Rosie Findlay – What’s Getting Us Through: Grazia UK as Affective Intimate Public During the Coronavirus Pandemic

26th January 2023, 16:00 – Jarman Studio 5, Hybrid format (in-person and online)

Rosie Findlay (Lecturer in Media Studies, University of Kent)

In this paper I examine the changes wrought to women’s/lifestyle media during the coronavirus pandemic. Closely analysing several issues of Grazia UK from the first UK lockdown, I argue that the societal and affective disorientation of the  pandemic allowed this magazine to do genuine political work – critiquing the government, advocating for non-capitalist subjectivities and forms of community work – which is normally absent from such publications due to their imbrication in commercial logics and industries.

At the same time, fashion was reframed as a tool to navigate the affective uncertainties of the pandemic, offering levity (comfort, play) and escape (dreaming of better days to come) which shows us how closely woven fashion is with affect and mood. 

This seminar will be available to attend via Teams. Link to be added shortly.
Those intending to attend in-person are asked to please email in advance.

Kathrine Cuccuru – Pedestrian at Best: the Politics, Philosophy, & Aesthetics of Walking When Poor

17th November 2022, 17:00 – Jarman Studio 5, Hybrid format (in-person and online)

Kathrine Cuccuru (Associate Research Fellow, Department of Philosophy, University of Sussex)

Cuccuru’s ‘a philosopHER walks’ website here

My project ‘a philosopHER walks’ aims to philosophically and physically explore various types of walking. Although I am a somewhat experienced and well-equipped long distance walker, Stage One of the project, Pedestrian at Best, was born out of my frustration at finding a viable route to take and discovering the limits on someone like me, poor people, to walk.
As a result, this first stage tests what sort of walking is possible for those of us living on or below the poverty line, to be a pedestrian who uses only local busses and has to keep to a daily budget based on Universal Credit standard rates. This talk celebrates the end of stage one, offering my initial reflections on walking when poor.

Along with reporting on my experiences during these 21 days of walks, I shall reveal the political tension between walking as a radical act and the privilege of walking; identify some of the philosophy in developing a philosophy of walking; and present the aesthetics of walking, from the sartorial to the sublime.

This seminar will be available to attend via Teams. Link to be added shortly.
Those intending to attend in-person are asked to please email in advance.

Call for Abstracts – The BSA Workshop on the Aesthetics of Public Art (WAPA)

10-11th November 2022, King’s College LondonHybrid format (in-person and online)

Conference website here

Keynote speakers: 
Vid Simoniti (University of Liverpool) 
Sarah Hegenbart (Technical University of Munich) 
Carleen de Sözer (artist) 

Recent protests against statues and monuments associated with racial injustice reflect increased ethical and social demands on art, especially as it occupies public space. Although public art has been the subject of a lively debate amongst scholars in art history and cultural studies, it remains largely neglected within the field of aesthetics, which results in the lack of a clear conceptualization of public art as an aesthetic category. 

The aim of this workshop is to foment discussion on the concept of public art and to question the boundaries which demarcate it from similar categories, such as street art, socially engaged art, and participatory art. Understanding what makes public art ‘public’ implies asking about its purpose, its accessibility, and the artistic process by which it is created. As the widespread removal of statues in 2020 shows, another important concern is who constitutes the public for public art – more specifically, the relation between public art and political authority and the way public art contributes to the construction of civic identity and historical memory. This workshop focuses on the aesthetic and artistic conditions which determine the public nature of a given work, with the purpose of consolidating the theoretical framework of current debates. 

Suggested topics include but are not limited to: 
– What is the purpose of public art? Does it necessarily involve a social or political intention? 
– What is the relation between public art and public space? How do we define public space? Is public accessibility a necessary condition of public art? 
– Can there be public art outside the public space? How does the change of location affect the meaning and value of a work? 
– What is the relation between public art and the public? How is the public for a work of public art defined? What is the role of the community in public art?  
– What is the relation between public art and political authority? Is public art necessarily sanctioned by the state?  
–  How does public art shape the public space? What is its role in the construction of civic identity and collective memory?  
– How is public art distinct from related categories, such as street art, socially engaged art, and participatory art?  
– How do we evaluate public art? Must it meet specific criteria to be artistically successful? What makes a public work of art good or bad? 
– Does the ‘publicness’ of public art involve any restrictions in terms of art form, artistic media, genres, and content? 
– More generally, what are the defining features of public art?

