Sussex Humanities Lab

SHL Events archive 2016

December 2016
6 December 2016 - Andrew Goffey: "What Politics for Software Culture? Code, Power, Practice" (Sussex Humanities Lab Seminar Series)

Poster advertising seminar given by Andrew GoffeyHow, on what terms, using what conceptual tools, should the politics of software be envisaged? Although recent years have seen concern growing about multiple forms of dependency (social, economic, cultural, psychological) on programmable digital technologies, the ever-closer links between the organs of state, and the ends to which technological “disruption” are put, difficult questions about how to understand the implication of computational practices in shifting relations of power and how effectively to bring software into the domain of politics, continue to go unanswered. This paper offered a tentative response to the question of the politics of software by an exploration of three important but contested concepts: code, power and practice.

Andrew Goffey is an Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Critical Theory at the University of Nottingham. He is the author (with Matthew Fuller) of Evil Media, the editor (with Eric Alliez) of The Guattari Effect and (with Roland Faber) of The Allure of Things. He is currently writing books on the politics of software and on the work of Félix Guattari and is doing research on institutional analysis and on the materiality of information. He is also the translator of numerous works in the fields of philosophy and critical theory, including In Catastrophic Times and Capitalist Sorcery by Isabelle Stengers, and Schizoanalytic Cartographies and Lines of Flight by Félix Guattari.

November 2016
3-4 November 2016 - Designing Interfaces for Creativity Symposium (DesInC) held at the Attenborough Centre and the Sussex Humanities Lab

The Designing Interfaces for Creativity (DesInC) symposium, organised by Chris Kiefer and supported by SHL, explored interdisciplinary and historical perspectives on the design of tools, interfaces and instruments for creativity, and included researchers in design and creative technology, human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, music and experimental physics, alongside experimental musicians, artists, sound artists, composers and computer systems developers. The symposium was funded by Chris Kiefer's British Academy Rising Star award.

Poster advertising seminar given by Bassett, Kember and O'Riordan

7 November 2016 - Caroline Bassett, Sarah Kember and Kate O'Riordan: Feminist Media Futures (Sussex Humanities Lab Seminar Series)

Feminist Media Futures is a collaborative book project that aims to intervene in questions about the digital and the material both in terms of objects and politics in the world, and conditions of writing in academia. We aim to explore different kinds of writing, and forms of intervention in an approach to digital media theory that mixes up ideas, objects, theories through processes of overwriting and collaboration. In developing the project we aim to provide an intervention into digital media theory by drawing on feminist genealogies, traditions of writing and approaches to science and technology. In part, the project offers an alternative to, and arguments against various versions of material and object orientated turns, which demonstrate both scientism and anti-feminism in their citation practices and models of knowledge production. Importantly though, for all of us the project also has things to say about work and automation, biotechnology, environment and futures. This SHL seminar introduced this project in process and invited feedback and response.

Caroline Bassett is Professor of Media and Communications in the School of Media, Film and Music, and the Director of the Sussex Humanities Lab, both at the University of Sussex. Her research is centred on investigating and critically analysing the relationship between communication technologies, cultures and societies. Recent publications include work on digital transformation, mobile and pervasive media, gender and technology, medium theory, digital humanities, science fiction, imagination and innovation, sound and silence. She is currently completing a book on anti-computing.

Sarah Kember is a writer and academic. She is Professor of New Technologies of Communication at Goldsmiths, University of London and Director of Goldsmiths Press. Her work incorporates new media, photography and feminist cultural approaches to science and technology. Publications include a novel and a short story The Optical Effects of Lightning (Wild Wolf Publishing, 2011) and ‘The Mysterious Case of Mr Charles D. Levy’ (Ether Books, 2010). Experimental work includes an edited open access electronic book entitled Astrobiology and the Search for Life on Mars(Open Humanities Press, 2011) and ‘Media, Mars and Metamorphosis’ (Culture Machine, Vol. 11). Recent monographs include a feminist critique of smart media: iMedia. The gendering of objects, environments and smart materials(Palgrave, 2016) and, with Joanna Zylinska, Life After New Media: Mediation as a Vital Process (The MIT Press, 2012). Sarah co-edits the journal Feminist Theory. Previous publications include: Virtual Anxiety. Photography, New Technologies and Subjectivity (Manchester University Press, 1998); Cyberfeminism and Artificial Life (Routledge, 2003) and the co-edited volume Inventive Life. Towards the New Vitalism (Sage, 2006). Current work includes a novel, provisionally entitled A Day In The Life Of Janet Smart. With Janis Jefferies, Sarah Kember is co-PI of an RCUK funded project on digital publishing, part of CREATe (Centre for Creativity, Copyright, Regulation, Enterprise and Technology).

