Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research

When does biography begin? Led by Simone von Buren, Bern University of the Arts

Tuesday 11 June 2019
Time: 14.00-18.00
Venue: Fulton Building, Rooms 202 and 203
University of Sussex
Free, all welcome
Disabled access

How can we draw, shape, dramatize, and write about the lives of others? What events in a subject’s life do biographies tend to privilege? And when does biography begin? 

When does biography begin (Copyright Benno Seidel)Mats Staub '21 - Memories of Growing Up', Photo: © Benno Seidel

This workshop started with an exploration of the innovative dramaturgical approaches in the biographical installations of Swiss artist Mats Staub. Staub asked participants to narrate their lives starting from a particular place: with the year they turned 21, the people they were in love with, their experiences of birth and death. We then shared our own experiences in the field through guided discussion and exercises. This included choosing your subject, sources, form and perspective, ethical dilemmas, the commodification of life writing and the uses of critical theory.

It featured Visiting Researcher Simone von Buren from Bern University of the Arts. Sussex University Dr Hope Wolf and Prof Margaretta Jolly offered a response.


For further information please contact h.wolf@sussex.ac.uk