The Effectiveness of Symbols


Interdisciplinary Conference at the Freud Museum London
Saturday 24 October 2015, 9.30am – 5pm

The shaman’s art is like a dramatic performance, and drama can be thought of as a kind of shamanic ritual. What unites the two domains of experience is the impact of symbols, words and narrative on the body and emotion. This conference is for anyone interested in ‘the effectiveness of symbols’, the title of a seminal essay by French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss.

Lévi-Strauss opened up new ways of thinking about the symbolic dimension of human life, offering a subtle reformulation of the Freudian unconscious and putting forward a theory of symbolic function that continues to resonate within psychoanalysis and anthropology. It is still to be widely appreciated in art theory, theatre studies and performance.

This conference brings together eminent speakers to reflect on Lévi-Strauss’ paper and its influence, and to discuss symbolic effectiveness in their own research and practice.

£60 Full Price / £45 Students/Concessions
£5 reduction for Members of the Freud Museum 

How Institutions Think: The Bard Seminar

Monday 26 October 2015

2pm to 5pm, Room C303, Central Saint Martins

Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA, UK

For all students on the MA Culture, Criticism and Curation and MRes Art: Exhibition Studies programmes and open to Stage 3 students in BA Culture, Criticism and Curation, to doctoral students across CSM and welcoming invited guests.

In November 2014, Central Saint Martins collaborated with international partners on a symposium about curatorial and exhibition studies, which took place at Bard College in the US. Please investigate the recordings of this event online here:


This academic year there will be a follow-up symposium – at the LUMA Foundation in Arles, South of France, 25 to 28 February 2016 – looking at institutions for contemporary art historically and as a future proposition. In preparation, this October seminar will reflect on the short book that gives its name to both events: How Institutions Think (1986) by Mary Douglas.


In How Institutions Think, Mary Douglas writes as an anthropologist, considering institutions in general as a social phenomenon to be analysed and understood. Please familiarize yourself with the book before coming to the seminar and be ready to discuss how we might take up its insights into current thinking about institutions for contemporary art. A week ahead of the class, you will be assigned a specific chapter of the book to prepare in particular.


This seminar will be jointly led by:

  • Michaela Giebelhausen, Course Leader for BA Culture, Criticism and Curation
  • Alison Green, Course Leader for MA Culture, Criticism and Curation
  • Yaiza Hernández, co-Pathway Leader for MRes Art: Exhibition Studies
  • Lucy Steeds, co-Pathway Leader for MRes Art: Exhibition Studies


Those attending the seminar will become eligible to apply for a scholarship to visit Arles for the February symposium. Interested applicants will be asked to explain what questions they would take to the event and how it would fit within their research and career plans. One scholarship across the 3 courses – BA Culture, Criticism and Curation; MA Culture, Criticism and Curation; and MRes Art: Exhibition Studies – will be awarded.


CSM’s partners for the ‘How Institutions Think’ symposium in Arles in 2016 are:

  • Centre for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson
  • De Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam
  • Goldsmiths College, London
  • LUMA Foundation, Arles
  • V-A-C Foundation, Moscow
  • Valand Art Academy, University of Gothenburg


PLEASE REGISTER your intention to take part in the seminar: simply email your name and affiliation (e.g. BA CCC, MA CCC, MRes ES) to Karina Lee ( by Friday 16 October




Spotlight 2015: PhD Research at CSM – Exhibition and Symposium

Spotlight 2015
Spotlight 2015


23 February to 11 March, 2015

We are delighted to be exhibiting the work of:

  • Elena Brebenel
  • Joana Casaca Lemos
  • Adriana Cobo
  • Slawa Harasymowicz
  • John Miers
  • Andrea Muendelein


Thursday 5th March 2015- 2pm – 7pm

(2.00pm – 7pm Learning Hub A / CSM Library)

Spaces are very limited, so please RSVP to

2:00 – 3:00pm Sara Buoso
The Space of Light in Painting: A comparison between Mark Rothko and James Turrell`s paintings

3:15 – 4:45pm Lucy Russell
WHAT EYE SEE I OWN: (re) drawing body-images from fashion and beauty [ Workshop]
5:00 – 6:15 Joana Casaca Lemos
Tell Them Like It Is [ Workshop]

6:15 – 7: Drinks

Spaces are very limited, so please RSVP to

All PhD students welcome!


Design PhD Conference 2015

We would like to make you aware of the above event, co-hosted by the Imagination Lancaster Creative Research Centre at Lancaster University and the Centre for Design Research at Northumbria University.
Conference theme: Better by Design: Environment, Society & Self

Design in the 21st century has a responsibility to address the critical issues affecting society and the natural environment while also striving to create more personally meaningful notions of material culture. The last century’s ideas of progress and innovation yielded an ever-growing culture of waste, pollution and social inequity. This model still dominates our culture. As populations grow and the natural environment continues to degrade, with little political will for substantive change, there is a need not only to develop new, better ways forward, but also to manifest and demonstrate alternative possibilities. The applied arts can play an important role in this arena in visualising a world that is Better by Design – better for the environment, better for society and better for each of us as individuals.

The conference will be held in the LICA Building, Lancaster University on the 2nd and 3rd July 2015 and offers an opportunity to meet, exchange knowledge and ideas, and learn about the latest developments in design thinking, methods and research projects.

It would be much appreciated if you could please circulate the above information to your colleagues, students, graduates, business contacts and any other interested parties. In particular, we have launched a call for presentations and a call for posters which your students and graduates may be interested in submitting to.

Further information can be found at


The Doctoral Platform at CSM offers PhD candidates the space in which to meet, share research, as well as co-ordinate, curate and participate in a variety of events.

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