Kate O'Riordan is Director of Teaching and Learning, and Reader in Media Film and Music at the University of Sussex. Her work is cultural studies of emerging technologies and public engagements with science and technology. She works with feminist approaches and debates in queer theory and sexuality studies at the cusp of new media and science and technology studies. Her publications reflect an investment in collaborative writing, and most of the following books and articles are co-authored. Books include The Genome Incorporated and Human Cloning and the Media. Recent articles include 'Public knowledge-making and the media: genes, genetics, cloning and mass observation' (European Journal of Cultural Studies), 'The first bite: imaginaries, promotional publics and the laboratory grown burger' (Public Understanding of Science), 'Training to self-care: fitness tracking, biopedagogy and the healthy consumer' (Health Sociology Review), 'Queer feminist media praxis: an introduction' (Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technolog), 'Biodigital publics: personal genomes as digital media artifacts' (Science as Culture).

22 November - Lina Dencik How Snowden Changed the World: three years on from the greatest ever intelligence leak (SHL/Sussex Surveillance Group masterclass) (held in Jubilee Building)

Poster advertising seminar given by Lina Dencik

What has been the effect of the Edward Snowden leaks after three years? How has the collection and regulation of mass surveillance evolved in this period? And what has been the public response to these developments? Based on an 18-month research project into the political, technological, civil society and journalistic implications of the Snowden revelations, this Masterclass addressed critical questions about contemporary mass surveillance culture.

The ESRC-funded “Digital Citizenship and Surveillance Society” project has explored the nature, opportunities and challenges of digital citizenship in light of the governmental surveillance measures revealed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden. The project was hosted by the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies (JOMEC) at Cardiff University.

Lina Dencik has been at Cardiff University since September 2012 and is Director for the MA in Journalism, Media and Communications. Her work explores the interplay between media developments and social and political change, with a particular focus on resistance and globalisation. Recent research has examined developments in digital surveillance and the politics of data. Lina previously worked at the Central European University in Budapest, where she remains a Fellow at the Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS), and as a television producer/director at Brook Lapping Productions in London. 

28 November 2016 - Stamatia Portanova (Università degli Studi di Napoli L'Orientale): Moving without a Body, as a Consequence of Post-Capitalist Neurosis (Sussex Humanities Lab Seminar Series)

Poster advertising seminar given by Stamatia Portanova 

Dance choreography and performance are being increasingly digitized. Various technologies are being deployed to capture, store and manipulate the movements of dancers, abstracting them from their bodies and transforming them into numerical information. Movement, in other words, has become the object of our computers’ perception. In this seminar, Stamatia drew on the philosophies of Gilles Deleuze and Alfred N. Whitehead, in order to develop a concept of the digital as a technology with concrete sensorial effects, and simultaneously as something more abstract: a discrete, binary idea that influences our way to think the world. The digital becomes thus a philosophy in itself. I deployed this digital philosophy in the analysis of choreographic films, videos and installations such as those by Loie Fuller and Merce Cunningham, William Forsythe and Bill T. Jones. In these examples, the most interesting issue is not the technical assessment of software as a means to reproduce motion in more nuanced detail, or of its capacity to strike our senses with new special effects. Rather, digitalised choreographies elicit a wider rethinking of what movement itself is, or can become. Can it still be thought as movement, when the body is not there anymore, but has been replaced by a string of discrete data? When its fluidity enters a structured grid of numerical coordinates? The effects of such rethinking, and the replacement of a flow of moving bodies and images with a flow of pixels or data, can be analyzed as symptoms of a perceptual and cultural shift: from modern capitalist schizophrenia to contemporary post-industrial neurosis, a new psychopathology where the abstract materiality of data and information overtakes the energy of affects and experiences. 

