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TORCH | The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities

The University of Oxford is home to an impressive range and depth of research activities in the Humanities. TORCH | The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities is a major new initiative that seeks to build on this heritage and to stimulate and support research that transcends disciplinary and institutional boundaries. Here we feature some of the networks and programmes, as well as recordings of events, and offer insights into the research that they make possible.

# Episode Title Description People Date
1 Imitating Authors Book at Lunchtime: Imitating Authors Colin Burrow, Wes Williams, Kathryn Murphy, Stephen Halliwell 24 Feb 2020
2 Humanities Light Night - Oxford Research Unwrapped! Full projection video Full projection video as part of national Being Human Festival, a huge video projection onto the 3-storey Radcliffe humanities building, premiering SOURCE: CODE. The Projection Studio 11 Feb 2020
3 Revolution Rekindled: The Writers and Readers of Late Soviet Biography Book at Lunchtime: Revolution Rekindled: The Writers and Readers of Late Soviet Biography Polly Jones, Katherine Lebow, Ann Jefferson, Stephen Lovell 07 Feb 2020
4 Empires of the Mind Book at Lunchtime: Empires of the Mind Robert Gildea, Rana Mitter, Faridah Zaman, Philip Bullock 29 Jan 2020
5 Patience Agbabi reading and conversation: podcast In this podcast the dynamic poet Patience Agbabi is in conversation about her Ted Hughes short-listed collection Telling Tales (2015), a rebellious reworking of Chaucer, and her contribution to the 2016 Refugee Tales project. Patience Agbabi, Elleke Boehmer, Marion Turner 14 Jan 2020
6 Ashmolean After Hours: Carpe Diem! Highlights video Highlights of the Torch collaboration with the Ashmolean Museum for a special edition of After Hours as part of the Last Supper of Pompeii exhibition to celebrate all things Pompeii and ancient Rome. Highlights 13 Jan 2020
7 Princeton University Press Lectures in European History and Culture III: Stories for the future, and how to get there Martin Puchner, the Byron and Anita Wien Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University, gives the third and final lecture in the Princeton University Press Lectures in European History and Culture. Martin Puchner 20 Dec 2019
8 Princeton University Press Lectures in European History and Culture II:Think Big! A modest argument about large scales Martin Puchner gives the second lecture in the Princeton University Press Lectures in European History and Culture. Martin Puchner 20 Dec 2019
9 Princeton University Press Lectures in European History and Culture I: The Challenge of World Literature Martin Puchner, the Byron and Anita Wien Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University, gives the first of the Princeton University Press Lectures. Martin Puchner 20 Dec 2019
10 Humanities Light Night - Oxford Research Unwrapped! Highlights of the Humanities Night Light event. Tom Crawford 19 Dec 2019
11 Discovering the identity of plants in art We are surrounded by artistic images of plants. These may be symbolic, decorative or functional. They tell us about the plants important in peoples' lives. Stephen Harris 17 Dec 2019
12 The Meaning of Carpe Diem How "seize the day" does not get CLOSE to capturing the power of the poet Horace's words Llewelyn Morgan 17 Dec 2019
13 Supping and Sacrificing in Pompeii's Gardens The archaeological evidence of garden dining spaces in Pompeii’s houses, restaurants, and tombs reveals complexities of both Roman dining practices and the meaning of the Roman garden Janet Dunkelbarger 17 Dec 2019
14 Gorgons, gods and gladiators: how to decorate a Pompeian wall This interactive talk explores the myths, legends and scenes of daily life that Romans painted and scratched onto the walls of their houses. Alison Pollard 17 Dec 2019
15 Last Supper in Pompeii: An introduction to the Pompeii Exhibition Exploring the narrative of the show through a selection of highlighted objects Ilaria Perzia 17 Dec 2019
