Semester One


13 September 2023“Mariupol Memory Park” (Victoria Donovan)
Photo by IF69, Mariupol, 2022. From the Mariupol Memory Park website.
13 September 2023 – Mariupol Memory Park

Victoria Donovan

In the spring of 2022, the troops of the Russian Federation destroyed Mariupol. Tens of thousands of people died. The brutal siege and occupation destroyed not only lives and architecture, but also displaced a vibrant community of cultural activists. A year later a group of artists, activists and researchers from and connected with the city came together to commemorate Mariupol’s values of openness, cultural reflection and struggles for equality. Filmmakers, audio-artists, and writers who contributed to the Mariupol Memory Park project will join us to discuss Mariupol’s past, present and future at this one-off multi-media event.

20 September 2023 – Time Stitches: A poet converses with her translator

Elodie Laügt and Eleni Kefala

This event is organised in collaboration with the Centre for Poetic Innovation.

Time Stitches by Eleni Kefala is a poetry book about roots and uprooting, personal and collective history in a broken time, and the power of poetry to stitch together the threads of our past and future. Peter Constantine offers a “stunning, powerful, and important” translation of “an exquisite set of linked poems that center around British colonial Cyprus, but radiate out into other eras, more distant in the past and more recent”. A 2022 New York Times Globetrotting pick, the Greek original won the State Prize for Poetry in Cyprus in 2014, while the translation received the 2022 Elizabeth Constantinides Translation Prize. Eleni, who teaches at the University of St Andrews, and Peter, a New York based, multi-award-winning literary translator and director of the Literary Translation Programme at the University of Connecticut, will talk about Time Stitches and share their thoughts on writing and what is lost and gained in translation.

Carol Adlam

4 October 2023 – Lost Detectives, True Confessions: Claire Whitehead in conversation with Carol Adlam

Claire Whitehead and Carol Adlam

Award-winning author-illustrator Carol Adlam takes us into the magical world of illustration, graphic novels, creative writing, and adapting crime fiction. Join us as she and Dr Claire Whitehead (Department of Russian, School of Modern Languages) discuss their four-year collaborative project ‘Lost Detectives: Adapting Old Texts to New Media’, which has culminated in a major graphic novel, The Russian Detective (Jonathan Cape, 2024). Carol’s wide-ranging adaptations across audio drama, libretto, and graphic novels give us new insights into how artists and academics can work together. Carol will show us previously unseen behind-the-scenes material, original artwork, as well as tips, tricks, and a little bit of magic.

‘Tunis medina and Bab Bhar’ by David Bond

11 October 2023 – Light from the East: Middle Eastern Art Now

Fabio Caiani

Join us for a multi-media celebration of Middle Eastern art in honour of Catherine Cobham (former Head of the Arabic and Persian Department). Renowned Syrian poet Nouri al-Jarrah will read from his latest work The Stone Serpent, an epic poem that revives an ancient love story between a Syrian man and a Celtic woman. Catherine Cobham will read from her translation of the poem. The event will include Iranian music, song and poetry, visual art, and reflections on Arabic literature.

25 October 2023 – “Menstruation Matters: Fighting Stigma in Scotland Today”

Bettina Bildhauer

At least half of the world’s population experience menstruation and the menopause at some stage in their lives, and yet we hardly ever speak about it. Scotland is just emerging as a global leader to change this: passing policies for free period products, campaigning against stigma and promoting environmentally friendly menstrual cups, pads and underwear. Menstrual leave, menopause in the workplace and the tampon tax are discussed in many countries now. This panel discussion brings together activists and academics to share their work and research on making menstruation less stigmatised, more affordable and more sustainable.

Semester Two



31 January 2024 – Kaili Blues (dir. Bi Gan) 

Keru Cai

Join us for a screening of the 2015 film Kaili Blues, which brought international acclaim to the young Chinese filmmaker Bi Gan. Hailing from the “remote” province of Guizhou, where the film is set, Bi Gan is a member of the Miao ethnic minority and incorporates elements of Miao culture into the film. Centring upon a doctor who lives in the city of Kaili and who moonlights as an amateur poet, the film follows the main character’s journey to find his nephew. What results is a dream-like 41-minute long take, in which past, present, future are blurred. The screening will be followed by a discussion between Dr Keru Cai (University of St Andrews) and Dr William Schaefer (University of Durham), to illuminate aspects of Bi Gan’s cinematography in portraying a small Chinese city and its inhabitants. 

Credit: ‘Border sign’, Malc McDonald (Wikimedia Commons) 

07 February 2024 – Stories in Migration: Politics, Gender and Literature in UK 

Liliana Chávez-Díaz & Dunia Gras

What memories will remain of those without a leave to remain in the UK? In which language will they be written, preserved, or read? Led in collaboration by two literary scholars from St Andrews and Barcelona, this round table invites the audience to use the lens of storytelling to discover more about transnational identities and linguistic diversity in the pre and post Brexit context. The event presents testimonials from Latin American female authors currently living in the UK: Laia Jufresa, Paula Porroni, Carolina Orloff and Chloe Aridjis. Their artistic projects focus on movement, that of the real, gendered bodies of immigrants and that of their own authorial selves. The event offers a unique opportunity to deepen our understanding of the complex relationship between gender and politics, and the role of testimonial literature in making sense of reality.  

Credit: ‘Camaralzaman Woke, and to His Amazement Found a Most Beautiful Damsel’, in More Tales from the Arabian Nights (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1915), edited by Frances Jenkins Olcott and illustrated by Willy Pogány. 

14 February 2024 – When there’s love inside  

Orhan Elmaz 

Join us this Valentine’s Day for a literary conversation about everything the heart may (or may not!) desire in One Thousand and One Nights. With a spotlight on Shahrazād, the heroine narrator of the Nights, we discuss how her tales testify to a brilliant mind and are a captivating combination of turns of fate, the threat of death, perilous journeys, unexpected riches, spells and transformations. Love and passion as we may experience them today feature many of her tales, including love at first sight, the love between and for royalty (and for fairies!), the love between talented slaves and their owners, (failed) one-night stands, abducting brides, homosexual desire and sex, extramarital affairs, revenge sex, and orgies. Come and talk love and the Nights

27 March 2024 – Poetry in translation: On Yellow Evenings

Jordi Larios 

Jordi Larios, a Catalan poet, translator and a Professor of Spanish at the University of St Andrews, will be in conversation about the making of On Yellow Evenings, his latest book (Fum d’Estampa Press, 2023), with Dominic Keown, Emeritus Professor of Catalan Studies at the University of Cambridge, a translator and a leading authority in the field of Catalan Studies. On Yellow Evenings features one hundred poems from Jordi’s previous collections translated into English by Ronald Puppo, an award-winning translator and a Research Fellow at the Universitat de Vic ― Universitat Central de Catalunya. 

03 April 2024 – Energised Ukraine: Art in Precarious Times 

Viktoriia Grivina

What is energy? Is it something that we remember only at moments when we think it might disappear completely? During this talk we invite you to look at the way Ukrainian artists have reflected across time on the country’s vast energy landscapes. We ask what it means to make art when the infrastructure of the city you live in is crumbling, when blackouts are changing daily routines and habits, and where creative energy comes from in precarious times. The event will conclude a series of online seminars ‘Ukraine: Energy in the Spotlight 2’ held in coordination with St Andrews’s Centre for Energy Ethics.