Past Events, 2011-12

The Privatization of Religion – Is the Philosophy of Religion To Blame?

A Public Lecture by Roger Trigg (University of Oxford)

9 May, 16.30 – 17.15

SOTA Library, 19 Abercromby Square, University of Liverpool

Should religion stay out of public life, and religious freedom claim no special right? A senior English judge recently said in Court that ‘religious faith is necessarily subjective, being incommunicable by any kind of proof or evidence’ .Is the philosophy of religion in any way responsible for this view of religion, now permeating law and politics?

This event is free and open to all.

Patterns of Thought: A Conference on Art and Education

Patterns of Thought: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Aesthetics,

Education and the Arts

21-22 June 2013, The Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool

Organised by the University of Liverpool and the Bluecoat Gallery in collaboration with National Museums Liverpool, FACT, METAL, and Liverpool Biennial, this 2-day event brings together philosophers, artists, education theorists, museum professionals, policy makers and practitioners in order to explore and develop education programmes and practices for children and families in galleries and art organizations.

This forms part of the larger AHRC Patterns of Thought Project, led by Dr Panayiota Vassilopoulou, that seeks to develop and promote the early-years teaching of reflective skills through engagement with art, especially in gallery and exhibition spaces. We hope that this event will bring pedagogical methods, as well as philosophical reflection more broadly, into productive interdisciplinary conversation with education theory, curatorial studies and the arts, so as to co-ordinate aims and objectives in planning strategically for the future.

The conference will consist of keynote talks and roundtable discussions with an important emphasis placed on group discussion and dialogue between disciplines. The conference is supported by the AHRC, the British Society for Aesthetics, and the School of the Arts, University of Liverpool. Confirmed speakers include Ayisha De Lanerolle (Conversation Agency), Eileen John (Warwick), Jane Sillis (Engage), Jeremy Newton (Prince’s Foundation) Morag Morrison (Cambridge), Nicola Shaughnessy (Kent), Peter Worley (Philosophy Foundation), Sara Liptai (SAPERE) and representatives from the Bluecoat, FACT, METAL, National Museums Liverpool, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Museum, Tate Liverpool and the Whitworth Gallery, who will be highlighting innovative aspects of their educational programmes.

The conference begins in the Auditorium of the Bluecoat Gallery at 10am on Friday 21st June and closes at c. 5pm on Saturday 22ndJune. Lunch and all refreshments are included and there is a conference dinner on the Friday evening. For directions, see here.

For more information please email Shaun May at, Dr. Panayiota Vassilopoulou at visit our website:

Tickets: £10/£5 Places are limited, please book in advance through our website.


Ayisha De Lanerolle

Director of the Conversation Agency (specialising in philosophical enquiry for arts, education and cultural sector organisations).

Eileen John

Associate Professor in Philosophy at the University of Warwick, Eileen researches on how art and creative practices broadly speaking engage us as cognitive and ethical ‘works-in-progress’. At the conference she will be speaking on ‘Appreciating the Art One Doesn’t Like’.

Sara Liptai

Part of the SAPERE P4C organisation, Sara is particularly interested in music as a stimulus in philosophy for children and the role of the arts in philosophical inquiry generally.

Morag Morrison

University Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge, Morag co-ordinates the MPhil in Arts, Culture and Education.

Jeremy Newton

The founding Chief Executive of the Arts Lottery Fund and former Managing Director of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), Jeremy is Chief Executive of The Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts. At the conference he will be speaking on ‘Children and Art: Arts-based Approaches to Narrowing the Attainment Gap’

Nicola Shaughnessy

Professor of Performance and Director of the Centre for Cognition, Kinesthetics and Performance at the University of Kent, Nicola’s research is in the areas of applied theatre, contemporary performance and cognitive theory. At the conference, she will be speaking on ‘Perceiving Differently: Autism, Participatory Performance and Extraordinary Aesthetics.’

Jane Sillis

Director of Engage, providing advocacy and support agency for gallery education.

Peter Worley

Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Peter developed the method of Philosophical Enquiry (PhiE) that is at the heart of The Philosophy Foundation’s work and is now its CEO. At the conference he will be speaking on ‘The Art of Thinking’.

