Sussex Humanities Lab

SHL Talks

The Sussex Humanities Lab Talks are open to all.
Seminars are held in the Digital Humanities Lab, second floor, Silverstone Building, University of Sussex (unless otherwise stated)

 Full details for all our events are published as they become available on our events page


SHL Research Seminars Spring 2020

3 February 3pm
Sally Jane Norman (University of Victoria, Wellington) - Erewhon: the Impossibility of Being Nowhere

5 February 5pm
Gabriel Egan (De Montford University) - Why teach humanities letterpress printing?

10 February 4pm
Patrick Crogan (UWE) & Caroline Bassett (University of Cambridge) - Automation Anxiety Special Issue Launch

20 April 4pm Rita Raley (University of Santa Barbara California) TBC

27 April 4pm Marcus O'Dair Distributed Creativity, blockchain technology and the creative economy. 

SHL Research Seminars Spring 2019


  • 4 February 2019 Jack Stilgoe (UCL)  How experiments become futures: Social learning for self-driving cars
  • 18 February 2019 Sean Takats (Roy Rosenzweig Centre for History and New Media) Subjectivity and Digital Research
  • 25 February 2019 Thorsten Ries (University of Gent / SHL Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow)  A journey into the historical materiality of born-digital archives: digital forensics analysis and narratives
  • 25 February 2019 Ben Roberts and Mark Goodall (eds) Book launch - New Media Archaeologies
  • 27 February 2019 Lydia Liu (Columbia University) The Uncanny in the Digital Machine
  • 28 February 2019 Stefan Höltgen (Humboldt University of Berlin) Heart of Glass: Silicon, a Medium within Media


  • 1 March 2019  Beatrice Fazi (SHL), Olga Goriunova (Royal Holloway, University of London), Kate O'Riordan (MFM), Joanna Zylinska (Goldsmiths, University of London) Book launch - Contingent Computation: Abstraction, Experience, and Indeterminacy in Compuational Aesthetics
  • 14 March 2019 Thor Magnusson (MFM) Book Launch – Sonic Writing
  • 18 March 2019 Digital Studies Network Seminar


  • 1 April 2019 Katherine Hayles SHL Seminar


  • 20 May 2019 Andrew Flinn (UCL) SHL Seminar


  • 17 June Mark Goodhall The Ghosts of Digital Media SHL Seminar
SHL Research Seminars Autumn 2018

Technology and the Humanities: Developing a Media Archaeology Lab’

Annie van den Oever (University of Groningen / University of the Free State)

1 October 2018, 3-5pm 

In addition to traditional media archaeology, whose main methodological repertoire for long was oriented on discourse analysis, experimental media archaeology aims at a playful, hands-on heuristic in which re-enactment as a method takes center stage. Why? What is the epistemological potential of an experimental, apparatus/object/sense-oriented approach to media technologies?
This intervention will address the question how experimental methods can help create alternative approaches and new material for a history of media use that takes the material and sensorial dimensions into account. In line with the 2014 plea in Technē/Technology and the 2016 plea in Exposing the Film Apparatus, I will propose to open the glass cases in museums and actively use the apparatus collections and make them relevant for technology / media / art research in the Humanities by turning archives into research labs.

Prof Dr Annie van den Oever is Head of the Film Archive & Media Archaeology Lab and Associate Professor of Film at the University of Groningen; Extraordinary Professor for Film and Visual Media at UFS, South Africa; and a Paris 1 Research Associate for Audiovisual Studies at Institute Acte, Panthéon-Sorbonne.


SHL Research Seminars Spring 2018

Monday 29 January Michael Takeo Magruder (Kings College London): Materialising Data: the creative potential and complex challenges of analogue-digital art (DH South: SHL/University of Brighton joint seminar, held at University of Brighton)

Monday 12 February Dr Simon Lindgren (Umea University): The hybrid logic of hashtag activism: Untangling frames, platforms, and phases in the #MeToo campaign

Monday 9 April Professor Ryan Bishop (Winchester): Art, Labs and the Cold War

Monday 23 April Professor Deb Verhoeven (University of Technology Sydney): Solving the Problem of the “Gender Offenders”: Using Criminal Network Analysis to Break Male Domination

SHL Research Seminars Autumn 2017

Monday 2 October (3-5pm)

PhD Research in Progress

Kat Braybrooke - Power geometries at the museum: Introducing the ‘collections makerspace’ 
Manuel Alejandro Cruz Martínez - “Time Historians”: A sneak peek into a deconstructionist historical video game
Emma Harrison - ‘Dividuated’ Communities: Collectivity in an Age of Ubiquity
Nathan Richards - Looking at data that explores the techno-vernacular of digital heritage practice among black/African communities in the U.K.

