The Beckett International Foundation at the University of Reading is pleased to announce that the next Beckett Research Seminar will take place on Saturday, 24 November 2018.
The event will be held in the Conference Room of Special Collections, University of Reading, the Museum of English Rural Life, Redlands Road, Reading.
Public Panel and Conversation, Wednesday 1 August 2018, 11am-1pm
“Samuel Beckett wrote and reflected constantly about the nature and meaning of embodiment, and as a result he continues to be an important touchstone in the growing field of Disability Studies. Researchers from both English and Creative Arts backgrounds have a growing interest in exploring how diverse physical, sensorial, developmental and psychological abilities manifest themselves in literature and in performance, and Beckett’s work provides many examples in terms of both practice and theory.
The Samuel Beckett Summer School, celebrating its eighth year of working at the cutting edge of new discourses in Beckett Studies, will offer a panel discussion and “long table” event on the topic of Beckett and Disability as its traditional Wednesday morning “plenary” discussion. Chaired by a researcher focusing in this area, Siobhán Purcell (NUI Galway), the panel will discuss a wide range of issues, including the representation of disability/ability in Beckett’s literature, as well as the theatre contexts in which Beckett’s work has been engaged by neurodiverse performers. The recent work of Touretteshero, especially their production of Not I in London, will be discussed by Jonathan Heron (University of Warwick). Other panelists, including Julie Bates (TCD, English) and Declan Reilly (TCD, Disability Service) will speak to the implications of accessibility and neurodiversity in education, policy, and philosophical landscapes.
The panel will run from 11 AM to approximately noon, and after a short break, the audience will be invited to contribute with a structured but open discussion until 1 PM. The event will be open to the public, accessible, and free of charge (but ticketed).”
Trinity is a target destination for Beckett scholars because of the size and variety of original Beckett manuscripts held here. However, because of the physical fragility of the manuscripts (Beckett always used the very worst quality paper), few people get to handle the originals. This creates an obvious problem when it is considered that there is an almost indefinable, special ‘something’ to be experienced from being in the presence of an original artefact – think of Jane Austen’s spectacles or the Ardagh Chalice. Are our students being denied an experience which could be of signal benefit to them? All special-collections repositories share this tension between access and preservation but the issue has been thrown into high relief in the context of Trinity’s development of the Trinity Education Project, which seeks to encourage more original research among undergraduates.