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.


UC commended in quality audit

24 March 2015 A four-year academic audit report has commended the UC on wide-ranging and effective contributions made by students to the university's planning, reviews and services. (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

Barbara Garrie was Speaker of the Month at the meeting of the Friends of the Christchurch Art Gallery on Wednesday 28 January. Her presentation discussed a selection of artists’ books from the gallery’s collections.

Cinema StudiesSam Neill meeting CINE students

Sam Neill, the famous New Zealand movie star and UC alumnus, visited a rapt CINE101 class on Wednesday. He spoke about his role in The Piano, his experience as a film actor, his early career and the important contribution that film has made to New Zealand culture. The students asked excellent questions and responded enthusiastically to his advice. He affirmed that the Arts and Humanities helped students to “learn how to think for themselves” and supported them wholeheartedly in their choice of film as a subject for their degree. Many selfies were taken, and fluffy dinosaurs were signed. Sam Neill then joined students and staff at the HACA lunch and spoke briefly once more.


Exhibition: From Hieroglyphs to Text Messages: A Short History of Writing
Samples of Egyptian papyrus, Roman grave inscriptions, and early cuneiform tablets form the basis of this exhibition of ancient antiquities from the University of Canterbury's James Logie Memorial Collection. Together these artefacts tell the fascinating story of how different cultures have developed ways to communicate and share ideas through writing.

Venue: Matariki (Registry), Ground Floor Gallery, University of Canterbury,
Dates: 15 April – 22 May 2015

Digital Humanities

Dr Chris Thomson presented a paper on "Digital Technologies and Material Culture in Post-Earthquake Christchurch" at Digital Densities: a symposium examining relationships between material cultures and digital data on 26-27 March 2015, hosted by the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne.

UC Digital Humanities is also pleased to advise that the lectures for DIGI 401: Digital Methods, 2015, will be open to all-comers. The course provides an overview of digital tools and methods applicable to all arts, humanities, and social science disciplines. We’re conscious many students, and staff, might like to attend a few lectures on specific topics of interest. Please contact James Smithies if you plan on arriving with a sizeable group.
The course is co-taught by staff based in the UC Digital Humanities Programme, UC Computer Science and Software Engineering, UC CEISMIC Digital Archive, UC Geography, and Catalyst IT. The course outline can be found online.


On 15 April Dr Jane Buckingham and the New Zealand South Asia Centre co-convened a workshop with Sekhar Bandhyopadhyay, New Zealand India Research Institute, entitled: “Indian Migration to the Pacific and Indian Ocean States”. The workshop is linked to her current research project conducted jointly with Delhi University on the history of Health, Labour and Migration in the South Pacific.

As part of the session on Migrant Health Jane presented the paper “Indenture and the Indian Experience of Leprosy on Makogai Island, Fiji”.

Dr Chris Jones has published the edited collection John of Paris: Beyond Royal and Papal Power (Turnhout, 2015) with the European publisher Brepols. Bringing together an international team of scholars representing a wide range of disciplines, the book marks the end of a five-year project. It is the first collection in any language to be dedicated to an exploration of John’s thought. It re-examines, in particular, John’s controversial conception of political organisation while considering the role his background as a member of the Dominican order played in shaping his thought.

Anna Milne-Tavendale, a doctoral student in History, has published the article ‘John of Paris and the Apocalypse’ in the collection John of Paris: Beyond Royal and Papal Power (Turnhout, 2015).

Fine Arts

Language is a Virus
Chen Yin-Ju, Hsu Che-Yu, Nathan Pohio, Shannon Te Ao, and Teng Chao-Ming
Curated by Jamie Hanton
Opening 5pm Tuesday 24 March, exhibition runs till 23 April

The significance of a narrative is not only what is shared through its contents, but what it reveals about the writer and reader, or the orator and listener. Both the storyteller and audience are culturally determined to craft a narrative's meaning through its form; for all stories are motivated by shared values built into language and custom. Language is a Virus presents the practices of five artists who employ and explore techniques of repetition and iteration to exploit slippages in narrative structures and forms, especially in relation to electronic communication technologies. The exhibition is itself an iteration ¬ a cut-up ¬ of a previous exhibition: These Stories Began Before We Arrived, co-curated with Charlotte Huddleston and Bruce E.Phillips, which took place in Taipei in February 2015. 'Language is a Virus' includes three of the original artists: Nathan Pohio, Shannon Te Ao, and Teng Chao-Ming and invites two new Taiwanese artists, Chen Yin-Ju and Hsu Che-Yu in what is hoped to be an ongoing and expanding exchange between this group of artists and curators.

Image: Still from Hsu Che-Yu, Perfect Suspect, five-channel digital video, 5 minutes 20 seconds, 2011.


Congratulations to Dr Karen Saunders, of the English Department and UC Pathways, who won the UC Diversity Award for her work promoting inclusiveness and respect for differences of all kinds across the campus. Anyone who works with Karen or hears her students praising her will know that this is a very richly deserved honour.

Associate Professor Annie Potts and research student Donelle Gadenne (of the Department of English and the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies) were profiled in the weekend Press (Saturday February 28) about their new book, Animals in Emergencies: Learning from the Christchurch Earthquakes (Canterbury University Press, 2014).


On 21 March Assoc Prof Chris Cree Brown presented a pre-concert talk for the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Sea to Sky’ concert which featured Lilburn’s Aotearoa Overture, Australian composer Nigel Westlake’s Antarctica for Guitar and Orchestra, and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2. Having visited Antarctica under the Creative NZ/Antartica NZ Artists to Antarctica programme in 1999, Chris offered the audience a unique perspective on artists' responses to Antarctica, with particular reference to the Westlake concerto.

Assoc Prof Chris Cree Brown's composition Sound Barrel (2013) for euphonium and fixed media has been selected by an international jury to represent New Zealand at the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) World Music Days in Ljubljana in late September. This will be the work's first performance outside of New Zealand. The festival and associated General Assemblies will also be attended by Assoc Prof Glenda Keam (Head of Music) who was recently elected onto the Executive Committee of the ISCM and is currently the only non-European on that committee.

Music student and pianist Stephen Watson, who this week received his Master of Music with Distinction, has been awarded a DAAD Study Scholarship for a foreign graduate to further his music studies in Germany.


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., based at the University of Copenhagen, have uploaded a video of Jack Copeland’s Keynote address at the Arthur Prior Centenary Conference on Youtube, and Matematicko-fyzikální fakulta, based in Prague, have uploaded a video of Jack Copeland’s presentation on ‘Alan Turing and the Birth of Computer’.

Jakub Złotowski, Diane Proudfoot, Kumar Yogeeswaran, and Christoph Bartneck recently had their article, “Anthropomorphism: Opportunities and Challenges in Human–Robot Interaction”, published in the International Journal of Social Robotics.