Outreach Activities

A brief summary of the wider impact of research projects recently undertaken with the School of Modern Languages

Reporting sexual violence in DRC: film screening and talk with Belgian journalist Colette Braeckman

Screening of The Man Who Mends Women, the critically acclaimed Belgian movie on a doctor’s battle against sexual violence in Congo, followed by a meeting with journalist Colette Braeckman, co-maker of the film.

The Man Who Mends Women focuses on the story of Dr Denis Mukwege and his work at the Panzi Hospital in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Doctor Mukwege is internationally known as the man who provides medical care to ten thousands of women who have been raped during the 20 years of conflicts in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo and who works to restore their lives and to address the root causes of violence in DRC. As a surgeon, he has become a prominent human and women’s rights defender. Belgian journalist and Central Africa expert Colette Braeckman wrote ‘Sexual violence in Congo: the battle of Mukwege’ and realized the film in collaboration with Thierry Michel.

Wednesday 4 May 2016 - 4pm - Attenborough Lecture Theatre 1. This event is generously supported by Wallonia-Brussels International (Embassy of Belgium).


Across the Seasons - Memory Matters Today

Fransiska Louwagie (School of Modern Languages andstanl ) will be leading an interdisciplinary project entitled ‘Across the Seasons - Memory Matters Today’, funded by the Toni Schiff Memorial Fund. This is a joint project with Caroline Sharples from the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Central Lancashire, in conjunction with drama company CCM Theatre


Comics and Adaptation in the European Context

one-day symposium aiming to bring the fields of comics and adaptation studies into critical dialogue, and to provide an academic context for the discussion of adaptation from, and into, comics in the European context, including but not limited to France and Belgium, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Iberian Peninsula. It is intended to publish a selection of the papers as an edited collection or journal special issue.


France, Vichy and Me

With Dr Manu Braganca from Queens’ University Belfast, Fransiska Louwagie co-organised a two-day international workshop in Belfast on 19-21 January 2015, entitled ‘France, Vichy and me’. Its main aim was to investigate the intellectual trajectories of leading scholars who have dedicated their research career to the history and memories of the Second World War in France. The workshop was sponsored by the British Academy, the Society for the Study of French History (SSFH), the Society for French Studies (SFS), the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France (ASMCF), the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities (ICRH, Belfast), the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the School of Modern Languages at the University of Leicester.

Discussion sessions and round tables fostered dialogue and debate across disciplines and generations, with participation from international scholars, ECRs and PhD students. The ego-histories presented at the conference will result in a forthcoming volume co-edited by Dr Braganca and Dr Louwagie.


Rwanda Remembered (Seminar Series January - May 2014)

Academics from The Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the School of Modern Languages are organised a free public outreach seminar series to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide when, in just one hundred days, around 800,000 people were murdered.

The series brought together academics, media representatives and policy makers to reflect on what we can learn from Rwanda.

The first seminar of the series, entitled ‘The Rwanda genocide: a tragedy foretold that nobody believed’, featured Belgian journalist Colette Braeckman and took place at the University on Wednesday 29 January and was followed by further seminars throughout the first half of 2014, concluding in May.

The series was supported by the College of Arts, Humanities and Law Research Development Fund and the opening lecture was organised with the support of Wallonia-Brussels International (Embassy of Belgium in London).


Luigi Ghirri Research Project

The project has two interlinked aims.

1. To broaden the study of the work of Italian photographer Luigi Ghirri (1943-1992)

In the 1970s and 1980s Ghirri initiated an important theoretical and practical renewal of photography as an art form. His innovative vision gave a new aesthetic identity to everyday places and greatly contributed to positing landscape at the core of the artistic practice and theoretical debates in Italy, and as the focus of a growing number of interdisciplinary and collaborative projects.

2. The second objective is twofold:

  • To explore Ghirri’s legacy in contemporary photography, literature and other disciplines (e.g. geography, aesthetics) and practices (e.g. art, moving image, architecture).
  • To examine further the intersection among photography, narrative writing and the investigation of space, place and landscape both within Italy and outside. Our project is interdisciplinary in that it aims to bring together scholars and practitioners working in different fields and from different theoretical approaches on a wide range of questions relating to space, place and landscape, photography/visual culture and literature/writing. Our research network seeks to move towards bridging the gap that often divides Italian and British/Irish/Anglophone artistic practice and theoretical debates, and to offer new opportunities of dialogue among artists, scholars and policy-makers working within and outside of Italy/the British Isles.


Me, Myself and Others

How questions about ‘Otherness’ and ‘Encounters’ have been historically addressed in Latin American Cinema, is the fundamental question that will lay the foundations for a better understanding of the productions of the region. By ‘Otherness’ we mean not only industrial discussions of ‘the Other’ industry -in comparison with mainstream Hollywood- but also of the cinematic construction and representation of the Latin American identity –how it comes into conflict with the self and others.

Some of the questions up for discussion include:

How are we encouraged to ‘imagine’ the region?

Does the neo-colonial gaze persist?

With many others being explored during the day.


ASMCF Conference

In recent decades profound socio-political and cultural changes in French and Francophone societies have acted to shape and reshape notions of citizenship, individual rights and social classifications. Within this context, are social divisions and class identifications still relevant constructs? What does it mean in actual fact to participate in the public sphere? This interdisciplinary conference aims to examine how social boundaries and hierarchies are produced, reproduced and renegotiated over time. It will explore the complex ways in which social groups, classes and identities in French and Francophone cultures are maintained and (re)configured through various modes of mobilisation and cultural representation.

This interdisciplinary conference is themed around the complex processes that have helped the citizens and non-citizens of France and French-speaking countries renegotiate their sense of social belonging.


Algeria Revisited Conference

On 5 July 1962, after 132 years of French colonial rule and following eight years of brutal fighting in arguably the most iconic war of decolonisation, Algeria attained independence.

To mark the 50th anniversary of this historic moment, an interdisciplinary conference sought to explore the ways in which identities have been shaped by and, in turn, have informed Algeria during the colonial and postcolonial eras. The conference was themed around the central issue of identity which has consistently played a vital role in social, cultural and political debates in and about Algeria. Identity has also been crucial in terms of Algeria’s relationship to its former colonial master, France. On both sides of the Mediterranean identities have been shaped via complex processes that have highlighted themes such as history, memory, culture, language, ethnicity, gender, religion, exile and generational belonging: all of which have functioned in specific ways as sites of identification and contestation. Through these points of reference, diverse identities have been constructed; ideologies and beliefs forged; power and control claimed or challenged; and the destiny of Algerians and Algeria fostered, denied or imposed. While in France, the distinct yet overlapping diasporic identities that emerged before, and more specifically after, independence in 1962 also bear witness to the salience of Algeria, both experienced and imagined, as a contentious and shifting marker of belonging, conflict and reconciliation. Bringing together scholars working across a range of disciplines, the conference fostered a holistic appreciation of the significance of this major historical turning point and its afterlives.

Against Mussolini: Art and the Fall of a Dictator

Whilst several major exhibitions have explored the propaganda imagery of Fascist Italy, art produced by those hostile to Mussolini and his regime has received surprisingly little attention in recent years. Against Mussolini brings together works produced in Italy and abroad throughout the Fascist era, but focuses particularly on the period immediately after the dictator’s fall from power in 1943 following Italy’s disastrous Second World War campaign.

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