‘The death of the artist is a dividing line’ wrote John Berger in 1966. ‘Every artist’s work changes when he dies. And finally no one remembers what his work was like when he was alive … [His work] will have become evidence from the past, instead of being … a possible preparation for something to come.’
Register for the conference
Professor Vikki Bell (Goldsmiths)
Dr. Tom Overton (editor of Landscapes and Portraits; currently writing John Berger’s biography)
Professor John Bowen (York), Dr. Rochelle Simmons (Otago), Professor Hugh Haughton (York) and Professor Jeff Wallace (Cardiff Metropolitan)
Accompanying the conference will be a series of public events to which conference attendees are warmly invited:
This is a rare opportunity to see a selection of extraordinary and varied films, including two remarkable TV documentaries Berger made with Ways of Seeing collaborator Mike Dibb, Timothy Neat’s playful adaptation of Berger’s story, Play Me Something, starring Tilda Swinton and Berger himself, Taskafa, Andrea Luca Zimmerman’s wonderful visual essay about Istanbul’s street dogs, featuring a voiceover by Berger, and Boat People, Sarah Woods’s rich meditation on migration and exile. Curated by Gareth Evans (film curator Whitechapel Gallery), in association with Whitstable Biennale.
For times and more on the films, visit johnbergernow.wordpress.com/films/
At the Canterbury Curzon Cinema
Introduced by director Colin MacCabe
The Seasons in Quincy is the result of a five-year project by Tilda Swinton, Colin MacCabe and Christopher Roth to produce a portrait of the intellectual and storyteller John Berger. It was produced by the Derek Jarman Lab, an audio-visual hub for graduate filmmaking based at Birkbeck, University of London, in collaboration with the composer Simon Fisher Turner.’
At the Sidney Cooper Gallery
This exhibition of photographs by Libby Hall examines how the photographer looks at her subject: John Berger (1926-2017). Accompanying the series of extraordinary photographic portraits of Berger from 1966 are touching vernacular images of Hall and Berger throughout their many years of friendship.
Join a wonderful panel comprising theatre maker Chris Goode, poet David Herd, and novelist and filmmaker Tessa McWatt to discuss Berger’s remarkable creative legacy, and importance for our cultural and political moment. Chaired by Gareth Evans.’
The beginning of 2017 sadly marked the death of John Berger, two months after his ninetieth birthday. As the life of an extraordinary writer about art and photography, Booker Prize-winning novelist, poet, playwright, and polemicist came to an end, so we have seen the first steps being taken in the formation of his posthumous legacy. John Berger Now seeks to build on the wave of recent scholarship presented at conferences on John Berger (University of Gdansk, 2011 and 2012, Kings College London, 2012 and Cardiff Metropolitan, 2014), and in On John Berger (ed. Ralph Hertel and David Malcolm) and seeks also to respond to and build upon the reception to his death in the weeks since January.
The title of this conference speaks to the bracing process of seeing Berger and his body of work from our position on the other side of the dividing line. It also seeks to stress the importance of a writer whose work speaks directly and urgently of and to the state of the world at this moment in time. To these ends it welcomes contributions from across the many disciplines that Berger’s work encompasses.
For additional information on public events, please visit johnbergernow.wordpress.com or @JohnBergerNow