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Radical Sabbatical 2019: Meet the Researchers

Wednesday, 30 January 2019
2 – 4.30 pm

Radical Sabbatical 2019: Meet the Researchers

This event will take place at Eastside Projects

ESP and the University of Birmingham have teamed up to offer residencies during the 2019 spring term that will provide a unique platform for artists, writers and curators to work with academics and develop new ideas and research.

During the afternoon session, academics and artists that have previously worked with researchers at the University will participate in two discussions around this terms themes COMMON-WEALTH and THE UNCONDITIONED MIND. The academics will discuss how their research connects to the thematics, whilst the artists will give insight into their interpretations of the themes and how they may have chosen to work with the subject matter. These short presentations are designed to kick-start collaborations, conversations and ideas about how artists and researchers might work together. Preceding these presentations artist Sarah Farmer will introduce the work she undertook during Radical Sabbatical 2018, touching on her processes and how she worked with academics and their research.

To find out how to apply, click here

About the Themes and Researchers

Framing ‘common-wealth’ as a consideration of different ways of being with others, Radical Sabbatical 2019 calls for creative and academic responses exploring the effects of our current global political and economic climate on our social and national identities.

The distribution of common resources, whether environmental, cultural, digital, urban, economic or land, continually works to benefit some, but at the exclusion and detriment of others. But can this continue? and if not, what might an alternative future look like? We ask what the concept of the ‘commons’ means for current political and social interactions? And perhaps most crucially, how do we negotiate our understandings of ourselves as a C/commonwealth or towards a common-wealth?

Key terminologies/understandings:
• common meaning shared or public;
• commons meaning land/resources belonging to the community;
• commonwealth as an aggregate or grouping of states/bodies;
• Commonwealth as an international association of states previously part of the British Empire;
• common-wealth as the common good

Intentionally open to interpretation responses could incorporate ideas relating to the commons, undercommons, future cities, utopia/dystopia, nation and state, national identity, migration, displacement and diaspora, socio-economics, housing/homelessness, freedom of information/resource, commercialisation of social life.

Dr Nando Sigona
Reader in International Migration and Forced Displacement, Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology.
Dr Sigona’s work investigates the migration and citizenship nexus, through in-depth examination of a range of experiences from societal membership including, those of EU families, refugees, Roma, undocumented migrants, racialized minorities, unaccompanied minors, dual citizens, ‘failed’ asylum seekers, and stateless people. Research profile.

Professor Nicholas Crowson
Professor Nicholas Crowson is a Professor of Contemporary British History with a particular interest in homelessness from the 1880s to the modern day. This includes recreating the life stories of vagrants in late Victorian times; exploring the hidden history of the mass squatting of military camps in 1946; examining the role of the Reception Centres after 1946; and considering the impact of organisations, such as Shelter and Crisis, in campaigning for the homeless. Research Profile.

Christopher Bouch
Chris Bouch is a Chartered Civil Engineer with 22 years of experience as a contractor, consultant and an asset manager covering heavy steel structures, buildings and railway infrastructure working in the School of Civil Engineering at the Centre for Resilience Research and Education and is currently working on three EPSRC-funded projects looking at infrastructure interdependencies at the local and regional scales; Liveable Cities, which is envisioning the liveable cities of 2050; and Urban Living Birmingham, which is exploring how user-centred innovation can contribute to the improvement of local authority-provided services. Research Profile


Considering understandings of the mind as both a medical and spiritual organ Radical Sabbatical 2019 welcomes multidisciplinary responses to the concept of The Unconditioned Mind, questioning the ways that we are conditioned and exploring alternative ways of being.
Advancements in medical practice and technology have allowed access to the physical mind through visual medical imaging in ways never before possible. But where will this sophisticated relationship to our bodies and science take us, and what relationships can science and more esoteric understanding of our minds create?

Recent press and media attention towards mental health in society has been driven by a government agenda of categorisation and self-awareness. However, the understanding of the mind and its transitional states has been common practice within spiritual learning and exploration for centuries. Are we moving towards a medicated society, and if so what behaviours and traits will move us between medical classifications? Are there other ways to consider traits often characteristic of ill mental health and would the genius of yesteryear be considered stable today? Finally, within our highly constructed and mediated modern existence is there still room in society for behavioural deviance?

We encourage applicants to think openly about The Unconditioned Mind, and the various components that this theme covers. Responses could include issues around mental health, wellbeing, mind and body, memory, neuroscience, conditioning, cognition and perception, genius, and policy.

Valeria Motta
Valeria Motta is a Doctoral Research candidate in the Philosophy Department. Valeria specialises in the philosophy of loneliness, looking in particular at the links between loneliness and mental health. In addition Valeria is involved with project PERFECT exploring how delusional beliefs associated with mental illness can have redeeming features. She runs a blog called  Imperfect Cognitions that focuses on delusional beliefs, distorted memories, confabulatory explanations, unrealistically optimistic predictions, and implicit biases. Research profile.

Matilde Aliffi
Matilde Aliffi is a Doctoral Research candidate and Research Assistant for project PERFECT. She investigates the epistemic rationality of emotions, and aims (a) to show that emotions are epistemically rationally assessable, (b) to defend a new account of the epistemic rationality of emotions and (c) to examine the extent to which subjects are epistemically responsible for their emotions. Recent papers have looked into theories of emotions that assume appraisals are necessary for the activation of emotions. Research profile.

Eugenia Lancellotta
Eugenia Lancellotta is a Doctoral Research candidate in the Department of Philosophy and a Research Assistant for project PERFECT. Her research interests explore emotion and responsibility. She has recently been concerned with contributing to the understanding of the biologically adaptive role of delusions. Her project will contribute to the comprehension of the adaptiveness of delusions by adopting an approach which has been so far overlooked. This approach consists in the analysis of the biological benefits of delusions within the context of some obsessive-compulsive disorders, namely OCD, BDD and HD. Throughout my academic career, my interests have been drawn ever further into the Philosophy of Psychology.