Focus: Cultural Programme roundup

What a term it was! The LANS Community attended a wide range of events from Shakespeare in Stratford to ballet in Birmingham.

A few words to start from our new Cultural Programme lead this year, Ilija Rašović:

Admittedly, even joining as a member of academic staff, I might have been convinced to apply to join LANS because of the Cultural Programme… To my delight, I was tasked with organising it! It’s a pleasure to attend the events of course, but what has really been great to see is the joy that the students obviously get from attending. You’re receptive and always willing to engage, irrespective of the topic or medium. The reviews and vox pops below are testament to this.

I can only encourage more of the student body to make an effort to come along. There might be something you’re particularly into; likewise, there might be something you would never normally consider attending. Take a punt and come to those “other” events. Stepping out of your comfort zone is part and parcel of the LANS experience, and this is a perfect environment to step into.

I’m really looking forward to see what the rest of this term brings. Keep those suggestions and reviews coming. And keep your eyes peeled for updates in the coming weeks—there are more yet to be added…

It wouldn’t be LANS without some reflection, so here is a roundup of all of the events attended last term and thoughts shared by students and staff.

Troilus and Cressida – RSC

“Of all the many aspects of this production I feel are worth celebrating, the one that stood out to me the most was the powerful, political costuming; this is not a side of theatre I have ever paid particular attention to, but the way in which clothes were used to enrich the story was so subtly brilliant that it ended up being my main takeaway.” Charlotte Joiner, 2nd Year.

Charlotte has written a fantastic review reflecting on ‘Women and Clothing’ in Troilus and Cressida

“I really enjoyed Troilus and Cressida! The apocalyptic, steampunk take made the play feel at once freshly contemporary and timeless. The tragedy of the play was balanced with comedy, which felt confusing at times but ultimately made the play more interesting.” Ellie Woodward-Webster, 2nd Year.

Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story – Warwick Arts Centre

“I really can't recommend this enough - one of the most incredible stage productions I've ever seen!” Lucy Evans, 4th Year.

 Unspoken – Birmingham Hippodrome

“It really put my life into perspective. The Q&A session afterwards provided a revealing insight into the struggle of PTSD, and the difficulties faced by sufferers in getting access to appropriate support.” Abi Chapman, 2nd Year.

Distinguished Lecture from Professor Martin Willis (Cardiff)

 “What role do the humanities play in our scientific world?”

Abstract: The relationship between the humanities and the sciences often has the hallmarks of melodrama: one is forever falling out of love with the other, or entering into a crisis of faith about their ongoing suitability. In this lecture I want to examine the long history of this relationship, highlighting those key moments where the disciplines have successfully combined as well as moments of disruption and conflict. Looking backwards, across 200 years, will enable me to consider their present interdisciplinary relationship and ask what the future holds for collaborative success. This is a story that will take me from Frankenstein to Futurology, during which we will encounter the key protagonists in what might be described as a battle to define truth and evidence.

This was a wide-ranging and fascinating talk from Professor Willis. His articulate insights led to hearty and healthy debate amongst staff and students alike long after the applause had finished. A sign of a good lecture if ever there was one.

I Infinite – Midlands Arts Centre

“It was absolutely fantastic! Mesmerising, powerful use of light was intertwined with impeccable dancing. Captivating from start to finish.” Sammy Gatenby-Brown, 1st year.

Heart of Darkness – Birmingham Repertory Theatre

“My favourite thing about Heart of Darkness was how imaginatively it re-interpreted and used the source material as a commentary on a lot of the issues for our own political climate. It is a great example of how old narratives can still resonate and adapt to later ages.” Harry Croxford, 2nd Year.

“An extraordinary event it was  - a creepy start and interesting take on Conrad’s book, explained in nips of script-writing meetings and action semi-video’d and live camera’d yet acted action too.” Dr Julian Lonbay, LANS tutor and senior lecturer in Law.

“The play all too quickly becomes so wrapped up in saying what it wants to say, that it doesn’t actually allow the story to say it.” Mark Joselin, 2nd Year.

“Conrad's novella is certainly a very good opportunity to engage with the themes of power, racism, imperialism, humanity… But to enter in such a territory, one needs to make sure that they have something new and relevant to say…” Dr Emil Toescu, honorary LANS lecturer and senior lecturer in Neuroscience.

This event elicited a great deal of response from students and staff. Read Emil and Mark’s full length review. The contrasting perspectives make for an interesting read!

 Birmingham Open Media behind the scenes tour

Students on a behind the scenes tour of Birmingham Open Media

“It was a new and different experience that I doubt I would have found if not for LANS. The exhibitions are very interesting and raise a lot of questions. Coming to BOM has made me wonder about things that I have never considered before such as whether it is possible to present experiences of autism through artwork.” Sam Nead, 1st Year.

The Nutcracker – Birmingham Hippodrome

The Nutcracker – Birmingham Hippodrome

Fashioned from Nature – Victoria and Albert Museum

Students outside fashioned from nature, V&A Museum