Monday 23 October (3-5pm) Dr Niamh Moore (Edinburgh): DIY Academic Archiving: Learning from Community Archives

Monday 13 November (3-5pm) SHL/Brighton joint seminar: Laura Molloy

Friday 8 December (3-5pm) Dr Michael Barany (Dartmouth College): 'In International Mathematics, Who Knows You’re a Pseudonym? Bourbaki, fiction, farce, and the postwar transformation of a discipline.'

Monday 11 December (4-5pm) Dr Rebecca Wright (Sussex Humanities Lab): 'Mass Observation "Online"'

SHL Research Seminars Spring 2017

16 January 2017 (3-5PM)
James Williams (Deakin University): Reverse Takeovers: a Sublime and Egalitarian Future for the Humanities

13 February 2017 (3-5PM)
PhD Research in Progress
Kat Braybrooke - Hacking the gallery together?
Stephen Fortune - Asking Questions of Data?
Wesley Goatley - Critical Data Aesthetics
Emma Harrison - Collective Action in the Age of Ubiquitous Computing
Manuel Alejandro Cruz Martínez - Making a Video Game about History: Workshops, Prototypes, and Iteration

6 March 2017 (3-5PM)
Ben Williamson (University of Stirling): Governing Behaviour and Cognition through the ‘CompPsy’ Sciences: Computing, Psychology and Educational Data Science

27 March 2017 (3-5PM)
Margaret Boden (University of Sussex): How is Computer Art Held Back by the Limitations of Current AI?

29 March 2017 (3-5PM)
Alan Liu (University of California Santa Barbara): Open, Shareable, Replicable Workflows for the Digital Humanities: The Case of the 'WhatEvery1Says' Project

Places for this seminar are limited. Please register via Eventbrite.

8 May 2017 (3-5PM)
Georgina Voss (London College of Communication; University of Sussex): Situated Systems

SHL Research Seminars Autumn 2016

Poster advertising seminar given by Jussi Parikka

From a Studio to a Lab: Art, Technology, and the Laboratory Fever: Jussi Parikka (Winchester School of Art)

Monday 26 September 2016, 3–5pm 

ABSTRACT: This talk will revolve 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 is part of the research project What is a Media Lab?

BIO: 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.

Chair: Beatrice Fazi
Respondent: Ben Roberts

Poster advertising seminar given by Jette Kofoed

Juggling Pace, Affectivity and Ephemerality of Digital Youth Lives: Jette Kofoed (Aarhus University)

Wednesday 5 October 2016, 1–2.30pm 

A Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth (CIRCY) and Sussex Humanities Lab (SHL) research seminar.

ABSTRACT: 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.

BIO: Jett Kofoed is Associate Professor at the School of Education, Aarhus University Denmark. During the autumn term she will be visiting the Sussex Humanities Lab.

Chair: Rachel Thomson

Respondent: Sara Bragg

Poster advertising seminar given by Matthew Fuller

Black Sites & Transparency Layers: Matthew Fuller (Goldsmiths)

Monday 17 October 2016, 3-5pm

ABSTRACT: 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 will propose an approach to such a condition drawing on examples from art, interface design, architecture and film.

BIO: 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.

Chair: Beatrice Fazi

Respondent: David Berry

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

Feminist Media Futures: Caroline Bassett (University of Sussex), Sarah Kember (Goldsmiths) and Kate O’Riordan (University of Sussex)

Monday 7 November 2016, 3-5pm

ABSTRACT: 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 introduces this project in process and invites 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).

Chair: Beatrice Fazi
Respondent: Sally Jane Norman

 Poster advertising seminar given by Stamatia Portanova

Moving without a Body, as a Consequence of Post-Capitalist Neurosis: Stamatia Portanova (Università degli Studi di Napoli L'Orientale)

Monday 28 November 2016, 3-5pm


ABSTRACT: 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, I will draw 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 will deploy 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.

BIO: 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 SocietyComputational Culture, Space and CultureFibreculture and AngelakiHer research focuses on philosophy, digital culture and the aesthetics of movement

Chair: Sally Jane Norman
Respondent: Beatrice Fazi

Poster advertising seminar given by Andrew Goffey

What Politics for Software Culture? Code, Power, Practice: Andrew Goffey (University of Nottingham) 

Tuesday 6 December 2016, 3-5pm

ABSTRACT: How, 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 will offer a tentative response to the question of the politics of software by an exploration of three important but contested concepts: code, power and practice.

BIO: 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.