16 Book at Lunchtime: Celebrity Culture and the Myth of Oceania An intriguing case study on how popular images of Oceania, mediated through a developing culture of celebrity, contributed to the formation of British identity both domestically and as a nascent imperial power in the eighteenth century. Ruth Scobie, Wes Williams, Ros Ballaster, Anna Senkiw 10 Dec 2019
17 The Million-Dollar Maths Equations Discover the Navier-Stokes Equations, which not only model the movement of every fluid on Earth, they also have a $1-million prize for a correct solution. Tom Crawford 10 Dec 2019
18 Unveiling the secrets and mysteries of French novels (1789-1820) Dr Fanny Lacote will lift the veil on the secrets and mysteries contained within the unknown French literary production published during a turbulent period in History. Fanny Lacote 10 Dec 2019
19 Cuneiform Discoveries from Ancient Babylon In ancient Iraq, scribes used cuneiform (wedge-shaped) script to write hundreds of thousands of texts in the Sumerian and Akkadian languages on clay tablets. Frances Reynolds 10 Dec 2019
20 Discovering Music Many people love classical music heard on the radio or in concert. But they know less about the manuscripts that performers use, and that show us how the composer created their music. Jo Bullivant 10 Dec 2019
21 The World in a Box: Cabinets of Curiosity Professor Das tells the story of the age when Britain first learnt how to collect, and of how that obsession with discovering secrets and collecting curiosities transformed the way we see the world and our place within it. Nandini Das 10 Dec 2019
22 Discovering Daily life in ancient Southern Babylonia In this talk Professor Jacob Dahl will narrate a day in the life of an ordinary Babylonian person, not a king or a scribe, but a labourer working the fields of southern Babylonia. Jacob Dahl 10 Dec 2019
23 Secrets from Missing Manuscripts Oxford’s libraries house many beautiful books copied by hand before the arrival of print. What, though, about the many more books from the past which have not survived? Daniel Sawyer 10 Dec 2019
24 AI and Creativity How does AI interact with creativity? Watch this fascinating panel discussion with mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, composer Emily Howard and Sarah Ellis, the RSC's Director of Digital Development. Marcus du Sautoy, Emily Howard, Sarah Ellis, Rana Mitter 27 Nov 2019
25 Chineke! Championing Change and Celebrating Diversity in Classical Music Chineke! Founder Chi Chi Nwanoku OBE talks about her orchestra of majority BME musicians. Chi Chi Nwanoku OBE, Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey 20 Nov 2019
26 Book at Lunchtime: India, Empire and First World War Culture TORCH Book at Lunchtime event on India, Empire and First World War Culture by Professor Santanu Das. Held on 20th November 2019. Santanu Das, Yasmin Khan, Laura Marcus, Jay Winter 20 Nov 2019
27 Supriya Chaudhuri, Significant Lives: biography, autobiography, gender, and women's history in South Asia Chaired by Elleke Boehmer. Supriya Chaudhuri 18 Nov 2019
28 How to write a southern life: Ethics and writing practices Eduardo Lalo, Elleke Boehmer, Jonny Steinberg and Premilla Nadasen give a talk for the Southern Biographies event. Chaired by, Hélène Neveu Kringelbach. Eduardo Lalo, Elleke Boehmer, Jonny Steinberg, Premilla Nadasen 18 Nov 2019
29 Southern Biographies: epistemologies, methodologies, theoretical perspectives Joy Owen, Marcio Goldman, Ramon Sarro and Santanu Das give talks as part of the Southern Biographies event. Chaired, Thomas Cousins. Joy Owen, Marcio Goldman, Ramon Sarró, Santanu Das 18 Nov 2019
30 Book at Lunchtime: Chaucer: A European Life TORCH Book at Lunchtime event on Chaucer: A European Life by Professor Marion Turner. Book at Lunchtime is a series of bite-sized book discussions held fortnightly during term-time, with commentators from a range of disciplines. Marion Turner, Bart van Es, Helen Swift, John Watts 15 Nov 2019
