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GLITS Annual Interdisciplinary Conference 2019

5th June 2019          


This conference is made possible due to the generous support of the Goldsmiths ECL Department

OUTSIDERS is an interdisciplinary postgraduate conference hosted by the Goldsmiths Literary Seminar (GLITS) at Goldsmiths, University of London




‘After another moment's silence she mumbled that I was peculiar, that that was probably why she loved me but that one day I might disgust her for the very same reason.’

Albert Camus, The Outsider

According to Terry Eagleton, Outsiders are the literary mainstream: those who appear from the margins to write about liminal spaces and underdog characters are destined for success in publishing. But naturally we might wonder if, having relinquished their outsider status and specific experiences of life on the periphery, do the works and views of such writers become normalised by mainstream culture? Through such thinking, the homogenized outsider becomes a sign of hope in the late-capitalist machinery of productivity, a vessel through which representations of transcendence complement a politicized denial of waste and want.

Albert Camus’ outsider, Meursault, defies such late-capitalist logic. His tragic path towards the guillotine bucks the trend of protagonists who ‘make good in the end’. The outsider is stigmatized for refusing to network, conform and feel ‘correctly’. Meursault’s life is deemed criminal, related to experiences, real and fictional, of those who are cast aside, ignored and separated from society through legislative and illegal measures. Outsiders include persons marginalised due to racial difference, sexual preference, class identification, or the always-murky application of the idea of Otherness. Equally, among their ranks are the homeless, the zero-contracted and the senile.


Those who are situated on the ‘outside’ are often portrayed as being synthesised into the dominant culture, or conversely punished or excised from it. Interestingly, though Outsiders may become controlled or subsumed, they remain a source of often voyeuristic fascination, opening up perspectives and debates concerning power, disenfranchisement and hinterlands between visibility and invisibility. Who and what is working outside of our spheres of knowledge, and how? What forms do outsiders express themselves in? What does being an outsider mean?



fiona curran.jpg

Fiona started the Koestler Arts programme of regional, Welsh and Scottish exhibitions when she joined the arts in criminal justice charity in 2009. Since then, she’s led the organisation’s artistic output across the UK, and its annual awards programme for people in prisons, secure forensic hospital settings, immigration centres, and on probation and community sentences.


Around 3,500 people in the criminal justice system participate in the Koestler Awards annually. Each receives a certificate and feedback, and many receive awards with cash prizes. Entrants work (across fine art, writing, music, and design) can also be considered for exhibitions, events and publications around the UK which invite the public to think again about the talent and creativity of people in secure settings and on community sentences.


The charity aims to inspire participants, partners and audiences by innovating with who leads its projects and through interesting collaborations. Recent projects Fiona’s managed include: I’m Still Here, an exhibition curated by prisoners’ families at Southbank Centre in 2018; Inside, curated by artist Antony Gormley, at Southbank Centre in 2017 and Narrative, curated by writer Jenni Fagan at Tramway Glasgow in 2017. The next major Koestler programme is at Snape Maltings in Suffolk from 1 August 2019 and will be curated around three songs written and performed by men in the nearby Warren Hill prison. She’s also working on a new anthology of writing by prisoners, with a foreword by George the Poet, to be published in September 2019.


Before working for Koestler Arts, Fiona worked at arts charities Asia House and Paintings in Hospitals. She completed a PG Dip in Contemporary Art History at Goldsmiths in 2006, and has a degree in Painting from  Edinburgh College of Art.

Fiona Curren

Director of Arts

Koestler Arts



8:45 - 9:00 am

RHB 309


9:00 - 10:30 am

RHB 309

RHB 356

PANEL 1: Power and Pedagogy

Chair - Alex Vann (Goldsmiths)

Allison Zionts (Goldsmiths) - 'A Boy in a Girls' School: Experiences of Transgender Students in Single-Sex Schools'

Sapphire Allard (University of Kent) - 'Deaf education, language and literature'

Catriona McDermid (UCL/Jagiellonian) - 'It Depends Who’s Asking: Insider and Outsider Research on Patriotism and National Identity' 


PANEL 2: Memory and Identity

Chair - Vanessa Evans (York University)

Carla Ibled (Goldsmiths) - 'Addicted mothers as abject outsiders: the reconstitution of a neoliberal ethic of the self in Darren McGarvey's Poverty Safari and J.D. Vance Hillbilly Elegy'

Jeremy Worman (Goldsmiths) - 'The Truth in Fiction: Where does my Memoir Lie?'

