Lamp and Owl Digital - Birkbeck University of London Events Listing

Birkbeck and Bloomsbury Campus Events 2014, 17 – 23 November

18 November – 13:00-14:00 – The impact of curiosity-driven learning on the self-organization of developmental process: robotic models

Venue: B04 Gordon Square

Booking: None required

Infants’ own activities create and actively select their learning experiences. I will review here recent models of embodied curiosity-driven learning and information-seeking, and show that these mechanisms have deep implications for development and evolution. First, I will discuss how they can self-organize epigenesis with emergent ordered behavioral and cognitive developmental stages. I will outline a robotic experiment studying the hypothesis that progress in learning in and for itself generates intrinsic rewards: the robot learner probabilistically selects experiences according to their potential for reducing uncertainty. We show that a learning curriculum adapted to the current constraints of the learning system automatically forms, and at the same time constrains learning and shapes the developmental trajectory, sharing many properties with infant development, with a mixture of regularities and diversities in the developmental patterns. In particular, it leads the learner to successively discover object affordances and vocal interaction with its peers. I will also present an experiment with a model of vocal development in the young infant, which shows how the interaction between curiosity-driven explortion of vocalization and imitation of speech sounds produced by social peers self-organizes important stages of vocal development. Finally, I will argue that such emergent developmental structures can guide and constrain evolution. In particular, they constitute a reservoir of behavioral and cognitive innovations that can be recruited later for functions not yet anticipated, including primitive forms of language.

18 November – 13:30-15:00 – State Feminism: What Have We Learned and What is Next?

Venue: B04 Malet Street


Speaker: Amy Mazur (BIH Visiting Fellow)

The Research Network on Gender Politics and the State spent over 15 years conducting a systematic cross-national study of the impact and influence of women’s policy agencies in 13 post industrial democracies across five different areas of government action. How do women’s policy agencies help women become represented in the affairs and policies of democratic government? do they actually make a feminist difference within state arenas? and what are the conditions for achieving representation and success? These are the major questions of the state feminism project.

Amy Mazur, co convener of RNGS, will present the approach and findings of the final multi method analysis, or capstone project, published in 2010 in the book by Dorothy McBride and Amy Mazur with the participation of Joni Lovenduski, Joyce Outshoorn, Birgit Sauer and Marila Guadagnini. The Politics of State Feminism: Innovation in Comparative Research (Temple University Press).

18 November – 19:00-20:30 – Morandi and Picasso lecture

Venue: Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, 39a Canonbury Square,  London N1 2AN

Booking: tickets £8 (£5 members)

Support a former Birbeck School of Arts student, Jacqueline Cockburn, who will be comparing the different dynamics in the work of two of the greatest artists of the 20th Century.

Tickets are available at £8 (£5 members) by contacting the Estorick Collection 020 7704 9522.

19 November – 19:00-21:00 – Introducing and exploring the Jo Spence Memorial Library

Venue: Room B17, Gordon Square

Booking: no booking required

A topic close to our heart at the Lamp and Owl as the newsroom shares space with them!

Introducing the collection: how this material came to Birkbeck – Patrizia Di Bello
Research focus: The Hackney Flashers – Angela Stapleford
Research focus: Gender and Representation – Lorna Robertson
Collection Highlights and Your Area of Interest – What’s here for you?

20 November – 19:00-21:00 – BiGS Event: Book Launch: Queer Cities, Queer Cultures, ed. by Matt Cook and Jennifer V. Evans

Venue: Gay’s the Word Bookshop, 66 Marchmont Street, London WC1N 1AB

Booking: None required

Book Launch: Queer Cities, Queer Cultures: Europe Since 1945, ed. by Matt Cook and Jennifer V. Evans

You are invited to celebrate the publication of Queer Cities, Queer Cultures: Europe Since 1945. Complimentary refreshments will be served. Books will be available at a discount price.
Queer Cities, Queer Cultures examines the formation and make-up of urban subcultures and situates them against the stories we typically tell about Europe and its watershed moments in the post 1945 period. The book considers the degree to which the iconic events of 1945, 1968 and 1989 influenced the social and sexual climate of the ensuing decades, raising questions about the form and structure of the 1960s sexual revolution, and forcing us to think about how we define sexual liberalization – and where, how and on whose terms it occurs.

21-22 November – 09:30-15:00 – Skills London

Venue: ExCeL London


Skills London 2014 is the biggest jobs and careers event of the year. The 2013 event featured over 180 exhibitors with 35,000 jobs and Apprenticeships on offer for 15-24-year olds. Over 30,000 young people, their parents, carers and teachers came along and met employers, training providers, colleges and organisations.

21 November – 13:00-17:00 – ‘1979 Revisited’: The Cultural Production of ‘Structures of Feeling’ under Thatcherism

Venue: Keynes Library, Room 114, 43 Gordon Square


This working seminar will explore the mass ‘democratization’ of cultural production during the late 1970s and 1980s, from radical printshops and writers’ workshops to film co-operatives and community art projects, all of which contributed to a lively, alternative, and oppositional, culture under Thatcherism.

The seminar will also draw upon Raymond Williams’s concepts of ‘structure of feeling’ and ‘alternative’, ‘oppositional’ and ’emergent’ cultures, as a means for recovering the ‘lived experience’ of others under Thatcherism. A range of ‘grassroots’ creative practices and cultural forms will be discussed (e.g. community radio, film and video, print ephemera, badges, arts, graphic design, music).

As a ‘working seminar’, it is designed to maximise participation in discussion to explore the connections between grassroots cultural production and the ‘structure(s) of feeling’ of people’s lived experiences under Thatcherism.

Registration & coffee from 12.30pm

Facilitators: Herbert Pimlott (BISR Visiting Research Fellow) and Sophie Hope (Birkbeck)

Contributors include: Jim McGuigan, Jess Baines, Pat Holland, Anne Robinson and Patrizia diBello

Outline reading available: An introduction to Raymond Williams’s concepts will be available prior to the seminar: e-mail

22 November – 10:00-12:15 –  Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship in Action

Venue: Brigade, The Fire Station, 139 Tooley Street, London SE1 2HZ


Birkbeck BEI is pleased to invite all students to a special Saturday morning event at the wonderful Brigade, near London Bridge.

We have lined up two fantastic speakers, first Marsha Oza will discuss her role as a contemporary jewellery designer-maker and answer questions on entrepreneurship from students with an interest in lifestyle businesses.

We are then pleased to offer the opportunity to hear Chef Simon Boyle’s fantastic story of entrepreneurship and social enterprise, involving both Brigade and the Beyond Food Foundation. A small selection of canapés will be available for tasting, courtesy of the Brigade team.

22 November – 13:30-17:00 – Renaissance Loves II

Venue: School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square,


The London Renaissance Seminar meets at Birkbeck regularly to discuss the literature, culture and history of the English Renaissance. It is free and welcomes all students, academics and people with an interest in the Renaissance or early modern period.

22 November – 15:00-16:00 – Lamp and Owl Digital WordPress Training

Venue: Newsroom, Gordon Square

Booking: none required

Overview of how your account works and what you need to do as an editor or contributor to Lamp and Owl Digital. We’ll meet in the newsroom and then move on to another room if numbers are sufficient.


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