Stamatia Portanova is a Research Fellow at the Università degli Studi di Napoli 'L'Orientale' (Naples). She is the author of Moving without a Body, Digital Philosophy and Choreographic Thoughts (MIT Press), and of several articles published in books and journals such as Body and Society, Computational Culture, Space and Culture, Fibreculture and Angelaki. Her research focuses on philosophy, digital culture and the aesthetics of movement. 

October 2016
5 October 2016 - Jette Kofoed: "Juggling Pace, Affectivity and Ephemerality of Digital Youth Lives" (Sussex Humanities Lab Seminar Series/Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth (CIRCY) seminar)

Poster advertising seminar given by Jette Kofoed

Youth’s life on social media is often referred to as ephemeral, in the sense that relationships lack emotional depth. Snapchat is a photo-sharing app that currently reigns popular amongst youth and is described as an ephemeral social media (vs persistent social media) where content self-destructs after a short time. Paradoxically Snapchat seems to provide new possibilities for intimacies, possibly due to the very ‘unimportance’ of the content shared. A breadth of affectivities is opened up by the new temporalities in apps where content self-erases. This seems to make fertile ground for both intimate bonding in teenage friendships but also to afford options of extreme exclusions when the same intimacies are breached and pictures are screenshot and spread on other social media. This would be the case in cyberbullying and sexting. This paper investigates both the promises of intimacies held in Snapchat practices and the breaches of intimacies when the confidentiality embedded in sharing unimportant snaps of everyday intimate situations is screenshot and shared.

Jette Kofoed is Associate Professor at the School of Education, Aarhus University Denmark. During the autumn term she was a visitor to the Sussex Humanities Lab.

6-7 October 2016 -Case Histories in longitudinal qualitative research: An advanced training course (held at The Keep, supported by the National Centre for Research Methods and held in partnership with the Mass Observation Archive and the Sussex Humanities Lab)

A two-day advanced training event exploring: What is a case study? What is the relationship between the case and an archive? How do we make a case in different disciplines and what kinds of practical and ethical challenges are raised by working with cases? How do digital methods change our understanding of cases and casing? What part does time play in this all?

Contributors included Julie McLeod (Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne), Rachel Thomson (SHL, University of Sussex), Jette Kofoed (Education, Aarhus University ), Pam Thurschwell (English, University of Sussex), Jennifer Platt (Emeritus Sociology, University of Sussex), David Berry (Digital Humanities, University of Sussex), Rebecca Taylor (Sociology, Southampton), Louise Ryan (University of Sheffield), Gina Crivello (Young Lives, University of Oxford), Fiona Courage (Mass Observation Archive), Jeanette Ostergaard (SFI, Denmark).

For more information, see the padlet.

17 October Matthew Fuller: "Black Sites & Transparency Layers"  (Sussex Humanities Lab Seminar Series)

Poster advertising seminar given by Matthew Fuller

We live in an era that relishes its self-awareness, lucidity, openness, the idea of accountability. At the same time, zones, places and systems that are "black boxed" proliferate. Some information activists argue that these are mutually contradictory tendencies and that the one must be fought for over the other against an ever proliferating state or corporate sovereignty. Others pose the question in terms of knowability more generally, and ask what kinds of subjectival and aesthetic forms are produced in the grey interplay and overlaps between these tendencies. This lecture proposed an approach to such a condition drawing on examples from art, interface design, architecture and film.

Matthew Fuller is the author of the forthcoming, 'How to Sleep, in art, biology and culture', (Bloomsbury). Other titles include, include 'Media Ecologies, materialist energies in art and technoculture', (MIT) 'Behind the Blip, essays on the culture of software' and ‘Elephant & Castle’ (both Autonomedia). With Usman Haque, he is co-author of 'Urban Versioning System v1.0' (ALNY) and with Andrew Goffey, of ‘Evil Media’ (MIT). Editor of 'Software Studies, a lexicon', (MIT) and co-editor of the journal Computational Culture, he is involved in a number of projects in art, media and software. He is Professor of Cultural Studies and Director of the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London.