  We welcome contributions from all academic fields, including history of art and cultural studies, as long as they address the philosophical problems outlined above or related ones.  Each speaker will have 20 minutes for the presentation, followed by 10 minutes of Q&A. Please consider sending your abstract (max. 500 words), accompanied by a short biographical note (max. 150 words), to until 31st August. We particularly encourage applications from scholars from underrepresented groups, including applicants with disabilities, applicants from BAME backgrounds, and women. The workshop will be in English and attendance is free. Successful applicants will be notified by 12th September.  

This event is funded by the British Society of Aesthetics (BSA) and sponsored by the Centre for Philosophy and Art (CPA).  


Beatriz Rodrigues (King’s College London) 

Colette Olive (King’s College London) 

Television Aesthetics: Now What? | A British Society of Aesthetics conference

Thursday 7 – Friday 8 July 2022

Conference website:

The Aesthetics Research Centre at the University of Kent is delighted to invite you to ‘Television Aesthetics: Now What?’ a two-day conference organised with generous funding from the British Society of Aesthetics.

The title of our conference – ‘Television Aesthetics: Now What?’ – is a provocative metacritical question about the state of the field. Our conference aims to bring together philosophical aesthetics with both television studies and television aesthetics. We wish to stimulate exchange across different disciplines and approaches, with contributions from television scholars, philosophers, and aestheticians. In bringing together these different perspectives, we hope to make some headway towards answering the question ‘Now what for television aesthetics?’

Jason Mittell (Middlebury College)
Iris Vidmar Jovanović (University of Rijeka)

Registration for the conference is FREE.
Further details about about the conference will be available in the coming weeks on the conference website

Should you have any questions about the conference, please do not hesitate to contact us at
Lead Organiser: Dr David Brown
Programme Committee: Prof Murray Smith, Dr Margrethe Bruun Vaage, Dr Dieter Declercq, Michael Clark

BSA Symposium on Revaluing the Life Model in Art Practice

Thursday 7th May

The BSA Symposium on Revaluing the Life Model in Art Practice is a one-day event hosted by the Aesthetics Research Centre, University of Kent, which brings together philosophers of art, artists, and professionals of the London art sector to engage with the role of the life model in contemporary art practice. 

Come and join our discussion, where we connect this developing debate on life models with the philosophy of art. Through the exchange of professional, practical, and philosophical insights, the symposium aims to rethink some of the ongoing practices within the life drawing room (how models are viewed and treated by artists and art schools), the gallery and museum space (how the creativity of models is acknowledged), and within philosophy of art (whether modelling can be an art and whether working from a life model can be considered a collaborative art form).

The Symposium is free to attend – everyone welcome to muse along! Check out our speaker bios, programme, and how to register on our site. We will be posting on Instagram and Twitter in the weeks leading up to the event!

Confirmed Keynotes:

Dr Anna Pakes, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Roehampton
Prof A W Eaton, Professor of Philosophy, University of Illinois Chicago
Dominic Blake, Art Writer & Performance Artist

Panel members:

Jo Baring, Director of the Ingram Collection, Curator
JJ Delvine, Artist, Curator, BP Portrait Award in 2006, 2011, 2018
Anne Noble-Partridge, Artist, Director of London Drawing, Gallerist
Prof Jean Wainwright, Professor of Contemporary Art and Photography at UCA, Director of the Fine Art and Photography Research Centre

This interdisciplinary event is the result of a collaboration between the Aesthetics Research Centre and Dominic Blake, art writer and performance artist. Dr Aurélie Debaene is hosting the symposium on behalf of ARC with the support of C A York. The BSA Symposium on Revaluing the Life Model in Art Practicehas been made possible by the generous funding of the British Society of Aesthetics.

