Aesthetics Today

June 5-6, 2017

Marking the 10th anniversary of the Aesthetics Research Centre (ARC) at the University of Kent, Aesthetics Today will begin with a symposium on June 5 aiming to generate discussion concerning the most general principles and questions preoccupying philosophical aesthetics today. The symposium will be followed on June 6 by a postgraduate/early career workshop co-sponsored by Debates in Aesthetics (formerly the Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics). Both events are supported by the British Society of Aesthetics.

Aesthetics Today will take advantage of the publication this spring of two books by the co-directors of ARC: Hans Maes’ Conversations on Art and Aesthetics, and Murray Smith’s Film, Art, and the Third Culture: A Naturalized Aesthetics of Film (both published by Oxford). Both books are characterized by their broad scope. Maes’ volume is comprised of extended interviews with ten eminent aestheticians (Noël Carroll, Gregory Currie, Arthur Danto, Cynthia Freeland, Paul Guyer, Carolyn Korsmeyer, Jerrold Levinson, Jenefer Robinson, Roger Scruton, and Kendall Walton), in which Maes probes them on their own arguments as well as their views on aesthetics and the philosophy of art as a discipline, thereby engaging them in discussion of a wide range of specific debates in contemporary aesthetics. Smith’s monograph seeks to defend a naturalistic approach to aesthetics, principally through the exploration of film as a medium of art, but with a sustained comparative dimension incorporating discussion of literature, music, painting, and photography. In elaborating and defending a version of naturalized aesthetics, Smith inevitably addresses fundamental questions concerning the assumptions, methods, and boundaries of aesthetics. Both works connect fundamental principles with concrete cases in a wide range of artforms, and together we hope will form a strong platform for discussion of the general state of aesthetics today.

The symposium on June 5 will bring together four invited speakers (Catharine Abell, Manchester; Jerrold Levinson, Maryland; Derek Matravers, OU; and Dawn Wilson, Hull) with ARC faculty, as well as postgraduate students working in aesthetics and related disciplines at Kent and beyond. The postgraduate/early career workshop taking place the following day, June 6, will feature a research presentation by Ryan Doran (Antwerp/Sheffield), co-editor of the BSA journal Debates in Aesthetics. The workshop will conclude with a forum on publishing in aesthetics and related fields.

Monday June 5 10.30am – 5.30pm, followed by symposium reception and dinner
Tuesday June 6 10am – 2.30pm

Both events are free but registration (via the website) is required. A limited number of postgraduate/early career ‘underemployed’ bursaries are available to help defray the costs of travel and accommodation. Anyone interested in applying for a bursary should send a short statement of interest (up to 200 words, including name, status, title of ongoing or completed PhD, and an indication of how the conference relates to your interests) to: dwrb2@kent.ac.uk

Further details will be posted at the event website: http://blogs.kent.ac.uk/aestheticstoday/​

Shaun May – Autism and Comedy

Autism and Comedy: A Peg for Some Thoughts

 Wednesday 1st March, 5pm – 7pm, Keynes Lecture Theatre 2, University of Kent

An Aesthetics Research Centre (ARC) seminar with:  Dr Shaun May, University of Kent, UK

In this presentation Shaun will outline the key conceptual, ethical and philosophical questions that he hopes to address in his next book, Autism and Comedy. As the title suggests, the central focus of the book will be on autism spectrum conditions and the way that they are represented in contemporary comedy. Perhaps the most obvious ethical question that arises from this topic is the ethics of jokes about autism, for which the material of comedian Frankie Boyle is particularly ripe for exploration. However, there are other, more fundamental, philosophical questions: First, in the case of fictional characters, on what grounds are we justified in claiming that a certain character is autistic? Second, what role (if any) does authorial intention play in this? Third, given that diagnostic criteria have changed markedly in recent decades, is it conceptually valid to ‘retrospectively diagnose’ a character?

The purpose of this mapping of the conceptual terrain is not to provide firm answers to these questions, as this would not be possible given the early stages the book is in, but rather to stimulate discussion that might push thinking further. Addressing these questions is necessary groundwork for the central project of the book – engaging with what we might call the aesthetics of comedy on the spectrum.

Biography

Shaun is Lecturer in Drama and Theatre at the University of Kent and author of two books, A Philosophy of Comedy on Stage and Screen (Bloomsbury) and Rethinking Practice as Research and the Cognitive Turn (Palgrave). Prior to joining the University of Kent, he was a post-doc in the philosophy department of the University of Liverpool and he taught at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and the Royal College of Art. He was the primary investigator of the BA/Leverhulme funded project Comedy on the Spectrum, and he is organising a festival of arts by and for autistic people in April 2017 funded by Arts Council England. (www.autismartsfestival.org)

Art, Aesthetics and Beyond: 3rd BSA PG Conference

FRIDAY 27th JANUARY 2017

10:00 – 10:40
Kentaro Tanabe, Ritsumeikan (Japan)
Diana Raffman on Nuance Ineffability

10:40 – 11:20
Sasha Lawson-Frost, UCL (UK)
Art as a Process – Art and History in Hegel’s Aesthetics

11:20 – 11:35
Break: coffee/tea and biscuits 

11:35 – 12:15
Olli Aho, Jyvaskyla (Finland) 
Responding to the Movements of Others – Improvisation as a Form of Habituality