September 2016
21 September 2016 - Alice to Alice: Dalziel 1865 – 1871, launch of a virtual exhibition

Alice to Alice features 200 images from The Dalziel Archive, an unparalleled collection of around 54,000 wood engravers’ proofs held in the Prints and Drawings department of the British Museum. The exhibition, in ten thematic sections, brings the celebrated wood-engraved illustrations from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass (1871) into dialogue with other work made by the Dalziels in the years bookended by these publications. Illustrations of literature by Dickens and Christina Rossetti feature alongside more unusual images of Victorian design and architecture; medical and veterinary art; and wood-engraved interpretations of radical photography by Julia Margaret Cameron.

 Curated by Bethan Stevens; curatorial assistance and web design by George Mind. This exhibition comes out of an AHRC-funded project to digitise, research, and creatively respond to the Dalziels. The project is led by Bethan Stevens and is a partnership between the University of Sussex and the British Museum, with photography by Sylph Editions. 

Supported by the Sussex Humanities Lab and co-hosted by the English Colloquium and Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Research Group.

26 September 2016 Jussi Parikka: "From a Studio to a Lab: Art, Technology and the Laboratory Fever" (Sussex Humanities Lab Seminar Series)

Poster advertising seminar given by Jussi Parikka

This talk revolved around the emergence of labs in contemporary art and art/humanities institutions. Contextualised as part of a wider enthusiasm for the laboratory both as a term and as a model outside the sciences, what are the specific genealogies of laboratory as a place for technological arts, from the Cold War period to the current turn towards maker cultures and more? This represents a new institutional discourse also in art and design schools, and puts those institutions in conversation with debates in the digital humanities too. The talk was part of the research project What is a Media Lab?

Professor Jussi Parikka works at the Winchester School of Art (University of Southampton). He is the author and editor of several books including What is Media Archaeology? (2012) and Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications and Implications (with Erkki Huhtamo, 2011). His media ecology-trilogy includes the books Digital Contagions (2007, 2nd updated edition 2016), Insect Media (2010) and A Geology of Media (2015). With Joasia Krysa, he co-edited Writing and Unwriting (Media) Art History: Erkki Kurenniemi in 2048 (2015) and he is currently working with Lori Emerson and Darren Wershler on laboratories in media and the humanities.

28 September 2016 -‘Who is the digital revolution for?’ (part of the Brighton Digital Festival)

 Speakers at 'Who is the digital revolution for?' event

Organised by the ESRC STEPS Centre, the Sussex Humanities Lab and the Creative Technologies Research Group at the University of Sussex, this panel discussion explored how society and digital technology can shape each other for the common good. 

Chair: Andrew Sleigh, Producer, Lighthouse and Maker Assembly. 

Ann Light, Professor of Design & Creative Technology (Engineering and Design), University of Sussex 
Tim Jordan, Professor of Digital Cultures, University of Sussex
Caroline Bassett, Director, Sussex Humanities Lab
Kat Braybrooke, Researcher, University of Sussex 
Adrian Smith, Professor of Technology & Society, Science Policy Research Unit and STEPS Centre, University of Sussex 

Materials from the event (created the STEPS Centre):

Blog: What can we learn from digital transformations? by Nathan Oxley and Adrian Smith (STEPS blog)

Storify: Tweets and images from the event (

Main event page: Who is the digital revolution for?  (STEPS website)

July 2016
7 July 2016 - Music Theatre Research Fellow Tim Hopkins presented research-in-progress for his current project entitled “Recalling the End: Melancholy Artefacts”.

The piece continues a theme in Tim’s work whereby historic transformations of the world by technology are explored in lyric theatre forms. This piece focuses on three objects from the close of World War One, and aims to evoke sensations of connection to the objects themselves - even though they will not, cannot, be present.
For more information on the project and presentation:

21 July 2016 - Ecologies of Intimacy: Sensing data workshop

As part of Ecologies of Intimacy this event focused on practices of data and sensing data. For more information visit

June 2016
28 June 2016 - Tensegrity: a potential concurrent computing element. A sound installation by Joe Watson (Sussex Humanities Lab Creative Practice Sessions 2016)

Poster advertising sound installation by Joe Watson

Tensegrity is a structural form that was first deployed in the late 40s by sculptor Kenneth Snelson, and then named (as a contraction of 'tensional integrity') and theorised by Buckminster Fuller, who described "islands of compression in an ocean of tension". Since then there has been a growth of interest in such diverse fields as architecture, structural engineering, biomechanics, robotics, artificial life, reservoir computing, even management organisation. Oddly, in an area where such terms as resonance, vibration, oscillation, damping, tuning, calibration, frequency, phase, waveform, and feedback are commonplace, the connection to music and sound is rarely made. This installation attempted to plug the form into a musical context, but also continued Joe's practical explorations of the work of cybernetician Gordon Pask, who, in the last years of his life, experimented with tensegrities as "elements of a potential concurrent computer".

