School of
Humanities and Creative Arts

Art History and Theory, Classics, Cinema Studies, Cultural Studies, English, Fine Arts, History, Music and Philosophy. Here you will find some links to useful resources and information.


Earthquake book to be launched at Film Festival

14 August 2015 A new book about how earthquakes have been represented on film will be launched on 20 August during the New Zealand International Film Festival. (read article)

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Video Interviews

Staff and students talk about their research in the Humanities.

James Logie Memorial Collection.

The James Logie Memorial Collection is one of the finest teaching collections of Greek and Roman antiquities to be found in the Southern Hemisphere.

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‘History allows us not only to learn about the past, but also to learn about the present...’

Joshua Smith Studying towards a BA in History
Interviewer, Colmar Brunton
(read profile)

Announcements and Events

Art History

On Friday 7 August the Department of Art History and Theory hosted their second annual Art History Day for local Year 13 students, organised by Dr Barbara Garrie. The event was attended by over 60 students from schools including Burnside High School, Christchurch Girls High School, Villa Maria, Christ’s College and Papanui High School. Students were treated to an engaging lecture by Dr Rosie Ibbotson, before circulating around object-based workshops led by Erin Kimber, Jamie Hanton and Damian Cairns from the Macmillan Brown Library, and our postgraduate student Abbey Topham. A fun art history quiz led by the dynamic quiz master Dr Richard Bullen capped off the day. Our student helpers Chantal Bennett, Bojana Rimbovska and Jose Sanchez also did a fantastic job of representing the Art History department and the College of Arts.


From the 25 July – 29 August, The Physics Room is showing Persistency, featuring work by Tim Veling and Daegan Wells, as well as selected material from the CEISMIC digital archive. Persistency explores the topics of democracy, urban narratives and public discourse in post-quake Christchurch. As part of the public programme, CEISMIC is giving a talk at The Physics Room on Thursday 6 August at 5.30pm which will explore the digital archive in relation to some of these themes.

Cinema Studies

Book Launch: Film on the Faultline, edited by Alan Wright, published by Intellect Books, UK. Please come and join us on Thursday, August 20th, 6.15pm in the Dress Circle Bar, Upstairs Foyer, of the Isaac Theatre Royal.  

All staff and students welcome.


Dr Patrick O’Sullivan, of the Classics Department, has been awarded a Canterbury Fellowship at the University of Cambridge for 3 months from January to April next year.  He has also been awarded a Rutherford Visiting Scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge, to be held in conjunction with the Fellowship.  These awards will greatly support him as he continues to work on a number of research projects on Greek drama, rhetoric and early aesthetic theories whilst on study leave in 2016.

Special Donation to the James Logie Memorial Collection
The University’s Logie Collection has been enriched by a special donation from the Chancellor Dr John Wood and his wife Mrs. Rosie Wood.  Dr and Mrs Wood have generously presented a miniature votive offering which is made in the shape of a sword or, to use the Latin word, a gladius.

This is a Roman votive offering, dated to approximately the 2nd Century BCE, which might have been dedicated in a temple to a god, by way of fulfilment of a vow or in gratitude for divine aid.  Dr Victor Parker, Head of the Department of Classics, notes that “The dedication of a weapon would presumably be for some act involving the weapon – thanks for a deed of valour wrought with the weapon; thanks for rich booty won by it; or perhaps even just for a safe return from the wars. There are many reasons why the dedicator of this sword may have left it behind in a temple as an offering.” 

It is the first example of this type of votive in the Logie Collection, as well as being the first example of a Roman sword in the Collection, albeit a miniature one.

The Logie Collection regularly hosts classes for University of Canterbury students, as well as primary and secondary school classes from throughout Canterbury and New Zealand. In 2016 the Collection, the Department of Classics and the School of Music will relocate to the old Chemistry Building in the Arts Centre complex.