31 Creative Commons Literary Allusion in Harry Potter J.K. Rowling’s imagination is fired by the past. How do historical objects illuminate the real-world sources of her ideas? Beatrice Groves, Victoria McGuinness 11 Oct 2019
32 Lande: The Calais 'Jungle' and Beyond Book at Lunchtime seminar held on 16th October 2019. Dan Hicks, Sarah Mallet, Wes Williams, Leonie Ansems de Vries 06 Oct 2019
33 Storming Utopia This event is an Oxford Public Engagement with Research and part of a Knowledge Exchange project. Organised by Professor Wes Williams (Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages) and Richard Scholar (Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages). Wes Williams, Richard Scholar, Amantha Edmead, Erin Maglaque 14 Aug 2019
34 People's Landscapes: Living in Landscapes A roundtable discussion explore landscape as a space for living, considering the pressures on land from population growth and discussing questions of preservation vs. development. Alice Purkiss, Lucy Footer, Ingrid Samuel, Crispin Truman 23 Jul 2019
35 People's Landscapes: Future Landscapes A roundtable discussion consider future landscapes in the context of food, farming and conservation. Alice Purkiss, Helen Antrobus, Anita Weatherby, Sue Cornwell 23 Jul 2019
36 Knowledge Exchange Showcase - Understanding Visitor Engagement of Free Heritage Sites Using Social Media Kathryn Eccles (Oxford Internet Institute), gives a talk on her Knowledge Exchange research project on using social media data to understand visitor engagement at heritage sites. Kathryn Eccles 15 Jul 2019
37 Knowledge Exchange Showcase - Understanding Postgraduate Medical Ethics Education Andrew Papanikitas Primary Care Health Sciences and John Spicer Health Education England give a talk on their Knowledge Exchange research project on teaching ethics to medical students. Andrew Papanikitas, John Spicer 15 Jul 2019
38 Knowledge Exchange Showcase - Refugee Heritage: the Archaeology of the Calais 'Jungle' Sarah Mallet School of Archaeology and Louise Fowler Museum of London Archaeology give a talk for the Knowledge Exchange Showcase on their research on the Calais migrant camp known as the Jungle. Sarah Mallet, Louise Fowler 15 Jul 2019
39 Knowledge Exchange Showcase - Jewish Country Houses Abigail Green (Faculty of History), Nino Strachey (National Trust), and Silvia Davoli, (Strawberry Hill House) give a presentation on their Knowledge Exchange research project on Jewish Country Houses Abigail Green, Nino Strachey, Silvia Davoli 15 Jul 2019
40 Delius and the Sound of Place Book at Lunchtime: Delius and the Sound of Place Daniel Grimley, Philip Bullock, Peter Franklin, Alexandra Harris 28 Jun 2019
41 Compassion's Edge Book at Lunchtime: Compassion's Edge, Winner of the 2018 Society for Renaissance Studies Book Prize. Katherine Ibbett, Lorna Hutson, Teresa Bejan, Emma Claussen 18 Jun 2019
42 Veteran Poetics Book at Lunchtime: Veteran Poetics: British Literature in the Age of Mass Warfare, 1790–2015 Suzan Kalayci, Kate McLoughlin, Santanu Das, Elleke Boehmer 12 Jun 2019
43 Derek Attridge 'The Experience of Poetry' Book Launch Panel Discussion This event celebrates the publication of Professor Derek Attridge's work The Experience of Poetry with a book launch panel discussion. Derek Attridge, Helen Cooper, Cathy Shrank, Stephen Harrison 29 May 2019
44 Light in Germany: Scenes from an Unknown Enlightenment A discussion of Jim Reed's book Jim Reed, Joachim Whaley, Kevin Hilliard, Ritchie Robertson 12 May 2015
45 Leviathan and the Air Pump: Thirty Years On The historian of science David Wootton reviews the controversial dispute between Robert Boyle and Thomas Hobbes, followed by a reply from Boyle's biographer Michael Hunter Ritchie Robertson, David Wootton, Michael Hunter 12 May 2015
46 Wildlife in the Anthropocene: Conservation after Nature An interdisciplinary discussion of Jamie Lorimer's book Jamie Lorimer, William Beinart, Daniel Grimley, Nikolaj Lübecker 06 May 2015
47 That Other Place: Art and Alzheimer's A short video about a recent exhibition of photography and film Helen Statham, Victoria McGuinness, Nicola Onions 28 Apr 2015
