Event Programme 2016

Utopia and Connected Communities: a one-day conference

The British Library Conference Centre

9am – 5.15pm

Free Event

The only thing real is waking and rubbing your eyes. The Fall, 1980




As we reach the end of the 500th anniversary year of the publication of Thomas More’s Utopia, we want to reflect on the relation between utopia and community as articulated, explored and problematised across the various utopian or utopia-centred activities of the Connected Communities programme over the past 12-18 months.

This one day conference at the British Library will consist of presentations, panels, provocations, short screenings, performances, dialogues, rants, theories, interdisciplinary or indisciplinary contributions, about the utopia constructed and/or critiqued in Connected Communities.


Conference Programme

8.45-9.15 Registration, tea and coffee


9.15-9.30 Introduction ‘Utopia 501’

George McKay


9.30-10.15 Keynote address ‘Free cultural spaces’

Alan Dearling


10.15-11.15 Utopia and well-being



Teri Howson, Bangor University, Lisa Carter, Artist



Anne Rathbone, University of Brighton, Mikey Reynolds, Arts Connect, Ruth Mowbray, Arts Connect


Chair: Carenza Lewis, University of Lincoln


11.15-12.15 Performing utopia


‘The Reasons’

Mike Wilson, Loughborough University, Antonia Liguori, Loughborough University, Sharron Kraus, Singer/Song writer


‘Ghost Lab’

Geoff Bright, Manchester Metropolitan University, Sue Moffet, New Vic Theatre Borderlines, Max Munday, Community Broadcaster


Chair: Kate Pahl, University of Sheffield


12.15-13.00 Lunch

to include ‘Utopian picnic’

Tessa Tricks, Hubbub, Stine Wilhelmsen, Hubbub and Paul Hurley, University of Southampton


13.00-14.30 Utopia, space, place


‘Belonging maps’

Yvonne Hall, Durham University, Kate Pahl, University of Sheffield, Josh Cameron, University of Brighton, Paul Neale, the Recovery College, West Sussex, Saff Brooker, the Recovery College, West Sussex



Dr Deborah Maxwell, University of York, Dr Toby Pillatt, University of Sheffield, Liz Edwards, Lancaster University


‘Exploring Middlefield’s utopia’

Professor Carenza Lewis, University of Lincoln, Dr Ian Waites, University of Lincoln, Lucy Picksley, Community Engagement Officer


Chair: Teri Howson


14.30-15.10 Utopia, movement and tradition


‘Re-use of cultural heritage’

Graeme Evans


‘“Welcome”: utopian methodologies and epistemologies’

Samuel McKay


Chair: Mike Wilson, Loughborough University,


15.10-15.25 Short Break – tea and coffee


15.25-16.25 Utopia and culture; or,


‘Utopia and play’

Kate Pahl, University of Sheffield, Steve Pool, Artist, João Paulo Simões, Frontier Media, Patrick Meleady


‘Wonderland: the art of becoming human’

Amanda Ravetz, Manchester School of Art, Michaela Jones, Mark Prest


Chair: Geoff Bright, Manchester Metropolitan University


16.25-17.15 Theory and practice


‘Utopia, religion, theory’

Johan Siebers, Middlesex University, Marcus Hurcombe, Lapis Philosophorum’



Kate Pahl, University of Sheffield, David M Bell, Newcastle University






Travel and accommodation costs, where required, will be organised and met by the Connected Communities programme. Bursaries for contributing community partners will be available. We plan also to meet for a meal, informal discussion, networking the evening before the conference, and hope you can join us for that.



For enquiries, and abstracts to: Rachel Daniel, Connected Communities administrator, University of East Anglia, r.daniel@uea.ac.uk