Issue 2 Launch Party: Saturday 25th February

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The Still Point Journal is celebrating the launch of Issue 2: The Researcher’s Notebook.

Join us for an evening of live readings and music at The Gallery Café, Bethnal Green, and pick up your free copy of the print edition.

Saturday 25th February

7:30-10:30pm

The Gallery Cafe, 21 Old Ford Road, London E2 9PJ

Join our Facebook event here for updates about the evening.

For Issue 2 of The Still Point Journal, we asked contributors to imagine that their submissions are part of a collective Researcher’s Notebook in both a literal, and a broader, metaphorical sense. The issue explores the idea of the journal as a space for spontaneous discovery or self-creation.

To whet your aesthetic appetite:

The Researchers Notebook includes contributions from Bihter Almac, Isobel Atacus, Liz Bahs, Leonid Bilmes, Tianmei Chen, Chiara Raffaella Ciampa, George Clayton, Oline Eaton, Daniyal Farhani, Armenoui Kasparian Saraidari, Annegret Marten, Penny Newell, Charlotte Northall, Romy Nuttall, Jon Paterson, Stuart Ruel, Matthew Shaw, Lavinia Singer, and Ruth Tullis, and is designed by Becky Healey.

We have a limited number of copies to gift to our launch party attendees, so come along to adopt your own.

The Still Point is a literary journal for Arts and Humanities researchers from institutions across London: featuring poetry, prose and visual artwork, it is a space for storytelling about the research process. Generously supported by the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP)/ Arts and Humanities Research Council.

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Sound Series #3: Sound and Architecture

I finally found it. A real architectural structure of sound. Muttering and uttering voices, music and speech along with an ever-present echo of static.

There is nothing quite like a moment of inspiration. It is childish glee: Christmas come early. That moment you realise there is someone else who has made that same connection. Rather than worry about the lack of original thought, it is affirmation and excitement that sparks my brain into action. It is moments like this when I remember why I study.

IMG_3509 Recently, I have been playing with the idea of ‘visualising the invisible’, considering the architecture in Chaucer’s The House of Fame dream vision to be structures built of sound. It was Cildo Meireles’s Babel (2001) which – when I visited before the June re-hanging – was positioned in the centre of its own room at the Tate Modern, and sparked so many ideas.

Meireles’s piece explores ideas about the unity of humanity despite language barriers, paralleling the story of the Tower of Babel. The work is an imposing structure made of hundreds of radios tuned to different stations in many different languages. I was most struck by my reaction to take a picture of this architectural structure of sound. Pressing the shutter-button, I realised that this was not an experience to be captured as a still image.

The hearer/viewer moves around the structure; the eye is looking for something that is not there. I took in the barely audible noise, the music I recognised and started to hum too, the languages I cannot speak and wondered at this at once static and constantly moving piece of architecture, like the House of Rumour in Chaucer’s dream vision. It was a moment of connection, with the music and speakers, with those in the room moving around me and the tower. It was a moment that will never happen again. And yet a memory of it lives on in the sonic space of the room.

The sound is heard and disappears and it is held in the sonic structure. While Meireles is concerned with exploring ideas of overcoming barriers and unity, I question how do we deal with the transitory nature of sound? Do the radios demonstrate a fixity? Or simply a way of transmission? The room was almost overwhelming with the various sounds and yet most of the people around me where silent when experiencing Babel (2001). I, however, was speaking rapidly to my very bemused friend. Sound can become tangible in these moments, for language, for communication, for the artwork; adding another layer human radios.

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Charlotte Rudman is a second year PhD student in the Department of English at King’s College London, researching sound and sound representations in medieval dream vision poetry, @charrud.

Poetry of Place: an interview with ourselves

Poetry of Place took place on 17th May at Enitharmon Press in Bloomsbury. The event brought three poets into conversation about how place and poetry intersects in their work. Fran and I had met for the first time in March, after answering a call put out by the London Arts and Humanities Partnership for two PhD students to run a poetry event. We had a couple of months to get to know each other, plan, meet the poets, and figure out how to bring our own research interests into dialogue, and with the poetry. A real challenge, not least because we’re from very different disciplines  – or so we thought!

Right! I’m studying for a PhD based in the English department at KCL, situated between Old English and Performance studies. My research looks at Sutton Hoo, a seventh century medieval burial ground, and Old English poetry. I’m interested in how poetry and place come together at this site to (re)create history. I’m very much picking up on medievalists Gillian Overing and Marijane Osborn’s ‘conviction – or fiction – of the past as being located through or as place’ (Overing and Osborn, 1989).