48 Humanities and Science: Representing Science An interdisciplinary discussion exploring the many possible approaches to representing science through the arts, as well as potential challenges Kirsten Shepherd-Barr, Heidi Johansen-Berg, Jason Gaiger, Annie Cattrell 17 Mar 2015
49 The Perfect Theory: A Century of Geniuses and the Battle over General Relativity A discussion exploring Pedro Ferreira's book Pedro Ferreira, Harvey Brown, Alex Butterworth, Javier Lezaun 16 Mar 2015
50 Humanities and Science: Culture and Technology An interdisciplinary discussion exploring culture’s interaction with technology Maria Blanco, Fritz Vollrath, Andrew Wilson, Lionel Tarassenko 16 Mar 2015
51 Observing by Hand: Sketching the Nebulae in the Nineteenth Century A discussion of Omar Nasim's book Omar Nasim, Stephen Johnston, Martin Kemp, Chris Lintott 16 Mar 2015
52 Oxford University International Women's Day 2015 Feminists, acadeamics and journalists reflect on feminism's achievements and future path. Selina Todd, Senia Paseta, Melissa Benn, Trudy Coe 16 Mar 2015
53 Wayne McGregor: Neuroscience and Dance Wayne McGregor (Director, Random Dance) talks about his choreographic practice with Dr Phil Barnard, (MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge) and Eckhard Thiemann (Arts Producer). Wayne McGregor, Phil Barnard, Eckhard Thiemann 16 Mar 2015
54 Faith and Wisdom in Science A Book at Lunchtime discussion with Tom McLeish, Sally Shuttleworth, John Christie and Ard A. Louis Tom McLeish, Sally Shuttleworth, John Christie, Ard Louis 19 Feb 2015
55 Humanities and Science: Randomness and Order An interdisciplinary discussion exploring the role of randomness and order in physics, probability, history and music. Ian Walmsley, Jonathan Cross, Alison Etheridge, Chris Wickham 18 Feb 2015
56 The Stressed Sex: Uncovering the Truth About Men, Women, and Mental Health An interdisciplinary panel of scholars discuss Daniel Freeman's book Daniel Freeman, Elaine Fox, Avner Offer, Janet Radcliffe Richards 09 Feb 2015
57 Humanities and Science: Mental Health An interdisciplinary discussion exploring the role of the humanities in mental health. Edward Harcourt, John Geddes, Matthew Broome, Emily Troscianko 09 Feb 2015
58 Unconscious Memory and Mental Space Professor Michael Burke and Dr Sebastian Groes Michael Burke, Sebastian Groes, Ben Morgan 26 Jan 2015
59 Exploring the Two Cultures Professor Larry Squire and Dr Simon Kemp Larry Squire, Simon Kemp 26 Jan 2015
60 Narrative & Proof: Two Sides of the Same Equation One of the UK's leading scientists, Marcus du Sautoy, argues that mathematical proofs are not just number-based, but also a form of narrative. Marcus du Sautoy, Roger Penrose, Laura Marcus, Ben Okri 22 Jan 2015
61 Common People: The History of an English Family An interdisciplinary panel of scholars discuss Alison Light's book Alison Light, Lyndal Roper, Laura Marcus, Selina Todd 11 Dec 2014
62 Alison Light on "Common People" The author discusses her new book, exploring the interplay between fiction and history, the redefinition of the common, and family history Alison Light 08 Dec 2014
63 Irish Nationalist Women, 1900-1918 An interdisciplinary panel of scholars discuss Dr Senia Paseta's book Senia Paseta, Tara Stubbs, Desmond King, Roy Foster 03 Dec 2014
64 Creative Commons Senia Paseta on Irish Nationalist Women Dr Paseta explores women's history and the nationalist narrative in Ireland. Senia Paseta 01 Dec 2014
65 The Cult of Saints Dr Bryan Ward-Perkins introduces a new research project which examines the origins and development of the cult of Christian saints. Bryan Ward-Perkins 12 Sep 2014
66 The Jagiellonians Dr Natalia Nowakowska introduces a new research project which examines the Renaissance Europe Jagiellonian dynasty as an international political phenomenon. Natalia Nowakowska 12 Sep 2014
67 Museums in the digital age: development or conflict? Interview with Martin Roth – Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Martin Roth 30 Jul 2014