Also speaking at the conference will be the following representatives from local cultural institutions and arts organisations:

Elaine Bates (Manchester Museum)

Ian Brownbill (METAL)

Julia Bryan (NML)

Kathryn Dempsey (FACT)

Bec Fearon (the Bluecoat)

Deborah Riding (Tate Liverpool)

Alex Thorpe (Manchester Art Gallery)

Esme Ward (Whitworth Gallery)

“Victims over Victors”

A Public Lecture by Anthony Paul Smith (La Salle University)

Hosted by the Association of Continental Philosophy of Religion and the Liverpool Forum for European Philosophy

Thursday 13th December, 17.30

Eden building, room 014, Liverpool Hope University

Is there a way to think about victims and victimhood that doesn’t just pity them and thereby participate in the vicious circle of victors and victims? François Laruelle argues that instead of thinking about victims we should think through victims. It isn’t that there are victims over there, and we ourselves are outside this circle, but that the victim is uniquely revealing of what it means to be human. With philosophy’s historic focus on heroes and victors over victims it has been unable to deal with one of its most important questions: what does it mean to be human? In this lecture Anthony Paul Smith will introduce the general outline of Laruelle’s project before developing Laruelle’s ethical theory through a discussion of media-friendly intellectuals, photo-journalism, and the role theory plays in the pursuit of justice.

Anthony Paul Smith is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at La Salle University. He is the translator of Laruelle’s Future Christ: A Lesson in Heresy (Continuum) and co-translator of his Struggle and Utopia at the End Times of Philosophy (Univocal) and Principles of Non-Philosophy (Bloomsbury). His forthcoming Laruelle: A Stranger Thought (Polity) provides a synthetic introduction to Laruelle’s non-philosophy.

Free admission; no need to book.

Symposium on Ethics and Robotics

14 November 2012

Foresight Centre, University of Liverpool

Autonomous systems are on the increase. Not only in obvious forms such as robots, but also in the guise of driverless cars, unmanned air vehicles, surveillance and monitoring, intelligent software and so on. Indeed both industry and research funding bodies are investing heavily in this direction. But there are many questions that need to be addressed before autonomous systems become widespread.

The core aspect of an ‘autonomous system’ is that it makes decisions for itself, about what to do, when to do it, where to do it and so on. But since these decisions are now taken away from humans, how do we know the autonomous system will make the choices we would have done?

So, questions about the safety, trustworthiness and ethics are vital. Equally important are the societal aspects concerning legality and social integration. What will make autonomous systems legal, and how can this be ensured? What will make us want to interact with such systems, and do we really need to like them or ever trust them?

This workshop brings together researchers from across a range of disciplines in an informal setting to discuss these issues, to share understanding and to stimulate collaboration.

For further details, see

Liverpool Biennial

The collaboration with Liverpool’s Biennial continues with…

Understanding Art: A series of family workshops to explore the meaning and value of art

More details available herehere and here.

For more information, please contact Francesca Williams: (0151 709 7444).

Philosophy in the Gallery

Tate Liverpool Gallery Talk by Philosopher Katrina Mitcheson

Wednesday 21st November 17:30 – 19:00

University of Liverpool and Tate Liverpool present a Philosophy in the Gallery event in conjunction with the Forum for European Philosophy.

She will be discussing work by Sophie Calle currently on display in Tate Liverpool’s Biennial exhibition, Thresholds.

The talk costs £5. Advanced booking is required as space is limited. Phone 0151 702 7400 for more information or to book.

Changing Capacities: Changing Identities

Part of the Disability and Deaf Arts Festival

Foresight Centre, University of Liverpool, Saturday 1st September 2012, 10-4pm

This public event, organised in conjunction with DaDaFest 2012 (Disability and Deaf Arts Festival), aims to explore ways to transform the experience of bodies that change through illness, age or ‘disability’. Through presentations from creative artists and disability studies scholars the event will stimulate discussion about the impact of changes on people’s day-to-day lives so that the lived experience of life-limiting illness and related phenomena is not always one of loss. Participants already confirmed include Professor Margrit Shildrick, Dr Janet Price and the artist and scholar Amy Hardie.

This event forms part of the Department’s New Thinking on Living with Dying Research Network. For more details and discussion around this theme, see:



Philosophy in the Gallery

Tate Liverpool Gallery Talk by Philosopher Darren Ambrose

Wednesday 25th April 17:30 – 19:00

University of Liverpool and Tate Liverpool present a Philosophy in the Gallery event in conjunction with the Forum for European Philosophy.

On Wednesday April 25th at 17:30-19:00 Dr Darren Ambrose will be discussing Francis Bacon’s Three Figures and Portrait 1975 in the gallery followed by discussion in Tate’s group reception room. Darren Ambrose is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media, Art and Design at Canterbury Christ Church University. His forthcoming book, Counterparts: A Study of Gilles Deleuze & Francis Bacon, emerged out of a major collaboration with the Estate of Francis Bacon.

