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Current Projects/What's On

Current Projects/What's On

HARI operates as both an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary Institute. Established over a decade ago, its explicit aim is to foster intellectual exchange between scholars of different disciplines.

It now supports a wide range of collaborative projects, hosting and/or promoting events in central London locations, on Royal Holloway’s campus at Egham and online.

This section offers pointers to some recently-funded research topics, with links to individual project pages where apt.

2021/22

Start Up Funding Projects - HARI Sponsored

In the aftermath of the Partition of 1947 the mass migration of people across the borders of South Asia resulted in a reconsideration of the link between territoriality and citizenship. The existing literature on migration, mobility and citizenship in this period focusses largely on the events of Partition and the migration of Hindus and Muslims between India and Pakistan. This workshop would like to move away from Partition based histories, ethnographies and analyses of this period to consider other mobilities and migrations in the aftermath of decolonisation, and to uncover the evolution of citizenship in South Asia that goes beyond this narrow lens. To that end we have put together a Working Group of seven scholars based in the UK, USA, Singapore and India, trained in the fields of History, International Relations, Politics, Geography and Anthropology. We will be hosting a termly reading group, a regular writing session, two mentoring sessions, a conference and a final workshop which will culminate in a peer reviewed special issue of a journal. Dr Sarah Ansari in the History Department has kindly agreed to mentor this project and it will operate under the aegis of the Centre for Global South Asia based in the History Department.

Strangers Within is an interdisciplinary anthology and series of events on the themes of encounter, hospitality and autobiography in artists’ films. Accepted for publication by independent publishing house Prototype, the anthology comprises 14 original contributions from artist filmmakers, writers, and academics. To support the publication, we are organizing a series of screenings and events from 18th-20th June 2022, in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery and Royal Holloway University. Strangers Within will engage a diverse audience of visual artists and film, literature and geography students at Royal Holloway and beyond, as well as a diverse and inclusive public.

In a society with increasing divisions and distance, Strangers Within explores how encounters with strangers — across the assumed boundaries and binaries of our identities — in the form of artists’ moving image may provide vital reflections on the recognition of ourselves in the Other. Unsettling binaries such as stranger/friend and self/other, the project responds to current efforts to welcome fluidity and diversity of identities.

The project allows for a nuanced exploration of the theme, making an original contribution to the distinctive territory that borders literature and artists’ film practices.

In antiquity, the Lacus Cutiliensis (Lago di Paterno) in the Reiti basin was considered a sacred lake and the geographical centre of Italy. Located in the Velino valley, the region has a long history of human settlement from the Neolithic onwards. Connected to ancient Rome by the Via Salaria, in the late 1st century BC a monumental villa (the Villa of Titus) was constructed on a terrace overlooking the lake. Despite the region’s proximity to Rome, and the lake’s importance to Roman society and religion, neither the valley nor the lake has never been subject to any sort of environmental analysis. Since 2019, Saint Mary’s University and McMaster University (Canada), have been excavating the villa. In May 2022, a collaborative and interdisciplinary project between Royal Holloway, Saint Mary’s and McMaster universities aims to introduce an extensive suite of environmental archaeological analyses, including archaeobotany, sediment coring and pollen analysis to the villa and the Lago di Paterno.

This project aims:

  • to test the potential of the archaeobotanical record and the lacustrine sediment records close to the Villa Sant’Angelo in order to determine:
  • To establish the quality of the recovered material and the scope for future projects connected to the lake and the valley
  • From the samples we hope to determine:
    • (i) the influence of climate instability during the Homeric solar minima, around 800BC; (ii) the impact of the Late Antique LIA, (iii) the evidence for climate stability during the Roman period; and (iv) changing human impact on the landscape throughout this period.

A joint initiative with the Centre for the GeoHumanities at RHUL, the Cyprus High Commission in London and the Fitzwilliam Museum – University of Cambridge our project aims at establishing collaborations between artists and scholars to reflect on the relationship between diasporas and cultures by experimenting with the potential of diverse creative practices in the study, imagination and expression of diasporic worlds. These practices range from visual art and sculpture to performance, creative writing and new media. Applicants will be invited to consider the arts and humanities as a set of mutually attracted approaches through which to explore the historical and contemporary implications of displacement, dispossession and migration; intergenerational memories, emotions and traumas; nostalgia, belonging, estrangement, alienation and reconciliation; as well as the constitution of new relationships to space, place, environment and landscape in the midst of a climate crisis. The artwork and other project deliverables will be exhibited in the premises of the Cyprus High Commission (or an alternative venue in London and/or Cambridge) in June-July 2022.