68 Medieval Storytelling An AHRC funded workshop for Early Career researchers Hannah Ryley, Gareth Evans, Jenny Moon, Daniel Morden 17 Apr 2014
69 Dance Circles An interdisciplinary discussion of Dr Hélène Neveu Kringelbach's book. Helene Neveu Kringlebach 09 Apr 2014
70 Interview with Hélène Neveu Kringelbach The author discusses her recent book on dance in urban Senegal. Helene Neveu Kringlebach 09 Apr 2014
71 Interview with Emily Troscianko Discussion of Kafka's Cognitive Realism Emily Troscianko 26 Mar 2014
72 Kafka's Cognitive Realism An interdisciplinary discussion of Dr Emily Troscianko's book Emily Troscianko, Sue Blackmore, Ritchie Robertson, James Carney 26 Mar 2014
73 Activist Humanities in a Global Context Ahadf Soueif, Paul Smith and Robin Kelley discuss how the humanities can solve global challenges Ahdaf Soueif, Paul Smith, Robin Kelley 19 Mar 2014
74 What Have the Humanities to Teach the Modern University? Part of the Humanities and the Public Good series Teresa Morgan, Stephen Whitefield, David Ford, Jonathan Phillips 19 Mar 2014
75 Science and the Humanities Are the Humanities and the Sciences fundamentally different? Or do they share roots, values, aspirations and a common, contemporary predicament? Howard Hotson, Ian Walmsley, Mark Pagel, Sally Shuttleworth 04 Mar 2014
76 Where's the Virtue in the Humanities? How can the Liberal Humanities own up to – and promote – its public service as a matrix of civic virtue? Nigel Biggar, Donald Drakeman, Steven Biel, Jonathan Bate 04 Mar 2014
77 Creative Commons African Knowledge and Livestock Health Book at Lunchtime interview with Karen Brown and William Beinart about their book “African Knowledge and Livestock Health” Karen Brown, William Beinart 13 Feb 2014
78 Creative Commons In Everyone's Interests - the highlights Panel discussion on what it means to invest in the humanities Andrew Hamilton, Earl Lewis, Hermione Lee, Charlotte Higgins 04 Feb 2014
79 Closing the Door: Complaint as Diversity Work This lecture by Sara Ahmed draws on interviews conducted with staff and students who have made complaints within universities that relate to unfair, unjust or unequal working conditions and to abuses of power such as sexual and racial harassment. Sara Ahmed, Katherine Collins 29 May 2019
80 Creative Commons In Everyone's Interests Panel discussion on what it means to invest in the humanities Andrew Hamilton, Earl Lewis, Hermione Lee, Charlotte Higgins 04 Feb 2014
81 Art and Political Thought in Medieval England Book at Lunchtime: Art and Political Thought in Medieval England c.1150-1350 Laura Slater, Pippa Byrne, Jessica Berenbeim, Tim Farrant 20 May 2019
82 Creative Commons Are the humanities worth investing in? Knowledge Exchange Fellow Oliver Cox (@OliverJWCox) from The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) asked members of the public, students and academics in Oxford whether humanities subjects are worth investing in. Oliver Cox 16 Jan 2014
83 People's Landscapes: Creative Landscapes A roundtable discussion exploring the ways in which writers, artists and musicians have both responded to and created conceptions of 'place' throughout history. Thursday 16th May 2019. Alice Purkiss, Helen Antrobus, Grace Davies, Kate Stoddart 16 May 2019
84 Creative Commons TORCH Book Series: ‘Thomas Wyatt - The Heart’s Forest’ by Susan Brigden David Starkey, Chris Stamatakis and Diarmaid MacCulloch discuss ‘Thomas Wyatt - The Heart’s Forest’ by Susan Brigden as part of the TORCH Book Series David Starkey, Chris Stamatakis, Diarmaid MacCulloch, Susan Brigden 12 Dec 2013
85 People's Landscapes: Contested Landscapes A roundtable discussion of the history of land access and ownership, exploring how this has both physically and politically shaped our land and our access to it. Alice Purkiss, Helen Antrobus, Briony McDonagh, Helen Wright 02 May 2019
86 The Trans-Atlantic, the Diaspora, and Africa Ngugi wa Thiong’o delivers the opening keynote lecture of the Calloloo conference Ngugi wa Thiong’o 05 Dec 2013