Joe Watson is a musician, engineer and composer, who is undertaking a practice-led Music PhD at Sussex where he also works as a Teaching Fellow in the Music Department. Joe has engineered and produced many commercial releases, touring the world several times as part of the band Stereolab, and releasing his own albums as Junior Electronics.

14-15 June 2016 - Musedelica - Symposium on Psychedelic Music

 Poster advertising Musedelica symposium

The symposium focused on psychedelic music, especially (but not limited to) electronic dance music and other topics related to psychedelic substances, altered states of consciousness and music. Students and early career academics presented their research alongside a small number of more established academics, in an intimate and friendly setting. Musedelica brought together researchers from a range of fields,to facilitate the sharing and synthesis of new ideas, and help to shape an exciting and interdisciplinary field of research.

8 June 2016 - Taina Riikonen workshop: Listening to/for meat sounds and gender in sound art (Sussex Humanities Lab Creative Practice Sessions 2016)

The workshop involved listening to and engaging with explicit 'meat' or body sounds (beyond 'voice') as a material and source of cultural and gendered significations, and as a source of inspiration for sound art. 

Dr. Taina Riikonen is a Helsinki-based sound explorer and practitioner who moves in the liminal spaces between sound arts and research. Her current activities meander around body sounds, radiophonics, artistic research, philosophers’ voices, and performative writing.

May 2016
19-20 May 2016 This&THATCamp Sussex Humanities Lab

 Poster advertising This&THATCamp

The Sussex Humanities Lab hosted a This&THATCamp on 19 and 20 May. Over two days humanists, technologists, educators, and learners came together to share, build, and make together around the theme of scale. THATCamp (The Humanities and Technology Camp), is a collaborative ‘unconference’ in which delegates propose ideas for sessions. In addition to the unconference elements, the event also featured a keynote from Melodee Beals (Loughborough) entitled ‘A Series of Small Things: The Case Study in the Age of Big Data’ - the ‘this’ in ‘This&THATCamp’.

 The Camp threw open the Sussex Humanities Lab to do things that included finding out everything we could about a single day in history (Friday 6th February 1789), workshopping better interfaces for presenting live betting data for political events, and sharing our nascent digital humanities teaching programmes and best practice.

19 May 2016 Melodee Beals: 'A Series of Small Things: The Case Study in the Age of Big Data' (This&THAT Camp keynote)

 Poster advertising This&THATCamp keynote by Melodee Beals

Scale is elusive. Too large and your project loses cohesion—your subjects, once flesh and blood, are diminished to mere ones and zeroes. Too small and you are hounded, relentlessly, by calls of ‘so what?’ and ‘yes, but!’ Yet, perhaps the answer lies not in finding some perfect mean or median of these extremes, but to explore how the case study can be reimagined and re-integrated into large-scale analyses of the human condition and how the combining of close and distant reading can lead to great things.

13 May 2016 Designing Interfaces for Creativity launch

Poster advertising DesInC launch

A launch event for the DesInC Symposium which takes place this autumn, organised by Chris Kiefer and supported by the British Academy BARSEA scheme. Performances and a panel discussion, from

Graham Dunning: Mechanical Techno
Andrew Duff: Vectrex + Modular Synth
Thor Magnusson / Alice Eldridge / Thanos Polymeneas-Liontiris: Threnoscope + Strings

4 May 2016 - Wonderland Day (Sussex Humanities Lab Creative Practice Sessions 2016)

Wonderland was a day of sound, live visuals and DIY electronics zones - a chance to see the Lab's technologies used in fun, experimental and creative ways. Drop in interactive demonstrations curated by SHL Research Technicians Ioann Maria Stacewicz and Alex Peverett showcased the technologies available in the Sussex Humanities Lab.