Tickets cost £5 and prior booking is essential. For booking or for more information, please call the Tate ticket office on 0151 702 7400.

Art and Philosophy Workshop Series

Liverpool Biennial 2012 has invited artists and thinkers to bring a new understanding of hospitality for our times. In collaboration with the Philosophy Department, University of Liverpool we will explore three aspects of hospitality in relation to humanism, economy and the media.

Human Surface Skin – 3 July 2012, 2-5pm

Victoria Gallery and Museum, Leggate Theatre, University of Liverpool?, Ashton Street, Liverpool? L69 3DR

Free, but registration is recommended. Please visit our website to reserve a place:

Pamela Rosenkranz, artist, Liverpool Biennial

Robin Mackay, philosopher, Falmouth University

John Hunt, Head of Clinical Engineering Research Unit, University of Liverpool.

This workshop will integrate scientific, artistic and philosophical perspectives on the phenomenon of skin as human surface. In examining the biological history as well as the socio-cultural functions of skin, the discussions shall develop an approach to skin as cultural surface that seeks to trace its evolutionary products like for example nakedness as socially codified medium in order to ask about skin’s technological, scientific, and artistic future. Discussing the far-reaching artistic, theoretical and ethical implications of the topic of skin moreover it addresses the question of the boundaries of the human and the non-human.


Pamela Rosenkranz works across a broad range of media including sculpture, installation, painting, video and photography to create a unique conceptual language. She manipulates highly recognisable objects and images, underpinning them with gestures to construct isolated moments and groupings. Spandex fabric, canvases, mops, nylon tights and Evian water bottles are imprinted, stretched and distorted to represent ideas through unstable realities and de-contextualised forms. This tactile process transforms the objects into physical beings, leaving bodily traces of flesh and touch.

Robin Mackay is a philosopher and director of UK arts organisation Urbanomic, which promotes research activities addressing crucial issues in philosophy and science and their relation to contemporary art practice, and aims to engender interdisciplinary thinking and production. His research interests focus on the ‘gap’ between scientific knowledge and humans’ spontaneous self-understanding, and the aesthetic and political ramifications of philosophical positions that attempt to resolve this disparity – in particular, new variants of ‘geophilosophy’, which negotiate the relationship between philosophical thought and the contingency history of the earth, in dialogue with geology, chemistry, and physics.

As well as directing Urbanomic’s publishing operation and curatorial activities, Mackay is editor of Urbanomic’s publication Collapse: Journal of Philosophical Research and Development, each volume of which brings together philosophers, thinkers from other disciplines, and contemporary artists. He writes and speaks regularly on art and philosophy and has worked with several artists, including Florian Hecker, John Gerrard and Conrad Shawcross, developing cross-disciplinary projects. He has also translated various works of French philosophy, including Alain Badiou’s Number and Numbers, François Laruelle’s The Concept of Non-Photography and Anti-Badiou, and Quentin Meillassoux’s The Number and the Siren.

John Hunt, DSc is a Professor in Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine and Head of Clinical Engineering in the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease of the University of Liverpool. He has academic interests in techniques to assess the cellular and molecular mechanisms of biocompatibility, tissue engineering and stem cells. He is one of the University’s Research Champions for the Materials for the Future Theme. He is associate editor for Biomaterials, subject editor for Biomaterials in Current Opinion in Solid State and Materials Science, member of the editorial boards for European Cells and Materials and International Journal of Adipose Tissue.

Hunt has been exploring life with a number of artists working with bioart concepts and installations, such as John O’Shea who is an artist in residence in his labs He also worked with Jens Hauser as the technical science body helping to keep life in installations for the exhibition Sk-interfaces which showed at the FACT and the Casino Luxembourg ( For the exhibition of the Sk-interfaces at FACT he opened his laboratory doors to many of the artists requiring to bring their works to life.

Next workshop in the Series

Around Ours – 11 July 2012, 3–5pm

Jeanne van Heeswijk in conversation with Owen Hatherley on the relation of hospitality and economy in the context of the terraced housing and in particular what it means to live well.

Supported by School of the Arts, University of Liverpool.

For more information, visit:

These workshops were made possible by a University of Liverpool Knowledge Exchange voucher award to Dr Panayiota Vassilopoulou.

Undergraduate Philosophy Conference, University of Liverpool

Please come along to support two days of thinking along with a range of international young philosophers!

10th – 11th March 2012

Seminar Room 1 in the Philosophy Department Building. 7 Abercromby Square (Building no. 143 on the campus map).

