Radical Sabbatical Residencies 2019

Deadline: 7 February 2019












Radical Sabbatical

ESP Residencies at the University of Birmingham
Application Deadline:  Thursday 7 February, 5pm

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. This years themes focus on COMMON-WEALTH and THE UNCONDITIONED MIND.

We are seeking applications from practitioners who are interested in collaborating with current academic research at UoB. We are open to proposals of all kinds but we expect that they be tailored to this rich and stimulating context. Practitioners will be paired with academics / academic departments enabling an in-depth understanding of specific fields of research and offering insight into the broader workings of the University and introductions to colleagues and departments across the institution.

A talk on Wednesday 30 January will expand on this years themes and be an opportunity to ask questions to academics and artists that have worked with the University before.

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.


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, neuro science, 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.

To find out more information and how to apply download the PDF below.