April 2016
4 April 2016 - Experimenting with the British Library’s digital content and data for your research (Biritsh Library Labs Roadshow)

The workshop showcased some of the British Library’s digital content and data, addressing some of the challenges and issues of working with it and how interesting and exciting projects from researchers, artists, and entrepreneurs have been developed via the annual British Library Labs Competition and Awards. There were also be presentations about research at Sussex Humanities Lab and the session ended with an ‘Ideas Lab’ encouraging participants to explore, experiment and think of ideas of what they might do with the British Library’s digital content and data. 

18 April 2016 - James Smithies: "Software Intensive Humanities" (Sussex Humanities Lab Seminar Series)

Poster advertising seminar given by James Smithies

This talk outlined a chapter in James’ current monograph project, ‘The Digital Modern: Humanities and New Media’ (Palgrave Macmillan), due for completion in 2016. The chapter explores issues raised by the intensive use of software by humanities researchers, through the lens of debates about ‘software-intensive science’ that are troubling scientific research communities. The goal is to define what software-intensive humanities research is, and to explore its implications for daily practice and epistemology. One impact, for example, is to alter practice towards a laboratory-like model where research proceeds through the development and use of tools designed to enhance (or in some cases make possible) research outputs. Such work is embedded in sets of practices and experiences that need to be understood if we are to fully understand the impact of digital modernity on research practices in the humanities, and has special implications for people involved in the development of humanities research laboratories.

James Smithies is Director of King’s Digital Lab (KDL) at King’s College London. He was previously Senior Lecturer in Digital Humanities and Associate Director of the UC CEISMIC Digital Archive at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and has worked in the government and commercial IT sectors as a technical writer and editor, business analyst, and project manager. He is currently working on a monograph for Palgrave Macmillan titled 'The Digital Modern: Humanities and New Media'.

25 April 2016 - Simon DeDeo "Information Theory, Big History, and the Minds of Others" (Sussex Humanities Lab Seminar Series)

Poster advertising seminar given by Simon DeDeo

When did the French Revolution become revolutionary? How did pre-20th Century London manage violence? How did Darwin synthesize Victorian science to write the 'On the Origin of Species'? Historical archives are the raw material that can answer questions like these, and information theory provides new ways to understand the thoughts and experiences of the individuals who created them. Invented to describe the flow of signals through the transcontinental telephone network, information theory can be used to quantify both the processing of vast bureaucracies and the attention and cognition of individuals. Simon DeDeo provided an introduction to the theory, and—drawing on recent collaborative research with scientists and scholars in the humanities—three case studies described above. He showed how we can leverage the hard labour of digital archivists to get a new picture of history and, often, a glimpse of the minds—elite and non-elite—of the past.

Simon DeDeo is external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute and assistant professor at Indiana University in Complex Systems and in Cognitive Science, where he runs the Lab for Social Minds. The Lab conducts research aimed at understanding both the origins and the possible futures of human society. Recent collaborative work ranges from the centuries-long timescales of linguistic evolution, decade-by-decade shifts in European culture, the month-by-month dynamics of cooperation in indigenous society, day-by-day renegotiation of implicit collusion in distributed economies, and the second-by-second emergence of social hierarchies in online systems such as Wikipedia and in the social animals. The Civilizing Process in London's Old Bailey used text mining jury trials at London's Central Criminal Court between the late 18th and early 20th centuries to investigate the emergence of a new bureaucratic and social order.

March 2016
1 March 2016 - Broadcasting to Russia in the Cold War (Russian and East European Studies seminar series) 

The Cold War was not only an armed confrontation – an uneasy peace built on the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction – it also generated a "war of words" across the Iron Curtain. Communication was at the core of the non-shooting war between East and West with the Soviet Union, Britain and America (amongst many others) diverting vast sums of money and effort into the battle for the hearts and minds of audiences around the world. Moscow broadcast continually in the languages of Western Europe, seeking to convince audiences of the Soviet line on current affairs. The West too waged a media war, broadcasting on short wave into the Soviet Union, presenting western liberal views of the world while taking account of the limited knowledge of listeners. Much of the time broadcasts were blacked out by jamming and special techniques evolved to counter it. The recruitment of exiles, sometimes controversial, produced a unique creative working environment as broadcasters sought to bridge the emotional and ideological gap with its listeners. This seminar examined, in the context of this "war of the ether", the origins and establishment of the BBC Russian Service and its evolution into a mature and audible force in the geopolitics of the Cold War. 