12:15 – 12:55
James Rimmer, Leeds (UK) 
Group Creativity, Skill, and Achievement

13:00 – 13:45
Lunch: provided for paying delegates 

14:00 – 14:20
*Reverse Presentation*
Stanisław Święcicki, Leeds (UK)

Improvisation and Creativity

14:20 – 14:40 
*Reverse Presentation *
Olimpia Cali, University of Kent (UK)

Considerations for a Cognitive Approach to Audience Studies

14:40 – 15:00
*Reverse Presentation *
Caterina Moruzzi, Nottingham (UK)

Intentionality, Artworks and, AI

15:00 – 15:20
*Reverse Presentation *
Sam Tornio, University of Kent (UK)

Toward a Poetics of Snapchat

15:20 – 15:35
Break: coffee/tea and biscuits 

15:35 – 16:15
Tomasz Szubart, Jagiellonian University (Poland) 
What Philosophy of Cognitive Neuroscience Could Bring Into the Problem of Musical Meaning?

16:15 – 16:55
Clotilde Torregrossa, St Andrews/Stirling (UK)
A Defence of Experimental Philosophy in Aesthetics

17:00 – 18:15
Keynote – Stacie Friend, Birbeck (UK)
Elucidating the Truth in Criticism 

19:30
Dinner at Cafe du Soleil
Reservation needed, see registration

SATURDAY 28th JANUARY 2017

Location: Keynes Lecture Theatre 1
Directions and accessibility information: here

09:30 – 10:45
Keynote – Jesse Prinz, CUNY (USA)
Art and Wonder

10:45 – 11:25
Jamie Cawthra, York (UK)
What are Fictional Worlds?

11:25 – 12:05
Jack Davis, UCL (UK)
The Appearances of Fictional Worlds

12:05 – 12:20
Break: coffee/tea and biscuits 

12:20 – 13:00
Rob Duffy, Fordham (USA)
Does Fiction Express Truth? Paul Ricoeur on Literary Meaning

13:00 – 13:40
Alexander Westenberg, Notre Dame (Australia)
The Elenctic Narrative

13:40 – 14:30
Lunch: provided for paying delegates 

14:30 – 15:10
Leen Verheyen, Antwerp (Belgium)
The Ethical and Aesthetic Value of the Novel. A Ricoeurian Approach

15:10 – 15:50
Dieter Declercq, University of Kent (UK)
Defining Satire (And why a Definition Matters)

15:50 – 16:05
Break: coffee/tea and biscuits 

16:05 – 16:45
Alessandro Cavazzana, Ca’Foscari (Italy)
What About Visual Metaphors?

16:45 – 17:25
Kris Goffin, Antwerp/Ghent (Belgium)
Rational Emotivism

17:25 – 18:00
Panel Discussion
With: Jesse Prinz, Stacie Friend, Tom Laver (Assistant Collections Curators at Towner Art Gallery), and members of the Aesthetics Research Centre 

February 24: Berys Gaut – The Value of Creativity

Wednesday 24th February, 5pm – 7pm, Grimond Lecture Theatre 2 (GLT2), University of Kent

B-Gaut 

The Value of Creativity

Creativity is generally regarded as an invariably valuable trait. But is that true? There seem to be cases of ‘dark’ creativity: for instance, a torturer may be creative, but his creativity makes the world a worse place. I develop a definition of ‘creativity’ in terms of an agential disposition to produce new things that are valuable of their kind, and employ this account to show that creativity has instrumental value, final value (value as an end), but only conditional value, i.e., it is valuable only under some circumstances. I also argue for a constitutive connection between creativity and spontaneity and show how spontaneity contributes to the value of creativity. An upshot of the argument is that sometimes enhancing creativity is a bad thing.

 

Sarah Cardwell: research seminar

 

Monday 26th October, 5pm – 7pm. in KS14

IMG_1623
Sarah Cardwell (right) in discussion with Margrethe Bruun Vaage

‘Framing television: the dramatic implications of aspect ratio’

Within television studies, and even within television aesthetics, ‘aspect ratio’ is frequently overlooked or naively characterised. Yet it plays a fundamental, determining role in forming and framing television’s dramatic spaces and in turn, its stories and meanings. A balanced reappraisal of television’s varied aspect ratios and its impact upon TV’s unique dramatic and aesthetic possibilities can enhance our close analyses and further our understanding of television’s fascinating ‘art history’.

In this paper I will challenge some residual myths, misunderstandings and preconceptions about TV’s aspect ratios and their spatial properties. I would like to counter prevailing pro-widescreen rhetoric, by tracing some of the dramatic and aesthetic qualities of 4:3 that have been lost in the movement to 16:9; in pursuit of this, I’ll consider the example of Marion and Geoff (BBC, 2000 & 2003). I aim to make the case for more overt and sustained attention to be paid to aspect ratio within television aesthetics.

Dr Sarah Cardwell is Honorary Fellow in the School of Arts, University of Kent, where she was previously Senior Lecturer. She is the author of Adaptation Revisited (MUP, 2002) and Andrew Davies (MUP, 2005), as well as numerous articles and papers on film and television aesthetics, literary adaptation, contemporary British literature, and British cinema and television. She is a founding co-editor of ‘The Television Series’ (MUP), Book Reviews editor for Critical Studies in Television, and on the advisory board for the new series ‘Adaptation and Visual Culture’ (Palgrave Macmillan).

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

www.anr-conference.uk

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)