Whilst I’m at UCL working across the fields of Architectural History & Theory, and Music, looking at the work of  the architect and composer Iannis Xenakis.    Continue reading

Call for Submissions: Digital Selves in Research

Digital Selves in Research // Online Symposium // July 2016
Open for submissions now – 31st May 2016

Do you feel like a machine?
Do you feel like you can’t ‘see’ anymore, but instead ‘scan’?
Has too much scrolling on jstor sent your eyes permanently rolling?
Do you feel like your hands have fused with your keyboard?
When was the last time you went to the library without your laptop?
Can you touch your notes? [1]

Our research combines papers and screens, inks and apps, books and blogs. Our explorations go behind doors and hyperlinks. Our heads are in the clouds and the Cloud. We inhabit spaces digitally and IRL, but sometimes the line between these spaces seems blurred. This has got us thinking: what effect does environment, these processes, have on us as researchers? Are we living in a researcher’s utopia or dystopia?

We invite creative responses to the experience of researching across analogue and digital, between real and virtual worlds. In parallel to our forthcoming print Issue #2: The Researcher’s Notebook, we want to explore how digital spaces and tools shape our thoughts in surprising ways. Continue reading

On Lists & List-Making

a list is a numbered thing, a conversion of thought to action, but in the future, always in the future

I shall read this and this and this and this and this

a list is a projected image of a future, all-knowing self, smiling in the knowledge of all that is behind her (does she have a list?)

listless (adj.) mid-15c., from Middle English liste “pleasure, joy, delight”

reading list, to-do list, packing list, christmas list, shortlist, new year’s resolutions, blacklist, hit list, 50 ways to leave your lover, 19 Cats in Exactly The Wrong Place

the Ten Commandments

list of words about lists: distil, mundane, meaningful, ordered, timetable, uncertainty, final, purpose, idealism, consolidation, stability, confusion, resolution, ownership, compulsive

Susan: List of things I like, List of things I dislike, list of where I’ve been, list of books to read, list of words, music heard, records to buy, Hindu gods, list of best films 1-228 (trails off)

Susan announces she does not believe in god or life after death in point a) of a list

lists are a form of therapy, of self-awareness, of self-definition

writing something just so you can cross it out makes you feel good about yourself

in Susan’s journals, littered with lists, she says that she “creates herself”

we want things we cannot have

control, immortality, knowledge, neatness, tidiness [classification]

finity

the list goes on

we seek to control the wild and writhing monster of all of the world, try to wrench its irrepressible body into a box, by writing bits down in numbered bullet points

I want to know all of it, I want to understand all of it

“the vertigo of lists” “the giddiness of lists” “poetics of catalogues” (Eco)

the list is hand wringing, anxious, desperate but it is also intellectual ambition, it is drive, it is purpose, it is hopeful. Resolutions, plans, the mundane mixed with the magnificent, with the seedlings of a thought or idea, a twinkle in the eye of a life. Blinking and dropping and formulating and classifying and ordering. Step by step by step a small thing becomes something larger. Step one step two step three

mind-wandering magic, a trigger to the unconscious, fruitful associations

concrete poetry

“dredged out of the lopside of your brain”                         “a fabulous mulch”

the list as delusion

we seek to capture our thoughts, to preserve a flash of juicy and crackling inspiration; we fear the loss of the mind should we neglect to write it down next to numbers or black spots

is not a great thinker merely one more…

  • able
    • practiced
      • inclined to organise a particular aspect of the world into numbered bullet points? This means this leads to this means this leads to this therefore this?

everything changes; thoughts are not immutable, they are unfixable like the world

a list is memory, trying (pointlessly?) to hold on to something fleeting

bullet point – snap(shot), the shutter clicks down and we try to freeze a fleeting instant, all around the frame disappears, it is not fixed, it looks different each time we look; unattainable, naïve, illogical, brilliant, pathetic, surreal, nonsensical, pointless, fascinating

I look wistfully at my lists


Clare Robson completed her Masters in the History of Art and Visual Culture at the University of Oxford last year. She now works and writes lists in London. She writes about art at clare-robson.co.uk and tweets @clargrob

Notes to self: draft one

what is beowulf

THIS IS WHAT I\M DOING RIGHT NOW

This feels too big. I think because really I
can’t decide what it is exactly that I am trying to say// what it is I’m
trying to do here.
What ARe we dealing with here? Thinking alot about latour. The SOCIAL. SOCIAL SOCIAL STORIES
COMMUNITY YES.

What about words… ?

UNDERSTANDNG OF WHERE THE MIND IS. existing vs occurring.
this is why I’m
struggling.

