Summer Showcase 2022 programme and exhibits

Alongside a programme of pop-up talks, workshops and performances, 12 of our researchers will bring their work to life. Meet the brightest minds in history, psychology, sociology and more, and be inspired to think differently about the world around you.

1 Made in Migration IRL

Contemporary experiences of forced displacement are demonstrated through a display of the personal objects taken by refugees’ on their journeys across Europe, including a handmade talisman, specially adapted clothing and diary notes. Meet members of the Made in Migration, a coalition of people displaced from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Eritrea, Sudan, and watch short films that demonstrate their daily experiences in new homes throughout Greece and Sweden. You’ll also be able to contribute treasured items of your own to a special digital exhibition.

Rachael Kiddey and the Made In Migration Collective, University of Oxford

Research award: Postdoctoral Fellowship 2018, with funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

2 Projected Books: how bedbound WWII veterans were enabled to read

After the Second World War, a little-known invention made it possible for thousands of wounded soldiers to read: a compact vertical projector displayed images of microfilmed books on the ceiling to enable recuperating veterans to read while in their hospital beds. Discover the experience of reading projected books on the ceiling using one of these original vertical projectors and a collection of microfilmed books.

Matthew Rubery, Queen Mary University of London

Research award: BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant 2019-20, with funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

3 The co-evolution of Chinese calligraphy, dynasty and democracy

China’s growing presence in international affairs has attracted significant global attention and debate. Shifts in political ideology since the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC, when the earliest record of Chinese characters was discovered) have been captured in the evolution of some Chinese characters. Learn how the components of these characters are layered, discern their meanings, try out the art of calligraphy; and invent new characters to reflect your own political opinions.

Chi Zhang, University of St Andrews

Research award: Postdoctoral Fellowship 2020, with funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

4 What does growing older mean to us?

We all have a story to tell about growing older. But how was this experience viewed in the past and to what extent have our cultural attitudes been shaped by the stories we have inherited? How can we collectively re-imagine and write new stories of ageing? An intimate listening station will introduce everyday experiences of growing older in the early 19th century – a crucial moment of transition in attitudes to older age – while inviting you to reflect on your own notions of ageing.

Amy Culley, University of Lincoln; Siân Adiseshiah, Loughborough University; Jonathon Shears, Keele University

Research award: Mid-Career Fellowship 2019, with funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

5 The Architecture of Displacement: twinning İzmir and London

Engage with two of the defining global challenges of our times: large scale displacement and rapid urbanisation. This exhibition space will recreate a section from the rooftop of the new TIAFI Community Centre in İzmir, Turkey – a non-profit space which supports vulnerable Syrian and Turkish families. A live video link will enable you to interact with the TIAFI community and co-design elements that will be integrated into the spaces constructed on its rooftop, creating a material and social connection between London and İzmir.

Dolf te Lintelo, Institute of Development Studies; Robert Mull, University of Brighton/Umeå University; Meltem Gürel and Ayselin Yildiz, Yaşar University

Research award: Urban Infrastructures of Well-Being 2019

6 Reviving the Kusunda language

According to UNESCO, nearly 50 per cent of the world’s languages are endangered, including the oral language of the Kusunda indigenous community in Nepal. This exhibit presents a ground-breaking academic-artistic collaboration: an interactive VR experience and a short film, co-created with the Kusunda community, which demonstrates the threat to heritage when a language becomes endangered — and shows what is takes to revive it.

The 20-minute VR experience starts at 0, 20 and 40 minutes past the hour.

Fabrizio Galeazzi, StoryLab, Anglia Ruskin University; Felix Gaedtke and Gayatri Parameswaran, NowHere Media

Research award: BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant 2019-20, with funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

7 Conspiracy Kitchen: what are the key ingredients of a conspiracy theory?

Belief in conspiracy theories is booming in the 21st century and research suggests that age 14 seems to be a peak time for conspiracy beliefs to develop. This exhibit will explore the key elements that make conspiracy theories popular and help you develop the skills to spot them. Your own susceptibility will be tested before you head into the Conspiracy Kitchen to cook up your own theory.

