11 April: Martin Seel

Visiting expert


Illusion and Immersion in Cinema

My talk will discuss the relations between four possible claims concerning the relation between illusion and immersion within the experience of feature films: 1. Illusion explains immersion. 2. Immersion explains illusion. 3. Illusion and immersion explain each other. 4. Immersion can be explained without reference to illusion. In defending thesis (4) I will argue for an anti-illusionist understanding of how movies can move their audience. My message therefore will be: Immersion – in cinema as well as in the other arts – works without illusion.

Active Passivity: On the Aesthetic Variant of Freedom


“Being with oneself in the other” is a well-known formula that Hegel uses to characterize the basic relation of subjective freedom. This phrase points to the fact that subjects can only come to themselves if they remain capable of going beyond themselves. This motif also plays a significant role in Hegel’s philosophy of art. I intend to further develop this motif by exploring the extent to which this polarity of selfhood and otherhood is also characteristic for states of aesthetic freedom. I will not be offering an exegesis of Hegel’s writings, but will attempt to remain as close as possible to the spirit of Hegel’s philosophy – with some help from Kant and Adorno. I shall begin with some key terms on the general state of subjective freedom in order to distinguish it from the particular role of aesthetic freedom and then finally, drawing again on Hegel, to work out the sense in which aesthetic freedom represents an important variant of freedom.

Martin Seel is Professor of Philosophy at the Goethe University Frankfurt. He is the author of many books on philosophy and aesthetics, including Asthetik des Erscheinens, translated into English as Aesthetics of Appearing (Stanford UP, 2004). He is also known as promoter of philosophy beyond academia, having published a regular philosophy column in Germany’s most widely-read weekly newspaper, Die Zeit. A selection of these have been collected in book form as Vom Handwerk der Philosophie, 44 Kolumnen (Munich, 2001). Professor Seel’s visit to the University of Kent is hosted by the Aesthetics Research Centre and supported by the KIASH visiting expert scheme.

22 May: Matters of Fact and Fiction

A one-day symposium on the work of Stacie Friend

1.pm: Welcome

1.30pm – 2.30pm: Comments by Margrethe Bruun-Vaaghe & Derek Matravers

2.30pm – 3.30pm: Response Stacie Friend & Discussion

3.30pm – 4pm: Coffee

4pm – 5pm: Comments by Paloma Atencia-Linares & Shen-yi Liao

5pm – 6pm: Response Stacie Friend & Discussion

19 June: While We’re Waiting for Kick Off: The Aesthetics of Football


  • 09.00- 10.00: Graham McFee, University of Brighton/California State University, Fullerton
    — The Not-So-Beautiful Game
  • 10.00 -10.15: Coffee
  • 10.15-11.15: Steffen Borge, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
    — This is Anfield: The Fictional Character of Football
  • 11.15-11.30: Coffee
  • 11.30-12.30: Stephen Mumford, University of Nottingham
    — A Beautiful Game? The Aesthetics of Football
  • 12.30-14.00: Lunch
  • 14.00-15.00: Emily Ryall, University of Gloucestershire
    — Good Games and Penalty Shoot-Outs
  • 15.00-15.15: Coffee
  • 15.15-16.15: David Papineau, King’s College London
    — The Perspective of a Football Supporter
  • 17.00: Dinner on campus
  • 20.00 – approximately 22.30: England vs. Uruguay


Margrethe Bruun Vaage, Murray Smith, Aesthetics Research Centre, School of Arts, University of Kent

Steffen Borge, USE Understanding Sport Engagement Project, Norwegian University of Science and Technology


British Society for Aesthetics

Aesthetics Research Centre, School of Arts, University of Kent

21 May: A Symposium on Villains

Grimond lecture theatre 2, Programme

Little has been said about the appeal of villains, and the important role they play in stories. In what sense can we be said to enjoy the villain’s transgressions – and do we enjoy all sorts of transgressions? In this interdisciplinary symposium we will address what a villain is, which acts or character traits we perceive as villainous, how villains are portrayed and how we feel about villains in various art forms and media, such as in film, television series, video games and theatre.

Generously sponsored by Kent Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, the Aesthetic Research Centre and the Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study of Film and the Moving Image at the University of Kent

Jerrold Levinson: Key Concepts in Aesthetics

Jonathan Friday and Jerrold Levinson
<img class="" src="http://www singulair generic.kent.ac.uk/arts/hpa/aestheticsresearchgroup/eventarchive/levinsonlectures/images/gallery/IMG_7003.jpg” alt=”” width=”500″ height=”495″ />
Jerrold Levinson

21 May: Art, Aesthetics and the Sexual

7-8 February 2015: Interact!

‘INTERACT! British Society of Aesthetics Postgraduate Conference’ was a two-day event where postgraduates were able to present their research, share ideas and interact with each other and established members of the academic community. The conference allowed remote participation, all presentations were recorded and can now be viewed online.