Research Seminar: ‘The Reality of Aesthetic Injustice’ by Daisy Dixon (University of Cambridge)

Wednesday 12th May

In this talk I will examine the phenomenon which philosophers are
beginning to call ‘aesthetic injustice’ – a wrongful harm done to
someone specifically in their capacity as an aesthetic being. I will
first distinguish those wrongs caused by aesthetic practices, and those
wrongs which are inherently aesthetic where a person’s aesthetic
capacities are undermined; it is this latter phenomenon I wish to
analyse. The concept of aesthetic injustice proposed will initially be
modelled on epistemic injustice, and throughout I consider how epistemic
harms and aesthetic harms can align and diverge. The aim is to arrive at
an account which reveals and accommodates at least four forms of
aesthetic injustice, while treating these as distinctive in that they do
not reduce to non-aesthetic wrongs, such as epistemic harm. Throughout I
consider the value and role that aesthetic experience and expression
play in our lives.

For more information about the speaker:

Book Symposium – Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight: A Philosophical Exploration, edited by Hans Maes (University of Kent) and Katrien Schaubroeck (University of Antwerp).

Thursday 10th June 14:00-18:00 BST.

Book Symposium on Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight: A Philosophical Exploration, edited by Hans Maes (University of Kent) and Katrien Schaubroeck (University of Antwerp).

SYMPOSIUM PART I (14:00-15:45 BST)
Chair: Hans Maes

Romance, Narrative, and the Sense of a Happy Ending in the Before Series
James MacDowell

Epic Intimacy
Murray Smith

Love, Death and Life’s Summum Bonum: The Before Trilogy as Memento Mori
Anna Christina Ribeiro

RESPONDENT: Laura di Summa

SYMPOSIUM PART II (16:00-17:45 BST):
Chair: Katrien Schaubroeck

The Poetry of Day-to-Day Life
Michael Smith

‘Romantic or Cynic’: Romantic Attraction as Justification
Diane Jeske

Time and Transcendence in the Before Trilogy
Marya Schechtman

RESPONDENT: Pilar Lopez-Cantero

About the book
This new book, published by Routledge in their Philosophers on Film series, focuses on Richard Linklater’s celebrated Before trilogy. The trilogy chronicles the love of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) who first meet up in Before Sunrise, later reconnect in Before Sunset and finally experience a fall-out in Before Midnight. Not only do these films present storylines and dilemmas that invite philosophical discussion, but philosophical discussion itself is at the very heart of the trilogy. The book explores the many philosophical themes that feature so vividly in the interactions between Céline and Jesse, including: the nature of love, romanticism and marriage, sex and gender, the passage and experience of time, the meaning of life and death, the art of conversation, the narrative self.

Claire Anscomb awarded John Fisher Memorial Prize 2021 by American Society for Aesthetics

The Aesthetics Research Centre is excited to announce that associate member and Kent alumna Dr. Claire Anscomb has been awarded the John Fisher Memorial prize by the American Society for Aesthetics.

Dr. Anscomb received her PhD. from the University of Kent in the History and Philosophy of Art in 2019. Her winning paper entitled “Creative Agency as Executive Agency: Grounding the Artistic Significance of Automatic Images,” selected by the JAAC editorial board review committee from eight nominations, will be published in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism and will be presented at the ASA Annual Meeting in Montreal November 17-20, 2021.

This article examines the artistic potential of forms of image-making that involve registering the features of real objects using mind-independent processes. According to skeptics, these processes limit an agent’s intentional control over the features of the resultant “automatic images”, which in turn limits the artistic potential of the work, and the form as a whole. I argue that this is true only if intentional control is understood to mean that an agent produces the features of the work by their own bodily movements alone. Not only is this an unrealistic standard to uphold, but I show that a definition of intentional control based on the skeptic’s position does not prohibit an agent from realizing the features of a work by means beyond their own actions. An agent can exercise intentional control over the features of a work if they successfully anticipate the effect that the remote consequences of their actions will have on these. This, I argue, entails that to exert intentional control over the features of a work is to exercise “creative agency”, which is a species of executive agency. Consequently, I defend the idea that the origins of automatic images in creative agency grounds their artistic significance.