Dr Elisabeth Robson worked for many years in the BBC World Service as a journalist, programme-maker and manager, founding and developing new departments and ending her career as head of the Russian Service.

 Dr Alban Webb is Lecturer in Digital Humanities at the University of Sussex. His research focuses on Cold War Britain and the role of public and cultural diplomacy in international relations. His book, London Calling: Britain, the BBC World Service and the Cold War, won the Longman-History Today Book Prize 2015.

8 March 2016 - Snoopers' Charter: Mass Surveillance, GCHQ and You

Watch the recording of this masterclass on the SHL YouTube channel.

How will the proposed UK Investigatory Powers Bill shape mass surveillance culture in Twenty-First Century Britain?           

Pioneering investigative journalist and author Duncan Campbell and former senior US National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence officer William Binney explored the lack of parliamentary and public oversight of the proposed Investigatory Powers Bill (aka The Snoopers' Charter), which is intended to confirm and consolidate GCHQs expansive powers and resources, asking what this means for our understanding of mass surveillance in contemporary society. Based on extensive research of the classified US and UK documents revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and 40 years of analysis, Campbell and Binney offer a unique insight into the United Kingdom's signals intelligence agency (GCHQ) and the rationale for the surveillance that silently permeates our daily lives.

Chaired by Dr Paul Lashmar, this Masterclass examined what roles civil society actors, such as academics and journalists, should play in effectively analysing and critiquing mass surveillance culture in the Twenty-First Century? Binney and Duncan debated GCHQ's capabilities, strategy and ambitions and suggested how future research can help frame issues of public interest on matters of surveillance.

In the 1970s Duncan Campbell was the first journalist to publicly reveal the activities of GCHQ, leading to his arrest and trial in the famous ABC Case. In the 1980s, as a result of Duncan's investigation for TV of the secret Zircon satellite programme, the BBC was raided by Special Branch. Brighton based, and a Sussex postgraduate alumnus, Duncan remains a prominent analyst of GCHQ's activities and is recognised as a knowledgeable and engaged critic by the intelligence community itself.

William Binney is a 30-year veteran of the NSA and prominent whistleblower. Described as one of the best analysts in the NSA's history, Binney was a high-profile critic of his former employers during the George W. Bush administration and accused both of violating the US constitution. He has been consistently critical of bulk collection by intelligence agencies and believes that it is ineffective in identifying terrorists.  Binney recently gave evidence to the UK Parliament’s Joint Committee on the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill and opposed GCHQ’s bulk collection methodology.

Cécile Chevalier & Andrew Duff:, Interactive installation, 2015

Cecile Chevalier installation a displaced reenactment of both contemporary digital social practice and the 
Internet as memory palace in which sonifications of memory traces are provoked, created, stored and replayed as digital data.

February 2016
5 February 2016 - Walking Bass (Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies (REPS) Seminar) 

 Poster advertising Walking Bass seminar

In this REPS seminar Fumi Okiji & Dhanveer Singh Brar delivered a lecture-performance based on their shared commitment to the black radical tradition, experimentalism and diasporic social life. Whilst their lecture-performance did not have a pre-determined end point, they moved through a variety of audio-visual materials and reference points including Charles Mingus, Actress, Walter Benjamin, Nathaniel Mackey, David Marriott, Bryan Wagner, Ella Fitzgerald, Zora Neale Hurston, William Pope L, New Orleans Second Line, Cedric Robinson, Zina Saro-Wiwa, Topsy Washington, John Coltrane, Fred Moten, Angel-Ho and Chino Amobi.

