Rolling for Insight: How table-top role-playing games can change the way we see the world

A presentation by Vivek Santayana, ‘Rolling for Insight: How table-top role-playing games can change the way we see the world’.
Vivek won the award for ‘Best Presentation’ at LLC Blethers, an evening of academic storytelling with the University of Edinburgh, February 2019.

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The Failed Orlando: Exploring the Reception of Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor

The revered series Doctor Who has faced harsh criticism in its last season: it was too PC; the actors failed to match the previous cast and even the stories lacked the thrilling qualities that Whovians have come to expect from their favourite TV show. Like all previous cast choices, the announcement of Jodie Whittaker taking the reins as the 13th Doctor was met with harsh opposition. Unlike the previous actors portraying the Doctor though, the disapproval did not abate, but seemed to alienate a significant number of fans. Now that Jodie’s first series is over, a closer look can be taken into the her portrayal of the Doctor.

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How Entertainment Dismantles Reality in Black Mirror

Yan Li | 18 February, 2019
Have you ever pondered over the relationship between how we are entertained and who we are? The TV drama Black Mirroris often regarded as science fiction that aims to reexamine the role of technology in our society. However, I see this episode differently. It is more like an attack on (overly) widespread, immoderate and reckless entertainment than a denunciation of technology. In other words, it is the way human beings present and perceive themselves via entertainment that is being mocked, and technology is the accomplice in this five-act tragedy. 

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‘What it means to be a human being’

Gabriel Smith | 11 February, 2018
Upon entering a bookshop, the canny reader/consumer (a heart-breaking slash) becomes aware that critics’ praise now adorns the cover of every newly released book, and therefore no book can be chosen on the basis of what critics are saying on its dustjacket. A massively inflationary adjectival market has rendered superlatives valueless.

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Ladybird: Reclaiming the Manic Pixie Dream Girl

Eva Dieteren | 28 January, 2019
When I heard that Greta Gerwig directed a film starring Saoirse Ronan, there was an immediate sense of excitement followed by me convincing everyone I know to come and see it with me. When I saw the poster, however, I hesitated. It showed the character of Ladybird and what particularly stood out for me was her pink hair. It is not that I do not like pink hair, but the moment that I saw Ladybird I thought: please no, not another Manic Pixie Dream Girl film.

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Of Music Videos and Museums

Uttara Rangarajan | 21 January
Art museums have long been an elite space, subsumed within hierarchies of colour and class while displaying work made for the rich and powerful. Western art has traditionally worked from within the colonial gaze to present whiteness as the norm, to invisibilise or stereotype people of other ethnicities. In the modern era, as people from around the world strive to break free of these categories, one of the most powerful challenges to western iconography has emerged from music videos which reinvent and undermine the Eurocentricism of western art.

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Decoding the linguistic jiggery-pockery of Brexit

Chris Jardine | 10 December, 2018
It has been two and a half years since the United Kingdom’s referendum on EU membership. While this decision has dominated the political landscape ever since, less attention has been paid to the linguistic innovations, reincarnations and clichés this event has had on and within the English language. Given that the wider Brexit debate has been hijacked by a failed Tory leadership candidate, whose choice in language has been met with disdain by even his allies, and a bizarre anachronism from North East Somerset, a linguistic decoding of some of the key terminology is long overdue.

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Ophelia and Pink in the Bathtub

Devika | 26 November, 2018
It was Edgar Allan Poe who said “the death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world”. Poe’s misogynist statement is an accurate summary of the way the figure of Ophelia has been treated for centuries. Appropriated and rendered in multiple art forms, from paintings to dramatic representations, Ophelia is one of Shakespeare’s most iconic female figures. Besides drama, novelists, artists, painters and even pop stars have found inspiration from the dead, floating woman.

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