87 Women and Power: Redressing the Balance – keynote by Annie Reilly, Head of Public Programmes, National Trust 'Women and Power: Redressing the Balance' is the opening keynote by Anne Reilly, Head of Public Programmes, National Trust at the Women and Power conference which took place on the 6th and 7th March 2019. Annie Reilly, Alice Purkiss 06 Mar 2019
88 Creative Commons Humanities Graduates and the British Economy Humanities Graduates and the British Economy. Shearer West, Sir Adam Roberts, Philip Kreager, Stephen Tuck 01 Aug 2013
89 Women and Power: Changing the Stories We Tell Ourselves – keynote by Melissa Benn, Writer and Campaigner 'Women and Power: Changing the Stories We Tell Ourselves’ is the keynote by the writer and campaigner Melissa Benn at the Women and Power conference which took place on the 6th and 7th March 2019. Melissa Benn, Senia Paseta 06 Mar 2019
90 Creative Commons TORCH Launch The highlights of the launch event for The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH). Jonathan Bate, Clare Copeland, Andrew Hamilton, Marcus du Sautoy 29 May 2013
91 Women and Power: The Women who Shaped the National Trust – keynote by Hilary McGrady, Director-General, National Trust ‘Women and Power: The Women who Shaped the National Trust’ is the keynote by McGrady, Director-General, National Trust at the Women and Power conference which took place on the 6th and 7th March 2019. Hilary McGrady 07 Mar 2019
92 Creative Commons The Selden Map The Selden Map of China has been one of the treasures of the Bodleian Library since 1659. This film shows how this remarkable map is interpreted today by scholars from a range of different disciplines. Kate Bennett, David Helliwell, Ros Ballaster, Rana Mitter 29 May 2013
93 Women Making History: The Leaders of Today – roundtable discussion chaired by Victoria Tandy, Co-Founder of the Women Leaders in Museums Network ‘Women Making History: The Leaders of Today’ is a roundtable session exploring the presence of women in senior roles in heritage organisations, at the Women and Power conference which took place on the 6th and 7th March 2019. Hilary Carty, Kate Clark, Sara Wajid, Virginia Tandy 07 Mar 2019
94 Creative Commons Early Modern Catholicism Network Clare Copeland and Jan Machielsen talk about a new hub to encourage, enhance, and promote research touching on all aspects of early modern Catholicism from across the academic disciplines. Jan Machielsen, Clare Copeland 24 May 2013
95 Women and Power: Redressing the Balance – closing remarks by Helen Antrobus, National Public Programme Curator, National Trust The closing remarks by Helen Antrobus, National Public Programme Curator, National Trust at the Women and Power conference which took place on the 6th and 7th March 2019. Helen Antrobus 07 Mar 2019
96 Creative Commons HiCor: a Cross-Disciplinary Network for History and Corpus Linguistics Gabor Mihaly Toth talks about a network of corpus linguists, computational linguists, and historians who are aiming to study how the resources, tools and methods of corpus linguistics can be used to address important historical research questions. Gabor Mihaly Toth 24 May 2013
97 Writing an Activist Life A panel discussion with Karin Amatmoekrim, Margaretta Jolly, and JC Niala, exploring the politics and poetics of writing an activist life. Karin Amatmoekrim, Margaretta Jolly, JC Niala 04 Jun 2019
98 Creative Commons Race and Resistance Across Borders in the Long Twentieth Century Elleke Boehmer and Imaobong Umoren talk about their research network which is investigating how twentieth-century activists, artists and intellectuals challenged racially oppressive hierarchies and sought to achieve equality. Elleke Boehmer, Imaobong Umoren 24 May 2013
99 Interview with Dr Emma Mckenzie-Edwards The use of Humanities in Medical Education Dr Emma Mckenzie-Edwards 30 Nov 2015
100 Creative Commons Ancient Dance in Modern Dancers Sophie Bocksberger, Berrow Scholar, Classics, talks about collaborative workshops involving classical historians, professionally-trained dancers, and anthropologists to create "reconstructive" performances of the Roman dance form tragoedia saltata. Sophie Bocksberger 24 May 2013