Daniel Jolley, University of Nottingham; Karen Douglas, University of Kent; Yvonne Skipper, University of Glasgow

Research award: BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant 2018-19, with funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

8 How a wooden ceiling reveals medieval Spain's diverse culture

The V&A’s Torrijos ceiling is one of four ceilings that came from a palace in the Spanish town of Torrijos. It was made in the 15th century for Christian patrons using Islamic craftsmanship, representing a moment when the Spanish noble elite chose to decorate their homes in a style that fused the cultures of the Iberian Peninsula. Beneath a scaled image of the ceiling, watch a master woodcarver work with traditional Islamic techniques. Figure out how to fit together small-scale samples of ceiling sections, discover more about Islamic geometry and even have a go at decorating individual pieces to take home with you.

Mariam Rosser-Owen, Victoria and Albert Museum; Anna McSweeney, Trinity College Dublin

Research award: BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant 2020-21, with funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

9 Find Your Space: the importance of engaging your spatial brain

How do you know how to organise objects when stacking a dishwasher? How do you know to put your shoes on the right feet? How do you find your way around a new city, and how do you know what to do when you get lost? These tasks rely on spatial abilities, the cognitive processes of perceiving the location and dimension of objects, and their relationships with other objects. Put your spatial skills to the test with your fellow visitors by contributing to our LEGO® display which will take shape throughout the Showcase, and engage your spatial cognition at our activity stations.

Katie Gilligan-Lee, Emily Farran, Emily McDougal and Su Morris, University of Surrey

Research award: BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant 2019-20, with funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

10 The cultural richness of Colombia's African Diaspora

Afro-Colombians' 500-year history is a journey of overcoming structural injustices and retaining dignity, having been forcibly displaced from Africa to the gold mines of Antioquia. Newly discovered artefacts reveal details of European companies’ complicity in the slave trade, which are displayed alongside 19th-century portrayals of Afro-Colombian culture. Contemporary street photography by Colombian artist Juan Fernando Ospina demonstrates how racism, lower quality education, violence, and internal displacement still impact this community today. This exhibit aims to show that hiding history will not erase the past, and that we can heal through deciphering and learning.

Paola Vargas Arana, King's College London

Research award: Newton International Fellowship 2020, with funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

11 Speaking of prejudice: mapping accent variation and bias in the UK

Though people form judgements about others from the way they speak, listeners are often unaware of their deeply embedded ‘implicit’ biases. The research behind this exhibit will contribute to a campaign to have accent bias recognised as a protected characteristic. During the exhibit, via three interactive activities, you will increase your understanding of your own – and others’ – deeply embedded prejudices towards UK accents and learn about the linguistic features we use to recognise them.

Robert McKenzie and Andrew McNeill, Northumbria University

Research award: Mid-Career Fellowship 2020, with funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

12 Tyred: the urban ecology and economy of waste tyres in Lagos, Nigeria

'In Nigeria, a tyre never dies.’ Tyres are symbolic of humanity’s dependency on motor vehicles and, in West African mega-cities, they’re often repurposed for alternative use – epitomising the resilience and creativity of urban everyday life. However, their abundance also poses environmental challenges that have huge implications in terms of health and wellbeing. In our final exhibit, an impactful installation of these ubiquitous tyres will frame the photographic work of renowned Nigerian visual artist Andrew Esiebo, themed around Value, Work and Waste.

David Garbin, University of Kent; Akeem Ayofe Akinwale, University of Lagos

Research award: Cities & Infrastructure Programme 2017 and Urban Infrastructures of Wellbeing 2019

Talks and activities

Free, book now

Each of our talks, performances and activities is inspired by the research behind our exhibits, exploring the most urgent issues of our day.

Friday 17 June

Schools and Colleges Day

9am – 3pm

Researcher Late

6pm – 9pm

Garden Talks

7pm, How far have we come? Disability identity politics in the UK with Tom Shakespeare FBA (Chair), Khairani Barokka, Liz Sayce and Alex Toft

8pm, It's a conspiracy: the impact of conspiracy theories and misinformation with Anjana Ahuja (Chair), Sarah Churchwell, Marcus Gilroy-Ware and Alice Phoenix from Shout Out UK

Saturday 18 June

Exhibits open

11am – 5pm


The Garden

2pm, Making research accessible: encouraging global cultural understanding through writing with Patrick Wright FBA (Chair), Priyamvada Gopal and Miranda Kaufmann

3pm, The future of our cities with Minna Sunikka-Blank (Chair), Felicia Boshorin, Hashi Mohamed and Rewati Prabhu

Visit our pop-up bookshop provided by London Review Bookshop

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