The Arts & Humanities Festival 2012 will explore the theme of Metamorphoses: Transformations and Conversions in the Arts & Humanities across an immense time-span, from antiquity to the present.
October 2012 marks the 1700th anniversary of a momentous transformation that changed the course of history, when the Roman Emperor Constantine I was said to have converted to Christianity at the Battle of Milvian Bridge.
Besides touching on religious themes of conversion and transfiguration, the 2012 Arts & Humanities Festival will also mark a more tangible conversion: the College’s renovation of the East Wing of Somerset House, including its magnificent new cultural spaces of the Inigo Rooms, where some of the events will take place.
Metamorphoses are the mysterious changes that have inspired awe, wonder, and terror in the arts and sciences: caterpillars transforming into butterflies; Classical gods turning men and women into plants; even the shape-shifting of science fiction aliens.
Metamorphoses have appeared as themes in art and culture, from Ovid to Kafka and beyond. But they are also the processes of change essential to the Arts and Humanities: the energies and evolutions without which stories, paintings, theatre, films, or poems would be impossible.
In a time of massive change in education, we also want to use the theme to explore how the arts and humanities are themselves changing, in response to new technologies, new funding regimes for teaching and research, and new forms of knowledge and knowledge-exchange.
The Arts & Humanities Festival at King’s College London runs for two weeks from 15 to 27 October 2012.