‘storied knowledge, then is
neither classificatory nor networked. It is

meshworked’[1],, so how to describe or explore it linearly without
it coming out like utter fluff? aRGH THIS

THIS THIS. The ethnographic FRAGMENT, ‘that which can
be lifted and
taken away’.[2] SEE PAGE 19!!!
He includes a map. Map! Illustration!

THIS IS GOOD: WHAT DISCURSIVE STRATEGIES?
something to be said about the perceived
continuity that exists across time?
sHE’S
SAID IT ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHATARE YOU DOING TO ME

Find a nice storytelling quote please, and
do what he does here. Or some sort of performance
quote. Talk here about martin carver, GIllian overing
and tim… importantimportant this is

THE SITE, THE STORY,,,

NOTE HERE WHAT THE description says,. LOLOLOLol
there is no more work for me to do. She’s
now looking at everything
since 1939… p. 55-6.
don’t even think about _writing this yet ok.

[1] tim ingold, being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge and description (London: Routledge, 2001)

[2] Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage (fiND PLACE?: University of California Press, 1998)


Fran researches Anglo-Saxon texts and objects, and contemporary cultural and creative practices. She has conversations with her notes, but is usually careful to make sure these are confined to DRaft_sutton_Hoo_1.doc or some other appropriately named and carefully filed away document. This is a collection of notes-to-self from a very early essay draft, in the order they appear, edited only for layout.

#ResearchersNotebook

Fran notebook pic

The deadline for our current Call For Submissions approaches at the end of January…

For Issue #2 of The Still Point Journal, we ask contributors to imagine that their submissions are part of a collective Researcher’s Notebook in both a literal, and a broader, metaphorical sense. We want to explore the idea of the journal as a space for spontaneous discovery or self-creation/autopoeisis; whether this be through pages from an actual notebook filled with doodles, mind-maps and beautiful scrawls, or pieces which explore the researcher’s thought-process and the genesis of an idea over time.

… so to get everyone in the mood we asked Twitter folks to post pictures of their notebooks and beautiful scrawls with the hashtag #researchersnotebook to @stillpointLDN.

Here’s a flavour of the cute and the curious, kicked off by our chief editor… send in your own over the next couple of weeks and add to the collection.

Call for Submissions Issue #2: The Researcher’s Notebook

Submissions are now closed, although we are now seeking applications from artists and illustrators to bring this printed beauty to life!
Contact editor[at]thestillpointjournal.com.

Each [notebook] was a small landscape through which it was possible to wander, and within which it was possible to get lost. […] The notebooks, taken together, represented an accidental epic poem of [the writer’s] life, or perhaps a dendrological cross-section of his mind.

Robert Macfarlane, Landmarks

For Issue #2 of The Still Point Journal, we ask contributors to imagine that their submissions are part of a collective Researcher’s Notebook in both a literal, and a broader, metaphorical sense. We want to explore the idea of the journal as a space for spontaneous discovery or self-creation/autopoeisis; whether this be through pages from an actual notebook filled with doodles, mind-maps and beautiful scrawls, or pieces which explore the researcher’s thought-process and the genesis of an idea over time.

Pages from Frida Kahlo’s notebook
Pages from Frida Kahlo’s notebook

We invite submissions of non-fiction, short fiction, poetry and visual work in all forms. Responses can be as creative and as broad as you like, and we are particularly interested in seeing work that blurs the boundaries of form and genre.

The Still Point Journal is a literary journal for Arts and Humanities researchers in London, funded by the LAHP (London Arts & Humanities Partnership) and the AHRC. The Still Point aims to be a forum for dialogue, collaboration and experimentation, and offers a space for creatively writing through ideas in original forms.

‘The still point’ reflects our experience of being new researchers and represents those moments when we take time out of our days for deep thinking and reflection: when the world gets quiet but our minds are still racing. The journal’s particular focus is on non-fiction writing, related – however tangentially – to our research and the kind of rich thinking and exploration we do during the course of this research.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Non-fiction pieces should be between 1,000 and 3,000 words
  • Short stories should be no more than 2,000 words in length
  • Please send between 1 and 3 poems
  • For all visual submissions please send us a high quality digital file.

Deadline: Please send any questions or submissions to submissions@thestillpointjournal.com by the 31st January 2016.

If you want to discuss an idea with us before you make a submission, please drop us a line: editor@thestillpointjournal.com. Contributors should be currently affiliated with a research institution, although we are also interested in hearing from artists, designers and illustrators who would like to collaborate with researchers on their pieces.

The aim of the journal is to encourage conversation and exchange between researchers from disciplines across the Arts & Humanities and in the thriving academic community of London. We hope that The Still Point Journal will engage readers and writers in new conversations and open up the narrow niches of our research to different disciplines and new audiences.