offer a new perspective on practice-led enquiries into the relations between heteronyms, transparency, fiction and the presentations of the self in everyday life and art.

Dreaming my reality as I go along, different voices express my opinions through a practice of writing and art-making. In Fernando Pessoa, I found my guide, my tutor from an earlier era. The schism between the rational and the absurd, the hiding and exposing of what is personal and what is public, has been integral to this research. Accompanied by Pessoa and his transparent approach of showing the separate existence of his heteronyms and his orthonym, I took his hand and walked alongside. This practice-led investigation does not intend to provide a specific method for the creation of a heteronym; however, it does offer an approach to understanding potential methods or perspectives for creating a heteronym or a separate self within contemporary art practice. Through the presentation of multiple artistic personas, the research investigates, through the process of making and fictional writing, the possibility of creating an aesthetic iteration of Pessoa's heteronyms.

The use of the idea of heteronyms within this artistic research offers a way to investigate working from a multitude of different perspectives and personal narrations. It is also a form of depersonalisation and simulation, moving from the self to the other and back again. In doing so, this research understands how the heteronym can function within contemporary art. Autobiografictional characters are invented, their personas are assumed and artworks are produced according to their own separate voices and ways of being. Making work as the fictional personas, these characters come alive via performances, text and audio pieces. The fictional characters are not there as a tool for hiding or for masking but are used as an instrument to investigate character development and the potential for multiple artistic personas within contemporary art. How can a similar world, as Pessoa’s literary work, be created in contemporary art?

We Are Not Ourselves All of the Time and We Are Not All of Ourselves at Any Time does not shy away from using pastiche, irony and absurdity to form the fictional artists contained within it. We Are Not Ourselves All of the Time and We Are Not All of Ourselves at Any Time is offering a practice-led enquiry into contemporary notions of subjectivity, performativity and the role of the contemporary artist. Through the generation and demonstration of these multiple selves and personas, this research offers a new way of thinking about the freedom and constraints of an aesthetics of the heteronym, where the world of contemporary art becomes a stage where heteronyms perform.

Biographical notes

Please see Jeroen van Dooren's biographical notes on this link.

To Think is To Experiment, Postgraduate Research Day

Wednesday 29 April 2020, Online

You can listen to the audio recording of the event on the CNR's blog.

Amor Narratio: A Symposium on Cathy K Riessman's narrative scholarship

Catherine-Kohler Riessman has just turned eighty, unbelievable and yet true! 'There are many ways I could narrate my career. I have travelled a crooked road to finally achieve a comfortable place in narrative studies' she modestly wrote in a career interview piece, published in 2014. What she calls 'a comfortable place in narrative studies' should actually be rewritten as a major influence in narrative research in the human sciences on a variety of levels: disciplinary, theoretical, methodological, epistemological, geographical and last but not least personal. More importantly, Riessman's work has opened up paths leading to what we want to call the 'amor narratio', an intellectual love for and deep engagement with the rich multiplicities of narrative research. In celebrating her life, career and narrative scholarship, we are organizing a symposium in London on May 29, 2019. This is a call for short papers on any aspect of Riessman's work, particularly in the way it has influenced specific analytical approaches, methodological moves and epistemological perspectives in narrative research in the human sciences.

Please send a short abstract of no more than 200 words to Ruth Ballardie:, by February 28, 2019.
We look forward to seeing you in London, in May!

Organising committee:
Centre for Narrative Research and Feminist Research Group, University of East London
Centre for Work and Employment, The University of Greenwich
Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education

Please visit the event's page on this link.