Talking Your Language: Postgraduate Showcase

Jen Wallace and Alice Guilluy discuss film in France

Jen Wallace and Alice Guilluy discuss film in France

Having three separate language departments – Spanish and Portuguese, French, and German – as well as Comparative Literature and Film departments, is clearly a testament to the strength of the study and teaching of languages and cultures at King’s. However, one downside of this is that the obvious links between the research we carry out, beyond geographical and linguistic borders, are lost. As the value of literature, art, music and film, of storytelling and sharing culture, is an integral part of ‘being human’, we thought that this year’s Arts and Humanities Festival would be a perfect place to begin breaking down these departmental divisions and to celebrate what we share.

Leticia Blanco, Rocio Rodtjer and Alexandra Nowosiad on Spanish literature

Leticia Blanco, Rocio Rodtjer and Alexandra Nowosiad on Spanish literature

Over three hours, 10 PhD students presented their research in a very informal way, explaining what it is that inspires them. The event revealed the enormous range of subjects studied at King’s, from medieval Spanish fan-fiction to the reception of Sweet Home Alabama among French audiences. It was a real privilege to experience the passion that each student brings to the study of their subject and the reasons behind it.

Unfortunately, however, our first attempt at bringing the departments together was mainly SPLAS dominated, with a few additions from French and Film. The round-table on how to create interdepartmental connections, led by Prof Catherine Boyle (SPLAS) and Prof Patrick Ffrench (French), was therefore particularly apt. All participants recognised the need to facilitate contact between those of us with shared interests, and we hope that this will soon result in both more events and exciting collaborative research.

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Madness, Magic and Ecstasy

Jane Chapman concert

Described in the Wall Street Journal as ‘one of Britain’s most distinguished classical harpsichordists,’ Jane Chapman is equally passionate about baroque and contemporary music, and is involved in cutting-edge collaborations with ground-breaking musicians and visual artists, exploring innovative approaches to performance.

In the second week of this year’s Arts & Humanities festival, Jane will be leading a concert of early music called The Transforming Power of Music: madness, magic and ecstasyperforming four unique pieces.

Joseph Kuhnau  (Bach’s predecessor at St Thomas Church, Leipzig)  paints a vivid and dramatic picture of Saul’s restored peace of mind from a state of melancholia and madness, through the magic of David’s harp playing in his Biblical Sonata. The harpsichord becomes a giant musical box in Walzing in the Ether by Stephen Montague. Philip Glass’s Metamorphoses, composed originally for a staging of Kafka’s work, induces an hypnotic trance, and Handel’s ornately decorated Air and increasingly virtuosic variations from Suite No.3 transforms a simple chord structure.

In this short podcast, Jane talks about her recent concert and symposium, held in the Strand Campus Chapel on Friday 18 May. Performing with her harpsichord, she played musical pieces from William Hamilton Bird’s Oriental Miscellany (1789). The publication was the first collection of Indian music transcribed from live performance into Western notation and adapted for harpsichord. Jane also explains that the Oriental Miscellany is a cross-section of art, culture and music and dance performance practice in late 18th and early 19th Century India.

Full details of this event and the many others that make up this year’s festival can be found on the King’s College London website. To book tickets, please see our Eventbrite page. But be quick: some events have already sold out!