Seminars & Events

The Research Department regularly organises research seminars, symposia and other events. Please find below information on the current seminar series and other forthcoming events.

Research Seminars

In 2014-15, Trinity Laban's annual Research Seminar Series features a particularly strong lineup of speakers around the theme of Art and Politics. Speakers have been invited to contribute: specific historical topics; theoretical contributions on politics and aesthetics; critical pedagogy and the role of arts education in contemporary society. All the talks centre around political and/or ethical issues in the arts, and form a companion to the Learning and Teaching Seminar Series.

Research Seminars take place on occasional Wednesdays from 17.15-18.15 in the Lecture Theatre, Laban Building and are followed by drinks in the Laban Bar - all welcome!

Please find below a preliminary schedule of 2014-15 Research Seminars.  This will be augmented throughout the year with additional detail and seminars and we advise that you check this page for updates before you attend a seminar.


5 November 2014

John Croft (Brunel University)

Let’s get Creative: Questioning Collaboration and Practice-as-Research

In academic and arts funding circles, composing – ‘mere’ composing – has become unfashionable. It has yielded to an over-emphasis on notions of collaboration, 'border crossing', and nebulous definitions of practice-based research that replace aesthetic originality with innovation in format or working method. This seminar will consider the possible sources of this fixation, including the culture of accountability, the adoption of business ideology in arts organisations and academia, the persistence of questionable ideas such as 'brainstorming', the 'mash-up' theory of creativity, and – more fundamentally – the assimilation of composition to 'research'. These have given rise to a situation where what is peripheral to music is treated as central, and music as a domain of thought in its own right disappears under aims, objectives, strategies, and milestones.


12 November 2014

Douglas Finch (Trinity Laban)

Between Image and Sound: Finding a Role for Music in Jon Sanders' Films

Douglas Finch composed the musical scores for all four of Jon Sanders’ feature films (1999 – 2013). The most recent, Back to the Garden, was released in Curzon Cinemas to critical acclaim despite, or perhaps partly because of its small budget and limited resources. Douglas’ close working relationship with Jon Sanders on his films involves experimentation and improvisation in the early devising stages, performing music live on set in improvised scenes, and the employment of a very spare but highly exposed musical score in post production. Sanders’ use of live recorded sound exclusively (the most recent film uses an open, non-directional cardioid microphone), is a central feature of his style, and combines with music to create moments of quiet epiphany that resonate with Bresson’s direction in Notes on the Cinematographer (1975): “Build your film on white, on silence and on stillness”.The talk will feature extracts from all four films as well as examples from cinematic models including Bresson, Tarkovsky and Mizoguchi.


11 February 2015

Louise Jackson (Trinity Laban) and Jonathan Owen Clark (Trinity Laban)

Aesthetic Education and Specialist Institutions

Hierarchical structures within the higher education sector are reflected in the current debates regarding the status and social construction of ‘The University’. These debates do not sufficiently take into consideration the way in which different sites within higher education may participate in the defence of this same idea. By focussing on the small, specialist higher education institution this essay seeks to do two things. Firstly, it aims to position these institutions firmly within the debate about contemporary higher education. Secondly, it aims to critique the currently posited role for the arts-based specialist centre as a site for the production of the ‘cultural entrepreneur’ which has become ubiquitous in the sector. This enables us to suggest a definition for a new type of 'artisitc leadership', which derives from the unique idiomatic nature of art itself; a nature that is rooted in the perceptive and sensory capabilities of the experiencer, but which extends to the manner in which the perceptual transformations enacted by art can cause disturbances, perturbations and ‘irritations’ into more general networks of communication in contemporary society.

18 February 2015

Marc Steene (Director, Pallant House Gallery)

'Ousider Art'

In order for galleries and museums to represent and include their local communities they need to embrace a wider understanding of culture and creativity outside of current accepted art and cultural thinking. ‘Outsider Art’ is an often coined term, but is there a wider debate to be had about inclusion and the redefinition of culture that we should embrace? If we sidestep the art historical model when talking about art and artists, we enter the world of individuals who create for any number of reasons. Embracing difference may lead to a normalising of culture and challenge galleries and museums to discover the hidden creators and overlooked artists living in their communities.

 In 2006 Marc Steene established the award winning Outside In, a project which provides a platform for artists who find it difficult to access the art world, whether due to health issues, disability, social circumstance or because their work does not conform to what is normally considered as art.


4 March 2015

John Irving (Trinity Laban)

Constructing performer identities in ensemble rehearsal and performance of Beethoven's Trio Op.38

Beethoven's own arrangement of his Septet, Op.20 as a Trio, Op.38 for Clarinet, Cello and Piano offers numerous musical and technical challenges to the players. Among these are questions to do with roles and identities. The clarinet takes over much of the original violin line, for instance, while the cello part migrates among several of the original strands, including imitating the horn in the Scherzo. The piano fulfils multiple roles throughout. How do the players respond to these issues (in terms of sound production, for instance)? And, irrespective of the element of representing a particular strand of musical texture, how does rehearsing and playing this music contribute to the shaping of performer identity within a group? Initial attempts will be made to address these questions, contextualised through Ensemble DeNOTE's recent CD recording of the work.


18 March 2015

Nicola Conibere (Coventry University)

Details to follow


13 May 2015

Björn Heile (University of Glasgow)

Details to follow


27 May 2015

J.P.E. Harper Scott (Royal Holloway)

Details to follow


Date/details tbc

Bojana Kunst (Universitat Giessen)


Seminars are free and open to external visitors who are requested to book their place by emailing the Research Administrator, Angela Kerkhoff,


Please contact the Research Administrator if you have any queries:


Find information on forthcoming staff and student showcase events in the PARALLAX series here 
Find information on our 2014-15 Research Professional Development events here


Banner image: Artist Jaimie Henthorn, Photographer Rachel Cherry


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