Digital Humanities

Digital Research Seminar Series:
"Digital Classics: Of Human-Computing and Machine-Learning"
Dr Thomas Köntges (Leipzig University)
Monday 17 August, 11am-12.30pm, Psyc/Soci 151
Thomas’ paper will showcase the workflow of his current project, ArXetype, and discuss how a mix of machine- learning, citizen science, and well-structured citation schemes can help to wrangle the whole corpus of Latin and Ancient Greek literature.  The talk will also give a short introduction to topic modelling in the Classics and how to model textual transmission lines.
All welcome. For more information, contact


On Sunday 26 July, Dr Chris Jones (medieval History) delivered the 2015 Jim Gardner Memorial Lecture on the topic of ‘Magna Carta – 800 Years and Beyond’. Sponsored by the Canterbury History Foundation and introduced by the Chancellor, Dr John Wood, this fifty minute lecture explored the Charter’s past and reflected on its future, and in particular on its potential ‘bi-cultural’ vision. The original 1215 Charter contains a series of chapters that deal with Welsh affairs. These suggest that the Charter recognised a society in which multiple laws could co-exist on an equal footing. Although this theme was quickly erased by the time of the Charter’s first re-issue it enables reflections on an early vision of a ‘bi-cultural’ world, the way in which it operated and what lessons it may have for modern New Zealand.

Fine Arts

Student Series 2: Ark, Melissa Macleod.  Exhibition runs till 6 August. Ilam Campus Gallery, Block 2, School of Fine Arts.

‘Ark’ is an exploratory opportunity where sculptural and performative components will change and evolve over the project duration. Alongside the human body, materials will include water tanks, life jackets, gym mats, and recycled house materials.  Positioned in relation to each other, these elements will talk about ideas around rising water levels and domesticity.


Applications for the 2015 MacMillan Brown Prize for Writers close at 5pm on the 31st of August. To be eligible for this prize of $2,500 students will need to submit an essay, a short story, a poem or group of poems, a short play, or other work in an appropriate form, dealing imaginatively with any theme.

Applications for the 2015 Ada Wells Memorial Prize close at 5pm on 30 September. The $800 prize is awarded annually and is open to all undergraduates and all graduates of not more than three years' standing. The prize is awarded for an essay the subject of which involves the exposition of some subject chosen from literature having reference to social ideals. This year’s topic is: “According to Raymond Williams, ‘”Nature’’ is perhaps the most complex word in the English language’. Literature that helps us understand what ‘Nature’ is, and how we relate to it, is therefore vital – perhaps today more so than ever.” Candidates are recommended to keep their essays within the limit of 3,000 words.


Dr. Francis Yapp presented a paper entitled "The influence of the Little Office of the BVM on the Paris Concert Spirituel (1725–1790)" at the conference of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (ANZAMEMS) in Brisbane (14–18 July).  Dr. Yapp has also recently joined the central committee of ANZAMEMS as representative for music.

The Minister for Tertiary Education, the Hon Steven Joyce, has announced grants to 17 recipients for the Queen Elizabeth II Technicians’ Study Awards for 2015/2016. One of the recipients is School of Music Technician Stephen Compton who is studying towards an MA Professional Practice (Creative Media Industries) with the School of Audio Engineering, validated by Middlesex University, London. The programme is designed to build on professional development and research specific to the creative media industries. 

The New Zealand Secondary Students’ Choir, directed by SoM PhD Candidate and UC Consortia Chamber Choir Director Andrew Withington, has been invited as Guest Choir to the July 2016 International Choral Kathaumixw in Powell River, British Columbia. Andrew will join the international jury for the competition. The festival was set up in 1984, based on the premise of Llangollen’s Eisteddfod. Thirty years later, the festival is recognised worldwide for its high standards of choral music, attracting competing choirs from every continent. As Guest Choir, the NZSSC will perform with the Kathaumixw Festival Chorus during the Gala Opening Concert, lead massed choir performances and offer our unique New Zealand flavour of music in joint concerts with many international choirs. 


Congratulations to UC PhD student Fiona Dalzell on winning the prize for the best graduate student presentation at the Animal Publics: Emotion, Empathy, Activism conference in Melbourne for her presentation "Why the Veterinary Profession should support the case for Moral Agency in Animals".

Killer robots: the future of war?
UC Philosophy PhD student Sean Welsh has had his article on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems featured on CNN News's website.

Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Jack Copeland

Covey Award
The University of Canterbury’s Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Jack Copeland, has just been named 2016 winner of the Covey Award by the International Association for Computing and Philosophy (IACAP). The prize will be awarded next year in a ceremony at the IACAP conference to be held at the University of Ferrara in Italy. By tradition Professor Copeland will deliver a keynote conference speech after the award ceremony. Read the full article here.