20th May 2022, Egham Campus

Discussion about gender in the contemporary gaming industry and about the representation of historical gender in video games are often treated separately- the one as a matter for female gamers and members of the gaming industry, the other as a matter for academic historians of ancient and medieval societies.  

Our full-day exploratory event invites participants at all career stages and backgrounds to join experts Katherine Lewis, Jenny Cromwell and Rob Houghton, and members of the wider gaming community, in discussing the relationship between these issues, and how they shape our perceptions of gender in the past and present. We approach these games as both simulation and reception, and will encourage attendees to move from addressing the ‘accuracy’ of games, to acknowledging their role as a platform to approach modern questions surrounding the role of gender and gender representation in both historical and contemporary societies. 

This is a History department event in cooperation with Royal Holloway’s Humanities and Arts Research Institute, The Institute for Classical Studies, The Bedford Centre for the History of Women & Gender, and the ERC CONNEC project.  

Organisers: Dr. Markus Mindrebø & Dr. Becca Grose, Department of History 

This project aims to create an arts and humanities cluster that contributes to the Transformative Digital Technologies catalyst. We will run three workshops to develop the theme of Digital Authenticity, as preparation for larger grant-scoping events at a multidisciplinary level to be funded by R&I or the Digital Technologies catalyst.


Notions of authenticity are diverse and contested. The term is central to constructions of modern selfhood and individuality. Within the creative arts ‘authenticity’ is invoked by creators and performers seeking to communicate identity, sincerity and personal style. In the heritage sector and in historically informed performance, ‘authenticity’ carries connotations of historical fidelity.


Our project explores how notions of authenticity are being transformed by digital technologies, such as immersive technologies used to recreate multisensory historical experiences, digital mediation of musical performances, and AI algorithms for searching and curating archives. We will explore the ethical concerns that arise in these digital transformations, for instance from algorithmic bias in programming and data-mining tools, or how user-centred digital design may lead to the presentation of sanitised or distorted versions of history. We will also explore the creative and critical potential that may occur through these digital appropriations and translations. Overall we hope to develop a nuanced understanding of how notions of truth and authenticity are being redefined in disciplines ranging from the arts and humanities to STEM subjects such as Computer Science.

In 2021, planning permission was granted for the UK’s new Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre, to be built alongside Parliament. The HMLC’s goal is to ‘provide an honest reflection of Britain’s role surrounding the Holocaust as well as reflecting on subsequent genocides’. The current design plans include a space within the HMLC mocked up to replicate Parliament’s iconic green benches, with parliamentary debates over the Holocaust and subsequent genocides reproduced on a screen.

Dr Jinks will collaborate with the Armenian Institute (London), a progressive arts and culture charity, to produce a short social-media-friendly video which simultaneously 1) critiques the chronological parameters of the HMLC plans, and 2) offers a vision of how this design format (still in outline stage), could actually work, asking visitors to reflect on Britain’s role in and responses to genocide in a truly honest, reflective way.

The HLMC are careful to emphasise that they will only mention ‘subsequent’ genocides, which ignores not only the Armenian genocide of 1915 (which British MPs vehemently opposed) and the genocide in Ukraine in the early 1930s, but also Britain’s role in prior colonial-era genocides (Australia, North America) and the genocide of the Herero in 1904. Our creative content will include these cases alongside subsequent genocides – Bangladesh, Burundi, Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia, Darfur, and the present-day cases of Burmese Rohingya and China’s Uighurs. Hansard records will provide the raw material of Parliamentary debates and, inspired by the work of artist Alfredo Jaar on Rwanda, our presentation will juxtapose parliamentarians’ words with images and historical chronologies to make plain the disjuncture between rhetoric, knowledge, and action.

This project aims to create a new Research Group that would connect staff and students across Schools, focused on Digital Humanities (DH). The underpinning understanding of DH would be broad in order to encourage the widest and most diverse participation and engagement possible. DH is a field that is growing exponentially, as the increasing number of DH Centres and MA Programs across then UK attests. The development of a strong DH profile would also better position RH to be more competitive in bidding for the growing number of DH funding opportunities.

The initial core group would be scholars from the School of Humanities, which would then be expanded to the School of Performing and Digital Arts, and the School of Engineering, Physical and Mathematical Sciences. UG and PG students would also play a fundamental part in the development of the Research Group, and would actively participate in workshops and conferences.