Fumi Okiji's research focuses on the black radical tradition. She is particularly interested in how expressive work can provide alternative forms of knowledge and models of progressive social organisation. Okiji is currently working on a proposal for a research project, How to Love Black Things: Expressive Work as Black Epistemology, which contributes to the debate concerning the nature of the intramural social life of black people. Recently awarded a doctorate from Royal Holloway, University of London, she wrote a dissertation arguing that jazz, in its embodiment of seemingly contradictory positions (on one hand, fostering human distinction, and on the other, embracing community), can be shown to provide an important, though precarious, model of what Theodor Adorno calls ‘reconciliation.' Okiji has recently completed a manuscript: Think All, Focus One: Jazz, Adorno and the Critical Potential of African American Expressive Form, based on this study. As a performer and maker of sound works, she is committed to exploring ways to develop her academic work to be better equipped and more empathetic in its engagement with art and expression.

Dhanveer Singh Brar is a theorist of black studies, in its intersections with critical theory and cultural studies. The research he undertakes encompasses black diasporic sonic culture from the mid-twentieth century to the present, the history of the black radical tradition and the politics of black critical thought. He has published in the journal Popular Music and has an article forthcoming in Social Text. Currently Dhanveer is writing a book on black electronic dance music entitled Teklife, Ghettoville, FWD>>: The Sonic Ecology of Blackness in the Early Twenty-First Century. He lectures in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Kingston University.

21 February 2016 - Networking, Technology and Orchestra (Brighton Science Festival, St Nicholas' Church, Brighton)

Members of the public were invited to take part in or observe rehearsals and performances of a new work by composer Ed Hughes. Up to ten members of the public took part in each performance, joining the players of Sussex Contemporary Music Ensemble, COMA. Visual instructions were given via a set of networked iPads.

22 February 2016 –  Andrew Prescott: “Searching for Dr Johnson” (Sussex Humanities Lab Seminar Series)

Poster advertising seminar given by Andrew Prescott

The origins of the digital presentation of the Burney Collection of 17th and 18th century newspapers lie in experiments with microfilm digitization by the British Library in the 1990s, and the primary aim was to facilitate easier access to the microfilm, not to produce a searchable archive. The provision of search was an afterthought, and the resulting problems caused by the poor quality OCR in the online version of the Burney Collection of British newspapers have been documented in detail by Simon Tanner, Laura Mandell and others. Helen McGuffie’s chronological checklist of Samuel Johnson in the British Press 1749-1784, was published in 1976 and was compiled without the aid of computerized search. Comparison between McGuffie’s checklist vividly illustrates the scale of the problems caused by the poor OCR in the online Burney newspapers. McGuffie lists 65 references to Dr Johnson in British newspapers in 1765. A basic search on ‘Johnson’ in the online Burney collection retrieves just 54 references, many of which are not to Samuel Johnson. A search on Samuel Johnson produces seven hits; searches on Doctor Johnson, Dr Johnson and Sam Johnson all produce no hits. The availability of McGuffie’s checklist gives an opportunity to explore why these problems occur and their implications for use and future development of resources such as the Burney Collection.

Andrew Prescott is Professor of Digital Humanities at the University of Glasgow and AHRC Theme Leader Fellow for Digital Transformations. He was for twenty years a Curator of Manuscripts at the British Library, and has worked in digital humanities units and libraries at the University of Sheffield, King’s College London and University of Wales Lampeter.

 29 February 2016 –  Tiziana Terranova: “Hypersocial or Social (Network) Automation” (Sussex Humanities Lab Seminar Series)

In this talk, Tiziana Terranova considered the question of 'social automation', that is the way in which social relations are coded in social networking platforms both as sets of relationships (friends, followers etc) and also as series of actions (to like, to follow, to add, to tag etc). The talk examined the conceptions and images of the social enacted by software deployed within these platforms which have transformed the internet and also the ways in which the notion of social automation challenges or confirms Marxist theories of automation linked to the factory. What kind of automation is 'the social factory' subjected to?

Tiziana Terranova is Associate Professor of Cultural Theory and New Media in the Department of Human and Social Sciences, University of Naples 'L'Orientale'. She is the author of Network Culture: politics for the information age (2004) and of the forthcoming: Hypersocial: social network technologies between automation and autonomy (University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming). She has recently edited a special section of the journal Theory, Culture and Society on ‘Eurocrisis, Neoliberalism and the Common’ and a special issue of the journal anglistica (co-edited with Iain Chambers) entitled 'Inflections of Technoculture: Postcolonial Theory, Feminism and Biodigital Media.'