Thomas Tulloh (Goldsmiths) - 'Writing, Aesthetics and 'Politics’ in Camus’ Algeria and post-Camus Absurdism'

10.30 - 11.00 am

RHB 309

Coffee break


& videographic performance


Mahsa Alami Fariman (Goldsmiths) - '"The Gate of Cave" and its Invisible Citizens'

11:00 - 12:00 pm

RHB 309

PLENARY: Outsiders and the Arts 

Fiona Curren (Koestler Arts)


Lee Cutter (Koestler Arts)

12:00 - 13:00 pm


13:30 - 14:15 


14:30 - 16:00 pm

14:30 - 16:00 pm

14:30 - 16:00 pm

RHB Curzon


RHB 309

RHB 256



The Legacy of Dušan Makavejev

Film screening: 'Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator (Makavejev, Yugoslavia, 1966)'

PANEL 3: Outside the Canon 

Chair - Philippa Campbell (Goldsmiths) 

Tanguy Harma (Goldsmiths) - 'Outsiders Atomised: Beats and the Subversion from Within' 

Alex Vann (Goldsmiths) - 'Insides on the Outside, or The Sadisms of Late Capital: Kathy Acker, Masochism, and Feminine Abjection' 

Filippo Ursitti (Goldsmiths) - 'Gunther Anders: Outcast, Philosopher, Emigre, Iconoclast, Man of Letters'

PANEL 4: The (Im)Materiality of Exclusion

Chair - James Nixon (Goldsmiths)

Haley Ha (Goldsmiths) - 'Double bind: The Exotic and Exhausted' 

Rory Hutchings (Goldsmiths) - 'Haunting and Hauntology in Hilary Mantel’s Beyond Black'

Jane Custance Baker (Goldsmiths) - 'Getting it Wrong, Getting it Right'

16:15 - 17:45 pm

RHB 309

RHB 256

PANEL 5: Representations of Otherness

Chair - Mahsa Alami Fatiman (Goldsmiths)

Bruno Verner (Goldsmiths) - 'Futuro Negro: Underground  Post  Punk, Death Sambas and Other Tropical Transitions' 

Gabriella McGrogan (Birkbeck College) ‘In defence of ignorance’- The online censorship of ‘outsider’ civilian witnesses of international crime and institutionalised mediation'

Amir Darwish (Goldsmiths) - 'Antisemitism in Britain during the interwar years'

PANEL 6: Metanarratives: Oppression and Catharsis Through Literature

Chair - Clareese Hill (Goldsmiths)

Elliot Mason (King's College) - 'The White City of Poetry is Ready for Blinding Ink: Race, Space and Time in Contemporary British Poetry'

Vanessa Evans (York University) - '“All time is a now time”: Simultaneousity as Māori Resurgence in Patricia Grace’s Potiki'

Jack Emsden (Goldsmiths) - 'The Ethics of Narrating the Outsider: (Dis)continuities of Otherness in Lisa Halliday’s Asymmetry'

17:50 - 18:00 pm

RHB 256

Closing remarks

Philippa Campbell and James Nixon (Goldsmiths)

18:00 pm onwards

RHB 256

Drinks reception

& Creative Writing readings


Jack Emsden, Alex Vann, James Nixon, Crystal Koo, Katharina Ludwig and Jeremy Worman



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Goldsmiths, University of London, is a public research university in London, England, specialising in the arts, design, humanities, and social sciences. It is a constituent college of the University of London, and was founded in 1891 as Goldsmiths' Technical and Recreative Institute by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths in New Cross, London.


Goldsmiths, University of London
8 Lewisham Way, New Cross
London, SE14 6NW
Conference Room:
Richard Hoggart Building, 309
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