The Fisher Prize is awarded by the American Society for Aesthetics in alternating years to an original essay to foster the development of new voices and talent in the field of aesthetics.
The next prize will be awarded in 2023. The deadline for submission is January 15, 2023.

Book Symposium: Satire, Comedy and Mental Health by Dieter Declercq

Tuesday 23rd March 17:00-19:00 GMT

Book Symposium on Satire, Comedy and Mental Health by Dieter Declercq. With:
Heike Bartel (Associate Professor in German, Nottingham),
Daniel Flavin-Hall (Consultant & Professor of Psychiatry, Mayo Clinic, Rochester Minnesota),
Sheila Lintott (Professor of Philosophy, Bucknell)
Orla Vigsö (Professor of Media Studies, Gothenburg)

Please find the recording of each invited speaker and Dieter Declercq’s response below.

Heike Bartel
Daniel Flavin-Hall
Sheila Lintott
Orla Vigsö
Dieter Declercq

About the book – A sample chapter can be read here.

Satire, Comedy and Mental Health examines how satire helps to sustain good mental health in a troubled socio-political world. Through an interdisciplinary dialogue that combines approaches from the analytic philosophy of art, medical and health humanities, media studies, and psychology, the book demonstrates how satire enables us to negotiate a healthy balance between care for others and care of self.
Building on a thorough philosophical explication and close analysis of satire in various forms – including novels, music, TV, film, cartoons, memes, stand-up comedy and protest artefacts – Declercq investigates how we can harness satirical entertainment to ease the limits of critique. In so doing, the book presents a compelling case that, while satire cannot hope to cure our sick world, it can certainly help us to cope with it.

Kathrine Cuccuru – From The Hypsous to The Bathous: The Problem of the False Sublime in Early Eighteenth-Century England

Wednesday 3rd March 15:00 GMT
Dr. Kathrine Cuccuru
(Associate Research Fellow, Department of Philosophy, University of Sussex)

‘Culture wars’ are not new. One of the most heated is played out in early eighteen-century England amongst the politically partisan satirical poets, and their prime target, the newly fashionable professional critic. According to these satirists, the critic dangerously peddles the false sublime.
Philosophers are now most familiar with the sublime as the aesthetic concept that captures our ‘terrible delight’; that transporting affect of grand and threatening physical nature. However, from its origins in the ancient rhetorical text Peri Hypsous, the earliest modern English accounts focus on the sublime in poetry. Philosophical debate initially centred on the sublime genius, who is understood to have the capacity to irresistibly transport the audience, i.e., create(through poetry) the true sublime effect that properly moves the character to the height of virtue. Significantly, the true genius must know the genuine sublime in order to rightly produce its effect. Problematically, though, the false sublime (i.e., melancholic enthusiasm, a kind of madness) has the same transporting effect. Raising the hotly contested worry: if not by its effect, how does the sublime genius know (and correctly judge) the true sublime, and how does an undeveloped character be virtuously moved by it?
This serious philosophical problem is, perhaps, unexpectedly, best illuminated by the satirical accounts. Particularly, by leading Scriblerian, Alexander Pope (1688-1744), in Peri Bathous: Or Maritinus Scriblerus his Treatise of the Art of Sinking Poetry (1727, 1728), where the bathous (‘profound’ depth) is an inversion of the hypsous (‘sublime’ height); thus, turning the sublime into the ridiculous. Although Pope clearly identifies the dangers of the false sublime, I argue that his account succumbs to the same problems as one of his main target’s, the literary critic John Dennis (1658-1734). Equally, that the Third Earl of Shaftesbury’s (1671-1713) appeal to raillery does not form a philosophical solution. Instead, that the (for them undesirable) Pyrrhonian reply exposes that these accounts largely amount to opposing intellectual elites defending their claim on moral and political opinion. A lesson for all culture wars, past and present.

“It is hard to tell if it is sublime or ridiculous, which is rather the point.” – Cuccuru