Saturday, 20 September 2014

Heroes & Villains - the Tenth Annual University Culture Day

Organised by the Culture & Arts Forum in collaboration with the Centre for Scottish Culture, as part of Scottish Heroes & Villains Month

Wednesday 1st October 2014
Baxter Room 1.36, Tower Building

1.30        Welcome

1.35        Graeme Stevenson (Music) – The Sounds of Victory

Graeme will be performing music composed to commemorate Admiral Duncan's victory at the Battle of Camperdown, including Dussek’s The Naval Battle and Total Defeat of the Grand Dutch Fleet by Admiral Duncan

1.55        Eddie Small (Creative Writing) – The Villainous Hero: McGonagall the Spoilsport

Debate rages over McGonagall's ‘poetry’ : was it intentionally, and therefore Villainously, bad, or did our Hero simply strive to do his best, stoically oblivious to criticism, abuse and derision? By examining contemporaneous sources, we will now definitively solve this age-old conundrum once and for all.

2.10        Jan Merchant (Archive Services) – My Hero, the Archivist

Archives are the repositories of our personal and community histories and identities. The mission for archivists is to care, manage and provide access to records that tell stories, provide evidence, and offer insights into our history. This talk illustrates the heroic range of projects, enquiries and activities that archivists do to engage, inform, educate and testify.

2.25        Billy Kenefick & Derek Patrick (History) – Architect of Victory?: Douglas Haig and the Great War

Douglas Haig remains a divisive figure. For many Haig is largely responsible for tens of thousands of Great War dead, an obstinate and detached commander-in-chief, whose refusal to engage with new technology cost the lives of many of his men. Criticised by later politicians and pilloried by historians, Haig’s reputation has suffered, conditioning public perceptions of the man who arguably led the British army to its greatest victory. However, in the wake of the Great War, the Field Marshal enjoyed unprecedented popularity, working tirelessly for veterans’ charities. This paper will explore the man and the myth in an attempt to establish whether he was a hero or villain.

2.40        Break for Refreshments

3.00        Matthew Jarron (Museum Services) – The Celtic Revival in Dundee – heroes in art at the turn of the century

Led by the painter John Duncan, Dundee became one of the major centres for the Celtic Revival movement in the late 19th and early 20th century. This talk will explore this fascinating period of art and culture, and show that many of the paintings and murals created during this period depicted great heroes of Scottish history and legend.

3.15        Neil Paterson (Botanic Garden) – Sweden 0 England 1: Carl Linnaeus, John Ray and the Naming of Names

The Swedish botanist Linnaeus enjoys a largely undeserved reputation as the father of scientific plant classification; in this talk Neil will argue that that honour should belong to the almost unknown Englishman John Ray.

3.30        Dominic Smith (Philosophy) – Committed to the Flames: David Hume, Hero or Villain?

David Hume was a man of many real or apparent contradictions – a proud Scot who ardently supported Union with England; one of the most celebrated British philosophers, who, to this day, is still listed as an ‘historian’ in his official citation at the British Library; and a librarian who famously claimed that certain types of book should be ‘commit[ted]… to the flames’. This talk will attempt to lay out some of the contradictions surrounding Hume, and to see through some of their ‘villainous’ and ‘heroic’ implications. Above all, Hume was a great debunker of myth and mysticism, and this, Dominic will argue, is where his true ‘heroism’ (or is it ‘villainy’?) resides for us.  

3.45        Rebecca Brown (Continuing Education) – Shakespeare’s Heroes and Villains

In this presentation, Rebecca will offer a (very) brief exploration of the divided self of Shakespeare's tragic figures.

4.00        Break for Refreshments

4.15        Susan Mains (Geography) – Pirates of the Caribbean: Resistance, Security and Nostalgia in Jamaican Seascapes

In recent years we have come to associate images of Caribbean pirates with big budget Hollywood depictions of witty scoundrels and subversive heroes. Exploring the context of Jamaica, this presentation digs a little deeper to explore some of the hidden stories surrounding a range of historical and contemporary pirates, and the implications these have for our understandings of local, national and transnational geographies.

4.30        Karen Petrie (Computing) – The Women of Station X

Bletchley Park was the central location for the UK's code breaking efforts during World War Two. It is not well-known that women made up the majority of the personnel and made a significant contribution to the code breaking. This talk (organised by the University’s Revealing Research) will try to tell some of these women's stories. 

4.45        Brian Hoyle (Film Studies) – Henry Fonda Shot Me in the Face While James Cagney Tap-Danced and Other Unusual Tales of Hollywood Heroes and Villains

The Hollywood studio system carefully cultivated the images of its stars and were often reluctant to allow them to display the full range of their acting talents in order to preserve that image. However, many of the most memorable performances by Hollywood stars came in works where they were cast against type, with the heroes exploring their darker side or screen heavies displaying disarming charm and kindness. This paper will look at the roles of several great actors including Henry Fonda, James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Fred MacMurray, Kirk Douglas and Lee Marvin.  

5.00        JOOT Theatre Company – Herod the Great

The company will end our event with a dramatised reading of the mediaeval Mystery pageant Herod the Great from the Wakefield Cycle

5.30        End

As always, admission is free and you are welcome to attend as much or as little of the programme as you like.