Saturday 7th February

09:30 – 10:25 Registration

10:25 – 10:30 Welcome watch
Opening words by Michael Newall, Head of History and Philosophy of Art, University of Kent

10:30 – 12:00 Session 1 watch
Chaired by: Michael Newall, University of Kent

  • Affective Representation of Aesthetic Properties ⎮Kris Goffin, Ghent University
  • The Role of Emotions in the Experience of Inanimate Objects’ Expressiveness ⎮Marta Benenti, University of Turin
  • The Temporality of Aesthetic Experience: A Neurophilosophical Approach ⎮ Carlos Vara, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

13:00 – 14:30 Session 2 watch
Chaired by: Sara Janssen, University of Kent

  • The Diversity of Counter-Moral Fictions and the Ethical Criticism of Art ⎮Adriana Clavel Vazquez, University of Sheffield
  • Can we be Romantic about Narratives? Rediscovering a Context for Actual Intentions in Aesthetics⎮Mary Edwards, University College Cork
  • Ryle on Make-believe: An Evaluation of the Treatment of Imagination in The Concept of Mind for Aesthetical Theories of Fiction⎮Guillaume Schuppert, Les Archives Henri Poincaré

14:30 – 15:00 Coffee&Tea

15:00 – 16:30 Session 3 watch
Chaired by: Margaret Schmitz, University of Kent

  • What Constitutes Architecture’s High Art Status ⎮Rebecca Wallbank, Durham University
  • On the Difference between Categories of Artworks and Nature; A Critique of Allen Carlson’s Unified Aesthetics ⎮ Mami Aota, The University of Tokyo
  • Structural Monism for Musical Works ⎮ Nemesio Garcia-Garril, University of Granada

16:30 – 17:00 Coffee&Tea

17:00 – 18:30 Keynote – Professor Dominic McIver Lopes watch
Chaired by: Shelby Moser, University of Kent
‘Aesthetic Experts, Guides to Value’⎮Professor Dominic McIver Lopes, University of British Columbia

19:00 Conference Dinner

Sunday 8th February

10:00 – 10:30 Coffee

10:30 – 12:00 Keynote – Professor Elisabeth Schellekens watch
Chaired by: Mark Windsor, University of Kent

  • On Sensible and Intelligible Beauty ⎮Professor Elisabeth Schellekens, University of Uppsala & University of Durham

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

13:00 – 14:00 Session 4 watch
Chaired by: James Finch, University of Kent

  • Aesthetic Powers and Adverbials ⎮James Matharu, St Cross College, University of Oxford
  • Wink-Wink, nudge-nudge. Visual indicators of irony in cartoons. ⎮Dieter Declercq, University of Kent

14:00 – 14:30 Coffee&Tea

14:30 – 15:30 Session 5 watch
Chaired by: Dr. Margrethe Bruun-Vaage, University of Kent

  • The Phenomenology of Dance: Husserlian and Post-Husserlian Approaches ⎮Emma Lowe, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • Technology’s Instances: The digital Re-configuration of Dance Work Ontology⎮Hetty Blades, Coventry University

15:30 – 16:00 Coffee&Tea

16:00 – 17:15 Panel Discussion: ‘How to Publish and Career Advice’
Chaired by: Dr. Margrethe Bruun-Vaage, University of Kent

  • Doctor Jonathan Friday, University of Kent
  • Professor Dominic Lopes, University of British Columbia
  • Professor Elisabeth Schellekens, University of Uppsala & University of Durham
  • Professor Murray Smith, University of Kent
  • Watch the career advice video, with: Stacie Friend, Bence Nanay, Andrew Huddleston, Berys Gaut, Eileen John, Robert Stecker, Christy Mag Uidhir, Carolyn Korsmeyer, Dan Cavedon-Taylor, Katherine Thompson-Jones, David Davies, Derek Matravers, Aaron Meskin, John Hyman, Simon Fokt, Yuriko Saito, and Kathleen Stock.

17:15 – 18:15 Wine Reception



26 – 27 June: Aesthetics, Normativity, and Reason

26th June – 27th June 2015

Sophie-Grace Chappell (r), Sara Janssen (l)
Sophie-Grace Chappell (r), Sara Janssen (l)
Graeme A Forbes
Graeme A Forbes
Levno Plato
Levno Plato
Maria Alvarez
Maria Alvarez
Aaron Ridley
Aaron Ridley
Nils-Hennes Stear
Nils-Hennes Stear
María José Alcaraz León
María José Alcaraz León
Andrew Huddleston
Andrew Huddleston
John Hyman
John Hyman
Conference dinner (clock-wise from left to right) Elisabeth Schellekens-Dammann,  María José Alcaraz León, Graeme A Forbes, Aaron Ridley, Michael Newall, Michael Smith, Sara Janssen, Katrien Schaubroeck, Hans Maes, Dan Cavedon-Taylor, Murray Smith
Conference dinner (clock-wise from left to right) Elisabeth Schellekens-Dammann, María José Alcaraz León, Graeme A Forbes, Aaron Ridley, Michael Newall, Michael Smith, Sara Janssen, Katrien Schaubroeck, Hans Maes, Dan Cavedon-Taylor, Murray Smith

Keynote Speakers

Maria Alvarez (King’s College London)
Carla Bagnoli (University of Modena and University of Oslo)
Sophie-Grace Chappell (Open University)
John Hyman (Oxford University)
Aaron Ridley (University of Southampton)
Elisabeth Schellekens Dammann (University of Uppsala and University of Durham)
Michael Smith (Princeton University)

More information


Sara Janssen, Postgraduate Research student History and Philosophy of Art, University of Kent
Simon Kirchin, Reader in Philosophy, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, University of Kent, s.t.kirchin@kent.ac.uk
Hans Maes, Senior Lecturer History and Philosophy of Art, Director of the Aesthetics Research Centre, University of Kent
Paloma Atencia-Linares, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)