The DH Research Group would meet regularly in person (if possible) and would keep in touch through a clear and structured web presence: a School webpage; a dedicated Teams channel (potentially including a forum space); and social media profiles. This would be a low-cost infrastructure that would be enriched and maintained by both the Research Group Coordinator and an appointed Research Assistant (preferably a PhD student from the School of Humanities).

The overall aim of the DH Research Group would be to foster cross-School collaboration on highly interdisciplinary projects, and to provide training sessions (workshops) to both staff and students.

This event forms a key part of the strategic development of a multidisciplinary collaborative project, Walking in Air, which began in January 2021. It will lead to the creation of high-quality research outputs and their dissemination. The three partners involved in the event are Royal Holloway, the University of the Creative Arts, and the centre de livres d’artiste (CDLA) in Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche, France.

The Walking in Air is a practice-based project that aims to regenerate the encounter between poetry and music through walking and the text score.

Each of the axes of our project – site-walking, score generation and realisation – is underpinned by a sustained reflection on air: as element, as weather, as the vehicle of sound, as breath. Building on the work of anthropologist Tim Ingold (2010), we use theoretical, literary and musical methods to investigate walking as a mobile, embodied and immersive encounter in the world and the ‘groundless ground’ (Irigaray, 1999) around us.

The scores that emerge from the project function as a particularly dynamic form of documentation of individual and collective activities. Each immersive experience is translated into a form of notation that can be re-enacted in-situ as well as made available for re-interpretation elsewhere by other artists, poets and performers. In generating these scores we are building on the existing work by both lead researchers on the relationship between minimal text scores and literary texts. Our participants – poets, composers, artists – share our interest in the relationship between text and landscape, and the reconsideration of the element of air against the backdrop of our current crisis.

The proposed in-person event at the CDLA in May 2022 was initially scheduled to take place in September 2021. Instead, because of the pandemic, we ran a virtual event: ‘Walking in Air de chez soi’. Participants walked separately, generating various kinds of text, audio and visual material. The results were shared in a closing symposium, and will be disseminated in early 2021 on the CDLA website. The response from participants was very positive and the same individuals will take part in our May 2022 event:

Stefan Thut (composer, CH); Carol Watts (poet, UK); Ryoko Akama (composer, UK); Leni Dipple (artist, FR); Marianne Schuppe (artist/ singer; DE); Sandra Schimag (artist, DE); Antoine Beuger (composer, DE), Astrid Verspieren (landscape artist, Fr).

Current Events

Heidegger and Classical Thought: The Beginning of Western Philosophy: Interpretation of Anaximander and Parmenides

Weekly reading group (7th Oct 2021-May 2022) 

  • Every Thursday in Room 0-03, 11 Bedford Square, London at 4-6pm.
  • The meeting will also be accessible online for international participants.

The Humanities & Arts Research Institute at Royal Holloway, University of London is organising a weekly reading group to study Martin Heidegger’s lecture course, delivered in 1932 (five years after the publication of Being and Time), and published in English translation as The Beginning of Western Philosophy: Interpretation of Anaximander and Parmenides. The reading group will take place over the Autumn and Spring terms of 2021/22.  

Heidegger’s thought is often divided into ‘early Heidegger’ and ‘later Heidegger’. The transitional phase between these two periods that takes place in the 1930s is questionably defined as a Kehre (‘turn’ or ‘reversal’) in his thinking. Heidegger himself conceived of this Kehre as an Ergänzung (‘fulfilment’) of the schema he announced (but did not complete) in the pages of Being and Time.  The reading group will examine some little-understood aspects of the underpinnings of Being and Time, especially Heidegger’s reading of Parmenides, the sources of Greek philosophy, and Heidegger's radical redescriptions of history and historicality to show how the Kehre unfolds in Heidegger’s thought. This will illustrate, too, the extent to which Heidegger’s work was, from the outset, driven by a reading of Aristotle and Plato that relied on examining them in the light of these earlier philosophers.  This reading group will be of interest not only to readers of Heidegger, but also classicists interested in Plato, Aristotle, and the Presocratics, and Heidegger’s understanding of truth in its relation with being.

11 Bedford Square: https://intranet.royalholloway.ac.uk/staff/campus-life/bedford-square-and-senate-house/bedford-square-and-senate-house.aspx

Online details: by request to Aaron.Turner@rhul.ac.uk

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