Keynote Speakers

Richard Gaskin (University of Liverpool), Philosophy and Pain

Stella Sandford (Kingston University), John Locke – Continental Philosopher?

Educating Wellbeing: The Contributions of Philosophy and Religion

Friday 10th February, 1.00 – 4.30

Seminar Room 1, Department of Philosophy, 7 Abercromby Square

A Philosophy in the City Event, in association with the Forum for European Philosophy


John Atherton (University of Chester)

Chris Baker (University of Chester)

Beverley Clack (Oxford Brookes University)

David Lewin (Liverpool Hope University)

Panayiota Vassilopoulou (University of Liverpool)

An afternoon workshop devoted to understanding how philosophy can make us feel good. Philosophers and theorist from around the UK who work in the European tradition of philosophy will talk about how their research impacts on the well-being agenda. This is the inaugural public event the University of Liverpool is holding in association with the Forum for European Philosophy and we look forward to telling you about our future plans.

Creating Futures: Synthetic Biology, Genomics, and the Creation of Life

Monday 21st November 2011, 4-6pm, with refreshments from 3.45pm.

Seminar Room 5, The Management School, University of Liverpool (Building 427 on Precinct Plan)Leonardo da Vinci, 'Studies of Embryos' (between 1509 and 1514)

How far can we go in the engineering of life? What is the future of our species? Molecular biology has advanced over the last few decades at a rate almost unprecedented in the history of science.  These advances have had crucial implications for basic philosophical questions about our understanding of life generally, and ourselves in particular.  Professor John Dupré (University of Exeter) will discuss some of these advances and their implications for such questions as the nature of genetic information, the processes of evolution, and what it is to be human.  Professor Rob Beynon will respond and Professor Stephen Clark will lead the discussion.John Dupré is Director of Egenis and Professor of Philosophy of Science, University of Exeter (

Rob Beynon is Chair of Proteomics at the University of Liverpool (

Stephen Clark is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and has recently published ‘Philosophical Futures’ (

This event is a collaboration between the University of Liverpool’s Department of Philosophy (in association with the Royal Institute of Philosophy) and the Culture and Creativity Research Network ( and contributes to the University’s Changing Cultures Research Theme.

Contact Dr Nedim Hassan ( for further information.

Theory and the Festival

2011 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.  To celebrate, the School of the Arts at the University of Liverpool is running The Liverpool Winter’s Tale Festival, involving a number of events which, they say, “celebrate, analyse and respond to its obsessions with grief and hope, endings and renewals.”

As part of the festival, the Department of Philosophy will be running a series of three seminars on the topic of ‘Theory and the Festival’.


17.00 on 15th November, 22nd November and 29th November


Seminar Room 3 in the Philosophy Department (7 Abercromby Square)

Our feasts / In every mess have folly, and the feeders / Digest it with a custom.

Taking our cue from the Shepherds’ Festival in Act IV, Scene 4 of The Winter’s Tale and using this as our foundational text throughout, this series of three seminars will consider the challenge that the category of the carnivalesque poses to contemporary theory. At stake will be the productive difference between the structure of the festival and the structure of late capitalist existence. The orienting question will be: does the festival provide a compelling alternative to modern thought structures or is its affirmation merely reactionary nostalgia?

The seminars are open to all and no prior registration is necessary. Please just turn up if you’re interested.  For further information, contact Dr Daniel Whistler <>.

Touched: Philosophy Meets Art

Friday 19th November, 9.30am-5.00pm

A one day conference organised by the Philosophy Department, University of Liverpool and Liverpool Biennial 2010: TOUCHED at Victoria Galleries and Museum, Ashton Street, L69 3DR.

Speakers: Prof. Berys Gaut (St Andrews); Prof. Sue Golding, (Greenwich); Prof. Matthew Kieran (Leeds); Prof. Derek Matravers (Open University); Prof. Peter Osborne (Kingston); Dr Panayiota Vassilopoulou (Liverpool).

Fees (includes lunch and coffee): early registration, until October 20th, £10; late registration £20.  Student bursaries available.

Sponsored by: The British Society of Aesthetics, The Mind Association, The Royal Institute of Philosophy, The Department of Philosophy and the School of Arts, University of Liverpool.

Click here to visit the conference website.

Insights: Academic Research and Cultural Institutions
October – December 2010, Philosophy Department, University of Liverpool

This series of events gives those interested in the philosophy of art, art history, museum studies and related disciplines the opportunity to engage with and learn from distinguished professionals in Liverpool’s leading cultural institutions. The talks are free and open to all.  The Insights series is specially relevant to students who are undertaking postgraduate studies in related fields, as well as to interested undergraduates who are considering a research or career path in arts and culture.

