The University of Winchester’s Faculty of Arts has teamed up with St James Tavern at the bottom of Winchester’s Romsey Road to launch Tavern Talks, a new series of public conversations aimed at bringing people together to engage in lively discussions about the creative arts and contemporary discourse in the contexts of cultural history and modern politics and society.
These Thursday evening meetings will convene once a month in the upstairs room of the St James Tavern, and will feature short informal talks on intriguing topics designed to prompt further discussion. The evenings will start with drinks from 5.30, with the talks kicking off at about 6.00pm.
There’s no charge for entry and everyone is welcome, space permitting.
“We’re not planning to lecture people for an hour,” said the University’s Dean of Arts, Professor Alec Charles. “We’re offering something a bit different – something much more social and interactive, an opportunity for everyone to speak, share and learn.”
Tavern Talks has now announced the first three events in its autumn/winter programme.
On Thursday 25 October, Professor Peter Billingham will be introducing the idea of ‘Putting the Demo into Democracy’. A playwright and the author of many books and articles on theatre, television and music (including recent work on Leonard Cohen and Edward Bond), Professor Billingham will discuss the relationships between democracy and civil disobedience in these politically turbulent times. He will ask how far the limits of conventional democracy might stretch, and under what circumstances demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience might come to seem desirable and necessary.
On Thursday 22 November, Dr Vanessa Harbour will be talking about the issues writers face when ‘Writing History as Fiction’. Dr Harbour is a writer whose recent novel Flight was published by Firefly Press in August and was described by the New Statesman as “an adventure mixing horses and Nazis” which balances its “gripping plot” with “real-life inspiration”. She will suggest that, as a writer, she aims to create narratives that engage the imagination using voices that are unlikely to have left any written records behind them, as she tells the stories of the invisible characters of history.
On Thursday 24 January, Professor Tim Prentki will propose that, insofar as we process and perform reality in the same ways in which theatre operates, we might all be said to be ‘Acting on the World Stage’. Tim Prentki is a playwright and the world’s first Professor of Theatre for Development. The author of numerous books on such subjects as Applied Theatre and Popular Theatre in Political Culture, he will argue that, when our opportunities to develop as social performers and audiences are thwarted, we lose empathy and resort to tribal identities at odds with our cerebral wiring.
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