Monday 4 October 2010, 3.30-4.45:
Chrissy Partheni, Head of Museum Partnerships, National Museums Liverpool

Monday 8 November 2010, 3.15-4.30:
Gregory  Scott-Gurner, Director, The Art Organisation Liverpool

Monday 6 December 2010, 3.15-4.30:
Roger Phillips, BBC Radio Merseyside

Click here for more information, or contact Dr Yiota Vassilopoulou at

Liverpool Biennial Philosophy Talks
September-November 2010
All events take place at 52 Renshaw Street.  Click here for full programme details.

Wednesday 22 September 2010, 6.30pm
ZIA SARDAR: Touched by Wonder: Art and Religion in the 21st Century

Ziauddin Sardar is a writer, broadcaster and cultural critic. His numerous books include Postmodernism and the Other and Balti Britain: A Provocative Journey Through Asian Britain. A Visiting Professor of Postcolonial Studies at the School of Arts, the City University, he is a former co-editor of Third Text.

Wednesday 20 October 2010, 6.30pm
FRANCO ‘BIFO’ BERADI: Acceleration of the Infosphere, psychopathology and the ambiguity of therapy

To be touched increasingly means to be in touch. Franco Berardi is a writer, media-theorist and media-activist. Over many years he has analysed the relation between the changing nature of work and the increasing use by capitalism of communication technologies and culture to generate value out of our creativity and emotions. In this lecture he will discuss sensibility and the psychopathology implied in the connective mutation of the general intellect. What are the possibilities for a therapy that is conceived in terms of social control to become a new path of autonomisation from the capitalist domination of the mind?

Wednesday 27 October 2010, 6.30pm

AbdouMaliq Simone is an urbanist and Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths College, London. In his latest book City Life From Djakarta to Dakar. Movements at the crossroads (2010) he describes the surprising ecologies of everyday life in some of the fastest growing urban centres in the world. What happens when bodies, materials and affect intersect in these global cities of the South broadens our understanding of what cities are and could be.

Saturday 30 October 2010, 2pm
The Marx Lounge in Conversation
ALFREDO JAAR – David Harvey and
What, How & for Whom/WHW
As part of The Marx Lounge Alfredo Jaar engages speakers from the world of political theory and art to think about the ongoing significance of Marx in their work and in the world. What, How & for Whom/WHW is a curatorial collective formed in 1999 and based in Zagreb, Croatia.

Wednesday 3 November 2010, 6.30pm
NINA POWER: ‘The wound of work’

This lecture will address how contemporary work relates to both art and feminism, with a particular focus on contemporary modes of employment and consumerism. The body, as discussed by Herve Juvin in his recent book The Coming of the Body will be the starting point for an exploration of what it means when the body comes to stand in for the end of history, and how work and the body relate to one another in the present. Nina Power is a senior lecturer in philosophy at Roehampton University and the author of One-Dimensional Woman (Zer0 Books, 2009).

Friday 12 November 2010, 6.30pm
The Marx Lounge in Conversation

As part of The Marx Lounge Alfredo Jaar engages speakers from the world of political theory and art to think about the ongoing significance of Marx in their work and in the world. Chantal Mouffe is Professor of Political Theory at the University of Westminster. She authored numerous books, including (with Ernesto Laclau) Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics (1985); The Return of the Political (1993), The Democratic Paradox (2000) and On the Political (2005).

Wednesday 17 November 2010, 6.30pm

Is anger the first political emotion? In Infinitely Demanding (2007) the philosopher Simon Critchley identifies a massive political disappointment at the heart of liberal democracy and argues for an ethics of commitment that can inform a radical politics. In this lecture provisionally titled Fireflies, Critchley discusses the infinite demands of art and his growing interests in collaborative practices in relation to art and politics.

Philosophical Sundays at Tate Liverpool
First sunday of every month until 15th December 2010, 2pm-4pm.

Philosophy in Pubs bring their Philosophy Cafe to the Tate for drop-in discussions inspired by the gallery’s ever-changing collection. Free of charge, no booking necessary. Click here to find out more.

Art in Mind at Tate Liverpool
Thursday 18th November 2010, 7pm-9pm.

This special enquiry, run by Philosophy in Pubs, focuses on the 6th Liverpool Biennial: Touched. Free of charge, no booking necessary. Click here for details.

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